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 22, 2015

RESOLVING TO START 2016 ON THE RIGHT FOOT


We often start the year with hope and promise, then fall so hopelessly behind that we forget about our planned course of action to end up where we started – thinking about the things not accomplished (and where all the time we had intended to spend on them has gone), placing them back on our “priority lists” for next year. Following-through on the “fresh starts” you seek this year can only happen when an intentional course is charted – when groundwork has been laid and planning has been done – prior to initiating your journey and intentionally carrying-on - taking life one step at a time.

Before setting (or renewing) resolutions for 2016, you should reflect on how specific actions made a difference during the past year. Were you able to accomplish all you wanted at work…at home…with those you love and care for? Are you in a better (or worse) place than when the year began? What happened to you “in spite of yourself” rather than “because of something you did?” Until you are able to identify “what is” and realize “what has been,” you will never be able to travel down the road towards “what could be” as you seek the possible rather than settling for that which is (and always will be) probable.

Successful individuals define objectives, consider as many possible “roadblocks” as can be reasonably anticipated and plan to avoid these obstacles before moving forward with definitive actions. To these individuals, success is not just a possibility – it is a foregone conclusion! When one sees more “downside” in failing than “upside” in succeeding – becomes hesitant to act for fear of what might go wrong – success will remain an enigma. Success eludes those who think “Why?” as it attaches itself to the actions and words of those who truly believe “Why Not?” We must recognize that SHOULD change happen, only when we accept and embrace the altered paths that open up to us will we assimilate the new realities we are presented.

Are you willing (and able) to accept change IF what you want to happen does occur? When we explicitly resolve to do something DIFFERENT, we must implicitly accept that our comfort, circumstances and situations WILL NOT remain the same!  We must leave our shelter before we can climb the summit if we hope to experience the view of a new horizon.  If we would prefer to remain where we are - to accept the view that presents itself to us as being the best we will ever see - perhaps it might be better to find comfort with what you have rather than wasting time and energy to discover something different that will be left unrealized.

There may have been a time where “keeping up” with the world allowed one to maintain their position in life. We live in a knowledge-driven world – one in which the only constant is change. To avoid another year of failed expectations, approach your “resolution process” systematically. Make sure you exercise your right to live – to make decisions, accept responsibility for change, assume accountable for implementation AND enjoy the praise when your dreams come to fruition (or take intentional action should your path fall short of its intended destination). Some basic things you should consider before closing out your old year and exchanging it for new hopes, dreams and opportunities would include:

Review your last year’s accomplishments. Identify what you resolved to accomplish last year. Celebrate your successes by “shouting them from the rooftops” to a friend or co-worker. Determine if the obstacles keeping you from tasting success were “inside or outside” of your control – and if anything was done to eliminate the roadblocks that prevented you from realizing your goals. Do not forget to list successes from the year that were not part of your resolution process. Just because you did not “resolve” to initiate a change does not mean “credit” should not be taken for its accomplishment. The difference between successful people and those that seem to hover at the edge of greatness is often one of perspective. Some assume success is a foregone conclusion while others think of it merely as a remote possibility!

Clearly define and record your goals for the coming year. Share them with someone you trust to establish accountability. Telling someone, however, is not enough. You should maintain contact with your “support network” throughout the year to keep you “on task” and focused. Secret goals are rarely accomplished and no (or low) expectations rarely result in significant change.  While "shooting low" will keep you from being disappointed, it will never reward you in a meaningful way, either..

Believe that “Nothing is impossible.”  Too many people confuse “impossible” with impractical or improbable. All things are possible - our only limitations are typically fiscal, physical, timing, confidence issues or a lack of knowledge. We will inevitably face detractors and naysayers whenever we try something new. Do not add to your apprehensions, doubts or inadequacies by questioning yourself before beginning!

Regardless of what your goals might be for 2016, remember that the only bad resolution is one never resolved. The only wrong action is action never taken. The only unforgivable mistake is one that did not teach. Reflect on last year’s successes - replicating the positive actions that “made a difference” while thinking about your failures just long enough to understand what went wrong so you can avoid repeating them.  When you consciously resolve to move forward - taking one step at a time - the sky will be your only limit!