If you identify your blindspots, you'll break through your plateaus

coaching membership communities Jan 25, 2023

The other evening, I parked on my son's college campus to attend a sporting event that was being hosted there. For many reasons, it's special for me to visit that place, but one reason, in particular, is the fact that my wife and I attended that same university and we met there as students.

Whenever I walk through that campus, I remember things from my past. I remember what the property used to look like before some of the recent updates were made. I remember fun experiences and good conversations I had with my friends. I remember my professors and the valuable things I was taught while attending classes. I also remember teachable moments that happened during that season of life, many of which occurred outside of the classroom.

One such memorable moment during my college years occurred when my car was parked in the lower lot near the library. I remember being in a rush that day, and as I got in my car and prepared to back out of my space, I must not have looked very carefully at what was going on around me because I almost hit another car. I still remember the other driver, a man who was about 20 years older than me, looking back at me irritated. I actually waited for him to park and walk to the area I was in before I pulled away so I could apologize. He received my apology but shook his finger at me a little judgmentally. It was awkward.

Afterward, I gave some additional thought to what had happened. The truth was, we both bore some blame. He was rushing to get a parking spot just as I was rushing to leave one, but I couldn't see him because he was in my blind spot. I'm glad I realized what was happening in time to hit the brakes, but if I hadn't, that definitely would have resulted in an accident.

The most common blindspots many of us are used to experiencing on a daily basis are the blindspots we experience when driving, but there are many areas of life where our blindspots are probably less obvious to us. Some of us have relational blindspots. I've met many people who have blindspots in their personal hygiene. It's also possible to struggle with blindspots in our vocations or even in our general outlook toward life.

And since blindspots are so common in other areas, should we be surprised when we experience them within the platforms we're attempting to develop? I don't think that should be a surprise at all. In fact, I think we've all got them. There's always something we could do better, or something we could do differently that would have a positive impact on our platforms if only we were aware of it.

But how can a blindspot that we're consistently missing become obvious and clear to us?

Most blindspots require the intervention of another person to help us see, but there is a step we can take, before getting others involved, that can help us begin the process of figuring out what we're missing.

We can begin by asking ourselves this question, "Where has my platform plateaued?"

Most likely, if you've been developing your platform for a little while, you've experienced success in a few areas. Maybe your podcast has experienced some growth, or the readership of your blog has expanded. Maybe your social media following is ticking up, or you're starting to earn some advertising revenue. That's all great, but I'm guessing that even if you can point out a few areas that are coming along, there might also be some areas you can identify that aren't growing as quickly as you'd like them to. Maybe they've stagnated entirely. If you've noticed certain elements of your platform that are plateaued or stagnated, you've probably done a good job of identifying areas where you may have blindspots that might benefit from an outside look.

Generally speaking, it's reasonable to expect your platform to grow. Most of us wish it would grow quicker, but if you've given your platform enough time for it to grow, and you've remained consistent in your creation and delivery of quality content, your numbers should be bumping up. If that's not the case, that means it's time to do one of the most difficult things for people to do; make a change.

I will admit that I'm not someone who loves making changes. There are some areas of my life where change comes easily. Usually, that's because those areas don't rise to the top of my list of interests. But when it comes to my creative content, I can be hard to budge. I'll admit that. Sometimes I'm right to take that posture, and sometimes I'm wrong.

In the years since I started writing and recording, I have received a lot of unsolicited advice from others. Most of it was bad advice from people who didn't understand what I was doing. They didn't have the same level of experience or the same level of success, but they wanted to chime in on my work and offer an opinion. It's wise to filter out bad advice, but it can be hard to discern which advice is good and which is bad when you're still in the early seasons of developing your platform.

The best advice you'll receive, and the advice that will be easiest to trust, won't come from people who don't understand what you're doing. The best advice will come from those who have succeeded at what you're trying to do. I would never try to offer advice to someone trying to engineer a skyscraper, but I'll happily offer advice to writers and podcasters. I'll also gladly receive advice from people who are seasoned in those activities and have a track record of success. Those are the people I need help from. In fact, I pay good money for coaching and counsel from people who have track records of success that impress me and are willing to lovingly point out my blindspots without crushing my spirit.

Are there people in your life that you'd trust to help you identify your blindspots? It can be hard to receive outside counsel when you're making creative content and pouring your heart out to do so. To some degree, we're all artists, and we take our art personally. But if you can identify one or more areas where your platform has stagnated or plateaued, it might be time to seek counsel from people you trust. Let them attempt to help you identify your blindspots. If you do, I think you're going to experience one of three possible outcomes.

  1. You'll decide that you're satisfied with your present level of growth and choose not to make changes to what you're doing, at least for the moment.
  2. You'll have a hard time receiving outside counsel, and you'll decide you're not ready to make changes yet.
  3. You'll decide that you're frustrated enough with your lack of progress, you'll receive outside counsel willingly, and you'll make the changes that are necessary to identify your blindspots and plateaus so you can break through them.

I'll admit, this isn't one of the easiest things to do, but most successful entrepreneurs have a team of people in their corner whose goal is to point out blindspots and celebrate victories. Successful entrepreneurs learn not to take this as personally as they once did. For this reason, many successful people regularly meet with advisory groups or business masterminds to help them refine what they're creating.

I have personally found this helpful, and I would encourage you to consider incorporating something like this into your business. If you surround yourself with the right people and stay open to at least hearing their feedback, you'll save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration.

-John

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