The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Monday, May 6, 2013


Everyone should “make a difference” in life – but what “making a difference” means is not the same to everyone. Some would think that making a difference means to change the world while others might think getting through the day by helping to provide the needs those depending upon them might have is the greatest difference they might make. Some might think they can make a difference by fulfilling their dreams – by bringing to fruition their boldest imaginings – while others might wish only to dream without being awakened by the nightmare of things outside their control. Some might wish for fame, fortune or other recognition – to be “that person” the world places upon the pedestal of success. Others might hope to survive the darkness that shrouds their day – to see a tomorrow brighter than today.

Making a difference is the foundation upon which we build self-confidence and values – the base from which we establish who we are and what we wish to become. Building upon a firm and solid foundation can help us make a lasting difference – allow us to carry a heavy load without losing stability or drifting aimlessly without purpose. Far too many people, however, prefer to build upon shifting sands and untested principles – seeking monumental results with minimal effort.

Some people dream of success – of being something or somewhere else – preferring to remain in the comfort of their sleep without investing the sweat equity or emotional capital needed to bring transformation. Others wake from their dreams and begin working to bring them to fruition – to put into action the thoughts that came to them while sleeping by taking intentional action to move them forward. We can lead, follow or get out of the way in life – but standing (without moving) often results in our being run down by seemingly undeterred forces then abandoned along side the road, left in the wake of those truly making a difference. Taking action – ANY action – provides us the opportunity to make a difference. When trying to make a difference, the only “wrong” decision is one not made – the only “inadequate” action is one not taken.

We can all make a difference in life – but not all of us will make the same difference. Some are working on becoming all they might become – having very little energy (or inclination) to make a difference in the life of another. They take one day at a time – living a life that seemingly offers more redundancy than reward, more sense of survival than source of stimulation. Others seem always to give back far more than they could ever receive – finding more joy in the journey than delight in the destination.

Making a difference is affecting the lives of those around you SO THAT your life might change. It is pulling others up with you rather than crawling over their backs as you reach for the top. It is adding value to the lives of others, knowing that doing so will make a difference in their own life. It is bringing a smile to the face of another – of sharing another’s troubles so that you can join them in their joy.

To make a difference you must BE different. When you begin to THINK differently, you will find yourself floating to the top as those around you rise to the surface rather than trying to swim against the current while ascending on your own. You will embrace change rather than fearing failure – seeking the possible rather than accepting the probable. Make a difference in others – the return on your investment will make a difference in you!