I’ve always recognized that I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. But in the past several years, I have noticed something exciting. I’m progressing toward the best version of myself.

How have I been progressing? I have a secret, and it’s simpler than you may think.

In every self-help book or advice column, “self-awareness” will be suggested at some point as a tactic to help you become the best version of yourself. Although I will never discourage a healthy dose of self-reflection, here’s something that might be news – every single person has blind spots, or areas of weakness you might not realize you have. They can be interpersonal or intrapersonal; they come in every shape and size, and they can be detrimental to a person’s growth if left unchecked.

But with “blind” being the operative word in “blind spots,” how are you supposed to see them within yourself and improve? Intense sessions of self-reflection? The truth is, you probably will not find your blind spots alone. You need to surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you to the degree that they will make you aware of your weaknesses and help you improve.

I’m fortunate to have these people in every facet of my life, but two really stand out to me right now as I write.

The first is a fellow coach, Steve. He is a great guy; a terrific husband, father and friend. In our friendship, he has become a mirror for me. When I’m out of line, he points out in a genuine way where I fall short, and gives me the advice to not only fix the situation, but to help avoid a similar misstep in the future. As my mirror, he not only shows me my reflection, but the reflection of the world around me through a different perspective. For example, I have hit a rough patch with my youngest son, a middle schooler. Any parent knows middle school parenting is not for the faint at heart, but there are days where it really hits me hard. I text _ during moments of frustration and exhaustion, and he always helps me take a step back from my weariness with a response like, ““He’s a great kid that is talented.” He knows how to encourage and show me the best road forward. Everybody needs a Steve.

Next is my wife. She and I are complete opposites – from personality, to palate, to even how we dress. Surface level, we seem polar opposite, but our core is the same. She knows my goals in life; I know hers, and we push each other closer to fulfillment. Thus, she is not just a mirror for me; she takes it a step further and opens up my world. Heck, the only reason why I have eaten sushi is because of her! She is keen at spotting areas in my life where I’m closed off or stubborn (beyond my reluctance to eat raw fish), and she pushes forward. My partnership with her has given me countless new experiences and has elevated my life in every way possible.

And that is my secret. I’m surrounded by amazing people who illuminate my blind spots and balance me out. It’s easy to surround yourself with “yes” people who follow you around, make you feel good and not challenge you. If you choose those companions, you’ll never grow. You need people to check you and expand your horizon. You need diverse opinions and perspectives. You need honesty and genuine care. If you strive to be surrounded with people who possess qualities, you will become the best version of yourself. And that is all an imperfect human being can ask for.