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!

Thursday, March 8, 2018


In living life we can choose to follow the crowd and do what others want and expect us to do OR we can forge our own way to find what lies beyond the horizon.  We can care about others or we can care about ourselves.  We can acknowledge the efforts put forth by others or we can claim their results as our own.  We can choose to make possible all things or we can accept all things as being possible but fail to act thereby minimizing the probability that anything other than what is will ever be.  Unless we establish a destination before beginning our journey, how can we hope to differentiate between what is possible, impossible, or extremely tough to accomplish – for without vision, planning and focused work, what dream can become reality?   

Can we move beyond “safe” if we prefer to travel upon the easy and tested path?  When we choose to live within our comfortable surroundings or our familiar environment, how can we ever move from our present reality to our potential reward?  Until we risk more than others think is safe, how can we expect to accomplish more than others think possible?  We tend to get from life no more than we expect so those refusing to establish goals for fear of failure will ultimately fail from a lack of hope or promise.  We may not be seen as failing if we choose not to set specific goals BUT how can we realize success without first determining what we wish to accomplish?  How will you know when you have arrived if you have never thought about where you are going (though you will never be lost if you do not know where you are going)?  How can you expect to succeed if you choose not to identify (or expect) success? 

What wisdom is there in putting ourselves first – in trying to advance ourselves at the expense of others when others have situations that are much more in need of advancement?  While we should not seek to eliminate our shortcomings or address the shortfalls of others without expecting some sort of personal investment, is it not wise to grow from our own investments and teach others how to lift themselves up so we will not have to care for them forever?  What greater gift can we give another than self-sufficiency and worth as it elevates them while allowing us to be lifted as we improve the world around us?

How can we move beyond our present reality without first dreaming about what could be possible as we move away from what we know towards what has not yet been considered?  Life is practical – filled with actions that result in reactions and causes that necessarily bring effects.  Rather than simply living life and accepting what comes as all that could ever be, allow yourself to live out the promise of your dreams as you intentionally plan and act to bring them to fruition.  Replace the hollow satisfaction derived when we chase after hopes of others with the fulfillment that comes from forging our own path as we seek to realize our own potential.

Unless we recognize that what we have accomplished is not all that we will ever do – that what we have realized is but the beginning of what we might hope to achieve – we will never become more than what we already are.  Unless we identify what we want, what we hope to do and where we want to be – then act intentionally to move towards the fulfillment of these dreams and aspirations, how can we expect to accomplish anything other than what another has envisioned or assigned?  Knowing what to do and when to do it may meet the minimum requirements of life or accomplish the assigned objectives of others but what might YOU do differently (or be free to act and accomplish on your own) if released from the chains of propriety or the boundaries created by the expectations and direction of others? 

What dream have you shut down – closed the door upon – because you preferred to “live life safely” or chose NOT to “rock the boat” as it might interfere with your defined (and comfortable) sense of reality?  Rather than looking upon life as a continuum of things done and accomplished, perhaps it might be more fulfilling if we were to define our current (short-term) success by the things we have achieved while determining our value by the number of opportunities that have yet to be resolved and establishing our worth by transforming our possibilities into a reality upon which we can continue to build.