Bright Spots: the places in our world where success is being created, where things are working well, where we are getting things right. Being aware of our Bright Spots, and paying attention to what works and why, helps us better learn how to map a path toward success in the future.
Blind Spots: the places where our failures and foibles, liabilities and lost opportunities lurk. Blind spots are the aspects of a situation we are unable to see or understand.
Question: Why would anyone want to learn about their Blind Spots?
Answer: So that you don’t get Sucker-Punched.
I have been sucker-punched by a Blind Spot and I lived to tell you about it.
Here is what I have to say: It stinks. (I could be more colorful.) And it can really cost you.
Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to learn the landscape of your Blind Spots.
I encourage you to practice these Blind Spot Banishing Skills, so that you don’t have to “learn from experience” (a nice euphemism for “I got Sucker-Punched”.) How to see your Blind Spots:
Blind Spot Banishing Skill #1: ASK
Be Curious. Ask questions that are calibrated to help you discover the pitfalls and perils that lie just beyond your awareness. Questions like,
Ø “What am I missing that others are concerned about?”
Ø “What are 3 different ways I could be looking at this situation, and what would you suggest I do differently based on those other points of view?”
Ø “How might other people be interpreting my actions? What am I doing to contribute to these impressions?”
Blind Spot Banishing Skill #2: IMAGINE
Think about the situation from the points of view of others who are impacted or involved.
Ø What do they believe is true about what is happening?
Ø What facts do they have?
Ø How might they be interpreting those facts?
Ø What experiences do they have that contribute to their different beliefs about the same events?
Blind Spot Banishing Skill #3: RELATE
Build relationships with both confidantes and detractors.
We need all kinds of people to help us understand the way we come across. I have learned some of my best lessons in life from people who were not the easiest for me to be around.
Ø Create the conditions for people you disagree with or lack chemistry with to be honest with you about how you come across. Their insights are a real gift. Really!
Ø Have candid conversations with confidantes as well. A confidante is someone who can give you hard feedback, and you, for whatever reason, can hear them. They will give you invaluable insight, particularly if you ask in an intentional, open way. And because they “get” you,these people are often able to explain how to apply both their feedback, and the feedback you get from your detractors.
Blind-Spots are great until they cost us. It is so easy and comfortable to be unaware of how we come across with what we say and do. However, moving through life blissfully unaware of a lurking liability is not the way for a leader to succeed in the long run.
So, stay open, be curious, invite new insights, and build relationships with people that are both easy and challenging for you to connect with. When we show others we are open, curious and care about how we come across, you will find they are more willing to share with us that one piece of advice that might make all the difference between success and failure.
If you have a story to share about how you Banished a Blind Spot, I invite you to share it with me. I would love to use it in an upcoming Lessons Learned the Hard Way series.
You can email your story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org