Blind Spots and Leadership in the Age of Corona with Ashley Kutach
Ashley Kutach and co-author Brian BrandtEast Texans got to see Ashley Kutach and co-author, Brain Brandt on local newsstands.

In this age of Corona, leaders need great communication skills. Ashley and Brian Brandt just co-authored their book, Blind Spots: What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us. I invited Ashley Kutach on Fireside Talk Radio to talk about how our personal blind spots affect our ability to communicate.

As Ashley and Brian coached a variety of leaders, they noticed a trend. 

“We have both seen people who would have something happen to them again and again and they would wonder why. They would want us to help give them the answer, the solution,” explains Ashley, “And oftentimes what we had to do was get them to listen.”

The common denominator in these situations often turned out to be the leader. Of course, with the pandemic, leaders are tested in unexpected ways.

Self-awareness vs. Blind Spots with Ashley Kutach, Her Wisdom In the above episode, I begin our interview with a story about the first time I met Ashley. You will love her response to my first impressions of this wonderful lady.

A Quick List of Self Awareness Questions

Ashley began asking herself terrific questions to boost her own self-awareness. As we watch our leaders struggle to communicate in challenging circumstances, you may notice trends yourself. Now, more than ever, we need connection. Blind spots greatly impact our ability to connect with the people we love the most. Perhaps you’re noticing the trend as you lead your own family in responding to crisis.

If you read my blog often, you know how much I LOVE good questions. So, here’s Ashley’s quick list from the above podcast:

  • What things happen to me more than once?
  • What is my role in the situation?
  • Why do I let this happen more than once?
  • Do I have one-sided relationships, where I give more to the relationship than my friend?
  • Am I afraid to take responsibility for my patterns?
  • Is that really who I am?

“I think it’s so important for all people, all women—for wives, for moms—to think about those patterns they are seeing in their lives, to begin to really inspect those,” she adds. (To sign up for our free weekly podcasts and blogs, click here.)

Breaking Stereotypes

Blind spots can include stereotypes people put on us. Sometimes the most loving people in our lives say things that limit us. Ashley shares an example from her own life.

“I have always considered myself a very shy person. I still believe that to be true, actually, about myself,” she says, “I have never met a child as shy as what I remember myself being as a child.” Her parents reinforced her self-perception. 

However, when her elementary school teacher begged for participants in a speech contest, the tender-hearted shy girl volunteered. 

“I won, which was very surprising.” Now she advocates trying new things as a route to self-awareness. For instance, Ashley loves public speaking. She is a frequent guest at podiums and boardrooms across America to speak on topics like Taking the Con Out of Conflict and Superwomen in Leadership, to name just a couple.

Overcoming Blind Spots with Ashley Kutach, Her Story To hear more about how Ashley encouraged her own children when they were little and how that has changed over the years, listen in to our conversation above. She also shares how her sweet hubby gently coached her on a personal blind spot. Click here for more podcasts about encouraging a husband, our kids, or aging parents.

That’s Just Who I Am!

I confess I’ve heard myself say it. “That’s just who I am!” Sometimes, it’s our best excuse for ignoring something we really need to work on. Ugh! (For more on sassy faith without getting on everyone’s nerves, click here.However, Ashley offered some great wisdom.

“If you find yourself putting your hands on your hips and saying, ‘This is just who I am. They are going to have to accept it.’ One thing to remember is that we don’t really,” she explains, “I mean, people don’t really have to accept if I behave in a certain way.” 

People get to choose if they spend time with us. Likewise, I get to decide if I want to work on my own habits. Ashley suggests we take a hard look at our habits and decide how they may affect others. She suggests asking, “Is that really who I am?” Or, could we be making excuses because we don’t want to do the work?

The Trap of Perfectionism

I’ve worked on tons of my own stuff over the years, only to have patterns reemerge. I asked Ashley about the balance between working on bad habits and perfectionism.

“Where does it stop? That’s a great question. We go through all these different stages in life—when you have a new job or you retire from a job, or you become a parent or a grandparent, or you become a new neighbor—you have all these new situations lend themselves to potentially discovering blind spots.”

Ashley stresses that none of us can hope to be perfect. “I’m not perfect at all and I’m never going to be perfect. I’m human.”

She offered this test for when to work on blind spots and when to let stuff go. 

“If this is impacting the relationship I have my husband or children, then it’s worth investing the time,” she says. “For me it’s all relationship-based. If it’s impacting my relationships, it’s worth tackling.”

Coming Soon

Tammy Whitehurst is coming on Fireside Talk Radio soon to talk more about overcoming perfectionism. Tammy’s insight perfectly (see what I did there) compliments Ashley’s. We are so blessed to hear from both these good ladies.

Paula Silva will be sharing her story. Paula is a nationally known expert on domestic violence. One of her special focuses is domestic violence among believers. You are going to love this tender, wise woman’s heart.

Plus, Dr. Stan Ward has agreed to answer my questions about burn out. His personal stories about preempting burn out while caring for a beloved family member after a serious injury will refresh your heart. 

For the contents of the Corona Kits we dropped off to a few friends, scroll to the end. For my own sanity, I’m reading great books like Ashley Kutach’s Blind Spots.

You are dear to me!

As I consider all the craziness of the last few weeks, one thing stands out to me. I really care about my reading and listening to friends. I hope you are taking good care of yourself in these uncertain times, filling your heart with faith, rather than fear.

When folks stop me to talk about some heroic person they discovered because of our broadcasts, my heart fills with renewed energy for the task. Thank you for the million ways you find to encourage me and my family. I am grateful!

May we pray together?

Perfect Father in heaven, how we love You! You are the healer, the author and finisher of our faith, the beloved One who reigns in our hearts. Thank You for our brothers and sisters in faith. We praise You. Thank You for providing for us with Your presence and all we need in this world. For surrounding us with neighbors and kind strangers, we thank You. We trust You and find You to be ever trustworthy. Unite us in crisis. Strengthen our resolve to love each other well. Make us people who honor You in all our ways. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We LOVE to hear from you!

What are you putting in your Corona Kit? Has a kind friend or stranger done an act of kindness that encouraged you? How has crisis exposed blind spots in your life?

Extra Personal for Those Who Read to the End

My blind spot exposed by Corona Virus: It turns out I rely on hugs to convey my affection. Hugs are my go-to short cut for expressing affection. 

I’ve discovered verbal expressions of affection are hard for me. Who knew? Right now, I’m forcing myself to give people virtual hugs. I look people in the eye from six feet away and say something mushy. Yes, mushy. Can you read my bad attitude about how hard this is? Ouch!

So, please know you are very valuable to me, dear to my heart even. If we were together, I would look you in the eye and say so. Even though it makes me really uncomfortable to be so vulnerable and, well, mushy. 

We left Lysol-soaked Birdwatching Corona Kits to remind folks we love them. What’s in your kit?

Thank you for reading to the end of today’s blog. I’m grateful for you!

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at Truth with a Texas Twang.

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