We all have our own particular blind spots, but of course, as the name suggests, when we can’t see something, there’s not much we can do to fix it. While it’s great having a coach by your side to show you where your blind spots are, today, I’m offering a tool you can use right now so you can see them for yourself and generate a-ha moments.
Tune in this week as I give you the three-step process for uncovering your blind spots. From this new perspective, you’ll be able to begin making profound transformations in your life, and I’m sharing an exercise you can keep coming back to as you practice this new way of thinking.
You’re listening to The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers Podcast episode number 28.
Welcome to The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers Podcast. I’m your host Paula Price, lawyer turned certified executive coach. This podcast was created to empower women lawyers just like you to create a life and practice you love. Join me every week for a break from the hustle so we can focus on you, what you truly want, and how you can create it.
If you’re over the overwhelm, done with putting out fires, and ready to create a life and practice that brings you more joy, you’re in the right place. Ready for today’s episode? Let’s dive in.
Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. I hope that all of you are having an amazing week. This podcast will come out on the first day of December 2021, and we are entering the last month of the year. For all of us, I think, this is our first full post-pandemic year. Just wanted to say I hope that for all of us these next few weeks in the holiday season bring in so much joy and festivity and connection in ways that we maybe weren’t able to do it last year.
So a big warm hug to all of you. It’s so nice to have you back. I’m glad to have you here with me today to talk about a topic that is so fun to talk about, blind spots. It is probably one of the biggest highlights of being a professional coach is the ability to have conversations with people where they experience these ah-ha moments.
If you’re someone who has worked with a coach and you’ve had those ah-ha moments, you I’m sure have had those ah-ha moments without the benefit of working with a coach. Those are some of the moments that we really, really get excited about because it shows that we’re able to help somebody reach a different level of thinking.
In today’s episode, what I’m going to do is offer you a tool that I think you can use to generate your own ah-ha moments without necessarily having a conversation with a coach. I’m offering you a single tool. There are other tools, but this is one that I think you can probably adopt and use right away. So I’m hoping that you’ll do that.
As we go through the episode, as always I would invite you to think about what’s going on in your practice, what’s going on in your personal life, and how what we’re talking about applies to you. I’ll be giving examples, examples from my own life, examples from lawyers that I’ve worked with in a coaching capacity. What I’m really hoping for is that you’re able to see this in yourself and to apply these tools and generate your own ah-ha moments.
So let’s jump in. I’m going to talk about blind spots, and then I’m going to offer the tool. So let’s get situated and talk about what blind spots are and why they’re a problem in the first place. It’s pretty obvious from the name. It’s a blind spot. You can’t see it. In the coaching world, we sometimes talk about this idea of being a fish in water and not being able to see the water.
So for humans that don’t live in the ocean, the idea of what the water could be is maybe cultural. So if you work in a law firm or other type of organization, there may be a culture there. You may have noticed it when you first started working there, but now that you’re there you don’t even notice it.
As I’m talking, I’m thinking about the organization that I worked for many years where I noticed that within the department that I worked in, there were certain turns of phrases that we all started to use. There were certain ways of intonating certain words that we all started to do. So you may find that it’s not just the way that you speak or the words that you choose. There are elements of culture that surrounds you that you start to adopt at an unconscious level. So that’s one example of water.
Another might be your upbringing. This is really influential for most of us is to think of the values and beliefs that were imparted to us when we were children, and how we accept these frameworks, these values frameworks, these beliefs as being true. Some of our actions or all of our actions really emanate from that place. So we’re not able to see the water because to us, that is simply how things are.
Now blind spots don’t necessarily mean that they’re going to create challenges for you. It maybe that your blind spots are perfectly neutral or positive even, but sometimes we have blind spots that get in the way of us achieving what we want. So you might have blind spots if, for example, you find yourself falling into the same patterns. It’s a little bit like groundhog day. Everyday you wake up and it’s the same thing and you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what the problem is.
