Personal Blind Spots – How to find and overcome them!
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This week seems to have been all about self discovery, and I was fortunate to attend two short seminars this week. Despite my extensive knowledge I always manage to learn something from listening to others in the field and the speaker at the second seminar brought up the problems we all have with ‘personal blind spots’.
Every human has blind spots, and because it’s so difficult to see ourselves, most remain hidden for many years, despite the damage that they can do. The speaker said he had studied for personal growth for over 16 years – he had read many books, attended many seminars, lectures and workshops, but it wasn’t until he engaged a coach that he really began to make progress. Naturally, there are many people more than willing to point out our shortcomings, but we don’t often take them seriously – we often think they have an ulterior motive. He took his coach seriously and that helped him find some of his more prominent blind spots blind spots hidden from his view all his life.
Once he found these, he started to develop systems to assist others in achieving their goals. Below are some articles from the internet that may assist you.
Blind Spots in Personal Development
Blind spots (defined in the context of personal development) refers to the aspects of ourselves we aren’t fully conscious of. This can refer to a broad spectrum of different things — our traits, values, actions, idiosyncrasies, habits, feelings, thoughts, etc.
For example, let’s say you dislike people who are arrogant. Why? Your immediate response may be that they make you feel uncomfortable or they are overbearing. But these are just surface-level reasons. What is the deeper reason behind why arrogant people affect you?
This reason is usually beyond our immediate observation — we can only identify it when we probe deeper. Blind spots aren’t immediately observable to us because we are always seeing things from our view. On the other hand, when we tap into the perspectives of people who have known us for a while or someone who is trained to identify blind spots, like a life coach, we can learn a lot about ourselves.
Besides our beliefs and attitudes, blind spots also include our physiological behaviors.
For example, I have always talked really fast since I was young. Everyone I meet would point this out, especially during my school years. It was typical for people to say that my rate of speech is like “a bullet train.” People often asked if I was in the debating team. One of my friends suggested that I become a rap leader, which I thought was hilarious! Even then, while I heard their comments and acknowledged their opinions, I never fully registered it as true. Because in my head, my rate of speech didn’t seem fast at all.
That is, until I saw videos and audios of my own presentations. I still remember the first time I played back an audio recording of my voice. My immediate thought was, Why on earth is this person talking so fast? It was quite hilarious because that thought popped into my mind the instant I heard my voice. Despite knowing that I would be hearing my voice, I couldn’t identify with it. The rate of speech was beyond what I had heard before!
Even after this incident, I continue to be unconscious of my rate of speech for a large majority of the time, until people (usually acquaintances) comment on it. Today it still happens, though I’m much more aware of it than in the past. It’s something that I’m now more conscious of since I speak at events and conferences. I try to slow down during my presentations and speeches, but beyond that I stick to my original talking speed when with friends.
Why Uncover Blind Spots?
Why is it important to know your blind spots? Because it is a necessary part of your personal growth. Blind spots are things that you are unaware of. Identifying our blind spots and understanding them heighten our self-awareness.
When we develop a greater self-awareness, we become more aligned with our higher selves, which means a greater self-mastery. Getting a personal coach is an excellent way to uncover your own blind spots so that you can improve.
Blind spots aren’t necessarily negative traits or weaknesses, though they usually are. When you are oblivious to something, there is a high likelihood that (1) you have never worked on it before, which leaves an opportunity for improvement, and (2) it serves as an invisible boundary that limits what you can do. For example, if you are not aware that you have poor time management skills, you will always operate within the confines of poor planning and prioritization, without knowing that it’s due to your lack of said skills. Or if you are not aware that you have poor communication skills, you may often feel frustrated when communicating with others, without realizing that it’s due to the gaps in said skills.
When you uncover your blind spots and actively work on them, you become more conscious of your strengths and opportunity areas, and the boundaries that you are operating within. If you don’t uncover these blind spots, you will never be able to work on them, simply because you aren’t aware of their existence.
As someone who is passionate about growth, I’m always on the lookout for situations when I feel resistance or when my consciousness is lowered, as it indicates a blind spot. On my blog, I open myself to feedback that I receive from readers, whether positive or negative. During my 1-1 coaching, I would encourage my clients to provide feedback to help improve the coaching sessions.
Over the years, I’ve uncovered many blind spots and worked on them. In the past, my neurotic perfectionism often resulted in myopia and ineffective work patterns, which hindered me from achieving greater results. It also made me an angsty person, which I didn’t like. My emotional stinginess also made me an unpleasant and selfish person. These blocked me from being the person I wanted to be. It was by consciously work on these blind spots that I’ve worked on these issues and improved as a person.
Just like growth is a lifelong journey, the process of uncovering blind spots never ends. With every blind spot that we identify and tackle, there is always a next blind spot to uncover. Due to the vastness of our mind and the infinite nature of growth, it is impossible to identify every single blind spot within us, right now. What’s more important is to work on improving every second, every moment, as we move forward in our life’s journey.
How to Recognize Your Personal Blind Spot
MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014 BY LAURA L. FINE LIVING WELL IN CORPORATE WELLNESS
Last week at a meeting with my staff I evoked a lot of intense feelings! When someone on my staff gets frustrated with me I pay close attention. Am I listening with full attention? Am I not following through? It takes self-reflection for me to seek the grain of truth or mountain of truth in their reactivity. Yep, it was true, I was sloppy in a really important area. I worked hard the following week to stay on point and not be sloppy. A wonderfully productive week ensued. I have a great staff! They have the courage to point out my blind spots and I have to courage to tolerate the intense feelings that arise in me and listen to what they have to say while maintaining my leadership.
