How to Turn Your Blind Side into an Advantage
“The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.” – Lewis Grizzard
Every quarterback, no matter how great he is, has a blind side. The blind side is the area outside of his vision that leaves him the most vulnerable to being tackled.
Like the quarterback, we all have a blind side. While you may not be a football player, you are still the quarterback of your life. You determine how the game will be played.
If you believe that you and you alone, are accountable for your success and happiness, then you must wise up to your blind side. The game of life requires it. Ignorance of your weaknesses is dangerous. You wouldn’t be able to go the distance, and you wouldn’t have any real chance of winning the game on your terms.
I know what you’re going to ask next: “How do I even begin to know these weaknesses?” There’s a reason it’s called a blind side.
First, recognize that you might have one, and it’s okay. This bears repeating: though every quarterback has a blind side, it does not keep him from being a great quarterback. Otherwise they wouldn’t have given out the NFL MVP award every year. What sets the most valuable player apart is he knows how to play a good game with a handicap.
We can apply the same concept, starting with these questions:
What am I not hearing?
Like the quarterback, you will need to study up on your game. From the feedback you received from others, do you hear things being repeated? When these things are pointed out to you, do you disregard its content and write your behavior off as part of an “off” day? Do you look for an agenda behind their comments? If so, this is the area that presents itself as a potential blind side.
Do I have someone to guard my back?
You will need good people to compensate for your weaknesses. You need a left tackle. What I mean by this is, a quarterback (generally right-handed), leaves his left side vulnerable when he steps back to pass the ball. This is when he relies on the left tackle to protect him from getting sacked.
For you, your left tackle may be that special person whom you trust with all your warts. This person or persons may be your spouse, family member, or a confidante. They will speak truthfully about your blind side. Not only will they want to protect you but they will also teach you to overcome your handicap. They will continue to do so as long as you remain teachable. Guard against defensiveness.
Can I change the game?
One of the things I respect about the game of football is when a team keeps playing their best even when things look bleak. Um, like when they’re losing.
In life, when it looks like we’re losing the game, we often throw our hands up during half time, mutters, “Wow, this sucks,” and walks off the field.
When the original strategy doesn’t work, perhaps we should try another. And another. And another. You will hit a point when you know to stop. Until then, consider bringing someone else into the game that can show you a different way to play it.
Can I stop the clock?
In football, we often see losing teams turn around after their coaches call for a timeout. The timeout disrupts the mental and physical pace of the game. Even if they do not score the necessary points to win, the losing team can still manage to erode the confidence of their opponents, slow down their momentum and prevent them from scoring further.
Can you take a short break to regroup or reframe the situation? I write extensively about the importance of reframing. It is the ability to turn a thing on its head and look at it from every angle imaginable.
I just snapped the ball to you. Now, how are you going to run with it?
You may also enjoy this post on football (soccer), How to be Indispensable: Lessons from World Cup.
For more on reframing, read 5 Mind Hacks to Better Manage Your Attitude.