So certain things might keep happening to you like you might feel like people are disappointing you or people chronically underestimate you. Maybe you find yourself having conflicts with people. You look at those different conflicts and there seems to be a running theme among all of them.
It may also be that you have blind spots if you are told that there’s something that you have been doing and you absolutely did not see it coming. I’ve seen this come up, for example, in 360 situations where somebody gets a 360 evaluation. They get that feedback and there’s commentary there that they think, “Wow, I totally didn’t see that coming. I never really saw it that way. I’m really surprised.” So that might be another example of where you have a blind spot.
Now today I want to get really specific and talk about particular blind spots because I think that’s going to help you as the listener to internalize what I’m trying to explain and to be able to apply the tool that I’m going to teach you. So here are some examples of blind spots that you might be able to relate to.
Number one is a blind spot in failing to communicate effectively. You may want to have communication that is clear and honest and to the point, that communicates the message that is really important and that is not happening. So that might be the result of a blind spot.
It may be that you find yourself blaming other people for things that have gone wrong. It’s easy for us to look outside ourselves and to see where other people have made mistakes. It’s then easy to blame them for a situation not working out. So that’s really our starting point. We’re going to talk more about this and get into the blind spot piece of it, but this is an example. So if you find yourself blaming other people for missed deadlines or not taking adequate care on a project, that may be another area where you have a blind spot.
Finally another type of blind spot that we’ll be talking about today is one where you create the very situation you’re trying to avoid. I talked about this in last week’s podcast. The episode about self-sabotage where sometimes you may be so focused on trying to avoid a particular problem that you actually take action that then creates more of that problem. So those are some examples where blind spots might come up.
Now blind spots are a problem because if you can’t see something then there’s not much that you can do to fix it. So you can imagine you’re trying to take a photograph. Let’s imagine we’re using an old school camera and there’s a lens on it that you need to adjust physically.
When you look through the lens, initially all that you may see is a blurred image. As you adjust the lens, slowly that image will start to come into focus. When you can see the delineation of what it is that you’re looking at, all of a sudden you can identify what it is that you’re looking at.
Similarly for those of you who wear glasses, maybe it’s that experience of looking out. I don’t wear glasses. I’ve tried them on before for long distances. What I’ve noticed, and maybe this is what it’s like if you wear glasses on a regular basis, is it’s all blurry. What you’re looking at, you can see the shapes.
You can see the fuzzy outline. But until you put your glasses on, you can’t see that crisp delineation. Once you see that then all of a sudden you know what it is that you’re looking at. That’s what it’s like when you start to see your blind spots. It’s like this clarity comes to you and all of a sudden you know what it is that you’re dealing with.
So it maybe that you have blind spots. You don’t know about them. You’re going through your daily life and you are trying to do something to solve. You’re trying to solve the problems that may result from these blind spots.
So, for example, there are different things that you might be doing. Number one, you might be sluffing it off as somebody else’s problem. There may be something that recurringly occurs in your life, and you keep looking to others and say, “Well, it’s because that person is doing this.” Right? Maybe it’s your assistant and you have a long stream of assistants who haven’t been able to work to the standard that you want them to.
Or maybe it’s a type of relationship. You find that you end up in relationships working with individuals who take for granted that you’re going to do certain things. Or you develop a relationship where you feel like they’re not respecting you.
So I’m kind of throwing out some examples here. But the point in trying to make here is that one of the things that we may do in response to something that arises, a problem that arises, that truly emanates from a blind spot is to not even see it in ourselves and to blame something ourselves for that.
Now another way that we may be dealing with blind spots, possibly at an unconscious level, is to avoid situations where we know we have weaknesses. So it may be that we’re in a particular job situation or you’re in a particular job situation dealing with a certain type of person, and you know that you’re not very good at dealing with that type of personality. So you can think of what that might look like for you. Maybe it’s somebody who’s very authoritarian. Maybe it’s somebody who’s very disorganized.
