What Your Reflection Can Do For You

by Onyeka Nchege on April 17, 2015

You are not aloneAs I woke up this morning, the concept of major change weighed heavily on my mind. As most of you know, yesterday (April 17th) marked the end of my tenure at CCBCC. As I walked thru the doors at CCBCC one last time, I was filled with many emotions. When we go through a major transition in our lives, I liken it to taking a long look in the mirror – your reflection tells you who you are, where you’ve been and what happens next. Only by looking away from the past can you transition into the future, the “next”. Your life is like a long road trip filled with new and exciting places to go. Your past is all the stuff you see in the rear-view mirror – let it help move you along on your journey.

It is often, on this platform, that I speak about how important reflection on the past is needed to move forward. Reflecting allows us to celebrate our successes and to assess our setbacks. When I look back on the last twelve years of my life, I am filled with honor and elation that, through both my career and personal life, I have been able to celebrate many successes and learn a great deal from my setbacks. I attribute a majority of my growth during this period to the gratifying roles I have held during my time at Coca-Cola Bottling Company (CCBCC). My initial role at CCBCC was one of drastic change from the others I had held in my career up to that point. It was full of unforeseen challenges and it simultaneously forced me to grow in areas, of which I had little experience. To say that I wanted to admit defeat on more than one occasion is an understatement. During one of those downtrodden occurrences, I forced myself to do a true evaluation of my personal role in those experiences. Namely, I had to take a long, hard look in the mirror to determine what had to happen next.

Two important questions surfaced as I went through the self-evaluation process: what does my team need from me and what do I need from my team? In answer to both of these questions, I deduced that both I and my teammates need to invest in PROACTIVE relationships daily.

In practice, I can honestly say that engaging in PROACTIVE relationships with my teammates has been beneficial to our entire organization here at CCBCC. Moreover, I have noticed that it is the mutual characteristics of the two that create a strengthening TIE between the relationships: trust, integrity and education. It is that TIE that affords a basis for all of the PROACTIVE characteristics to be practiced. I have stood in front of the mirror and these are things that I see, this is how I measure my worth. It’s these relationships that shape my past, my present and now, my future.

Now, I continue my road trip – my ever-evolving, PROACTIVE journey. It is my past relationships, my successes and my setbacks that fuel this trip and I welcome the challenge of a major transition. With CCBCC much closer than it might appear in my rear-view mirror, my next stop is Dallas, Texas where I will take on the role of Chief Information Officer at Interstate Batteries. This period of reflection has provided me with the aspiration of moving forward into my new role at Interstate Batteries. I am excited to begin harvesting PROACTIVE relationships with a new team. Together, we in IT@IB, will improve our business via technology as our organization’s technical stewards.

Finally, this period of reflection has provided me with one of the many reasons it is hard to say farewell to all of those I have served alongside at CCBCC; together, we have grown and succeeded. THANK YOU, CCBCC family, for the time we’ve shared and for everything we’ve accomplished. To quote Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” The PROACTIVE relationships I have made in my tenure at CCBCC are the giants and I am a better man professionally and personally because of them. With eyes set on my future in Dallas, I keep these relationships in my rear-view mirror, reminding me of where I’ve been and what I’ve done.

Take Action: Successfully moving forward demands that you remember and honor the distance you have covered. The catalyst to all of our success is the foundation of PROACTIVE relationships.

Leadership on the GO…..It’s O.N!



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Tipoff Time: Taking Courage To Center Court

by Onyeka Nchege on April 1, 2015

Courage word cloud shapeAlmost thirty years ago to the day, a college basketball team that was virtually unknown to many delivered a series of the greatest upset victories in NCAA tournament history. The 1985 Villanova Wildcats team was not expected to move beyond their first game when the tournament started, yet a few weeks after that initial win they were performing the ceremonial cutting down of the basketball nets to signify their championship. In an interview following their historic triumph, Coach Massimino simply stated, “We had the courage and determination to keep moving forward.”

Courage is often an unseen virtue to those that are exuding it. It is the catalyst of ownership and action. For example, though the odds were constantly stacked against the Wildcats, the players suited themselves up with courage before each game by owning their individual tasks and playing their best.

In our lives, the courage we exude daily is often unseen to each of us. Whether we are publicly owning our mistakes to a group of our peers or trying our hand at learning a new skill set, our motivation stems from our courage. If we take the time to measure those small daily instances of when we displayed our courage, then we will find that we build up the courage to pursue larger, sometimes seemingly impossible, tasks that are much smaller than we believe it to be.

During the 1985 NCAA championship game, I’m sure the players and coaches of the Villanova Wildcats looked back on all of their underdog victories and saw that their face off against the tournament favorite Georgetown Bulldogs was simply just another basketball game. In measuring their past victories where they had always been the underdog against a much favored team, they could quantify the courage it took to get to the championship game.

In my own experiences, I am all too aware of the importance in taking stock of the small courage needed to achieve some of my own initial victories towards my dreams, goals and visions. Recently I wrestled with a major decision that seemed as impossible as the second-rate Wildcats winning the 1985 NCAA tournament. Looking back on the courage I had in me to take the preliminary step on faith towards making a decision provided me with the courage I needed to walk to the center of the court for tip off and begin owning my tasks and playing my best.

Far too frequently we allow ourselves to pass up opportunities, because they seem too large or complex to pursue. Hence, we don’t allow ourselves to muster up the needed courage to receive our initial victories. However, with a change in perspective we can find that we have demonstrated the courage that seems to be lost in the present with the ownership and actions we have taken in the past. If all that is needed is faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains, then imagine what one can do when they apply that logic to their courage.

Take Action: Don’t let your lack of courage keep you from chasing or pursuing or achieving or declaring whatever it is God has put in your spirit. To step into your “better”, you simply have to muster up the courage.

Leadership on the Go…It’s O.N.



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Mirror Mirror on the Wall….

March 2, 2015

When she asked her magic mirror, “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all”, the evil queen in the story of Snow White expected to hear her own name. However, when the mirror responded that Snow White was indeed the fairest in the land, the queen became enraged and proceeded with […]

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Life Beyond an EPIC Fail

February 16, 2015

It’s 2:10 PM on a Saturday and my son Kalu and I are in the barbershop getting a haircut. Our barbershop, like most others, is the place where everyone is an expert on everything. And yes I mean everything – doesn’t matter what the topic is – politics, education, current and world affairs…..no topic is […]

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When the Brook Runs Dry

February 4, 2015

During a mentoring retreat in Boone, NC last weekend, one of our assignments was to indulge in some quiet time alone. During my time, I chose to walk outside to enjoy the freshly fallen snow and reflect on how good God has been to me. While walking I saw a brook that had been frozen […]

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