I’m Not Pattern Blind

Summary: Emotional intelligence and self-awareness are essential aspects of high-level positive communication. Here are some ideas to help you be the best leader you can be.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I’ve heard you talk about “Pattern Blindness” in the same sentence as “Speaking the Unspeakable.” Can you say more, please? 

In addition, you also talk about what it takes to have emotional intelligence. I do need some clarification.

Above all, thanks for all your good ideas.

Why is speaking truth to power so difficult?

Here is my issue. I am beyond frustrated and stressed with my boss, who is always saying the same things repeatedly. He loves to talk about himself and brag about all his successes. 

And yes, the business is a success, and I am well paid

However, he’s blind to his patterns.

Then when there is a problem, it gets blamed on the first person who is in view.

Sadly, I am his second in command. Therefore, I’m the guy who does most of the work and gets all the calls late at night.

I guess we play into each other’s patterns.

Until now, when he starts the blame game, I keep my mouth shut. I think that I will quit this damn job and never talk with that jerk boss again. You see, I have never, and that means in 6 years, ever spoken the unspeakable.

To clarify, I smile, stuff my upset, and fix his messes.

To sum up, I guess I do not pattern blind since I see what I am doing.

What do I need to learn to do to “speak the unspeakable?” 



Use your emotional intelligence for positive outcomes.

Dear Need HELP,

Glad you can see the issue at hand. Here are some thoughts about what matters in leadership development and executive education.

Becoming Pattern Aware is essential and is relatively easy to learn. Just take the Leadership Quiz to see where you have behaviors that need to change. Here is a link to the quiz.

Learning to “speak the unspeakable” is probably the most complex issue of working together. It’s one of the most vital parts of emotional intelligence. 

When you were a little kid, were you taught to be careful about your comments? Did you get “shushed” not to say many things about what you saw, heard, or felt?

For example, did you think your uncle’s shiny bald head looked funny (before it became fashionable)? And then did you point and laugh? I get that most likely; you were silenced and told that was not polite. 

Or when your mom was looking sad, and you asked, “What’s the matter?” There would e a pause, and then you were told, “Oh nothing, and don’t ask again.”

Yet, you saw her wiping tears when she thought no one was looking. And you asked again and heard, “I’m FINE!” and like most kids, you decided to stuff your feelings and play the family game of “Let’s Pretend.”

What does it mean to speak the unspeakable?

I think that social media is giving many folks an outlet for speaking the unspeakable. However, they are still usually NOT talking directly to the one who is driving them crazy. 

Question: What do you say to your boss?

Here is a suggestion. Tell your boss how you are feeling. I repeat, do not tell him what a “pattern blind” jerk he is. 

Here are some thoughts that may help. 

These quotes are to prepare you for a productive conversation loaded with emotional intelligence.

“I respect your success (you said he brags about conquests, so start there). In addition, I am glad we work so well together. Further, the business is so successful because you are a great visionary. (and that is your truth).

However, my nature is to say “yes” whenever you need extra help. Sometimes, I want to say, “not now,” and I have to get better at speaking my truth. “

Speaking truth to power is a sign of high level emotional intelligence.

“So, when I speak the truth to you, it may be upsetting. Let’s talk about it because I’m looking at making our relationship at work positive and rewarding. Above all, my relationship with you matters.”

Put this into your own words; this is to give you some direction on how to communicate.

To your success,


P.S. You will get even more tips and tools from reading my new book “Invisible STRESS (It’s NOT What YOU Think!).” Then watch this masterclass about how to practice safe stress in tough times. It’s about what you need to do to make your life less stressful, chaotic, and calmer.

Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options