Other People Notice Your Blind Spots

This post from 2011 is still my best "word picture" for blind spots and, for the record, our ice maker still scares new people!! **********

ice maker
ice maker

Apparently, we have a loud ice maker.

I say "apparently" because Billy and I don't really hear it anymore.

The sound of ice cubes thumping into the insulated bin followed by the swoosh of running water just disappears for us.  (It's possible that the din of playing 18 consecutive hours of fetch with Mack simply drowns out the noise.)

What we do know, is that every time we have a new babysitter or housesitter, upon return, we hear about their terror-filled journey to figure out the strange thump-thump in the house...of the ice machine.

To a person, each new sitter interprets the operational sounds from this ice maker as someone trying to break into the house.  Through the years, it has caused an inordinate amount of fear and stress.

"So sorry we didn't warn you."

For the record, a scary house isn't great for babysitter retention.

Still, I think there's something more at work than our poor memory of forgetting to warn people about quirky appliances.  We have become desensitized to the sound of our ice maker.  We simply don't notice it anymore... not unlike the phenomenon of not seeing cobwebs in the corner of your ceiling, the funny dog smell in the rug, or grimy handprints on the wall.  While it's invisible to us, others see it immediately...and wonder why we don't.

It's a blind spot.

Blind spots exist at work and at home.  There are plenty of things others see in you that you can't see in yourself.  In fact, I love asking someone seeking personal or career growth this question:

"What is in your blind spot?"

I know, I know - it's a trick question.  If you can actually answer the question, you can see it, and, if you can see it, by definition, you're not blind to it!  The "ah-ha" moment is when you realize that only someone else can see what's in your blind spot.  Someone ELSE must help you notice it. Someone else has to make you aware of what you can't see in the mirror.

It's amazing what you discover when you invite someone else in to discover the desensitized (or never-noticed) contents of your personal blind spots.  The fresh perspective is shocking.  You'll learn a great deal and what you discover may give you pause.  Your blind spots could be:

  • the "confident" (in your eyes) way that you communicate actually intimidates others.
  • your workaholic tendencies are deep-seated issues wrapped up in a lot more than climbing the work ladder.
  • your quick-trigger emotions with your kids are connected to something more than just their inability to hang their jackets up correctly.
  • you are bossier than you think.
  • the other person doesn't derserve ALL the blame in that train wreck of a relationship.  You had a part in it as well.

Who do you have who helps you see the blind spots that have become habitual with you? Who has permission to have tough conversations with you? Who shows you what inhabits your blind spot?

If you want to have new eyes and a new view on whatever you do, invite people around you to comment on what you don't see.

The feedback is a gift.