You’re driving in your car and need to change lanes. You put your indicator on, check your mirrors and start moving over. Suddenly you hear a screech of brakes and the sound of a horn blaring at you. ‘Where the hell did that person suddenly come from’, you think? The fact is there were probably there all along but you were totally oblivious to it. They were in your blind spot.
A blind spot is defined as an area in your field of vision but which you cannot see and thus you are unaware of it. As per the examples above, we typically refer to blind spots when it comes to driving a car but did you know blind spots can occur in our personal and professional lives too?
When it comes to our careers, blind spots can crop up in a number of areas and failing to identify them can have a huge impact on our lives. These blind sports can include:
Capability Blind Spots:
If we are unaware of our true capabilities, areas of expertise and the value we bring to an organisation, then we have major gaps in our professional identity and Personal Brand. As a result, we end up underselling ourselves in job interviews or taking roles far below our true capabilities, which translates to a much lesser salary than what we truly deserve.
Perception Blind Spots:
Our actions, interactions and the language we use at work affects people’s perception of us. Being unaware of these blind spots and how they influence perception can really damage our Personal Brand. In many cases, these blind spots can prevent us from being promoted within an organisation, which often results in career and salary stagnation and ultimately frustration.
In both of these examples above, we can see that our blind spots cost us money.
So how do we combat this and capitalise on what out blind spots reveal?
Revealing our blind spots can bring clarity to our careers.
The key is to increase our professional self-awareness. However, it’s almost impossible for us to reveal our own blind spots alone because we are too close to it all to see the wood from the trees. We need someone in a metaphorical helicopter to fly above us, throw down a rope and lift us out so we can get a good look at our landscape and see exactly what we’re dealing with.
Having someone take us through a structured career development program can reveal our blind spots and bring clarity to our careers. Identifying our relevant industry capabilities, the problems we solve and the outcomes we can help an organisation achieve, is all part of defining and understanding the genuine and immense value we bring to a business. This helps us to stand out, get noticed and attract greater financial rewards.
To get an idea of how you we perceived by others can at first be daunting and potentially confronting but can also reap massive rewards when we see how our actions, interactions and words can be holding our careers back.
I suggest picking out a mix people who you trust, including a few colleagues or a manager (depending on how well you get on with them) as well as friends and family.
Get them to answers such as:
- What specific skills and abilities do you think I possess that are related to my industry?
- What problems do you think I solve or challenges I help the organisation overcome?
- Within my field, what do you think is my area of specialisation?
- Describe my working style and how I behave towards others?
- In professional sense, how would you describe me to others who have never met me?
Engaging the services of a good career coach is both smart and useful for asking for advice as they can help you gain a better understanding of your capabilities and value as well as guide through your introspection to reveal your blind spots.
Revealed blind spots can lead to great opportunities.
I’m going to be honest, I get immense satisfaction from the epiphany moments my clients get when work together to reveal their blind spots. In many cases they gain a renewed energy for their careers, especially if they have been feeling stagnant and stuck.
A revealed blind spot can bring enormous rewards. They can empower you to take advantage of new opportunities for an internal promotion, land a great new job or gain a major increase in salary when you unlock your real capabilities and value and better manage the perception that you want people how have of you.
In fact, these opportunities may have been sitting right in front of you for years but unless you become aware of your blind spots and address them, you may never get to enjoy the rewards.