Ep 151: The Impact You Can’t Get Present To
Blindspots are areas in your life where you aren’t even aware of what you’re doing. Blindspots affect the impact you can’t get present to in your leadership journey. In this episode, Adam Quiney discusses how you can recognize your blindspots, embrace them as a leader, and use them to your advantage. Also, listeners are invited to join the third and last round of creating clients’ courses for the year. Improve your leadership by listening to this episode. Don’t miss the chance!
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The Impact You Can’t Get Present To
In this episode, the focus will be on the Impact You Can’t Get Present To as a leader. It is a discussion along with how your blindspots work and expanding your range as a leader. Also in this episode are these discussion points: What does the phrase the Impact You Can’t Get Present To means, What blindspots mean, what it does, and ways to get feedback, the distinction between leadership and therapy, your familiar and unfamiliar zone of leadership, managing and providing feedback as a leader and keeping your ego safe, and sitting with the impact.
We’re going to talk about the impact you cannot get present to as a leader. This is going to be a conversation about how your blind spots work and how convinced you will be that they are not your blind spots as they are being reflected to you. I’m going to make an invitation for you to come and join us on the last current iteration of The Creating Clients Course. This will be the third time through. We’ve graduated about 30 different people, almost fifteen people both cohorts. I’m not sure that I will be running this course again, at least in the foreseeable future, because I’m feeling called and inspired towards other things. There’s nothing wrong with the course. It’s just not what I’m feeling moved to put my time and energy towards. That being said, there is one more round. What we’ll be doing is pulling apart the broken thinking about creating clients, sales and how all that works, which is analogous here in our leadership conversations.
What we’re doing in the show is we’re looking into the zeitgeist, the pop culture of the world at all of the stories, beliefs, truths about leadership, and then breaking those apart, showing, how on the one hand, they’re intuitive and make complete sense, on the other hand, how they keep us stuck. An example would be, you could call it a story or an adage or the rule that a leader always eats last, make sure his troops eat first, which is great, until what your people need to see modeled for them is someone being responsible for their own needs. At which point, eating last might be a detriment to that. Anytime we have any rule about the right way to lead, that’s going to get us in trouble. That’s where we get stuck.
We’re looking here on these shows for those rules, those topics that are obviously true and then going deeper. That’s what we’re doing in The Creating Clients Course. We’re finding those places where there are assumptions and obvious truths. You need a funnel. This is the way you got to do it. You got to go on LinkedIn or any of that stuff that is taken as granted. We pull it all apart because that’s the stuff keeping you stuck. Instead, what we do is build a beautiful foundation, helping you learn to create powerful relationships with people, to deepen that relationship and truly serve them every step of the way, and to listen when something’s going to serve people and to be in partnership with them.
From that, a lot of the anxiety you might feel about all that stuff falls away. It almost becomes irrelevant. It’s like, “Why was I ever worried about that?” You start to discover a genuine joy simply in connecting with people. Everything grows from there. If you’d like to learn more about that, you can check the show notes. The website for it is AdamQuiney.com/ClientCreation. I’d love to have you with me on this final iteration. Who knows when it’ll start again? Let’s talk about the impact you can’t get present to. What are we talking about? What does that even mean? We start with the next edge. The fact that the next edge for a leadership will always lie in our blind spots.
The way I’m going to invite you to hold that as a truth is that if the next edge trust didn’t, if it weren’t in our blind spots and beyond what we could already see, if our next edge was like, “This is my next edge, I’m so clear on it,” then we’d probably already be on our way towards accomplishing it. Developing our leadership would simply be a matter of reading books and waiting long enough. Give it enough time. “Read enough books, I’ll get over my next edge in leadership.” That’s going to happen forever, which is fine except I assert that there’s a level of depth in your leadership and expression that you cannot get to by yourself. There’s a deeper place we can get to.
Expansion Of Your Range As A Leader
The fantasy in this is like, “I can do it all on my own. Once enough time has elapsed, I’ll have achieved whatever there was to achieve and then I got there.” Leadership through this definition would simply be a matter of velocity. The only question to ask ourselves would be, how fast can you push yourself down the path you’re already on and you’re going to get there? What we’re talking about on this show and the context for leadership I want to offer, is an expansion of your range rather than an increase in existing capacity. Expanding your range means moving beyond to doing what you’re already capable and reliable to do, and doing it better, harder, faster, stronger. That’s where most people approach. That’s how most of what we do happens.