Whatever it happens to be, you may see the problem as being outside of yourself. So you try to avoid it. That may work as long as you can avoid that situation whether it’s a type of work, whether it’s a person. But you can’t always avoid that situation. So that’s where you end up coming back to the same problems, the same challenges.
It may be that you know what the problem is, and you see that there’s a role that you’re playing in this. So you try to fix it. You apply in trying to fix the problem the thinking that you currently have. The problem with that is that the thinking that created the current problem is not necessarily the thinking that will help you solve that problem.
There’s a famous quote. It’s attributed to Einstein. That he says that the definition of insanity is using the same thinking to fix a problem as the thinking that created that problem. So I’m paraphrasing. I’m not getting it exactly right, but that idea, of course, makes sense. That if you’re trying to apply your current level of thinking to solve a problem that you arrived at using the current thinking, chances are you’re going to find yourself getting stuck.
Now another thing that you may do is to be proactive and go out there in the world and ask somebody for feedback. This may work beautifully for you, but it may not. There are a number of drawbacks or potential drawbacks when it comes to asking other people for their honest feedback.
Number one is depending on the relationship what you have with that person, they may not feel comfortable giving you honest feedback. So what they will share with you is feedback, but it may not be truly honest feedback. They might sugarcoat it or they might try to say it in a way that doesn’t offend you if they think it’s going to offend you. It might dilute the message. So the feedback becomes somewhat difficult to work with because you don’t really know what you’re working with, or it’s not substantive enough for you to take action.
Even if you’re able to find somebody who will give you honest feedback, there are still a couple of drawbacks with that. Number one is feedback can be really difficult to hear, especially if it comes from an individual who is not trained at giving feedback. You may find that you ask for feedback and the feedback just strikes a chord with you or in a negative way it offends you. And you’re almost not able to process that feedback. So that can be something that happens.
Another thing that can happen though, and this is with all feedback really, is that each of us has our own biases. So when you seek out feedback from somebody else, what you’re really getting is their opinion based on their own set of beliefs and values. So there’s an inherent bias in all that feedback.
There’s a wonderful article that was published by the Harvard Business Review a few years ago. It was called The Feedback Fallacy. This was one of the key points that they made is that the feedback that comes back to you isn’t neutral. It comes with a lens. So you need to be able to take that lens into account when you are soliciting feedback from somebody else.
So the bottom line here is even if you try to resolve the problem, none of it works because you’re not able to see the water. The result is that you keep falling into the same traps and you make the same mistakes over and over again. As a result, you get frustrated.
You reach a plateau and you cannot push past it. You may relive the same difficult relationships but with different people. You may relive the same problems with the same results. That’s when you get stuck, and you need something or someone to help you get out of your rut.
So today I’m going to offer you a tool that you can use to see your own blind spots. I want to keep it relatively digestible so that you can go out and use this tool right away. Before I tell you what that tool is, I just wanted to talk a little bit about what it’s like to work with a coach. The reason for that is I think that may be, at least in my experience, the most effective way to see your blind spots.
When I work with new clients, I always ask them what it is they want from a coach. Often one of the things that they ask me for is to point out their blind spots. Sometimes they’ll say, “Well, I want you to tell me what it is that I’m doing wrong. Or I want to know my blind spots. What am I not seeing here? What else should I be looking for?” It is so helpful to have somebody else do it for you.
You’ll know this intuitively because as we go through these examples that I’m going to share with you, it is so much easier to see in somebody else than it is to see for yourself because of that distance. Because, to use a coaching analogy, sometimes we talk about being in the pool with your client. You don’t want to jump into the pool with your client and get wrapped up in their problems.
I can tell you as a lawyer turned coach for lawyers, sometimes I can see where this might happen for me. If I’m speaking with a lawyer who has an example that they’re sharing with me that is very similar to something that I experienced in my own practice, I have to be very disciplined about not jumping into the pool with them because I can relate.
