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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Onyeka Nchege is the Chief Information Officer for Coca Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC), the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. A frequent speaker on technology empowerment, leadership development, and business improvement, Onyeka is a graduate of the Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Onyeka currently serves on the Board of Directors for Apparo, Advisory Board for UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte, and Bethel Baptist Church Ministries.
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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.

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

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

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