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!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Some would define success as “having arrived” at a final destination. Others measure success through the progress they make while working towards the accomplishment of a challenge.  Whether you consider “success” to be a destination or the journey towards a conclusion, it entails inspiration (to identify what could be), deliberation (to consider the benefits AND the ramifications of change) and transformation (intentional action to initiate change) to be realized.

Success is not defined by what (or how much) we do nor by where we end up in comparison with where we began.  Success measures both what we accomplish AND what we have been able to learn from our experiences along the way.  Simply being busy – or doing things – does not guarantee success.  We must perform with purpose – moving towards defined objectives – to experience success.

Success is not a measure of what (or how much) one has but rather of what (or how much) one has invested to attain it.  Success is not something that can be granted, bestowed or declared by others – it is an accomplishment or series of planned activities that, when internalized by an individual as being significant to him- or herself, results in the proclamation of achievement through words, actions or attitudes.

Does a child hurt (and cry) less if falling when nobody is watching than if someone rushes to provide comfort
and care?  Is their crying more the result of an action (a fall) OR an action seeking results (comfort to counteract the fall)?  Do we learn more from the fall or from the comfort received from another because we fell? If a tree falls in the forest with nobody near to hear it, is there sound?  Is noise a consequence of waves received or the result of waves generated – a process or a product?  Is success achieved because a series of actions culminates in the accomplishment of a goal OR is the growth experienced as we initiate and work through the actions themselves a better barometer of success?

Rather than striving to achieve success, perhaps it would be better if we invested our talents and abilities to seek achievement, allowing our actions to create success.  Rather than seeking recognition, praise or notoriety we should recognize (and accept) that we will become “significant” when our efforts are recognized by others, attracting the attention they deserve.
In life, success typically breeds more success (NEVER being content to rest upon its laurels) while uncorrected or unresolved failure perpetuates continued failings (unless or until something happens to break the pattern of non-achievement).  Celebrate the successes you achieve but do not rest upon (or within) the past or your achievements will become your ceiling rather than your floor.  Success follows our opening up new chapters in life rather than from our closing old ones – from our initiating new beginnings rather than from resting within old ends.  ONLY when we reach for the stars – stretching beyond what can be easily attained – we will experience success.  Only when we EXPERIENCE success will it become real.