The trouble with blind spots is that they’re well…Blind.
Or rather, we “choose” to turn a blind eye to them.
We usually have an idea, a feeling, some intuition into what our blinds spots are but rather than leaning in and working to fix them, we put them on the shelf as something we’ll get back to later…
Well…Later is here.
Blind spots happen (and remain) because most of us have a hard time being objective about ourselves.
We avoid them because like most things that are worthwhile, working on them will come with some pain and acknowledgement that we’ve got a weakness that needs to be addressed.
Why is it important to know your blind spots?
Because it is a necessary part of your personal growth.
Blind spots are things that you are unaware or in denial of. Identifying our blind spots and understanding them heighten our self-awareness.
When you uncover your blind spots and actively work on them, you become more conscious of your strengths and opportunity areas, and the boundaries that you are operating within.
If you don’t uncover these blind spots, you will never be able to work on them, simply because you aren’t aware of their existence. (Personal Excellence)
Stepping outside of yourself and taking a look in is hard.
One step I agreed to take in order to identify my blind spots (yes, plural…I had/still have multiple) was to have my coach interview people I work with, train with, am friends with, live with (ie: family) and even a few people who I KNOW can’t stand me and ask them to spill it…Good, bad, ugly…Don’t hold back.
Data. Information. Knowledge.
In order to recognize, learn, improve and ultimately change a behavior, we need the intel.
Once I had tangible, quantifiable, measurable data (although personally quite painful to digest) I had something I could work off of and ultimately something I could work towards.
The feedback (or criticism…) was one of the reasons I launched the podcast.
Talking too much is one of my “blind spots”….I don’t even realize how much I’m doing it, interrupting, going on and on…I have a lot of thoughts, opinions, like to be “right”, hear myself talk (These are not my words, they’re literally in the report) So I started the podcast – because it forced me to learn how to LISTEN; not talk, but LISTEN. Took me way outside my comfort zone.
Doing the podcast has helped me to fix this particular blind spot” because for 45 min to an hour I am forced to listen, rather than speak. I sometimes ask no more than 3-5 questions and hear my own voice no more than 10% of the time.
Try it sometime. At home with your wife, with your kids, at work with your co-workers, clients, prospects…Challenge yourself to see if you can get the other person talking. To give you information and insight into their world. What interests them, excites them, motivates them. What’s on their minds. How much can you learn about another person and can you get them talking, opening up and feeling like you are genuinely interested?
According to Fast Company Magazine Five common areas for blind spots are:
1) A me-first attitude that leads to poor listening skills
2) Micromanaging others, hindering your ability to lead and build a team
3) Being too comfortable with routines and resisting change
4) Having narrow perspectives on business that undermine your ability to be strategic
5) Not following through on promises due to poor organization or task management skills
Yup, I’m 5 for 5…How about you? Perhaps not the best time for me to bat a thousand…
I had another blind spot on training…Specifically, overtraining. I was getting injured constantly, tired, aggressive, impatient.
Too much, even of a good thing, becomes a bad thing.
My workouts were no longer providing energy, positivity and results, but rather were draining me, increasing stress and causing more harm then good.
So again, I turned to data…And by the way, NOT USING DATA was another one of my blind spots!
For years I’d ignore all the signs, research, data because “I knew better”…Well, turns out I didn’t know better. Data rules.
I recently got a Whoop! (Thanks Josh Hill, Eric Hinman, Michael Chernow…)Now this simple little app based device (which does a fantastic fucking job btw)helps me to know how hard I can/should go, when I need to get more sleep, take my foot off the gas a bit and just by having this added accountabiklty partner on my wrist, I’m already seeing improvement in the way I feel, perform and treat people.
It takes constant, consistent, disciplined effort.
It takes asking yourself every day “How’d I do with that today?"
Did I work the problem?
Did the problem work me?
Did I lean into my blind spot or deny it?
It’s worth it though.