The stuff we already can figure out how to arrive at, that’s a matter of doing what we’re already doing at a higher velocity, turning the scale up. Here, when we talk about leadership, we’re talking about an expansion of your range, meaning leaning into the places you have no idea. You might not even be aware of their existence. The reason for that is because they lie in your blind spots. This requires something distinct from us that is not required when we’re increasing our velocity. Given that leadership lies outside of the range we already know and does not exist in the future, given to us by simply doing what we’re already reliable for, to expand our leadership is going to require growing into our blind spots. To do so requires feedback about our blind spots, our unintended consequences and the impact and hearing about the things we don’t like. I’m going to elaborate a little bit on what I mean by our blind spots to make that clear. The rest of this episode, we’re going to be talking about how we get in the way of this feedback and the sneaky ways that our ego keeps us safe and operating inside of our existing range.
Our blind spots are those areas in our life where we aren’t even aware of what we’re doing. If you’ve ever had a friend who complained about something over and over again, typically it’s a recurrent complaint, and you thought to yourself, “Are you kidding me? You do the exact same thing.” Maybe your partner has done this or your parents, you, whoever it is, it doesn’t matter. You know that experience where you hear someone complain and you want to laugh at them, you’re like, “Are you kidding me?” That’s the nature of a blind spot. What we despise, dislike, and judge other people for, we judge the same thing in ourselves. When we judge it, it means that we have a vested interest, which becomes, ultimately, an inability to see ourselves doing that thing.
If I hate people being cruel, then I’m not going to have much ability to notice when I’m being cruel. Instead, the conversation is going to be more like, “I would never be cruel. Why would I even look that? I hate that. I can’t stand that. I would never do that. I’m committed to the opposite of that.” It’s not to suggest you do this everywhere. It’s that what your blind spot does is it eliminates your openness to the possibility that you may do these things with some very minor exceptions. Typically, we’re like, “There’s no way I would do these things except…” There are a few exceptional areas, places we carve out, like a little window we can peer through, a little hole in the armor.
“I could see I do it over here.” That becomes a safe place for us to look at this stuff. “I can be a little cruel there, but it’s justified because X, Y and Z.” We have a justification and explanation, a little bit of a get out of jail free card. All the other places where we do show up in this way that we don’t have any room to see, that’s blind to us. It’s a little infuriating when you’re around people doing this thing and when people around you when you’re doing this thing, because to us, it’s so damn obvious like, “What are you complaining about this? It’s so clear, this is what you do. Are you kidding me?” We can see it because we are not inside that person’s world. Their blind spot is not our blind spot. It’s infuriating. You’ve probably had this experience with friends where you’re like, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.” It’s the same for you with your blind spot. We are literally blind to it. Not only can we not see it with our eyes, our machinery, the internal workings of our brain and our ego are dead set against it.
Leadership Is Inherently Unsafe
We can’t see it. We’re going to talk about how this resistance shows up, what happens when this gets reflected to us, and why we need to have it reflected to us. Leadership is an inherently unsafe practice. There is a lot of conversation where people want to create safe spaces and a lot of complaints people have about, “I don’t feel safe.” It’s important, especially when we’re dealing with trauma, or PTSD, or people with stuff like that. That’s not the place for leadership conversation. That’s the place for a therapeutic conversation. A lot of people bypass therapy to get into the leadership conversation because it sounds sexier. That’s not doing you a service.
If the real issue is a lack of safety, if you feel like you are going to be killed or die, or you’re going to commit suicide, that’s a therapeutic matter. I want to draw a distinction here to say leadership is distinct from therapy. While therapy is focused on creating a safe space, leadership is not to suggest that you show up and we’re going to hit you with a stick, but it’s that leadership calls you forward into the unknown. That is inherently unsafe. The unknown, by definition, is unsafe. What leadership calls for is a brave space. People will demand safety but can’t create that. It will ultimately be a hindrance to some extent. The challenge here is to recognize like when is the time to bring a leadership conversation and invite someone to therapy. That might be another conversation.
For now, we’re going to begin with the assumption that the person we’re working with is whole and complete, meaning there are no huge therapeutic minefields for us to step in. They’re not victimized or struggling to be present at the moment. They’re still going to have fear. They’re still going to get scared. They’re still going to be confronted as they step into the unknown. We’re not expecting that they don’t have any resistance, but we’re also willing to allow that, and we can trust that they’re whole and complete. We’re not going to be stepping into PTSD or anything like that.
