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Dealing with Weakness, and How Not To Talk About One’s Wife

I’ll start off by saying that I love my wife.

She’s an incredibly talented individual in many ways and we complement each other amazingly well. With that said, she sucks at ironing. Try as she may, she couldn’t iron a washcloth flat. I’m not using this as an opportunity to point out her weakness; in fact, I should be trying harder to cover my ass here. I’m sure I’m failing miserably.

The point that I’m risking a couple days of marital bliss for is a strong one: know your weaknesses. Prolific writer Jack Handy put it best when he said, “If you think a weakness can be turned into a strength, I hate to tell you this, but that’s another weakness.” The entrepreneurial stereotype is focused on – and expectedly so – on being a rock star at handling whatever’s thrown your way. The truth is that a wise business owner doesn’t focus on trying to become mediocre at a weakness if they can simply bring on an expert to manage it.

A couple examples:

  1. A couple weeks ago, I painted a wall in my living room with this new-fangled, sparkly paint that my wife just fell in love with. This was no ordinary paint – two full gallons of the most stubborn substance known to man (I’m serious, the stuff works like Flubber), two days and six headaches later – the wall was done. It was and still is not an expert job, and I still kick myself when I consider that, if I spent only two hours on billable time during that weekend, it probably would’ve paid for a professional to do it…twice.
  2. When my company was just little ol’ me, the responsibility of repairing, installing and maintaining computers was up to me. Fortunately, I got my A+ certification a few years back (don’t know what it is? Don’t worry, neither does anyone else), so I had sufficient knowledge to keep my computer humming along. Now that ImagineDesign has many more computers and needs a grown-up network with tons of forgettable acronyms and boxes with blinking lights, I have someone else manage it and I stay away from it.

A goal of building a business is, to some degree, getting it to run perfectly without your daily involvement. Some of that relies on systems, but most of it depends on putting the right people in place that do everything you can’t, just as much as it depends on having people do what you can.

On that note, I have some ironing to do…


Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.


  • Jamie says:

    Well played, and, well said. The owner and brains to my previous place of employment continued to wear the many hats he had with 16 employees that he had from startup with just him and his wife. It was difficult for him, but once he adopted the mantra of “working yourself out of a job” by distributing his metaphorical stack of assorted hats so that he could focus on the main craft of the business, his life was dramatically improved. Until he was caught embezzling, but aside from that it was good times.

  • Debbie says:

    Very nice Patrick. Am intelligent man realizes what he can and can’t do himself, when to ask/pay for help and when all else fails read the destructions, it is funny how everything comes with them silly things.

  • Arrieb says:

    I too have a spouse that cannot iron. A wiz with numbers, but just can’t seem to find the starch…I agree, a leader shouldn’t carry the thought that they can be good at everything. A leader is a person with an idea that realizes that surrounding themselves with the right people for the right jobs is how an empire gets built. If you are the visionary, you need to bond with the people who can execute the vision.

    Love the fruits of your labor…wish you the best, friend!

  • Mary Castello says:

    Is anyone around old enough to remember Ronald Reagan? He had a strategy much like yours, and it went something like: You don’t have to be smart, just surround yourself with smart people. You’re in good company.

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