As you head into the Holiday weekend, I hope you are going to set your work aside, both mentally and physically and enjoy some quality fun time with your closest friends and partner. You may be looking forward to the time off; however, you may be dreading the extended time with your partner because of ongoing conflict. Even though you love them, the way they act sometimes annoys you, makes you feel uncomfortable or pushes your buttons hard enough to put you in the toxic trigger* zone.
What can you do when your partner’s strengths are in your blind spot and vice versa?
Recently, my boyfriend retrieved his full listing of all 34 Strengths from his StrengthsFinder Profile. For years we had been working with his top 5 strengths and he has enjoyed a lot of success in his professional life. Now we have insight, through the lens of strengths, into his bottom 5 areas of non-strength*, “his blind spot”. I admit that I bring my work into my relationships. As a Strategic Strengths Coach, I have helped myself and others see how we are completely blind the strengths at the bottom of our list. These strengths can be like nails on a chalkboard when someone we know and love has them and uses (or overuses) them!
Just as we cannot look directly at the sun, sometimes we are unable to see the full brilliance of the strengths of our partner.
Through blind spot curiosity* we discovered that his “blind spot” includes two of my favorite strengths! I have Woo (winning others over through fun and influence) and Communication (the ability to talk, talk and talk!) in my top 6. When we would have a conflict, or highly charged emotional discussion, I would pull out Woo and Communication to talk the topic to death in hopes of convincing him to believe my perspective, which by the way I believed to be Truth with a capital T. It was like I was speaking a foreign language that really turned off any openness to discussion.
So what do we do now? We realize that we share several strengths within our top 10; Strategic, Ideation, Empathy and Connectedness. Now when we feel a heated discussion coming on, we both dip into our Empathy and Connectedness to come up with ideas that create a solution or common ground. In the best case scenario, we create an environment where we can contribute our strengths and meet each other’s needs at the same time!
Everyone feels good and we step into interdependence in our relationship and out of the co-dependent shark tank of doom, anger and distrust. We have a renewed interest in exploring the others’ personality and allow each other’s strengths to fill our blind spots.
* The ideas/concepts of “blind spot curiosity”, “toxic trigger”, and “through the lens of strengths” were created by DeAnna Murphy , taught in the Strategic Strengths Coaching Certification Program and used by Strategic Strengths Coaches.