Blind spots….do you know yours?

A blind spot by definition is an area where a person’s view is obstructed.  As I write this today, I am not referring to a medical blind spot where the optic nerve enters the retina and is insensitive to light but instead places in our lives where our biases and our beliefs about ourselves don’t allow us to see what others can view clearly.

The culmination of our upbringing, experiences and surroundings is what forms the lenses in which we view the world.  It is through those lenses that we interpret data, judge others and form our inner voice of acceptance and judgement.

I was very fortunate to be introduced to the Pursuit of Excellence course many years ago.  I attended the course looking for answers.  I was pregnant with my first child and didn’t have a clue of how I was going to juggle my executive role with that of being a mother.  I wanted it ALL but wasn’t sure how it would work.  How was I going to perform at the level that was acceptable to me and that my employer now expected and be a mother in the way I wanted?  How was I going to do and be successful at both?

The course didn’t provide specific answers to my questions but instead helped me identify how I make decisions, how I view the world and specifically what biases I have.  It was fascinating for me to pause and open my mind to the idea that my beliefs were formed, carved like the rock by the river, and the possibility that they could be unfounded and certainly could be limiting was mind-blowing to me.  The course taught me to understand the lenses that I rely upon, pause, and look for other information to corroborate my conclusions before jumping to them.

Blind SpotsOne thing that I have been pondering for many months is a statement made to me when I decided to leave my “safe” job to pursue my dreams.  This person was excited for me yet wanted to make sure that I knew I had a HUGE blind spot.  I was taken quite aback and couldn’t imagine what it was.  I thought that I had conquered my biases, that I was aware and was able to critically look at myself and my performance to determine how I could further up my game.  I wasn’t perfect, but I was willing to try and willing to grow to become a better version of me each and every day.  What possibly could it be and what effect was it going to have on my self worth and confidence?

So I finally took a deep breath and asked what that blind spot was?  I couldn’t imagine what I was going to hear but I was scared.  Here was someone I respected calling me out and I braced myself for the response.  The response itself stunned me….this person told me that my blind spot was “that I refuse to fail”.  I was so dumbfounded by the response that I didn’t think to ask any more questions.

To this day I am not sure how to interpret this statement?  My only response at the time was that I thought I was lucky.  That if I only help and inspire one person versus the many that I hope to through Project:  Shine that I would still feel successful.  It would be helping 1 person, if no more, to have a fulfilling life by sharing my story and listening to theirs.  By encouraging, inspiring and by being their cheerleader that I could only feel blessed and humbled that they would allow me to play that role.  That I too would learn more about my capabilities, and me through helping others so that I could be better myself. 

I further thought, this person believed that I refuse to fail and yet I feel like there are many things that I have failed at. Maybe what is closer to the truth for us all is that to fail is human but to get up again is extraordinary.   Each and every day I realize I have a choice and I hope you know you do too.

Have you taken the time to pause, to consider what blind spots you may have, what biases are forming your opinions, actions and relationship with others?  What are you letting hold you back?  Have you really failed or have you learnt valuable lessons that will move you forward?  The world is your oyster; will you thrive or just survive?