Several years ago I was playing softball and tore my labrum. The labrum is a piece of fibrocartilage (rubbery tissue) attached to the rim of the shoulder socket that helps keep the ball of the joint in place. And when it’s damaged, the ball and socket don’t fit as they should and it is very painful.
Often times when we experience an injury like that it’s because we have weaker surrounding muscles that aren’t providing the appropriate support for what we’ve asked the other body parts to do.
Many times a torn labrum requires surgery. But after having talked to several people I found out that even with surgery that the recovery would be nearly 1 year and that if I kept playing, that ultimately I’d probably have to have surgery again. So I asked my ortho what the other options were. He told me that I could rehab by trying to build up the surrounding muscles instead. He said if it didn’t work, we could default to the surgery option and that I had a 50/50 chance of recovery without the surgery.
So I had him show me the exercises and left the office with the intention that surgery was not something I intended to do and that I would repair my shoulder in a more “non-traditional”, but natural way. It would require a lot of focus, patience, diligence, and working through some serious pain.
How many times in our careers have we been through painful times due to an “injury” caused by our weaker side, or in other words, our blind side?
We all have them. Our blind side is the side of our character that is not as well developed or not developed at all. The side that prevents us from being able to accomplish more.
The blind side can show up in many fashions.
Perhaps you aren’t as good of a communicator as you’d like to be so you are unable to get your ideas across clearly. Furthermore, you know that this inability is causing you to miss promotions and opportunities that could improve your career or increase your sales. Maybe you struggle to be more organized causing you to lose things, miss appointments, and keep up with your customers. It could be that you oversell your ideas by talking too much or giving too much information too quickly causing people to feel overwhelmed. Maybe you’re in a leadership position, but aren’t very empathetic which causes people to be less interactive or trusting of you. This lack of engagement from your team may leave you wondering why you can’t motivate them or believing that this is “their” issue.
Again, we all have blind sides, those things that could be improved upon, but might not be aware of. Or maybe we are aware of a weaker side, yet just aren’t paying attention. And ultimately, when we aren’t paying attention or aren’t aware, a situation comes along to show us that we need improvement in that area, much like my shoulder. For me, what happened was – I was working one part of my shoulder, while not spending enough time making sure that my surrounding muscles were strong enough to support what I was requiring it to do.
After my injury/awareness, I took one month to assess and allow my shoulder some time to heal. I then began the rehab process, 4-5 times a week at home, with a resistance band. I would do the exercises the doctor gave me to build up my weaker muscles, but also additional exercises that would build up even more secondary and tertiary muscles. Not only did this help support the torn labrum, while it was healing, it also made my shoulder much stronger that it had been before the injury. This non-surgery route cost me nothing, kept me out of a hospital, and allowed me to start playing again after only 6 months.
So what can we do in our careers that will help to strengthen our weaker or blind side?
The first requirement is an awareness. And instead of waiting for an “injury,” I recommend a more proactive and preemptive approach. So one option is seeking input/feedback from your colleagues. Some people are leery about this, but it is an option. Or you can be more covert by taking an assessment test. This will show you more specifically where your blind spots are and without bias!
The second requirement, of course, is to do the rehab to strengthen the weaker areas, like I did with my shoulder. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy or won’t require hard work. However, when it comes to improving your influence and your potential, this attention to your blind side can make a massive, positive difference in your life and your career.