What is Your Blind Spot?
We all know the common use of the term “blind spot.” That’s when you’re driving and there is a vehicle parallel and a bit behind you. You can’t see it behind you and you can’t see it beside you—it’s in the exact spot where you are blind to it. We don’t realize the vehicle is there. This can have severe consequences if you make a move, such as changing lanes. You avoid this blind spot by doing a shoulder check or accelerating or slowing down a bit—in other words, changing speed—to make sure nothing is in your way.
We may have “blind spots” when it comes to our calling. What if you were not aware of something that could create problems for you and you need to change speed or course? On some occasions an individual may feel that they are called to a certain career and ministry focus based on what they perceive as their gifts. They may believe they have a particular gifting—but they actually don’t.
Take, for example, the situation where a member of a youth group of a church feels that he is destined to be a pastor. He shares his aspirations with the church. The church community, however, does not believe he is in fact suited for the ministry based on their collective experience with him over a number of years. So, they provide limited opportunity for him to preach at the church. They also do not provide financial support for his pursuit of suitable theological training.
Let’s say this individual, though enthusiastic about the Gospel, is a bit eccentric. His personal mannerisms and lack of social skills have become evident over time. He does not have a large group of friends within the youth group, is always an outsider and even a bit odd.
In spite of the lack of support from his own church the individual nevertheless persists. He goes on to seminary. He gets a position in a small church with minimal budget and no capacity to pay him a salary. He does his best, but does not last too many years. Thereafter he gets a job completely unrelated to paid ministry as no other opportunities in the ministry arise.
I am familiar with a case like this one. Indeed, the church was right. The community which knew the individual best, and which in fact was very supportive of other individuals in their pursuit of ministry, was accurate in their assessment. For the individual his inability to self-reflect and ponder the advice of the community was absent. His utter determination to proceed into the ministry was folly and revealed his blind spot.
A failure to be mindful of and understand blind spots will be a challenge to our calling. A calling is for the benefit of the community. Of course, this is to be balanced with other sources of input, and the community may not always be right, but the views of people who have known you well and who wish you to succeed, should be heeded.
The one challenge when people have a blind spot is that they take great umbrage with someone who gently mentions that they might want to think about that blind spot. It typically does not go over well. Even though you have the person’s best interests in mind they can often feel the comments cut too deep. Indeed, most people do focus on the messenger rather than the message. This is why most people would not bother trying to point out a blind spot in a person that everyone else recognizes.
When I taught at a Christian university previously, I pointed out to students that they should be grateful for the insightful and direct, yet kind, feedback of professors. I suggested that students try to recalibrate at that early stage of their life, because frankly when they got into the real world then no one would care to tell them.
In short, a blind spot can be very personal and go to the core of who and what you are—the challenge is whether you are open to discussing and correcting your blind spot. If you don’t mind your blind spots, like in traffic, the consequences can be very damaging.
Originally posted on Entrepreneurial Leaders Organization.
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