We’ve all been there. Driving down the road, good music on the radio. You check the rear and side view mirrors and all looks clear, so you start to change lanes. You take one last neck cracking look over your shoulder and swerve back in your lane. Whew! There was someone in your blind spot and you almost collided with them.
We ALL have blind spots. Literally—there is a certain part of our optic nerves that don’t have any receptors so we don’t get any visual information. Figuratively, we also have those areas of our lives where we aren’t receiving key information so we are limited in our ability to act or respond.
A coaching client had an epiphany about a blind spot as she was discussing her struggle to get motivated about a goal. A few years before, someone she trusted told her that her mentor was disappointed by her performance on a project she was once proud of. Since her mentor had passed away, she had no way to verify it, so doubt creeped in. She began to second guess her capabilities in that area and began procrastinating on anything to do with that goal.
Doubt and worry had created blind spots to the other areas where she could easily have received validation about her abilities. Instead of getting other input, or doing an honest self-assessment, she had instead created mental blocks about that skill set. Once she realized the source of her doubt, she was able to seek feedback and re-evaluate. With a renewed mindset and tools, she was able to work on and conquer that goal.
Check Your Blind Spots
Before you convince yourself that you don’t have a blind spot, ask yourself:
- What projects, goals or activities are you procrastinating about?
- Where does self-doubt exist for you?
- What do you say to yourself about a task that you find difficult or avoid doing?
- Why do you feel a certain way about performing that task?
Another great way to check your blind spots, is to seek feedback from respected resources.. Asking others who work with you to provide you with feedback, can help you identify blind spots about your behavior.
Ideally, you would use a 360 Feedback Survey that they can complete anonymously. Another option is to create your own survey that would allow them to provided private feedback. Some key areas to probe on would be:
- Approach to Change
- Collaboration Style
- Productivity/Efficiency/Time Management
- Proactive/Self-Initiating Behavior
- Customer Focus
- Ethics & Integrity
- Leadership/Management Style
- Problem Solving/Decision Making
Choose your reviewers wisely. Don’t just go to your BFFs and people who you know will give you glowing remarks. Ask people who aren’t afraid to be truthful and who have enough experience with you to provide honest and productive feedback. Try asking someone you’ve butt heads with, or that person who think has high standards. Reach out to people who you work directly with, who are your customers, vendors and support people.
Get Ready to Change Your Lane
Brace yourself for possible impact. Don’t expect the feedback to be all positive remarks. Remember we all have blind spots, so there will be behaviors, habits or mind sets that we hold that others view negatively.
The good news, is that once you have feedback, you can take action to change your lane . If enough people tell you that you have to improve your time management style, you can reflect on your habits and make changes.
Armed with new knowledge about yourself, consider:
- Where in your life is this blind spot affecting your growth?
- What factors (mindset, experience, etc.) contributed to developing this blind spot?
- What would you like to be different in this area?
- How can you begin to make changes to address this new challenge?
- Who can you count on for support and ongoing feedback as you make changes?
While we can’t create new receptors on our optic nerves, we can broaden our perspectives on our behavioral blind spots by seeking feedback and creating an action plan.
Need help checking your blind spots? Click here to schedule your complimentary strategy session with Nicole.