People in Glass Houses Need to Throw Stones

by Onyeka Nchege on January 11, 2016

hand holding stoneMost of us have heard the glass ceiling adage in which one can see the place they want to reach but is stuck at a certain level due to a “glass ceiling” impeding them. It is true that there are many glass ceilings, (often ending in the suffix ism), that can be imposed to limit our upward mobility: ageism, sexism and racism. Though it is very unfortunate that those ignorant isms still exist and are limiting the ascension of some talented individuals, it is more so unfortunate when we limit our own progress with our self-imposed “glass ceilings”.

In this age of our society, we are taught now more so than ever how important it is to be our own loudest cheerleader. Even though we know how much that practice contributes to us striving forward to greatness, we insist on being our own worst critics. Talking ourselves out of taking new chances, because there is a good chance that we will fail at them. Stifling thoughts of creating new things, because we are sure the work will not be good enough. Taking stock in the disheartening, negative rhetoric from those around us, because they are sometimes our superiors. These are ways that we impose our own glass ceilings.

Self-imposed glass ceilings can hinder us both as individuals and as collective organizations. In organizations, self-imposed glass ceilings often take the forms of stifled creativity and less risk taking. When an organization is continually getting the message from their consumers that their products or services are not needed due to any number of reasons, their unfortunate response can be to simply stop trying.

So how do we break through our self-imposed glass ceilings? We break through our glass ceilings by throwing STONES.

  1. Stake your claim – Stand up for yourself. You matter! Be confident in the choice you are about to make and go out there and get it. Find mentors and other visionaries that will help you on your road to success.
  2. Take necessary risks – It takes courage to make a difference. The only way to make change is to be bold and take a chance on yourself.
  3. Own your achievement – Take responsibility for your own success. No one can do it for you. You have to take ownership of your goals, visions, and dreams.
  4. Note external interferences – Be aware of your surroundings. They can come in the shape of people, media and your environment. Then make the necessary changes to minimize those interferences. 
  5. Execute your plan – Set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, & Time-bound [SMART] goals and then start working towards those goals. Set yourself benchmarks to reach and check-in with yourself from time to time.
  6. Setbacks are opportunities for learning – It’s OK to make mistakes. Mistakes are necessary for success. Use those mistakes to help change your game plan.

Our professional lives can come with many challenges imposed by others that we all have to overcome in order to continue to reach our goals. When we impose our own glass ceilings, we too are contributing to the challenges of meeting our goals.

Take Action: Don’t let glass ceilings keep you from achieving your goal. Break through those barriers – whether imposed internally or externally – and take charge of your future by throwing STONES

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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, 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.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jabari Alexander January 12, 2016 at 2:08 am

Great message to kick off the new year! Well Put!


avatar Onyeka Nchege January 12, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Thanks TRELL!!! Happy New Year to you.


avatar Lee Herrin January 12, 2016 at 10:12 am

Fantastic and timely – I needed this message. I am careful to recognize my own negative self-talk but man can it be pervasive. Thank you!


avatar Onyeka Nchege January 12, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Well said Lee. Thanks for the add. Happy New Year!!


avatar Paris January 28, 2016 at 8:31 am

Great article Onyeka! You could probably write a whole chapter about this topic. Love your point about how some behaviors can stifle creativity. I attended a seminar titled ‘How to Kill Creativity’ at Queen’s college one day over lunch. It was a great session on how to encourage creativity in the work place. A lot of it was very much in line with your recommendations. Have a great day!


avatar Onyeka Nchege February 4, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Thanks. “I once knew a man name Paris”. More to come on this topic.


avatar Siku Embry February 2, 2016 at 2:36 am

Thanks for the words of encouragement as I look for a new job. I need to rethink “does the job stretch me or is it just not the right fit”. I need to make sure I am not putting my own glass ceiling in place.



avatar Onyeka Nchege February 4, 2016 at 11:11 pm

Yes sir. Great way to think as you contemplate the next move. #StayBlessed


avatar Chermaine Forte October 12, 2017 at 1:53 pm

This could not have come at a better time!!! Thank you so much for sharing! It’s time to throw some stones… IT’s O.N. – Awesome Leader.


avatar Onyeka Nchege October 16, 2017 at 8:14 am

Thanks Chermaine! Let’s get to throwing. You got this!!


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