There’s a big difference when, for example, you go to share a story with your friend and you tell them a story and they can relate. They say, “Oh yeah, no I can totally relate to that. Isn’t that terrible? That person is in the wrong.” That wouldn’t be very effective or productive in a coaching conversation.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is having that distance is really key in a coach being able to help you in a way that coaches are trained to do. So coaches, of course, are trained to listen. So when we have a coaching conversation, and it’s not just me. I work with other coaches, and this is the reason why I seek out coaching is because I love the benefit of what I learn from coaching. Coaches are trained to engage in conversations with you so that you can better understand yourself.
So I think for some people they see coaches as the person who stands on the sidelines and tells them what to do. But if you’ve worked with a coach, then you know that coaches often will not tell you what to do. If somebody asks me, “I don’t like being a litigator, what should I do?” I would never say to them, “Well, obviously you should be a solicitor.”
I would ask them questions to figure out what’s going on, and they would reach their own conclusion based on what they already know about themselves. I’m really acting as an instrument, a catalyst, a muse, whatever you want to describe it as to help that person understand themselves better so that they’re making decisions that are aligned with their values and what’s important to them.
There’s a concept that I learned about in coaching school. I’ll call it coaching school. It was a program I did at Royal Roads to obtain my certificate for executive coaching. It’s called triple loop learning. It’s a concept developed by Chris Argyris and Donald Schön. They really have these three levels of learning.
The first is single loop learning. That is where you learn to correct a mistake or a problem. It’s focused on doing things correctly. It’s quite surface level. For example, let’s say you have a room and there’s a leak in the roof. There’s water dripping from the ceiling onto the floor. Single loop learning is the equivalent of getting a cloth and wiping the drop on the floor.
Double loop learning is identify and understanding causality and then taking action to fix the problem. So in this case, it’s looking at the roof and seeing that there’s a hole in the roof. So you go up and maybe you patch over the hole in the roof.
Triple loop learning goes deeper. That’s really where you explore your values and the reasons that you think the way that you do. So in this triple loop learning, you’re going much deeper into the water. In a sense, you’re actually seeing the water. You’re engaging with the beliefs that you hold at an unconscious level.
In this example, if you have this roof, you may go and see that there’s a flaw in the design. Maybe the roof is flat and it needs to be at an angle. If you left the situation as it is with a patch on it, eventually you would end up with the same leaky roof. So what you do is you reconfigure the shape of the roof so that you no longer have a situation that’s going to continue to lead to a leak in the roof.
So when it comes to coaching and identifying the blind spots, you’re not just fixing a behavior. It’s not just saying okay you need to say thank you every time you go to Starbucks and they hand you a coffee. It’s looking at your belief system so that you feel inclined to say thank you because it’s consistent with how you value. It’s consistent with how you want to show up and be as a person.
When you engage in this triple loop learning, you’re tapping into a deeper level so that the desired conduct is the natural consequence of your new belief system. That is the key to lasting change. Now another reason why coaches are really effective in helping you see the blind spots is that they are trained to create a relationship of trust with you and to act within the scope of your permission so that you are open to the revelation of a blind spot.
Now this is different from a situation where you’re speaking with a friend, maybe it’s your spouse, maybe it’s a colleague. Maybe you’re complaining about something or you’re telling them about a problem. They jump in and they say, “Well, you know, that’s because you always do X.” That may not land the same way as having a conversation with somebody where you have established a certain framework of trust, where you’ve established the parameters of the relationship, and where you’ve given your explicit permission for that person to point things out to you that may be blind spots for you.
So these are all reasons. I know it sounds a little bit because I’m sounding a little bit like I’m trying to promote coaching. Of course, I am. I believe in it. I love it. I do it. I’m just trying to share with you how it can be really impactful to have somebody else point out blind spots for you because it can be really hard to see them for yourself.
