Is a blindspot really a blindspot if you don’t know you have it?

As is often the case, this week’s blog subject is based on something that happened to me in real life, and I have accepted the challenge of relating the story in an interesting and useful way.

Since this story involves people in my own family, I will use fake names for them, as I usually do when I talk about real people, and I will adopt my standard custom of employing a pseudonym that starts with the same first letter as their real names.

My daughter wanted me to call her “Sassy”, and she wanted me to call her brother “Rusty”, but he didn’t really like that name, and so somehow we settled on him being “Rambo” instead. If you have children, you probably understand the importance of keeping your kids happy and staying on their good side. Now Sassy and Rambo would make better names for pets than kids, but what the heck.

Rambo and Sassy will be going to a new school in September, and as part of the paperwork that the school has asked for, we needed them to have a physical exam done by a doctor, in part to pronounce them able to participate in the school’s sports programs.

So I made an appointment for them and brought them to see my doctor to get them checked out, have the papers officially signed, and thereby cross another item off the checklist that sees them one step closer to being ready for September.

Sassy went first, initially going with the nurse for noting her height and weight, as well as an eyesight verification. Rambo followed the same sequence, except that after the doctor finished with him, I got called in because there was something noteworthy that he wanted to share with me.

The doctor handed me a piece of paper on which he had written 20/60 and 20/50, which were the results of his eye test. What? Really?

How could this be, he never once said anything to us about having trouble seeing? I guess his vision has always been bad because he told us that he has not noticed any deterioration.

So I had the paper in my hand with the numbers on it and Sassy saw it and asked what it was. I told her that we would talk about it later, and then she said “Is Rambo blind?” She does have a tendency to exaggerate, even though I have told her a million times to stop it.

But when I confirmed that, yes, Rambo apparently suffers from poor vision, she proclaimed “I knew it! I knew it!” Apparently, Sassy has been telling her parents for years that her brother doesn’t see well, and we ignored her.

So getting back to the question I asked at the beginning of this post, the answer is a definite YES. Even if you don’t know that you have a blindspot, it’s still a blindspot. And if you have an observant sibling, they may have noticed it.

Everyone has blindspots, and it isn’t always easy to acknowledge them, understand them, accept that they are real, and manage them. It can be helpful to learn about them because that really is the first important step to doing something about them.

But like anything else in a family, and especially in a family business, the way that you learn about your blindspots, and how your family members use that information makes all the difference in the world.

The importance of Self-Awareness cannot be overestimated, but having a family where each member helps the others overcome weaknesses is a wonderful gift that is even more precious.

It is so much better than a family where members use people’s weaknesses against them, but unfortunately that happens all too often.