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, December 1, 2015


Were we to live in an ideal world, everyone would focus more on new beginnings than on conclusions or endings.  “Drawing a line in the sand” would define more our intent to move forward than keeping us from stepping back – to establish that we are initiating a new path or direction rather than highlighting where we would prefer to leave.  Far too often, people think that closing one chapter is more important than opening the next – that finding closure is somehow more critical than initiating change.  As the year winds down, many give thanks for the blessings they received AND establish lines in the sand to initiate changes in behavior for the coming year – mentally placing barriers in place that “prohibit” them from doing what was considered “wrong.”  Personally, it would seem that a line in the sand should serve as a springboard that launches one into the not-yet realized reality existing deeply within their imagination rather than a blockade that prevents them from slipping into bad habits without offering an alternative course of action.

In order to initiate change, we must recognize that what we are doing could (and should) be done differently if we are to expect altered results.  In order to accomplish this we must receive more “gain” than we experience “pain” in the transition.  We must reflect upon the past, embrace the present, and seek to clearly differentiate our dreams and/or goals, then (and only then) act intentionally to bring them to fruition.  Rather than artificially ending each activity before starting another, allow each day’s sunset to bring closure to life so that morning might offer a fresh new beginning – learning to anticipate what is in store rather than holding on to (or beating yourself up) over what has passed.  Far too many well-intentioned individuals stagnate just across their line in the sand because they were more concerned with defining where they had to move from than they were with charting a new path and moving forward in a new direction.

As the year winds down, rather than making resolutions to be something differently, resolve to become what you wish to be.  The next time you draw a line in the sand, think about the new realities that will be established through the actions you will be taking rather than focusing upon what will no longer be done because you stopped performing or acting in an unacceptable manner.  We build the future upon dreams that become reality – not on the actions taken to avoid negative consequences.  Should we build our world around what we wish NOT to happen, how can we ever focus upon the dreams and aspirations of what COULD become reality?  Refuse to live in a world of “what is” as you walk away from “what has been” if you seek to exist in a land of possibilities.  Aspire to become all that you can possibly be (rather than extending what you have been into what might be comfortably different) and you will find yourself pursuing an existence of “what if” or “what could be.”  Unfortunately, too many individuals accept change that unintentionally presents itself as being all that is possible rather than actively and intentionally seeking that which has not yet been revealed, tested or considered by others.

When you decide that change is necessary (that staying where you are is no longer a tolerable option – that moving ahead holds more potential reward than remaining within your established comfort zone), refuse to limit your potential by focusing upon what you wish to leave behind.  While we can achieve short-term change by blindly running away from our fear of falling back to what we have always been or doing what we have always done, lasting change happens when we intentionally move forward towards destinations not yet known – seeking to establish new realities upon which to build future dreams.