HOOOOONNNKKK!! goes the sound of the SUV in your blind spot… how did it fit there!? When driving we know we have blind spots, some we can crane our necks to see around and some we need special mirrors or rear-view cameras to help with. We’ve all experienced a blind spot while driving, but what about in our lives? The trouble with blind spots in our lives is that we can’t see them. We don’t know they exist and therefore don’t recognize the havoc they create.
Blind spots are particularly dangerous in areas of our lives where we lead; children, schools, work, church, community, etc. They are the habits/behaviors that have an impact on our performance without us knowing it. These tricky, impossible to see behaviors are the ones that cause us to have difficulties in relationships, fall short on our goals and hinder us from reaching our highest potential.
So what’s your blind spot? Maybe you’re easily distracted. Maybe you get quiet when things get uncertain or ugly. Maybe you set overly high expectations of your product. Maybe you downplay the emotional impact your actions have on your children/spouse. Whatever it is, you have to get help from someone else to identify it.
The fastest way to identify your own blind spots is to ask the people around you to help you see them.
Try this: ask someone “what’s something I don’t know about my own behavior?” You can ask people in person, via email or through a survey tool. I believe the 3rd option gets you the most honest results as it can allow the other person to be anonymous (Google makes this easy and free with Google Forms [test my example]).
But remember, when you ask to see something that you didn’t know about yourself, you might be surprised! When we do 360 assessments in the workplace, it often feels like a punch in the stomach to the person receiving the feedback. Firstly, because people can anonymously say what they really want to which makes them much more bold than they would be in person. Secondly, it shows us things we didn’t realize we were doing which means our brain has to remap what it thinks of itself (this can be jarring).
And before you dismiss any feedback, consider…
- What blind spot might this highlight?
- How else might you gain access to that blind spot so that it’s no longer unseen? Try validating the feedback with another person.
- Will their/your improvements remove the blind spot, or just treat a symptom?
Aim to eradicate your inability to see your own behaviors before you go trying to change them. Otherwise you won’t be able to see whether you’ve changed it or not. Being aware of the blind spot is the first step to changing what’s in it.