Look Twice for Blind Spots

ZacKeeney.com Blind Spots

We’ve all been there right?

I’m driving, I’m paying attention (so I think), and I make a move to change lanes. Suddenly, I catch a glimpse of the car I thought I’d checked for, right in my blind spot. I nearly hit them.

My heart races. My mouth gets dry like I just ate 100 crackers. Adrenaline spikes. I immediately check all mirrors and veer back into my lane. Somehow I’m trying to figure out if I apologize with a kind smile or wave to my victim. I didn’t mean it, you were in my blind spot…

  • What if I wasn’t talking about cars?
  • What if the blind spot I’m referencing isn’t a dead zone in our mirrors, but really a personality flaw?

I have a couple blind spots. Everyone does. It’s human nature. I’m going to tell you about mine and how I check my mirrors (when reflecting) to make sure I’m not running anyone over.

My first blind spot is the slippery slope of my confidence level. Not sure where it came from, but I’ve always been a fairly confident person. I wouldn’t fault myself or anyone else for this. I believe a person needs an edge to win, and if I can’t believe in myself, who will right?!?

Welcome blind spot!

In the past, I’ve let my confidence pass the line from being confident and humble to cocky. Let me tell you something quick. No one likes the word cocky or the definition of the person it’s labeling. I have written proof of this.

I have unbelievable friends. Friends so committed to looking after me, they will tell me the truth. The BRUTAL truth.  These are my truths from a time in my life I’m not proud of, but I can’t change. The following thoughts came from a great friend of mine via email nearly seven years ago and it addresses one of my blind spots.

Here’s how the message started:

I must first preface this email by saying this: I care about you a lot, you are one of my best friends, and this is why I feel comfortable enough to say the things that you are about to read below.

My friend goes on to describe behaviors of mine that could easily be labeled as arrogant and careless in regard to other people. You may wonder why I keep such a message? I keep it because the feelings were real and it generates real emotion. Every time I read it I get angry at myself. But I, nor you, can change the past. I am, however, comfortable with knowing I have the opportunity not to be this person ever again based on my daily actions and behaviors. Back to the message.

The letter ends with this powerful statement:

The reason I am telling you all of this: Because I am your friend and I want to continue to have you as my friend. I also care about Beth (my wife) and I believe that she deserves the Zac that you used to be. I also know that you can handle this critique because if you couldn’t, I would not send you this email. I also hope that if I ever need a little check on myself, that you will be one of the first ones to call me out.

Every time I read this I stop for a second…

My immediate response is overwhelming. Thank you! Thank you! If my friend is reading this (and I really hope they are), they will know how things turned out for the better, maybe even the BEST! I think it is safe to say this letter may have reset my life into a better direction. A direction I’m proud to say I’m on today.

But, I’m still not perfect.  I have a second blind spot.

The second blind spot I’m aware of is my tendency to over-focus on achievement. I’m a very driven person. I will laser focus on achieving the next thing, the next win, the next big advance (personally and professionally). As you can imagine, at times, this hyper focus will cause me to lose sight of what really matters. Precious time with family, friends, and simply just enjoying life is what really matters.

Good news, I’m getting better. Much better. The birth of my son added a perspective I thought I was ready for, but greatly under appreciated until it actually happened. I believe I’m much better now at focusing on the essential and leaving the trivial to pass. I’ll always be driven, but now I feel I’m more dangerous because I have the power to pursue and let go equally.

So what’s next? How can you address your blind spots?

If you’re tracking on my analogies, blind spots are there for all of us. We just have to take an extra second to see what’s actually going on around us and be willing to see it for what it really is. In my case, I have a wonderful group of very close friends and a wife who sometimes seems to be more interested in taking care of me than I am. They help me see what is out of focus in my life.

ACTION ITEM: Followers know I write from time to time about reflection. I can’t say enough about how valuable it is in seeing the bigger picture at hand. I challenge you to reflect and write down two of your blind spots. It DOES NOT make you a bad person. On the contrary, I believe it adds much needed awareness to your life.

Four Reasons to Obsess About Your Legacy

The question, “How will you be remembered?” is a big and heavy one.

Your Unwritten Legacy

Your Unwritten Legacy

In the speed-it-up world we live in, sometimes it’s hard to see past the next week, month, or even year.  However, I’m going to give you four reasons why you should obsess over your legacy today and every day after.  It will have a big impact on what you do tomorrow.

  1. Perspective – A few weeks ago, my dad said something to me that his dad said to him many years ago.  He said, “There’s an old man waiting for you someday too son.”  It was said in a way only a father and his infinite wisdom could deliver.  I ask myself… What does that old man look like?  Where has he been? What will his friends say about him? What stories does he have to share?
  2. Roadmap – Thinking about your legacy will provide you with a roadmap to decision making and seeing a bigger picture.  Where will you go?  What will you see?  What decisions do you need to make today to impact your legacy?  I challenge you to think about your legacy for the big decisions and you won’t be disappointed years later at where you end up.
  3. Decision Making – Life offers many opportunities to make decisions.  If you’re like me, I’ve made some good ones and really bad ones.  Hopefully, I’ve learned from the bad decisions and I won’t make them again.  Today, the decisions I make are impacted by thinking about my legacy.  I feel it takes less weight off of an impending decision if I think about it in the much larger scope or bigger picture.
  4. Who Will You Be – There is one thing you will leave behind that will outlast any money gifted to family, friends, or charities.  Your story.  Each of us has a chance to write the book backwards starting today.  Work on writing the last and most difficult chapter first.  We can work backwards from there and write a few chapters or hundreds.  The number of chapters isn’t up to us, but a legacy can be established either way.  “It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years.”

To help my readers, here is snapshot of what I hope for my legacy.

Zac was an extremely passionate, energetic and successful individual who loved spending time with people and could light up a room with his presence.  He consistently challenged those around him to get better every single day.  He could be tough, but always fair and respectful.  No matter what the need or when, he was there for his closest friends and family in a moment’s notice.  Together, with this wife Beth, they would travel, see the world, and were always generous toward others.

ACTION ITEM:  Write and think about your legacy.  Some day, many years from now, you will meet your legacy and I hope it won’t be a stranger.