Ministry Resources

Spotting the Gorillas in Our Lives

Author: Angela Craig

Play a game with me for a moment.

Watch the video and count how many times the players in WHITE pass the basketball.


Did you count 15?

Great job!

Did you see the Gorilla pass through the middle of the game half way through the video?

If you didn’t, don’t feel bad, you are simply a very focused individual. Go ahead, re-watch it, I had too!

Like the Gorilla, we all have things in our lives we do not see.

In fact, research has shown leaders to have an average of 3.4 blind spots. Does that number seem high? It did to me too. Then I realized it is because you and I don’t have any blind spots, thus leaving more for the rest of the leaders.

But you should keep reading on behalf of those who aren’t as lucky as us. I have leader changing information to share with you today on how to spot the Gorillas in our lives…I mean their lives.

All kidding aside, it is imperative as leaders that we deal with the Gorilla in the room. Everyone else but us sees him, discusses him, and wonders when OR if we will clue into his presence.

Here are 3 of my Favorite Zoo Keeping Tips for your Gorillas:

1. Self-Awareness: The key to change is knowing oneself. Being self-aware is not about identifying and eliminating all your faults. Self-Awareness is about learning the motivation behind your words and actions and the impact it has on the people you lead.

The key to change is knowing oneself.

2. Learning to Receive Feedback: In the book, Thanks for the Feedback, authors, Stone and Heen identify three triggers that block feedback:

  •  Truth Trigger: We don’t agree with the person’s assessment of us.
  •  Relational Triggers: The person giving feedback is not credible.
  •  Identity Triggers: The feedback is rejected because it tangos with our identity issues, creating shame, unworthiness, or threatens our wellbeing.

Stone and Heen suggest leaders move beyond the triggers and invite rich dialogue with team members (family too) by asking one simple question: Tell me one thing I can work on to improve my leadership skills? Ask in person, and ask with a sincere desire to learn from the other person’s perspective. This will create great trust and camaraderie among your teammates.

3. Learn the Art of Inaccessibility: How many times have you stepped away from a situation, only to see it clearer than ever before. Maybe it was a relationship, a job, or a hobby. For example: Our oldest son quit baseball a year ago. It wasn’t until he had a break from playing that he understood why he didn’t like the game. Practicing the art of inaccessibility on a consistent basis takes you outside the game and puts you on the sidelines where you will have greater advantage of seeing what Gorillas you have missed walking through your life.

For more great insights and ideas about self-awareness, feedback, and the art of inaccessibility, I recommend reading, Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change. It is packed for of relevant research, and end of the chapter activities to propel you and your team to the next level of success.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Spotting the Gorillas in our Lives. Please don’t hesitate to share your stories or comments below.

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Until next time, have an incredible week!

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