The French refer to a blind spot as angle mort which literally means dead angle. Very apt indeed.
There are at least 4 different types of blind spots.
Are you watching out for and compensating for each type?
Read on to be sure you are avoiding these visual and cognitive errors.
Be on the lookout for these blind spots:
- Visual Blind Spot (literally): Do you check your mirrors or look over your shoulder before changing lanes while driving? In the USA there are 840,000 car accidents annually due to the visual blind spots that occur while driving. Most driver education teachers (back in the olden days) instructed us to look over our shoulder before changing lanes to prevent such “blind-spot” accidents from occurring.
- Blind to the Obvious (literally): Have you ever been unable to find your keys or cell phone, despite the fact that the item you were looking for is out in plain view?
- Blind to the Obvious (figuratively): Has someone ever told you how remarkably helpful, insightful, or important your perspective or advice was to them? After receiving this lovely compliment did you think, “Wow, I thought that was so obvious.” If so, you were blind to your unique insight.
- Blind to Being Blind (figuratively): Do you have some behaviors that get you into trouble? I’ll share one of mine: I have a very difficult time asking for help. When I most need help, I “forget” that requesting help is an option. Instead, I double-down on a preferred technique: WORK WORK WORK and don’t look up!
So, how can we compensate for, be prepared for, and overcome blind spots?
- Visual Blind Spot (literally): One obvious option to avoid this dangerous blind spot is to buy a car that compensates. Some cars have mirrors within mirrors while others have lights. Both options allow you, the driver, to “see” if a moving vehicle is lurking in your blind spot. Of course, you still need to be sure to check your mirrors!!
- Blind to the Obvious (literally): In the past, I lost my phone WAY too often. I usually found it on a bedside table, on my desk among papers, or nestled in the darkness under my car’s driver’s seat. I’ve improved my ability to know where my phone is by creating phone placement routines and sticking to them! Once I created habits for placing my phone in the same spaces, I unconsciously placed my phone in the most obviously remembered spots and could find my phone even if I couldn’t remember when I last had it. The “Find Your Phone” app is also a life saver. Problem solved.
- Blind to the Obvious (figuratively): When we are blind to our own unique insights, it means we are undervaluing our strengths. As a Gallup Certified Strengths coach, I frequently see this occur. An example of this would be someone who has Individualization as a “Top 5” strength. This person is completely unaware that she connects to people by not only hearing their specific and personal stories but following up with specific questions. Compensate for this blind spot by knowing, owning, using your strengths DAILY.
- Blind to Being Blind (figuratively): When we are blind to our own biases – biases of thought or biases related to behavior – we are in trouble. As a coach, I regularly see this occur when someone dives into one of his strengths without considering other options. The example above of working diligently instead of asking for help, is how my Achiever strength can sometimes be a blind spot. To compensate, I need to take a deep breath when I am feeling stressed. After calming myself, I may have a better perspective on how asking for (and graciously accepting) help might improve my situation.
Nobody wants to be blindsided!
I hope these examples and quick fixes help you avoid the blind spots in your life.
Please let me know!