Like Jane Doe in the NBC Blindspot series, we are all covered in tattoos, scars and wounds our life experiences have etched on our being. Most of the time, these tattoos remain invisible, as we have all learned to cover up, in order to fit in. We have forced ourselves to camouflage the pain of the past so well, that we may no longer be conscious of it.
Over time, these tattoos seem to take on a life of their own
If you have ever found yourself procrastinating or getting in your own way, you may have encountered the tattoos, scars, wounds and self-sabotage forces active in your blind spot. My experience as an executive coach indicates that no amount of strategizing, objective setting, prioritizing, visualizing, affirming, meditating or taking massive action will stop these negative forces from sabotaging your success, until you learn to deal with them appropriately.
Instead of covering them up, we should learn from lessons contained in the scars.
As in the Blindspot series, the clues are in the tattoos!
If you learn to analyse these clues and solve the riddles they pose, you can effectively turn your blind spot into your sweet spot!
In order to do so, you first need to uncover your personal life-tattoos and find out what forces are at work in your blind spot. Let me start with a word of warning:
Don’t get hypnotized in the process!
For as Nietzsche said:
“If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
You need to know enough about what is going on in your blind spot in order to be able to take positive, remedial action – but not more.
Don’t get sucked in.
Or else you may go missing in action…
Engaging your blind spot may often feel like staring into a deep, black hole, made up of painful fragments of a past you might prefer to forget.
For most of us, our lives seem to consist of incompatible fragments.
The changes we experience virtually every day in our lives hardly link up to the past, as we knew it. Shifts in our reality happen as radical breaks with the past, with our history and age-old traditions. In addition, the permanent pressure to remain agile, mobile and in a constant state of flux prevents us from pushing down roots, blooming where we are planted and really nurturing deep social relationships.
In this context, it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to see our past, present and future and our emerging identity as a coherent, consistent story. During our lifetime, we all create a mental map of the world and how it works, an abstraction, which helps us to navigate our encounters in society. However, most of us also suffer through some negative experiences in the process, and we tend to mark these on our mental map of the world as dangerous, hazardous, risky places. Over time, such areas on our mental maps can turn into our personal Bermuda triangle, a no-man’s land, a taboo zone in which emotional forces reside, which take on a life of their own, sabotaging our ability to create satisfying success.
This taboo area is what I call the blind spot.
In medicine, the blind spot is the area in the visual field, which corresponds to the zone on the optic disc of the retina in your eyes, where there is a lack of light-detecting photoreceptor cells. The brain interpolates the missing input-data, which is not available in the area of the blind spot, based on information gained from the surroundings, as well as information obtained from the other eye, so that we are usually not aware of the blind spot’s existence.
Similarly, in our personal blind spot, we may seem to be unable to take in new information. Our past experiences have shaped and cemented our beliefs, assumptions, and expectations of how the world works to such an extent, that we have literally become blind to what is really going on in and around us in such an area. The life-tattoos have taken over and rule over our perception of reality.
We interpolate, making assumptions about what is going on around us, based on factors we are no longer conscious of, forces at work in our blind spot which are no longer under our control.
In fact, these subconscious factors often control us.
More often than not, the forces active in our blind spot will sabotage our ability to make effective decisions to change our life for the better.
So, what size is your blind spot?
You probably have no clue.
Most people don’t.
In my coaching work with executives and business owners, I frequently find that this blind spot is quite large and powerful.
For many individuals, I have found the following negative elements tend to be at work in their personal blind spot:
- People they avoid due to traumatic past experiences
- Negative associations of anger, hate, fear, guilt, hurt, or trauma
- Fear of failure, based on past experiences or perceived risk
- Conflicting personal priorities, beliefs, assumptions, values and motives
- Unsatisfied needs, desires, dreams and hopes
- Memories of past punishment for breaking social rules, taboos, etc.
- Social, linguistic and religious conditioning
How could you verify what is really going on in your personal blind spot?
One place is to be fully honest with yourself about your cravings, compulsions and addictions.
Whether you are a workaholic, shopaholic, alcoholic, diet-addict, fitness-fanatic or if you feel compelled to convert everybody you encounter to your own world view or religion, you may need to ask yourself what is really going on.
Compulsive behaviour is often caused by the need to stuff the hole in your soul.
The first thing I would suggest is to ask your best friend, your spouse or significant other about what they see in your blind spot. They may not know everything about your blind spot, but they probably have a relatively good idea of what it includes, as well as hunches about where and how it may be helping or sabotaging you.
Ask them to provide you with their insights constructively.
Their feedback may be difficult to digest.
The more intense your reactions to their insights turn out to be, the more relevant and true their feedback may actually be, too.
So, be brave!
Don’t interrupt them.
Listen deeply and digest what they tell you.
As a note of caution – don’t be surprised if you suddenly start having psychosomatic reactions when encountering your blind spot, including:
- Pains in your abdomen, your neck, back and joints
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Nightmares and difficulties finding sleep
If the symptoms and reactions become intense, get professional help.
Having said all that, I have found that the forces active in the blind spot are often not only well intentioned – they often actually hold the key to the truly satisfying type of success most of us desire!
So what are the possible positive ingredients of your blind spot?
What positive clues may be hidden in our life-tattoos?
These often include:
- Childhood dreams of who you were truly meant to be
- Things you truly enjoyed being, doing and having, before you were forced to fit in
- Hidden talents you may have never tapped into since you were a child
- Dormant potential which could help you to create truly satisfying success
- An intuitive sense for what is right, just, and meaningful
- A place of rest, peace and inner joy
My sense is that society has forced many of us to hide the true side of ourselves for so long, we may need to enter the blind spot to find out who we really are!
Learn to read, understand and redesign your own life-tattoos.
If you would like to find out more about how you can turn your blind spot into your sweet spot, check out our Stop Self Sabotage self-study course, which you can get through our webshop at