Seven Stages of Surrendering a Blind Spot

By Juliet Funt|05-05-2022 | 6 Min Read
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Image by Johannes Krupinski on Unsplash

What Happens When You Find A Blind Spot?

You’ve done a 360 or had a performance review; received a wake-up call from your coach and perhaps even from your family; your behavior is leading to unintended outcomes. You have a blind spot. You have now been through the hardest aspect of blind spot removal – the reveal. What’s next is a multistage process of eliminating the behavior. Let’s follow along...

Dive Deeper: Do You Know Who You Are?

STAGE 1 — DENIAL:

The unmasking of a blind spot pulls the rug out from under us. Suddenly we become aware that we are perceived differently than we thought. A common first reaction is a rejection of the idea, followed quickly by defensiveness.

Spotlight Questions: Is any part of this feedback true? Am I being/feeling/ appearing defensive?

Assignment: In quiet we are given clarity. Go to your favorite coffee house with no belongings except your wallet or purse. Turn anything on your person with an on-off switch to off. Sit for 30 minutes and think about the behavior in question. Do not resolve to change anything, just look at it.

STAGE 2 — IMPACT:

The impact of a blind spot’s accuracy may be sudden, or it may come almost in slow motion. Regardless of the pace, this stage is the moment when we own the feedback and can suddenly see its validity.

Spotlight Questions: Can I go easy on myself about this? Do I know anyone who reached their best without hard work and even failure?

Assignment: Locate emotions physically. Inhale into the areas that feel constricted or agitated.

STAGE 3 — INQUIRY:

Here we become curious about the unanimity of feedback. It is common to casually collect data from various sources to corroborate or round out the information given to you.

Spotlight Questions: Whom do I trust enough to ask for their take on this matter? What’s the worst that can happen if they are invited into my process?

Assignment: Ask three people for their experience of you in the relevant area (extra credit for asking someone who earns less than half of your salary).

Related: How To Give Effective Feedback



STAGE 4 — REVIEW:

Pop a bowl of popcorn and sit back as your life flashes before your eyes — not the whole life, just the scenes of your movie that would be chosen for a montage on your blind spot.

Spotlight Questions: Where might this behavior have hindered me in the past? Do I owe anyone an apology?

Assignment: Think of three negative interpersonal incidents of the past. See if the behavior in question has played a part.

STAGE 5 — EPIPHANY:

This is the exciting moment when the painful part of the process wanes. With open-mindedness, we now fully accept the feedback given to us and move into action steps to eradicate it.

Spotlight Questions: How would my people skills be enhanced if this one behavior was magically lifted? Who would enjoy/trust/respect me more?

Assignment: Tell at least one person what you are up to. Growth that isn’t shared stays small. This is a great time for coaching.

STAGE 6 — MINDFULNESS:

We now become a watcher of our own play. Distanced from the character that is us, we can observe seconds after the fact when slips occur. They are frequent and forgivable. For many people and for core behavior patterns, this is the end of the process and becomes a point of arrival.

Spotlight Questions: Where is this behavior still popping up? Can I accept a perfectly imperfect track record from here forward?

Assignment: ABC week. The acronym is for Antecedent: Behavior: Consequence, but the process begins with “B.” As you learn more, see if you can catch your “B” behavior, the “C” consequence, and then loop back to identify the “A” antecedent. Do you falter when stressed, tired, or intimidated? Use the awareness to anticipate triggering events.

STAGE 7 — NOSTALGIA:

The last stage is not always reached. For the lucky and hardworking, there is an element of grace that joins the process here. The remaining shadow of the offending behavior simply slips away.

Spotlight Questions: Am I patient with others who are earlier in the stages? What’s my next blind spot?

Assignment: Arrange 360 evaluations for your whole department. Both the misery and the elation of your recent experience deserve some company.

This article was also published on Juliet Funt's LinkedIn.

This article is also available in Chinese.

Infographics by Leaderonomics: 7 Stages of Surrendering a Blind Spot

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Juliet Funt is the founder and CEO at JFG (Juliet Funt Group), which is a consulting and training firm built upon the popular teaching of CEO Juliet Funt, author of A Minute to Think.
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