I work with coaches because I find it really helpful. Some of my best ah-ha moments while I have been in the position of the coaches have been these revelations where I see the blind spot. From there, I’m able to take action from a place of clarity and understanding where it is that I’ve been going wrong. I’m going to share some of those examples with you in relationship to the tool that I’m offering.
So if you are not able to work with a coach, that’s totally fine. There are other things that you can do to see your own blind spots. So this tool that I want to share with you is something that we’re going to call a turnaround. Once you learn this tool, you’re going to see how examples of what I’m going to share with you are everywhere around you once you start looking for them.
So I think that this turnaround tool helps you see what is already there. It’s a result of human brains and human behavior. The best tool that I have found is one that was created by Byron Katie. I’ve referred to her before in the podcast. What I’m going to do is walk you through three steps really to identify blind spots so that you can do something about them.
So this process is based on a worksheet that she does or four questions that she poses in her work. She has a process that she calls The Work. You can look it up online. She has a judge your neighbor worksheet that you can do. It’s a really powerful exercise. I’m going to take you through about three steps of that exercise, not the entire thing, just to really get at that blind spot piece.
So think of a situation now that bothers you. I’m going to give you some examples, and hopefully these examples will trigger in you ideas that you might have about things that are currently bothering you. So here are some statements. This is the starting place is to think about something that somebody else is doing, a situation that roughly rubs you the wrong way because that’s really going to be our starting point. So here I’m going to offer some ideas.
Number one, my boss always blames me when things go wrong. So maybe you’ve got a boss that you work with where something always happens. Maybe that they blame you. Maybe there’s some other thing. Think about what that might look like for you.
Another example. She doesn’t speak honestly and openly about what’s going on, and it leads to communicate breakdown and bigger problems. So chances are you can relate to this. Maybe there’s somebody in your life. Whether it’s the office, whether it’s at home where you feel like the communication isn’t as full as it could be and that’s leading to communication breakdown. It’s leading to problems.
Another example, this is my personal example. My son only listens to me when I raise my voice. If you are a mother of young children, maybe this is something that you have experienced yourself. So maybe you’ll be interested. I’ll walk through this example a little bit more as we go through the exercise.
Another thought, he’s a know it all. He assume that nobody can do it as well as he can, and he never lets anybody else try. As a result, they never get a chance to learn. So there may be somebody in your life who is like that, and that may be the thought that you have about that person. Now that is step one is to identify a thought that you have that identifies a problem.
So the next step is to poke holes in this statement. We really want to start questioning that statement on two levels. So in the work of Byron Katie, she talks about asking if that statement is even true? So let’s look at some of these statements. Let’s go back to our examples.
Let’s say that it’s the example of my boss always blames me when things go wrong. Well, maybe there are examples where things have gone wrong and he hasn’t blamed you. Maybe your boss blamed himself. Or look at the next example. My son only listens to me if I raise my voice. Is that even true? Maybe he listens to me when I whisper. Or maybe sometimes I raise my voice and he doesn’t listen to me anyways. So the first thing that you want to do is to really start poking holes in the statement to see whether it’s even true.
So the next thing that you want to do here is looking at that statement of the problem is to question whether that statement is a rational or good solid thought. What I’m getting at here is that there are notions of cognitive distortions.
If you look up cognitive distortions on Google, for example, you’ll be met with a list of common thought errors. Those include things like all or nothing thinking, overgeneralization. I’m going to talk about a few of those in a moment. So not only can you question whether a thought is true, you may be able to identify that thought as being deficient in a particular way.
So I’m going to go back to our examples. One example of a cognitive distortion is all or nothing thinking. So if we go back to that first example, my boss always blames me when things go wrong. It is very black and white. Does he always blame you or are there times where he doesn’t blame you?
