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Pieces of Grit

Dec 18, 2019

Blind Spots

You know how you don’t know what you don’t know? You don’t have to live that way.

A couple ways to look at this:

  1. the things you do all the time with no self-awareness that everyone else around you knows already
  2. The things you aren’t doing that you don’t know you’re missing

It’s scary. Brene Brown covers things like this in her books and if you haven’t read her stuff, you should. She wrote a blog in 2018 about leading from hurt vs. leading from heart. We have to do the hard work of self-examination to determine if our lack of self-awareness is contributing to the way we lead or if the way we are leading is creating the low level of self-awareness.

If we lead from hurt we will most likely be closed off to insight from others. It becomes an energy-suck for us AND the people around us because of the tension and distance it creates.

We need to not just allow people to speak into our lives, we need to encourage them to do it.

I really should do it more often. I’m working on it because I do get worried about what people will say, but I’m never going to uncover my blind spots if I keep my hand over my eyes.

Playing it safe is usually our default, right? Although I like feedback, I find myself asking people in my life to provide this insight who I know are going to be kind, even in the areas of improvement. I have also found myself waiting until the end of seasons to have these conversations. That way, if there is anything too terrible it’s no longer front and center in our relationship and I can work on it quietly or disregard if I don’t agree. I have never received any feedback that I couldn’t see manifesting in my life. 

I want so badly to know my blind spots. I think. As I said, it’s still scary. Here are a few ways for you to uncover your blind spots. We are heading into 2020, which is going to have so many themes and memes about clear vision. I didn’t plan this episode around that - it just popped into my head. But we need it.

Don’t feel like you need to try all of these at once. One step at a time. Choose one practice to implement and go from there.

  1. Self-reflection. All of these take time, so you’re going to have to carve out some time to be quiet and alone. As we look for our blind spots, one of the places those show up most frequently is in conflict. Think back to a situation that didn’t go as planned. Get brutal - analyze it, break it down, think through as many details as you can.
    1. Be sure you focus on yourself. Don’t worry as much about what other people did unless it points to something within yourself you need to notice. Think about questions such as:
      • What skills would be helpful for me to learn?
      • What patterns am I noticing in myself?
      • Am I causing a pattern of response in others?
      • What feelings did I have? (defensiveness, anger, etc.)

2. Strengths Assessment. We all have strengths. And all of those strengths have a downside.

I am a fairly organized person. I say fairly, but some people view me as OCD because it’s all relative. I need to be aware of this.

Objectivity is my middle name. I relish my ability to stand back and assess a situation without emotional connection. I’m guessing you already know the downside of this. You probably have someone in your life who is similar. This goes two ways:

1. When you present one side of an argument, I immediately see the other side because I’m always looking for the max number of logical perspectives. How annoying, right? I have to be sooo careful because it looks like I’m arguing. All the time.

2. It can look like I don’t care. By not care, I mean that I’m not genuinely invested in the outcome or peoples feelings or even how I feel. I do care. Otherwise I wouldn’t be engaging with you over this situation. But I LOOK like I don’t care and that is the piece of honesty I need to come to terms with it. It’s an easy blind spot that I have to keep an eye on all the time.

So look at your own strengths, the potential downsides of those, and how you might be coming across to others.

3. Feedback and Accountability

I put these two together because I think they go hand in hand. Get feedback regularly and from a variety of people in your life.

Honestly, I’m sharing some advice that I’m very new to implementing. What would it look like for you to consistently have someone in your life who helped you see how you came across? A coworker or friend who is with you for a large portion of the day and could help you see how your words and body language were impacting others in the room.

This is the terrifying part for me. I also think it’s hard to find someone who will do this for you and be as honest as you need them to be.

My current boss and I have made small steps toward this kind of transparency and I appreciate that so much. But even that level of open dialogue takes time, despite that fact that we have been working together for over two years.

This is the one I want to get better at personally. I want to be brave enough to ask the people who probably won’t give me rave reviews to tell me when I’m being a pushover or when I’m coming across like an a-hole. Or just not being a good listener. It doesn’t have to be extreme, but it’s hard to think about even the sort of bad things like being an interrupter.

Even if you don’t want to do this for yourself, do it for the sake of those around you.

Becoming more likable is not so that you have the most friends or that you never challenge anyone. It’s becoming a sincere person, a sincere leader. When you lead from your heart you are genuinely interested in serving those around you and your selfish ambition takes a back seat to making sure the people in your life get the best from you.



Blind Spots book 

What Are Your Blind Spots 

Interrupting Chicken 

The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown 


You can always find more at Pieces of Grit