We grow when we deal with our blind spots. And the only way we can deal with blind spots is by becoming aware of them, usually with someone else’s help.
But that’s a problem. Because they are blind-spots, we don’t see them (duh) and we don’t think they’re an issue. Which leaves us in a bind.
How can someone help us see what we can’t see? And if they do point them out, will we even listen, or will we become defensive?
Think about an area of your life that’s pretty good.
Your parenting. Your eating habits. Your attitude. Your work ethic. Whatever.
Then imagine someone suggesting you’ve got a massive blind spot, right there, in the precise area you’ve been feeling pretty good about.
- You’re actually very sharp with your kids when you respond.
- You graze all day and it’s not healthy.
- You’re cynical and pessimistic.
- Your last minute work is hurting the team.
Ouch. How do you respond?
- Are you defensive, or open?
- Do you deny the allegations, or lean in for more insight?
- Are you quick to excuse your actions, or are you willing to look more closely into patterns you’ve missed?
Everything depends on what we do next. How we respond when a blind spot’s revealed makes or breaks our personal growth. When we are most tempted to brush past the blind spot, eager to conjure up our defenses and ignore the insight because “they just don’t understand my situation”, at that exact moment we can choose to say, “Tell me more about that. This is new to me. I want to grow. What are you seeing in my life that is hindering my relationships/hurting my work/harming my influence/halting the progress God wants to make in my life.” That kind of posture will lead to growth every time.
Listening with openness doesn’t mean the person is correct in their assessment. They may point out something to you that you are already aware of and working on, or isn’t actually a problem. I get that. But–and this is so critical–be willing to grapple through the challenge with a posture of radical openness and rigorous self-reflection, rather than a reactive defensiveness and a resistant attitude.
When we do that, we grow. When we don’t, we won’t.
So how can you take action? Here’s two ways to start.
- Ask a trusted friend to help you identify your blind spots. Let them to speak into your life and thank them for it (it’s hard to do!). You’ll be part of helping them do the same someday.
- Be open to grow–yes, in areas of weakness, but also in areas of strength and experience. Ironically, natural gifting and extended experience can create their own blind spots–laziness can creep in, assumptions can hinder further insight and growth, and your peers won’t challenge you because you still might be “better” than them. Posture yourself for growth, get mentors, push yourself to grow in areas you might be missing.
How have you addressed blind spots in your life?
What kind of attitudes have helped you grow?
I’d love to hear your experiences and insight. Make a comment, share your thoughts. Let’s grow together.