When you purchase a new car, you may find yourself on the lookout for blind spots, or areas where your visibility is reduced to the point of introducing risk into your driving experience. If you know where the car’s blindspots are, you can often work around them, taking special care and attention to take precautions that help to round out your perspective on the surrounding environment, and hopefully, reduce or eliminate the risk associated with that blindspot.
As humans we are no different. We all carry with us our own blindspots, or areas of weakness that we can’t see. These blindspots can hinder our growth, and can cause us to make bad or misguided business decisions. The trick is being aware of our blindspots, so that you can take steps to hedge against them. But if we are blind to these areas of weakness, how can we sniff them out? That is where others come in. Often others see things in us that we don’t see. Getting some outside perspective from someone you trust, can go a long way in helping identify where you might not be seeing the world, or yourself, accurately.
You might be asking yourself, “That sounds great, but who can I really turn to?”
As an entrepreneur or business leader, it is important to develop a network of people that have an interest in your personal and professional growth and development. This can include managers, colleagues, or subordinates (yes, even subordinates) that you have worked with, or currently work with. As you develop this network, make sure to take the time to explicitly help them understand what you are asking from them: that you want to better understand yourself by seeing yourself from their point of view, warts and all.
Be prepared. You could be surprised at what they have to say, and if they are being truly forthcoming, what they have to say just may sting. Don’t let those emotions keep you from receiving the information. Be willing to be vulnerable, be willing to really hear the feedback, and be willing to ask hard questions. Repeat back to them what you think you hear them saying. Ensuring you have a shared understanding of their feedback is important to realizing the impact and value of this exercise.
If you are not ready to have start having these hard conversations just yet, other options for self-examination are available. Personality tests like the DISC, the Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram test can provide you with a solid foundational understanding of how you tend to view, process, and interact with the world around you. These tools can also provide a jumping off point for those future professional development conversations.
We all have blindspots that are holding us back. Do you have the courage to find yours?