Here are a few ways I practice seeing my blind spot:
Problem! Pay close attention to the reactions I evoke in others. Do you evoke frustration? Jealousy? Withdraw? Curiosity? Laughter? Warmth? Respect? If so, what do you have to maneuver inside yourself to tolerate the sensations in order to stay present and connected even if it’s uncomfortable?
Solution: Notice your emotional reactivity with an attitude of curiosity and wonder. Take a step back and observe your body, your breathing and your emotions. It can be helpful to detach by writing down what you feel.
Problem! Go in to the stuck place and find movement there. If I feel locked in a situation with no way out and feel trapped – instead of resisting it, I look for wiggle room within it. If you have a piano with only 3 working keys, there’s still a way to make music. There are some work days that are so demanding, I must be careful with my thoughts. Instead of internally complaining, whatever the limitation, instead of fighting it, I look to find new possibilities that live within it.
Solution: Take 2 minute meditation break. If driving somewhere and traffic is awful, pull to the side of the road for 60 seconds and deep breathe and pray. If I’m too tired to complete a project and I don’t have enough time to rest, I’ll force myself to take a long bathroom break and make it include a walk around the block with deep breathing. I’ll feel a shift inside so that my inner traffic can flow even if the outer traffic is a mess!
Problem! Notice the qualities I have no tolerance for in others. If I don’t like someone’s attitude, I’ll work on my own. I used to have a client who was consistently late. It would evoke great irritation in me. I learned to use those opportunities to find the places where I am late. This was tough because I have a lot of pride about ‘never’ being late and yet, there is one friend who I am consistently late for any time we schedule together. Hmmmm. When I look at that more deeply, I feel this person has a subtle way of ‘pulling’ at me that I find myself wanting to pull away from.
Solution: Give my full respect to those I feel intolerant of and look for direct ways to set boundaries. When I communicate clearly about how much time I can give (before I reach my emotional limit), our communication is more clear and clean.
Problem! Expect a knee jerk of denial about having a blind spot. This is due to shame. Shame is one of the most rejectable hidden human emotions. It’s connected directly to our essential self. The pure goodness of our essential self may look like: being spontaneously creative, expressing love toward someone or something. When our essential self learned to feel rejected (typically tracking back to early childhood), we experienced deep shame. Shame is often covered by fear. Fear often evokes procrastination. Procrastination sucks the life force right out of us.
Solution: Make a bee line toward fear. When faced with confrontations and uncomfortable feelings, I’m still shaking in my shoes while making a bee line toward the fear. I’ve learned I won’t die from emotional feelings, they are just sensations. I’ve gotten comfortable with being uncomfortable.
It’s an art and skill to learn to tolerate the energy of certain emotional sensations. The good news is this can be learned. If you’d like to learn How to Use Energy Healing To Release Emotional Blocks you can read more HERE. We’re never too old to learn something new!
Understanding Personal Blind Spots and How to Make Them Work For You
A company may have the most advanced technology and the best product in the market, but it is essentially the people within the firm that make it great. Hiring the right fit in itself is challenging, and the process doesn’t end once that person is appointed. Engaging the hired talent, together with building on their strengths and overcoming their personal blind spots are all part and parcel of the process of talent development which in turn, affects talent retention.
We all know that focusing on people’s strengths has a positive effect on morale and performance. But have we considered the angle of going overboard, and causing negative side-effects? Consider the following:
- Using strengths as an excuse to avoid uncomfortable discussions with employees.For example, “Everyone knows that he is difficult to work with and shirks his responsibilities. No one wants to work with him and clients complain about him, but he’s a really good analyst. Let’s not rock the boat.”
- Hiding behind strengths as an excuse for bad behavior.For example, “I’m sorry that I snapped at you. I have a short fuse. That’s just how I am. Social sensitivity is not my strength, you’ll just have to accept that.”
On the flipside, blind spots shouldn’t always have a negative connotation to it. They should be included in the self-awareness and development process. Acknowledging that every strength has a blind spot is essential in self-improvement and is the fundamental step to advancement.
Here are some ways that I believe acknowledging strengths and personal blind spots can be beneficial:
- Practical applications, methodical practices, and details come naturally to me, but at times, I miss the big picture and sometimes forget why I’m actually working on a task or how my actions affect the entire operation. Is there someone in my team who can nudge me to appreciate a wider perspective?
- Data researching and in-depth study of an issue is a natural go-to for me. However, I may be analysing too deeply and overthinking the matter. Did I consider how others might feel about the issue before acting on it?
- I’m pretty intuitive about people and social decisions, and because of this, I make decisions based on relationships too often. For example, “Will doing this make them unhappy?” This may not always be beneficial to the organisation. Is there a process or proper channel I should be looking into before jumping to a firm decision?
- Exciting new ideas and visions about the future come to me very often, I tell the team about them and explain the goal at the end. However, working on the details to reaching the goal is exhausting and confusing. Is there a process within reaching that goal that I should be considering which is not feasible or takes more time to conceptualise?
We all have individual strengths and personal blind spots, and there are many ways to make them work for us rather than against us. Don’t be afraid to discover yours and embrace them.
Hopefully you will now have a better idea about personal blind spots. If you need assistance, please contact us immediately.
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