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, December 18, 2015


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 become a raging storm – the tranquility of their calm disrupted by even the smallest pebble tossed into the sea.

Others seek adventure – preferring to face the storms of life head on rather than finding comfort within anyone’s harbor.  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 have 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.

We move through life leaving each season behind as we anticipate all that the next might bring.  We might do well to fill our emotional pantries with thoughts of grandeur – with hopes and promises – rather than doing as we have always done while expecting different things to happen to us.  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.  Find time to help others along the way – for 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.  Should you begin to feel that “where you are” is better, safer or more secure than “where you could be,” remember that:

·       Dreams take time, patience, sustained effort, and a willingness to fail if they are ever to become anything more than dreams – Brian Linkoski
·       It may be that those who DO the most, DREAM the most – Stephen Leacock
·       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 - William Shakespeare
·       When the winds of change blow, some people build walls while others build windmills - Chinese proverb

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.  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.

It takes 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.  As we end one year and begin another, think about all you have accomplished BUT do not sell yourself short by resting upon past glories.  Identify the reasons things may not have turned out as you wished, internalizing what you may have learned from those challenges, BUT do not allow yourself to dwell upon your failures or shortcomings.  Think about what has yet to be realized and chase your dreams with unbridled enthusiasm.  The winds of change can be felt but never captured – controlled but not contained – but will carry us through life as long as we keep our wings outstretched and our eyes upon our goals.