Where Are Your Professional Blind Spots?

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No matter what practice we engage in, we curate strengths in some areas but weaknesses in others. For example, perhaps you love gardening. It might be that you’re fantastic at growing large vegetables with satisfying harvests, but flower arranging is something you’re not that interested or skilled in. In many cases, this is fine, as focusing on the areas that please you most is always reasonable, and then you can improve in other disciplines when you need to.


That’s not always the case in business and professional life. If we let our blind spots grow and fester, it might be that a lack of competence holds us back. For example, let’s say you’re heading on a business placement to another country, perhaps France. Would it be better, or worse, for your ability there if you took the time to learn French? Perhaps you could get away with using translations or expecting others to speak English, but making that good-faith effort to learn the native tongue could help you unlock opportunities you didn’t know existed.


So – where are your professional blind spots, and how do they propagate? In this post, we’ll explore that, and learn how to illuminate them once and for all:


First, Check Your Obvious Blind Spots


Having a blind spot isn’t a cause for embarrassment. It just means that you might have specialized or focused on other areas. When you specialize in a field, you begin to focus your intelligence and curiosity in one field, so you can eventually become an expert in it. Does anyone think a dentist is less capable because they’re not an expert on spinal health? Of course not.


So, it’s good to accept you have obvious blind spots in some areas, and that much is normal. The reason for focusing on this to such a degree is that blind spots, parallel to your own expertise, can be very rewarding to work on. Perhaps you’re a project manager for app development, and you’d like to be able to speak more directly to your programmers. For this reason, you take a basic course in the programming language C to understand the foundational logic they’re using. This can help you grow your expertise and communicate with your lead programmer better.


Or, perhaps you’re a health and safety professional transferring to the construction industry, spending time studying the industrial construction glossary to better get to grips with its inner machinations.


Challenging Your Comfort Zone


Everyone has a comfort zone. We can fall into them without even realizing we’re doing it. For example, if you go to one gym for many years, but a new one opens up, you might have become so used to your routine that you don’t try the newer, perhaps more affordable option because you’re comfortable with your current approach. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Not always, but it does mean a possible new experience has been artificially limited from our view.


Challenging your comfort zone is important in professional life, as well. Volunteering for that placement or business trip might give you a fun experience for a week or two, allowing you to diversify your skills. If you’ve never partaken in public speaking before, you might try to fight your nerves by volunteering for an upcoming project, to attend a trade show and presenting your product, or to simply join a training venture teaching this vital skill. Sometimes, pushing at the edges of your comfort zone can help you round yourself off as a professional, and that’s often where the best memories are made.


Market & Industry Trends


One of the main fallacies of “experience” is that while this is always a great help, it’s not necessarily impervious to change or valid forever. For example, someone who knew how to market a business effectively in the 1990s would no doubt need to implement an entirely different approach thanks to the always-connected and online world of the 2020s. It’s a very different market, and the platforms and people they connect to are wildly diverse.


So, it’s good to assume even your experience can be a blind spot if you don’t work to update it. As you pass your knowledge down or seek to expand it, it’s important to constantly update your understanding to modern standards. While some industries are less affected, many are. For example, orthodontists now work with clear aligners as opposed to fixed wire braces, and that in itself shows a great norm change. It might be that qualifying for new software expertise, taking certifications, or conducting your own renewed market research can help you feel more connected to the modern standard. Over time, you’ll thank yourself for the effort.


Maintaining Your Information Diet


There’s a lot of noise out there telling you how to focus on your career, what mistakes to avoid, what priorities to consider, and how to integrate all of that into your future perspective. Sadly, this post is absolutely part of that noise, but of course, from our perspective it’s necessary.


This is why it’s important to maintain your informational diet to the extent that you can. This might mean limiting some resources that aren’t good for you, and following thinkers or professional groups that lend insight. For example, you might decide to follow a technical writing community if you hope to get involved in copywriting, so your particular niche can express itself more easily, instead of talking about conten writing with general practitioners.


Your information diet affects what kind of news you’re privy to, what professional advice you use, and the perspectives you’re given access to. It’s important to make sure you haven’t siloed yourself, as many people do without even realizing it. If you’re hearing from only the same voices, only the same demographics, and only the same market vantage points, it’s very easy to let essential insight pass you by, and of course, that’s never helpful.


Learn From The Mistake Of Others


Other people have blind spots, too. However, if you’re wise, you can learn from them. In some cases, you might see a busy case study in your industry, where a lack of diversification or an overreliance on one kind of market is causing your competition to struggle.


We can also use a particular example here. When Blackberry was dominating the smartphone market, their CEO didn’t consider the iPhone a threat, because they assumed everything that could be done through an app could be done through their smartphone’s internet browser.

Google paid attention to this. When developing their market for Android, they made certain to highlight and strengthen their app economy, providing the main competitor to Apple not despite what Apple was doing, but because they saw the direction the wind was blowing.


Learning from the mistakes of others allows you to avoid making those mistakes yourself. This can help you in almost all areas, from seeing a social media marketing strategy crash and burn, to seeing how a company trialing a four-day work week in your industry has a happier and more productive workforce than others who negated this. Often, failure is the most honest, because it shows that reality superseded a particular vision. As such, you can almost always rely on it for contextual information. That in itself can help a smart leadership strategy.


With this advice, you’ll be sure to identify and work on your professional blind spots in the best way.

David Christopher Lee


David Christopher Lee launched his first online magazine in 2001. As a young publisher, he had access to the most incredible events and innovators of the world. In 2009, he started Destinationluxury.com, one of the largest portals for all things luxury including 5 star properties, Michelin Star Restaurants and bespoke experiences. As a portrait photographer and producer, David has worked with many celebrities & major brands such as Richard Branson, the Kardashians, Lady Gaga, Cadillac, Lexus, Qatar Airways, Aman Hotels, just to name a few. David’s work has been published in major magazines such as GQ, Vogue, Instyle, People, Teen, Men’s Health, Departures & many more. He creates content with powerful seo marketing strategies.

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