• Roz Levbarg, PhD

Can You See Your Own Blind Spot?

Face it. We all have at least one, and it can cost us big time if we don’t become aware of it, admit to ourselves that something’s getting in the way of our happiness, and most importantly, figure out a way around the damn thing!

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I actually know a little bit about blind spots.

Over 20 years ago, I was given a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa. It’s a condition that affects the retinas of the eyes. In young people, the disease progresses rapidly and one can become totally blind even before reaching adulthood. I’m fortunate, though, because my condition is a type called “late onset”, which for me appeared around age 50, and has a very slow progression. I’m one of the 85% of people given this diagnosis, who only experience night blindness, which is merely an annoying inconvenience, at least to me. That being said, my peripheral vision is also affected sometimes, even in a well-lit room, which brings me to a little story about my actual blind spot.

Last week, I was standing at my kitchen counter poring over a new recipe, pulling out all my baking tools, and setting them by the mixer. I had prepared everything and I was ready to start. Somehow, in the fray of sifting and pouring, my trusty measuring spoon somehow migrated to the front edge of the counter, where, because of my peripheral vision challenge, it disappeared. I knew for sure I had taken out the necessary tools, but the moment I needed that spoon, it wasn’t there, or so I thought.

I scanned right to left and back again. No spoon. Then something clicked in my brain and I promptly used the old trick which often solves my problem. I slowly raise my right hand 6 inches above counter height, and follow it with my gaze as it slowly traverses the entire surface of the counter, like a hovering drone: forward, across to the right, back to the left, down and across again. Bingo! There it was at the very front edge of the counter, just below where my vision is dim.

Now, back to the recipe!

Having a blind spot and not knowing it can bring even the best of plans to a screeching halt; but having awareness and a strategy to combat it is amazing and allows you to move forward, no matter whether you’re trying to find your spoon or hustling to get ahead at work.

Take Donna, for instance. Her dream job of becoming senior account manager of her marketing agency seemed to always be just beyond her grasp, having been overlooked time and again in favor of younger coworkers. Why was that? She was experienced, capable and intelligent. It had to be ageism!


It seems Donna was best known for her not-so-attractive behavior at team meetings. To compensate for her lack of confidence, her M.O. was to dominate the conversation, and talk over other participants. It was unfortunate because she had good creative skills. And, on top of all that, she wasn’t aware of how she was alienating coworkers with her black and white thinking. If only she could have seen her own way of being. Because sometimes the issue isn’t out there but somewhere in us.

Is seeing your own way of being even possible? The answer is “Yes”.


P.S. If you’re feeling overlooked, unappreciated or out of place in your once rewarding work situation, I understand your discouragement, and I’d like to help. I invite you to a conversation about how you can discover your particular blind spot, build your confidence, and, find your spoon.

To your being exceptional at any age.

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