Given that leadership is stepping into the unknown, the next thing is that your unknown is the domain of your fear and the known is the domain of your ego. Your ego’s job, what it contrives to do is keep you in the realm of what you know, because what you know is where you will stay safe. The area of what you know is where you are aware of what will show up and how to be with it. The known is where you know how to reliably generate results, ensure that you get love the way you used to get it when you were young, ensure that you get the recognition you want, and ensure that you don’t get exposed to the stuff you don’t yet know how to be with, the stuff that’s scary to you.
Some people will do a bit of a sneaky thing at this point. Some people try to get out of things like this by claiming this point that their comfort zone is to be uncomfortable like, “What about me? My comfort zone is to be uncomfortable.” They’re like, “I’m alright with the unknown. It’s not unsafe for me,” which is fine. In that case, their edge and leadership likely lie in the willingness to create an empowered experience for themselves and others in the mundane, in the moving forward methodically, and in the processes that require planning and due diligence. That’s where their unknown is.
They’re doing some mental trickery and thinking like, “I’m fine with the unknown. It’s just that you’re unknown is much different for other people.” What you’re uncomfortable with, what you don’t know how to be with is planning, due diligence, due process, stepping through something methodically and bringing people along with you. We all have a comfort zone and an area outside of it that’s uncomfortable. A better term, although less sexy and less meme-able, would be your familiar zone, your zone of familiarity and zone of unfamiliarity.
Leadership exists in that area that you are not familiar with, that is outside of what you are comfortable with. In any event, to push beyond what you already know and to address your edge as a leader, you need to receive the feedback that provides you the opportunity to see your blind spots. You will not be able to see these blind spots yourself. What happens is that what you will get reflected to you as a leader is typically going to be your impact, the way that you show up in the world and the impact you’re having. This is what we don’t want to hear.
This is the impact we can’t hear because we are so committed to never having this impact. That creates the problem, “I have this absolute bedrock commitment. I would never leave people feeling this way. Let’s make up an impact.” Perhaps, your impact is that you leave people feeling cold and isolated and they’re not good enough for you. That’s the last thing in the world that you would ever want to leave people feeling. Everything you try to do is to prevent that. When you get this feedback, “Part of the way you show up as a leader is you leave me feeling this way.” The way that you receive that is to deny it, to make people wrong. We’re going to go over all the ways your ego starts to prevent you from receiving that feedback. That’s the feedback I’m talking about. While that example I gave may not be your particular flavor, the easiest way you can see this is to look at, “What’s the way that I would never want to be?” Imagine getting feedback that it’s the way you’re showing up. That’s the impact you’re having.
Not on intellectual level, having people put this in front of you tell you, “That’s the impact. That’s how you leave me.” Our ego has a bunch of ways to prevent us from receiving that feedback to push that back into our blind spots. Here are some of them. One is to check for whether or not you agree or disagree with this feedback. Someone says, “Reginald, I’ve got feedback for you about your impact as a leader.” ” Tell it to me.” “When you show up this way, this is what you do. When you show up that way, it leaves me feeling like I’m an insignificant speck. You don’t care about me.”
Reginald, you, go, “Do I agree that’s how I’m showing up or not?” This is an effective tool for ego. The only place to look from agree or disagree is the world you already know. It takes this feedback that lies in your blind spots and it pulls it into the world you already are comfortable with and know. You check there and go, “Do I do that? I don’t think so. I appreciate that feedback. I don’t think I do that.” It looks a little bit like you’re checking into that feedback, you’re parsing it, thinking about it, and then you disagree.
The alternative to this is agreeing with it. “Do I do that? I do. I can agree with that.” There’s a safety in you agreeing with this feedback, rather than letting it thump you right in the gut. If I agree with it, then it lessens the blow a little bit, “That’s okay. I know I do that.” This is the second way that our ego keeps us safe, which is explaining how I already know this. If you are getting feedback about your blind spots and you are telling me, “I know I do that. I’m okay with that fact.” You’re not letting it in. The type of feedback that we’re talking about here, the feedback that’s going to open you up as your leader will tend to floor you if you let it in. The easier thing to do is to look in the areas. Remember I talked about those little holes in your armor where you can make exceptions for doing this, that’s what’s happening here. “I know I already do that, but there’s a reason I do that.” Not there. We’re inviting you to notice this impact much more broadly, in places where you don’t want to see this.
