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, October 19, 2015


Some people sleep without dreaming and awaken rested.  Others dream while sleeping and awaken inspired.  We must dream what we wish to accomplish before we can expect anything to happen.  What kind of life could be based on the premise that what “is” will never change – that bringing the beliefs, values, ideals and accomplishments of several together should serve only to advance the group to a position that society might deem as “possible” rather than elevate each proportionately based on the individual effort expended?  How can light be shed into the darkness if we are afraid to open the window to a world of possibilities?

Some (particularly those afraid or unwilling to learn from failure) proudly proclaim that setting low expectations will keep them from ever being disappointed.  They live life by meandering aimlessly upon roads paved by others – avoiding unexpected detours or excursions – finding comfort and security in the things that they know (and have seen) work.  Those setting no (or low) expectations – fearing the pain of failure more than anticipating the rewards of success – may survive in life but will not experience the “thrill of victory OR the agony of defeat.”  While accomplishing that which is expected and predictable they will rarely thrive or achieve their full potential. 

We de-energize our relationships when we focus upon the shortcomings of others.  When we pull others down – highlighting their deficiencies in an effort to elevate ourselves – we may rise to the top of a pool of mediocrity but will rarely reach the pinnacle of individual success to which we can pull others.  How can we expect our accomplishments to be maximized if we focus upon what could go wrong rather than trying to identify what alternative path or direction might provide better results?  Rather than seeing failure as a destination that should be avoided at all costs (or exploited for personal gain), perhaps much could be gained by viewing it as a springboard to success – a flexible base that could bring us back from the depths to an innovative or previously untested solution.  Believing that the “light at the end of a tunnel” is an opportunity not yet realized rather than a train heading towards us on a collision course reflects the assimilation of dreams into daily reality.

Accepting that our own (or another individual’s) weaknesses are insurmountable results in our believing failure is a probability (or at least an acceptable end result).  If, however, we acknowledge deficiencies as bumps in the road, relentlessly moving forward as we seek to accomplish our dreams – refusing to accept a disruption in our expectations as an “end game” to our efforts – we will find new ways to make things happen.  Destiny becomes an inflexible reality only when we allow ourselves to be limited by a lack of expectations and a fear of failure.  

All individuals have a past comprised of actions taken, relationships forged and things accomplished and a present comprised of the things they choose to do and relationships they maintain.  The future, however, is defined by what we allow ourselves to accept as a destination.  If it is the memories of what we once had, we limit ourselves to things already experienced.  If it be the comfort of what we have achieved, we limit ourselves to that we have achieved.  If, however, our future is defined by the dreams and expectation expressed within pages of a book not yet written, our possibilities will remain pathways to a reality limited only by our blind acceptance of those things we accept as truth or beliefs we accept as unalterable.  When our dreams become the things we anticipate and expect rather than simply things held tightly within the privacy of our individual hearts – when we awaken to the inspiration of our dreams as we accept the reality (and probability) of things once thought of as but possibility – ONLY THEN will we begin to realize our full potential by embarking upon paths once hidden beneath the sands of time.