Have you ever experienced someone talking on speakerphone or face-timing in public? This has happened to me twice lately. In both cases not only was it distracting and rude to everyone around these people, but they were totally unaware of how obnoxious their behavior was and how others perceived them in the moment.
That’s usually how blind spots work. They show up at work, at home, in our casual friendships and in our most meaningful relationships. Everyone sees them but us. That’s why they’re called blind spots. But just because you have them doesn’t mean you can’t bring those blind spots into focus. Here’s a couple of tips to try out this week.
1. Get Outside Help
If you really want to begin to bring your blind spots into focus, you’re going to need help. You can’t do this alone, because you don’t live on the other side of you. You know your thoughts, intentions and motivations. You know what you mean when you do what you do. Others just experience what you do. Ask other people that you trust and who know you and aren’t afraid to tell you the truth what your blind spots are…and then don’t fight back…just listen.
Discovering your blind spots requires humility. It means listening more than talking. It means looking introspectively at you instead of at others. It means working on you instead of a project or your team. And it inherently means you’re going to have to come face to face with some things about yourself that aren’t going to be pleasant or easy to face down.
3. Pay Attention to Pain
Pain is an incredible gift from God. It tells us that something is wrong and needs to change. When you experience pain in a relationship or at work, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is, “What did I do to contribute to this problem?”
4. “Rule of 3’s”
If someone tells you something once, it’s easy to brush it off as his or her isolated opinion of one unique interaction with you. If a theme gets developed and it comes up more than once, say three times, then pay attention to it. Maybe it’s not everybody else maybe it’s you.
Once you’ve been made aware of a blind spot, you have a choice, and the choice hinges on courage. You can choose to ignore it or you can choose to do something about it. But be warned, if it’s really a blind spot it’s going to be really tough to work on, because it’s not going to come natural. That’s why it’s a blind spot. But without courage you don’t simply choose to be blind, you choose to stay blind.