A third way that your ego keeps you safe is, “This thing they’re giving me is a lot like that thing over there. That thing that they’re talking about, it’s like this thing I do over here.” We take the feedback, we muddle or molded around and shove it into, “It’s like this thing I’m already comfortable with. I can be okay with it.” As opposed to like, “What if this was its own unique thing that I have to be with?” Finally, one of the good ways for your ego to keep you safe is to resist being with the heartbreak caused by the impact you’re having. If you get the feedback that you’re having an impact is the last thing in the world you would want to be, that’s going to create a degree of heartbreak like, “I’m so committed to not being this way.” One of the best ways to not let that feedback in is to get rational or logical or fixated and focused on the solution. All of this stuff let us not be with the heartbreak.
Providing Feedback To The People That Gave Your Feedback
There’s one more that I wanted to talk about, which is providing feedback to the people that gave you feedback. This is like someone gives us feedback, they share with us the impact of how we’re showing up and we go, “Can I give you some feedback on the way you shared that?” It’s a little bit like if you woke up in the middle of stomach surgery and you’re all pulled apart and you wanted to give the doctor feedback on their technique. It’s fine. It’s just like, “Now’s not the time. The time is for you to be in surgery.” In the context of what we’re talking about here, what there is for you to practice is let that feedback in. Let it sit, wait to give your feedback until you’ve moved through your process. Otherwise, you’re putting your fingers in the machinery.
This allows you to rather than be with what’s been reflected to you and the gift that is courageously being provided to you, you’re instead fixing the way the other person delivered it. What’s happening is you’re trying to change the way the person gives you feedback in the future so that you don’t have to feel the way that you do once you’ve gotten present to that impact. Don’t do that. Let that go. All of these strategies will alleviate the discomfort that’s caused by being brought present to your unintended impact. They allow you to get away from the judgment and discomfort. You feel as this mirror is held in front of you.
Be Willing To Sit In The Impact
This is the challenging work of leader. We can’t address any of this stuff until we’re willing to look at it. If that’s the impact you’re having, that you make people feel small and insignificant, until you’re willing to be with that possibility, you’re not going to be able to do anything about it. Instead, you’re going to insist you would never do that. “I don’t agree. There’s no way that I do that.” You can’t do anything about it. You’re a victim to it. It operates below your level of consciousness. Thus, you have no control over it. We have to let ourselves get present to this thing. The challenge is that the human default is to deny its existence. We literally cannot see it. We actively resist accepting it and allowing it in even when it’s put right in front of us. The path of leadership is a willingness to recognize and distinguish this resistance as it’s showing up, even and especially when our resistance is occurring to us like abject reality, like the truth, like everyone else is against you.
You’ll know you’re beginning to address this when you start to let go of the significance of what is being reflected to you. When you let go of like, “If I do that, I’m a horrible person. There’s no way I do that because I hate people.” That’s all the significance we’re talking about. You’ll know you’re starting to move beyond this. You’re starting to address this when you let go of the significance of like, “Maybe I do that. What if I do? I can’t see it.” You start to be willing to sit in that impact, not explaining it away, not finding a solution to fix it, not changing it, not making it okay, just sitting with it. That’s the hard part. A common one is, “I do that thing. Here’s what I’m going to do differently.” That’s a way to avoid being with the impact. It’s like we talked about the previous episode, apologizing as soon as someone starts to share your impact is a great way to not have to be with that impact. Don’t do that. Instead, what there is for you to do at this stage, this point in the game, is sit in it.
Only on the other side of this kind of surrender are you able to start choosing something different. There are no shortcuts. What do you do with this? What I would invite you to do is take on noticing how you keep out the feedback that might point to something you don’t yet know. When you get feedback and you conclude to yourself, “I already know that,” get curious about what you don’t already know. What you already know, that’s worthless. There’s no leadership in that. That’s not where your edge lies. That’s your comfort.
Get curious about what you don’t already know, what might be available for you in this moment that’s beyond the range of your knowing. If someone offers you a piece of feedback, you’re like, “I know I do that here,” you might take on getting curious about the places where you don’t yet know you do that. That’s going to be a lot edgier for you. Consider that knowing something already allows you to stay safe. What is it that you might be protecting yourself from? That’s everything that we’ve got for you. I hope you’re enjoying these episodes. Have an amazing week. We’ll catch you on the flipside.
About Adam Quiney
I’m an obsessive perfectionist, high-performer, former lawyer, and now an Executive Mentor. I know what it’s like to succeed easily and quickly. To blindly put my happiness in the hands of achievement.
All the success, money and possessions in the world couldn’t cure my boredom. Couldn’t produce a loving, intimate relationship with my wife…and definitely couldn’t fulfill me.