Another form of cognitive distortion is overgeneralization. So if we look at this example number two where she doesn’t speak honestly and openly about what’s going on and it leads to communication breaking down and bigger problems. I mean maybe this is an overgeneralization. There is quite a bit of overlap or sometimes overlap of different forms of these cognitive distortions, but that’s an example of overgeneralization.
Another one is a negative distortion. So in the example of my son only listens to me when I raise my voice, I’m really looking at the negative here. This is the only time he does it. So I’m overemphasizing that and I’m underemphasizing that maybe he listens to me all the time. Maybe he listens to me more often than I’m giving him credit for. So it’s really focusing in on the negative.
So as lawyers you’ve been trained to really look out for the potential pitfalls in a situation, whether it’s a contract, whether it’s litigation. Whatever the work is that you’re doing. Whether it’s typos in an email. There’s a real reward for finding the things that are wrong. So chances are you’ve got a heightened ability to see and focus on the negative. So that’s a bias that you’ll want to look out for.
Finally another thought distortion is labeling. So somebody may do something once. As a result, you conclude that that is who you are. So in that last example, he’s a know it all is a label. Maybe he’s not a know it all in all areas. Maybe he is a know it all in some areas, but you’re labeling.
It’s kind of like if you were to lose a court application and come to the conclusion, “I am a loser.” You’re overgeneralizing. You’re labeling yourself. That really isn’t the case. You may lose a court application but go on to win other court applications. Even if you did, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a loser. It just means that you lost a court application.
So now that we’ve had a look at some of these statements and how you can start to poke holes in them, we’re going to get to the real blind spot reveal. This is where it really gets fun. This is where we’re going to turn things around, and that is going to show you true blind spots. I can say that I’ve had this experience both as the person being coached and in my experience coaching others. It is so fascinating.
So I’m going to do the turnaround with two examples. I’m going to start with the boss example. So the statement, of course, is my boss always blames me when things go wrong. If you follow the work of Byron Katie, there are different ways of doing the turnaround. So I’m going to turn it around a couple times.
Here’s one example of a turnaround. I always blame me when things go wrong. Do it again. I always blame me when things go wrong. So think about that. If you’ve ever had a boss who’s blamed you for something when it’s gone wrong and maybe it’s a pattern, you may find that you blame you when things go wrong.
I know I’ve had that experience when I’ve worked with certain lawyers in particular more so than others where something goes wrong in a file and my instinct is to blame myself even if it’s not something that was necessarily my responsibility, even if it’s something that I have no control over. There’s that instinct, right, of blaming yourself. So you might ask yourself. Are you blaming yourself when things go wrong?
That’s one level of the ah-ha blind spot revelation. I think the even more powerful revelation is the next one, which is I always blame my boss when things go wrong. So think about this. This of the situation where you’ve had somebody that you’ve worked with where you’ve had a strained relationship. They’re somebody that you consider to be difficult to work with.
When things go sideways, you may tell yourself every time that I work with this person, things go sideways. It’s because that person is so hard to work with. As a result, things happen. We don’t communicate properly. I’m scared to go talk to them. Things inevitably fall off the radar and disaster strikes.
So what’s so interesting there is that you may find that you are now blaming that person, right. So you started out with the problem being that your boss always blames you. The boss is just one example. This could really be anybody. They always blame you when things go wrong, but see now how you’re blaming that person for when things go wrong.
So hopefully that was effective for you in seeing how that could uncover a blind spot. You’re blaming them. That is something that you may not have seen before.
So here’s an example. I mentioned that I would a revelation that I had recently when it comes to my communication with my son. So my challenge with him is that sometimes I feel like I have to raise my voice in order for him to listen to me. This came up the other day. He has an afterschool care program that he goes to. He’s been going there for years. He routinely tells me how much he doesn’t want to go there.
The other day we had a bit of a dustup when I went to pick him up. He got very upset and I got upset too. So I raised my voice with him. That kind of ended the conversation. I didn’t like it. I don’t like having that type of relationship with my son. I don’t like communicating in that way. The thought that I have is that he doesn’t listen to me unless I raise my voice with him.
