We are all familiar with the idea of blind spots when we are driving. It’s an area that is not easily seen. It may be the area the mirrors miss, either beside or behind the driver...or is simply forgotten by the driver. Now that’s a problem.
Anatomically, our blind spot is the region of the retina where the optic nerve and blood vessels pass through to connect to the back of the eye. Since there are no light receptors there, a part of the field of vision is not perceived. The brain fills in the gaps with surrounding detail and with information from the other eye, so the blind spot is not normally perceived. And there’s the challenge.
As humans, we have blind spots in our lives and businesses as well, and these blind spots cause all sorts of trouble.
Let me know if any of these ring a bell. You interrupt someone before they finish speaking and then jump to a conclusion about what they were going to say? Or you become impatient with someone who likes to talk too much? Or being frustrated with people who don’t share the same values and beliefs you have? Yep, you guessed it those are potential blind spots.
One week at a men’s group, a member brought up challenges he was having in his relationship with his spouse. What he wanted was a relationship that was happy and fulfilling. Instead what he had was fighting, miscommunication, hurt feelings, and resentment. The unfortunate part is that each saw themselves as the victim with huge blind spots around the part each is playing in the marriage. Unfortunately, this is an all too familiar situation in many relationships.
So how do you know where your blind spots are?
First, blind spots aren't bad--they simply exist. To get a sense of where our blind spots are we can start by asking ourselves a few questions.
What I am not seeing in this situation? In other words, where am I distorting my view by having a closed mind?
What am I not feeling or sensing? Where am I disallowing a feeling or emotion because I have a closed heart?
And finally, what action can I take that is grounded in a deep sense of seeing and feeling that allows me to unlock a closed will?
This last question is of utmost importance because without the will to look at yourself and examine potential blind spots nothing is going to change. Ultimately, we are bound to repeat the same mistakes/challenges/failures if we choose to ignore our blind spots.
The power behind these questions is that it helps us to shift our perspective. To use our “mirrors” first to recognize the blind spot and then make a conscious effort to deal with it.
Why Uncover Blind Spots?
Uncovering blind spots are important because we bring consciousness into play. It helps us deal with the shadow elements of our personality. Blind spot work is about awareness and integration, not elimination. Think of it this way, blind spots aren’t necessarily negative traits or weaknesses, although they can be. They are parts of ourselves that we dislike and can be things we don’t like about others. Blind spot or shadow work allows us to improve our relationships. They help us understand invisible boundaries that limit us from living authentically.
As someone passionate about my growth, I’m always on the lookout for situations when I feel resistant, insecure, or when my consciousness is lowered. These are prime candidates for blind spots. For example, perfectionism and analysis paralysis (they kind of go hand in hand don’t they?) are two items that lead me to procrastinate, negative self-talk, and self-doubt. Not a great place to say the least. So, when this happens I go through the questions above. It helps to ground me in the real truth and not the story I’ve been telling myself.
Remember finding your blind spot, is like using your "mirrors" (process) to bring awareness to the blind spot. You can use the three questions above, ask family and friends that you trust to complete a 360 questionnaire about you to reveal potential blind spots, complete a self-assessment blind spot questionnaire. The key is to start understanding the way you think and react in different situations. To develop skills that allow you to integrate your blind spots so you can bring awareness to them.