Looking Between The Trees

by Onyeka Nchege on October 20, 2015

Sunrise in autumn forestMany of us have heard the old adage, “Can’t see the forest for the trees”; meaning one doesn’t realize the vastness of what they are exploring, because they are focused only on the immediate things in front of them. As I ponder this saying, I think about my own personal and career journeys that I have endured. Like most people, it was often that the trees I focused on were the foreseen obstacles I would encounter along my journey.

An unfortunate outcome to only seeing trees throughout our journeys can be leaving the forest entirely in hopes of finding a way around it. However, over the years, I have found that leaving the forest for a while may result in a better outcome than we expect. When we leave the forest, we are able to survey more of the area and broaden our perspective; we are able to see the vastness of what we are undertaking. It is from this vantage point that we can see between the trees as opposed to seeing only the trees.

Our broadening perspectives experience outside of the forest allows us to redefine our journeys. If it is our only intention to move through the forest as quickly as possible, then we need to seek out paths that have been tried and made true by others. If our intention is to define our own path entirely, then we need to prepare ourselves to clear the path that has not yet been defined. This requires loads of courage, perseverance, diligence, patience, understanding, and more courage.

Take Action: Gain some perspective, define your path, and give it everything you got!

Leadership on the GO…..It’s O.N

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A recent finalist for the 2017 ORBIE CIO of the Year award, Onyeka brings more than 20 years of experience leading teams, developing strategies and building technology solutions. He has also led the creation and integration of technology solutions for a network of retail store franchises and distributors across North and Central America. Onyeka contributes to CIO Review magazine and shares his insights and experience with peers and colleagues via his own blog, onyekanchege.com Before joining Interstate Batteries in 2015, Onyeka led teams at Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, where he modernized technology practices and powered business processes for daily, on-the-street use. He is a graduate of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University and currently serves on the EVANTA Dallas CIO Governing Body. If Onyeka were not at Interstate, he’d find another way to combine his three biggest passions: his faith, helping others, and, of course, information technology. Because ultimately, as he puts it, “we can’t help everyone, but everyone can always help someone.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jim Scholefield November 20, 2015 at 8:58 pm

Great thoughts Onkeya. I’ve use a very similar analogy to guide me. I do a lot of mountain biking, so spend a lot of time in the trees. One of the most important things to remember in mt biking is don’t focus on the trees… on the obstacles. Without realizing it your mind will point you right at the tree. You look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go. It’s all about finding the line and the flow. Be aware of the obstacles but don’t obsess on them. Think about that in life and work every day…aware of the obstacles and the risk but looking ahead to where I want to go and being prepared for when I get there. I fall occasionally, everyone does, but get back up and work my way back into the journey.


avatar Onyeka Nchege November 21, 2015 at 1:21 am

Thanks Jim. Great mountain biking analogy. Very appropriate. #GetbackUP


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