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10 Common Blind Spots For Those Pursuing Dreams

10 Common Blind Spots For Those Pursuing Dreams

“Be careful what you water your dreams with.  Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream.  Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success.  Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success.  Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dreams.” – Lao Tsu

Blind spots, in the context of us humans, refers to those aspects of ourselves that we are not fully conscious of. Whether we admit it or not, we all have blind spots. Some of which affect those of us pursuing dreams. These blind spots could be qualities like our personality traits, values, actions, habits, feelings, thoughts, etc. Some are just because we are human. It’s due to how we process information and how we see the world around us.

Why is it important for people who are pursing their dreams to know their blind spots? Because it is a necessary part of their personal growth.

Identifying the blind spots and understanding them heightens a person’s level of self-awareness. When they develop a greater self-awareness, it puts them in greater alignment with themselves. The result is a speedier progression toward achieving their dreams.

Here are 10 common blind spots that people pursuing their dreams are unaware they have.

1. They Forget To Live A Great Life In The Now

Dreams are about the future and reaching a destination. When people are chasing their dreams they tend to lose sight of where they are in the here and now. They are often pursuing the dream to fulfill their own desires. Many people lose perspective when they are in the pursuit of happiness.

Many believe that by achieving their dreams they will gain happiness. This is not so. Happiness is experienced within a person and within their present life.  If a person can not appreciate the things in their life that make them happy now, there is no guarantee that happiness will come to them in the future.

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Happiness is a high energy vibration. When people take care of the good things in their life (that they already have now), their dreams will follow.

2. They Fail To Recognize The Importance Of Self Reflection

Focus and commitment are key when one is pursuing a dream. Without the practice of self reflection, focus and commitment soon die away.

Self refection is a technique that fuels energy. It is this energy that drives one’s focus, commitment, and motivation towards their dreams.

Reflecting allows a person to learn from his or her own mistakes and past situations.Without the process of actively thinking about those experiences and questioning ourselves, learning doesn’t happen.

To maintain motivation and commitment to pursuing the dream, one needs to practice the technique of self reflection. A person’s life significantly improves by asking simple questions such as: “What did I do well in that situation”, “What didn’t go so well for me?”, and “What would I do differently?” These questions ultimately provide more energy to follow the dream.

3. They Ignore The Importance Of Their Emotional and Physical Health And Well-Being

Pursuing a dream takes time and energy. It is a challenging journey. People who are so focused on chasing the dream often ignore the importance of looking after their emotional health and physical well-being.  Looking after one’s health and well-being is the key to building a person’s strength: physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is also a key ingredient to people living a resilient life and an important trait to have when pursuing the dream.

4. They Don’t Realise The Importance Of Asking For Help

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. There is no way a person can pursue their dreams alone. It is essential to seek support, advice, and encouragement from others, especially when times are tough.

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In fact, asking for help is a critical factor in the success of the journey. When chasing the dream, people need learn to value the input of others, along with their wisdom and energy. Others can help them overcome adversity or solve the problems they are facing.

5. They Forget To Keep Learning

Pursing dreams takes up a huge amount of time and energy. Who has the time to read books, search out information, and gain more knowledge? Often people think that once they have achieved the dreams, then they will have all the time in the world. This does not happen.

Information and knowledge empowers a person to take action. As a result, they are able to make decisions that are effective. Little knowledge and small bits of information do not help make the kind of decisions one needs to make when pursuing their dreams.

6. They Believe They Don’t Have The Time To Serve Others, Or Practise Appreciation And Gratitude Daily

Life tends to become very insular for people while they chase the dream. They don’t have much free time to do much else but pursue their dream.Their passion is usually wrapped up tightly into their dream. Life; however, is not just about them. They need to remember that happiness in life is very much about how they can help and support others.

Helping others, practicing appreciation, and gratitude strengthens a person’s emotional resilience. This strategy is another source of energy that fuels the commitment and motivation for people to continue chasing their dreams.

7. They Fail To Seek Feedback and Ignore Opposing Views

Confirmation bias is a tendency of a person to search for instances that confirm their beliefs rather than search for evidence that challenges their beliefs. For the most part, people are not aware of the many times they use confirmation bias.

This bias causes people to think selectively. However, the real trouble begins when confirmation bias distorts a person’s active pursuit of facts, how they gather information, and how they makes decisions. Bad decisions are often made when confirmation bias is operating. People can place too much faith in their own knowledge and opinions. They believe their contribution to a decision is more valuable than it actually is. When this happens, people fail to spot their limits of their knowledge, thus perceiving less risk.

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Some will succeed in achieving their dreams, but most won’t because they have not considered the risks or have made decisions based on hunches and potentially unreliable information. The best strategy to ensure a person’s confirmation bias is to constantly seek feedback from others and be open to considering opposing view points and information. By seeking feedback and considering opposing viewpoints, a person will know that they are making  decisions that are based on fact and analysis, rather than thinking which has been influenced by confirmation bias.

A person pursuing their dreams will be faced with many challenges, problems, and issues along the way. Keeping an open mind and knowing how to make informed decisions will enable them to to stay on task. They will be more focused and confident that they are on the right path to achieving their dreams.

8. They Forget That Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference

Dreaming big and chasing your dreams is a fantastic quality. It is courageous and hugely rewarding. However; on the flip side, it is also scary, challenging, and overwhelming. The dream can be so big that many people will become tangled up in the web of activities that focus on chasing the big dream. They forget that by making small changes and taking small steps every day is how one really achieves their dreams.

9. They Fail To Prepare For The Unexpected

When people are pursing their dreams they often forget to expect the unexpected. When they are not prepared for the unexpected and it happens, these events bring their world to a crashing halt.

Preparing for the unexpected is the best they can manage, when it comes to pursuing their dreams or any other life goals that they set. By preparing for the unexpected, they are more likely not to give up on their dreams.

There are 3 key steps to prepare for the unexpected:

Step 1: Acknowledge the unexpected

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Step 2: Prepare for the unexpected by making an Action Plan. The Action Plan needs to consider these two questions: How would you deal with this obstacle when it comes up? And, What steps would you put in action to overcome this hurdle?

Step 3: Move on toward achieving your dreams

10. They believe That Celebrating And Having Fun Comes When You Achieve The Dream

Having lots of fun, being positive, optimistic, and consistently celebrating successes creates an energy that is upbeat and positive. This energy creates momentum to keep chasing the dream. It also attracts positive experiences into a person’s life.

People are attracted to another person’s enthusiasm, energy, optimism, and hope. These are contagious qualities. The more supportive and life-loving people that a person has around them, the more chance that person has in successfully achieving their dream.

Many people rush into chasing their dreams without being fully prepared. The end result for many of them is that they never achieve their dreams. They often end up disillusioned, hugely disappointed, and full of regret. By identifying and acknowledging these blind spots, the pursuer’s chances of achieving their dreams increases by 100 percent.

 “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” – T. E. Lawrence

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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