So what’s so interesting about that situation is what happens when you turn that around. I’m going to jump to the second turnaround because to me that’s the more impactful one in the situation is I don’t listen to my son unless he raises his voice with me.
When I came on that turnaround, all of a sudden, it’s like the blind spot is revealed. I thought of all the times he mentioned along that he doesn’t want to go to afterschool care. He has said this in many different iterations. Yes, we have had conversations about it at the dinner table, at the breakfast table. Conversations where neither of us was raising our voice, but without me really doing something about it.
So what this invited me to the possibility of is maybe I’m not listening to him unless he raises his voice with me. That was the ah-ha for me. That was the first time I really saw that as being a blind spot.
Now there is, of course, another turnaround which is I don’t listen to me or I only listen to me when I raise my voice. Of course I don’t yell at myself. Well, I shouldn’t say of course. Maybe I have in this past. I don’t know. Have I? I don’t know. I don’t make a practice of it, but I don’t listen to me unless there is something that really captures my attention.
I’m guessing that you can relate to this. I know for lots of high achieves, lawyers included, non-lawyers included that there can be this inclination to work until we are no longer able to work. So this happened to me earlier this month, or I guess for me it’s still November, where I overextended myself. I started to feel the physical consequences of that. I started to feel a bit burnt out. It wasn’t until my body was telling me to slowdown that I actually listened. So I don’t listen to me unless I raise my voice.
So you may think about in your own example if this is something that you can relate to. Maybe it’s not your son. Maybe it’s somebody else in your life where you feel like the only way that you can communicate with that person, the only way that that person will listen to you is if you conduct yourself in a certain manner that you yourself do not like.
Are you doing that to yourself? If you want to go to the “I don’t listen until I raise my voice”. Are you overextending yourself and the only time that you listen to what you truly want, what you need, is when your body forces you to? That is another blind spot potentially for you.
So when you start to apply this way of thinking, and it’s really fun. I mean once you start seeing it, you’ll start to notice it all around you. To me, the way that I would describe this is really going from black and white to technicolor. All of a sudden you see things in a completely different light.
If you’ve ever watched the movie The Shawshank Redemption, there is a surprise at the end. When you learn that surprise, it’s like you can rewatch that movie and everything that you thought was a certain way was actually completely different. It is a complete revelation. It is a complete shift in the way that you think. That generates one of those ah-ha moments. That’s where we get back to that triple loop learning. We’re not just solving that problem at a surface level.
I mean giving the example of my son, I’m not just forcing myself to speak in a quiet voice because I think that’s the right thing to do. It’s really truly coming at that conversation from a place of wanting to listen and to speak in a way that is more aligned with wanting to be able to listen and speak without raising one’s voice.
So to recap to discover that ah-ha, to discover that blind spot, three steps. Number one is to identify the thought that you’re having that you want to address. Number two is to poke some holes in it. Ask yourself if it’s true. Ask yourself if you could identify it as having one of these characteristic cognitive distortions. Number three is turn it around.
So if you do this, it will help you because you will start to see the water. When you have clarity, you can do something about it. Once you can identify the problem, you may identify that there is a loose thread that you couldn’t see when you couldn’t really identify the problem. You can start to pull at that loose thread and slowly start to unravel the problem and more importantly the thinking that is creating the problem for you.
Once you see the problem, you can work with that. So questions you might ask yourself. Where am I not listening to my son, to whoever it is that comes to mind in your example? Where am I blaming somebody else for something that I’m responsible for?
I mean if we go back to the example of “my boss blames me when things go wrong” and if truly it’s “I blame my boss when things go wrong”, how can you look at that and take responsibility for things not going wrong? Is there something that you can do there?
Another question that you might be asking yourself is where am I creating a problem because I’m trying to hard to avoid it? We haven’t really gone deep into that example here, but that’s another example where you might be able to generate an ah-ha moment.
