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!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

MOVING FORWARD REQUIRES LETTING GO


Why is it that when “all has been said and all has been done,” many continue to seek what more they might say and what else they can accomplish?  They seem unwilling to close the door – to move on once a decision has been made – continuously second guessing themselves to the point that “all that was said” becomes meaningless noise and “all that was done” loses its significance.  What may have been a great solution to a tough problem becomes a rest stop rather than a destination.  Rather than dousing the flames they smolder – ready to reignite as they devour our time like a fire feeding upon dry leaves in a forest.  Rather than being put to rest so their talents can be channeled towards the resolution of other issues – so that they can move on to climb other mountains – the steps they have taken and the accomplishments they have experienced become the goal rather than the springboard for future success.  When you feel that “all has been said,” quit speaking and start acting.  When you sense that “all has been done,” turn away from the closed doors so you can begin opening new ones.

It is never wrong to change your mind or shift direction IF the conditions or factors that led to your decision change.  It IS wrong to avoid making a decision or setting a course of action because you fear you may have to change your mind.  When we become paralyzed by our analysis of a situation – unable (or unwilling) to accept the validity of our thought processes once an issue has been identified and a resolution formulated – we establish insurmountable roadblocks that prevent us from moving or doing anything.  We become pawns
to the process rather than stewards of the solution.  We become bound by a need for absolute certainty, losing sight of the possibility that “a fix has been found” allowing us the freedom to consider new opportunities and challenges.  When we focus on finality rather than simply seeking closure, we stifle our ability to innovate.  We limit our ability to take calculated risks that may open new doors when we exerting all our energy nailing shut the doors behind us.  We must shift our vision forward if we wish to let go of the past so we can move ahead into the future – allowing ourselves the luxury of turning around to face forward rather than walking backwards towards an unseen cliff.

In order to thrive we must learn to innovate rather than finding comfort in what always was (because it may never again be)!  We must learn to think of alternatives (rather than simply “doing what is expected") if we wish to taste success.  We must apply our knowledge to new situations rather than memorizing answers to questions that have already been (or may never be) asked.  When all is said and done, our emphasis must be on recognizing accomplishment rather than rewarding effort – or people around us will continue to try proven solutions rather than accomplishing great things.

Everyone wants “change” but few take the time to define what “change” truly entails.  What lies ahead for us?  Is the light at the end of the tunnel one of Hope or is it one of unavoidable Disaster?   Listening to promises of change is never a bad thing in and of itself.  Such promises, however, should always identify what is being targeted AND what the alternative will be.  Seeking change just to alter the present is hollow unless we know – and are willing to accept – the alternative opportunities available when we decide to change (OR the consequences that will necessarily follow should we NOT change).

Before accepting the premise “all that could possibly be spoken has been said and all that could be accomplished has been done,” think about what might be possible (rather than dwelling upon those things that have  already been accepted as feasible or worrying about things that may not work).  Identify where you want to be – intentionally thinking about what must be changed (and what should be left the same) – before seeking the promise an unrealized future may hold (or worse, accepting only the reality of an already fulfilled past).  Embrace the opportunities that an uncertain future offers, moving deliberately forward in an effort to grow from them, rather than worrying about things you cannot control or obsessing over change that is going to happen regardless of what you may (or may not) do.

Individuals either embrace the opportunity of a new tomorrow by consciously (and intentionally) leaving
behind what is not working as they seek what might work OR they are swept up in someone else’s vision without thinking about its ramifications.  Do not fear change – fear only those things AND individuals that refuse to change as you seek to expand your present-day reality into a fresh new tomorrow.  Closing one door usually opens another – but it does not eliminate the opportunity to reopen the door should situations change.  All may never be said – and all may never be done – but we all should recognize and acknowledge “stopping points” from which we can move forward if we ever hope to hear what has yet to be said or experience what has not yet been accomplished.