Don’t Let Blind Spots Sabotage You: The Brutal Truth About How Embracing Feedback Can Change Your Life

“Feedback matters because we all have blindspots.”

Ray Chung, Sr. Consultant, Rising Sun Consultants

One activity every member of my family enjoys is crafting together. In the Spring of 2019, my wife, my three children, and I bought some paracord, watched a few online tutorials, and set out to make paracord bracelets. Frequently worn by outdoor enthusiasts, these bracelets aren’t just a fashion statement. They’re known as “survival bracelets” because, when unwoven, each bracelet provides hundreds of feet of cord that could be repurposed in an emergency.

Though the bracelets are designed to unravel when needed, as makers we found their propensity to fray and unravel frustrating. Luckily, our online paracord tutors had a solution to this problem: a lighter. The flame’s heat melts the inner nylon threads, transforming a fraying, hopeless mess into a malleable point and preventing the bracelet’s total dissolution.

As I watched our bracelets come apart, one unraveling strand affecting the integrity of the whole, I thought about the effect we have on those around us. The woven bracelet reminded me of the way we ourselves are intertwined: As individual members of families, organizations, and communities, we affect those around us. The strength of the whole depends on the strength of its parts, and so, as imperfect and fallible humans, we have the privilege and responsibility of helping each other to be our best.

In my own life, feedback has been the refining fire that shapes and transforms my fraying edges. I have been privileged to have colleagues, friends, and family members who value our shared mission and interpersonal cohesion enough to strengthen it — oftentimes by making me aware of the ways my own actions, inactions, or misplaced values are inadvertently causing harm. Like being held near a flame, inviting and receiving feedback is not without pain — but it provides an opportunity for personal refinement and relational restoration.

Earlier in my career, I accepted a management role with a new organization. I had some previous management experience and no shortage of knowledge gleaned from seminars and leadership books, but as I came to realize, each company — even each group within a company — is different. Applying my knowledge to a new organization’s culture and context was harder in practice than in theory. My boss and the team around me were incredibly gracious and supportive. They afforded me time and opportunities for growth. With the help of their feedback, I came to see that I needed to reset my managerial mindset. I had subconsciously adopted the false mindset that as a manager, I should have most, if not all, of the answers. I spoke more than I listened. I fired off ideas and proposals but was slow to ask questions. My over-eager check-ins with team members inadvertently communicated a lack of trust in their abilities and competencies. As a result, I was not earning their trust. My own blindspots and inexperience prevented our team from functioning as the cohesive unit the organization deserved.

At the recommendation of my manager, I sought the team’s feedback. Inviting these individuals to share their perspectives was humbling, awkward, and uncomfortable. I imagine it was difficult for them, as well. But their honest feedback, delivered in a posture of love and grace, is a gift that I will forever cherish. I still have much to learn as a manager, but as a result of their feedback, I now try to lead with clearly communicated expectations, listening more than I speak, and giving my team members the latitude to shine.

Feedback matters because we all have blindspots. Some Coke lovers can’t imagine why anyone would drink Pepsi. Some sprinters don’t see why anyone would run more than 3 miles unless there’s a tiger in pursuit. And, at the risk of being labeled a heretic, I’ve more than once shared that in heaven the streets are made of Cheetos … though I do admit I might be wrong on that point!

An oft-quoted African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Let’s help one another go far. I want to treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve, which sometimes includes valuing someone enough to lovingly speak the truth. I have been the recipient of difficult truths, and I will forever be grateful. Though it hasn’t become easy, I want to continually and actively welcome feedback into my own life, whether that’s through a coaching engagement, a bullet-point email survey, or a conversation with my 7-year-old daughter. Take the next step in growing as a servant leader, we would love to assist you. Email us at


Rising Sun is a leadership and organizational consulting firm committed to the development of servant leaders, engaged employees, and healthy organizational cultures. We’re truth-tellers who balance candor and care, and for two decades we’ve been a trusted guide and partner to family-owned companies, multinational firms, and nonprofit organizations alike.

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