This process works because it allows you to take responsibility for your role because you’re now able to see the part that you’re playing that maybe you weren’t able to see before. When you have a new way of looking things, then you may also have a new way of thinking about things. That allows you to step out of that definition of insanity that I mentioned earlier.
That’s when you get to experience change at a profound level that will influence the actions that you take from that place. It’s that change that takes place at an unconscious level that can be so powerful.
So in order to get the benefit of this exercise, you’ll need to exhibit a certain amount of willingness. It’s a willingness to self-reflect. To be open to thinking about what you’re thinking. It’s a willingness to see things from a fresh lens, to try on new ideas, to try to see things from a different perspective, and it’s a willingness to practice.
I’ve been doing my coaching work for about four years now. It’s been my practice to continue to apply the work that I do with others in my own life. It is a practice that is ongoing. What I have found is the more I do this work, the deeper I get to look inside myself, the more blind spots I get to reveal to myself or with the benefit of working with a coach, and it’s ongoing.
So it doesn’t just stop at identifying one thing. You get to keep going and identifying more blind spots, which is wonderful news because it means that you get to continue to shift and evolve in the direction of wherever it is that you want to go.
If you do this work, then you will develop new neural pathways that are now biased towards seeing your blind spot and taking action from a place of charity. So we’ve talked in the past about neuroplasticity and how what you do repeatedly becomes hardwired in your brain. Your brain is, of course, plastic. It’s capable of forming new neural connections based on what you do repeatedly.
So if, for example, your tendency is to jump automatically to the negative thought, you may be able to rewire your brain with practice so that you’re not going there. You’re going some other place. Maybe you’re looking at the possibility of curiosity instead of judgement. So the more that you practice this way of thinking, the easier it becomes. You’ll become quicker at identifying blind spots.
As a result of this, you’ll get unstuck. You’ll transform your belief system at an unconscious level, and your actions will then flow from that place. So instead of white knuckling your actions and that single loop learning mode, right, instead of forcing yourself to wipe the water off the floor with a cloth, you will be able to take actions that are a reflection of the person that you will have become. So you’ve now fixed the roof. You are the person who takes the actions that you’re wanting to take.
So that, my friends, is my podcast episode for you today. I really hope that you’re able to experience some level of ah-ha or that you will try this exercise and be able to see some of your own blind spots. That by seeing those blind spots, you’ll be able to make some profound changes in your life in a way that really aligns with what you are trying to create for yourself.
If you enjoyed this episode, I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear your feedback, your comments. I would love it if you would share with your friends and tell them about this podcast. It’d be great if you would leave a review on iTunes or wherever it is that you listen to your podcast. As I mentioned before, it really does help other people like you find your podcast. It helps me a lot to share the word that I’m trying to share. So I’d really appreciate it.
I also wanted just to say thank you to all of you who are coming back every week and listening to the podcast. I love having this connection with you. Thank you so much. It has been such an honor and a pleasure to share this time with you. So thank you so much for that.
If you are interested in a couple of days from the release of this podcast, on Friday December 3rd, I will be hosting a free webinar. It’s all about amplifying your impact. It’s going to a really fun webinar.
We’re going to talk about in a way blind spots and how to overcome them. But really once you’ve got an idea in your mind and you’ve cleared the runway to get there, and I did a couple of webinars about those topics already. This next step is to really find the way to create more of what you want to create. That is really overcoming some of the challenges that show up for you.
So it’s going to be really great. I would love to see you there. The registration information is available along with the show notes accompanying this episode. If you don’t know where to find that, you can always send me a note on LinkedIn or an email, and I’d be delighted to share that with you.
So that is what I have to share with you all today. Thank you, again, for joining me. It has been such a pleasure. I look forward to connecting with you all next week. Bye for now.
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Thank you for listening to this episode of The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers podcast. If you want more information, visit www.thejoyfulpractice.com. See you next week.