When I was a kid, I remember traveling down the road in my family’s giant Ford and seeing the words on the side view mirror, “Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear.” I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what it meant.
“Mom, they aren’t closer.” I said, “They are where they are.” In retrospect, I must have had this conversation with my mom about 50 times while traveling. My mom’s patience was immeasurable.
Maybe there is something wrong with my eyesight, but I still don’t really ‘see’ it. I have learned that even though I don’t, I have to allow for the fact that when backing into parallel park, those cars behind me are a lot closer than they appear in the mirror.
Parked cars or telephone poles aren’t the only things in our rear view mirror that are closer than they seem: so are our character defects. Those things about us that we wish weren’t true.
For example, early in my own experience in being coached, my coach said to me, “Matt, you think that you are good with people, but you are not.”
I had always described myself as a ‘people person’ and had what I thought was a warm and gregarious demeanor. What I found out through coaching was the character flaw that I was not people oriented, but talking oriented. I like to talk and make my opinion known. My coach helped me to see the character defect that was actually closer than it appeared. Finding this ‘hole’ in who we are is vital to keep us from crashing into it.
Finding the flaw that is closer than it appears:
1. Ask yourself the following question: “What kinds of problems keep surfacing again and again?” Be more honest about the answer to this question than any other question you’ve ever been asked. What trends do you see? Lots of conflict? Gossip? Lies?
2. What are the consequences of this behavior?
3. What lengths are you willing to go to in order to turn that character defect into a strength? I know that enlisting a coach was vital to me. I’d love to offer you a free strategy session to discuss how coaching could positively impact your life.
Know that with intentional effort, self exploration, and a openness to change, these “objects that are closer than they appear” can be kept in the rear view for good!