Monday, June 4, 2012

"Hiring" Your Weaknesses

Saturday I co-officiated Sarah and Josh's wedding at the Old Red Courthouse Museum in Dallas, Texas, with Dr. Steve Langford. I got a laugh out of their guests immediately as I began my personal remarks. Read on to see why:

I've never started personal remarks with a story about women's undergarments, but hey, they say you should live dangerously, so here goes...

I recently heard an interview with Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, who is youngest self-made female billionaire. One of her most interesting explanations for how she got to where she is today was that the minute the business got too big, she hired a professional CEO. Actually, here is how she put it, "I hired my weaknesses."

That is such a smart statement, which in a way should serve as another nail in the coffin of the myth of the omnipotent hero corporate leader. It also has two interconnected profound messages for not just founder-CEO relationships, but marital relationships too.

The first thing Blakely reminds us is that it is OK to admit that we do have weaknesses. It does not impugn you, as a company founder or a family builder. If anything being that type of self reflective person makes you much much better at whatever you are trying to build.

The second thing is that you go out and seek not your clone to help you with these weaknesses - that would not make sense - you seek out your counterpart, the person whose strengths balance out your weaknesses, and vice versa.

Sarah and Josh really get this. As Josh says, "We are great together. We seem to balance each other out... We bring out the best in one another, [and] we aren’t scared to tell the other how we feel." Sarah agrees when she says, "Initially, I always saw my future being stressful: mortgage, child care, careers. With my previous relationships... Since I have met Josh, I see that stress [subside], not just because I know he would help me, but because he helps me learn to enjoy and laugh in times of stress." I think that anyone who knows Josh will tell you that Sarah has helped him become not more stressed, but more serious, so they both can be at a healthy middle.

Sarah and Josh, keep doing what you are doing, keep supporting and balancing each other. It may not make you billionaires, but it will enrich your lives in a way that only priceless true love can.

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