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!

Friday, May 15, 2015


We often receive an unexpected boost from motivational quotes.  Many originate within the world of sports BUT life is more than playing games – it is about dreaming what might be our reality if only that which is could become what we hope, wish and dream it to be.  It is about reaching beyond our wildest expectations to grasp a slice of reality from a pie not yet baked.  It is about setting goals beyond what is achievable so that we force ourselves outside of the box in which we are comfortable and move towards things yet to be considered by standing upon the cardboard to search for those things that have not yet been imagined.  We all stumble and fall while travelling through life – the difference between success and failure being whether we stay down or we get back up – and what we learn from the experience.

People react to challenges differently.  Some seek comfort from every storm – preferring to remain within the safe harbors of life, never venturing outside the protected coastal waters as they accept the remnants and wreckage that wash up to shore.  They allow others to seek new adventures – to conquer unknown territories and discover treasures far beyond their ability to imagine.  They are gulls finding sustenance in things discovered and discarded by others.  To them, a gentle breeze may appear to be a raging storm – the tranquility of their calm disrupted by even the smallest pebble tossed into the sea.  If one were to equate such an existence to the hyena it would be apparent that scavengers ARE able to exist.  Rarely, however, does an individual reach greatness when they rely upon “pack mentality” to survive NOR does one receive the “first fruits” when they gratefully accept what comes to them rather than seeking to discover how much more might be available if only they were to stretch beyond their accepted paradigm.

Others seek adventure – preferring to march into the storms of life head on and face forward.  They hear the howling in the wind and seek to identify its source – wish to find where it came from before watching it go away.  They recognize that the wind cannot be contained nor captured but often dream of riding upon it – of soaring above the earth that holds them as they seek new horizons not yet discovered.  They prefer to identify opportunities as they move boldly forward in life rather than seeking comfort in what they (or someone else) already accomplished.  Where some could not fathom being a hawk hurtling down towards an unknowing prey, these individualists could not tolerate being a scavenger relying upon the efforts of another for sustenance.  Their need for autonomy – for independence – is far too great to accept the path forged by others.  They capture the wind within billowing sails – riding it as far as it may take them without allowing their concern for a safe return to detract from the journey.  They accept potential peril as the inevitable return on their unrestrained investments towards the accomplishment of their dreams.

As we move through life we must leave our yesterdays behind as we pass through our today in anticipation of all that tomorrow might bring.  Unless we fill our emotional pantries with thoughts and visions of grandeur – with hopes and promises of a yet to be defined future reality rather than doing as we have always done while expecting different things to happen to us – we MAY find momentary happiness but will never find the peace to accept that “what is” is all that “could be.”  Whenever you begin to feel that “where you are” is better (rather than just safer or more secure) than “where you could be,” consider the following: 

·         As you begin (or refresh) your journey through life, take time for the little things to become big.  Do not move so fast that you fail to enjoy the journey as you seek a destination BUT do not become so enamored with the journey that you never rest or recharge along the way.  Find time to help others along the way – to share your strengths and experiences so they might be built up rather than run over.  When the going gets tough others may be the only lifeline available to keep us going.

·         Live life to its fullest – focusing as much on the joy in the journey as you do the gold at the end of the rainbow.  More than anything, find peace and joy in all that you say and do – seeking comfort from your discoveries rather than being satisfied to discover comfort within the status quo.  Seek moments of rest as you seek to fulfill your dreams rather than sanctuaries and safe havens that might keep you from reaching beyond the shelter of today to experience the potential of tomorrow.

Some find that motivating thoughts or inspirational phrases keep them moving forward rather than looking back.  In order to experience gain within our lives, we must realize change – and must keep our eyes on the prize as we move relentlessly towards it if we expect to grow.  Thankfully, all thoughts ARE NOT sports metaphors - some of the thoughts I find most helpful including:

·         Dreams take time, patience, sustained effort, and a willingness to fail if they are ever to become anything more than dreams – Brian Linkoski
·         The greater danger for most is NOT that our aim is too high and we miss, but that it is too low and we reach it - Michelangelo
·         We know what we are, but know not what we may be - Shakespeare
·         When the winds of change blow, some people build walls while others build windmills - Chinese proverb
·         If all you seek to become can be defined by what you have accomplished, accept comfort in who you are but allow those who know you mourn the death of what you may have become – Dave Smith

There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we seek results and conclusions rather than recognition and credit.  We can find ongoing satisfaction when we claim success during the journey – acknowledging each step taken as we run the race rather than waiting until our quest has ended to find satisfaction in the efforts we exhibited.  We accomplish many things not yet imagined and bring to fruition countless things not previously realized when we allow our dreams to materialize – to become a new reality as we travel the road to ever-changing destinations – when we see each station as a stop along the way rather than an end in and of itself.  We gain much from life when each step is celebrated as an accomplishment rather than looking only to the goal at the end of our journey as a win/lose, make it or break it destination.

We cannot allow our eyes to drift from the prize if we seek to move from “good” to “great” in our lives.  Though it may not “take a village” to raise our self-awareness, it DOES take commitment, determination and intentional action to move beyond the storms that often darken our lives to the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Accept nothing but your best as you seek new destinations – learning from your failings as you turn adversity into opportunity while reaching new heights with each passing day.  Capture the wind to move forward after each accomplishment rather than finding comfort and accepting as final the rest stops along the way and each never ending beginning will lead towards the better life you wish for (and deserve). 

No comments:

Post a Comment