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Superhero Branding

The Art of Business Alchemy: How to Turn Your Weaknesses into Your Greatest Strengths

Marisa Murgatroyd

The Flatiron Building in New York is one of the most recognizable, most photographed buildings on the planet but back when it was built in 1902 everyone thought it looked totally bizarre.

The architect had to design it to look like an old-fashioned household iron because he wanted it to fit into a narrow, triangular plot of land.

But the Flatiron’s weird shape turned it into a global icon. Its weakness became its greatest strength.

Same thing happened with the Android phone…

Androids are kinda ugly, right? But they’re indestructible and they have all kinds of great functions because unlike Apple’s iPhones, they run on an open operating system. And so, Androids became these “ugly cool” phones.

Like the Flatiron, their weakness became their greatest strength.

I’ve always believed that, in business, when you can turn your weakness into your greatest strength, you’re golden.

The truth is no matter who you are and what you do, you’ve got some weaknesses and you’ve got some strengths but most entrepreneurs focus on their strengths and lead ONLY with their strengths.

What I love to do is share my weaknesses and turn them into strengths.

Here’s one example…

If you read my bio it says, “Marisa Murgatroyd is also known as the shortest woman in marketing. At 4 foot 11 inches and a quarter, she’s known for having big ideas.”

Now, don’t get me wrong…

It’s not that being short is a huge weakness but when I first got started in this business people said, “Oh isn’t she cute!” And it felt a little bit harder to be seen, heard and taken seriously.

I’m tiny but that became one of my strengths. In this bio, I’m poking fun at myself and it shows people that I’m not this ultra-serious, ultra-boring person. They can look at my bio and instantly see that I’m not trying to be more than I am. They’ll see that I’m bringing ALL of myself to the table.

I’m being 100% real.

People want to do business with real human beings.

They want you to show your weaknesses and your strengths. They want you to share your vulnerabilities. They want you to share all the moments when things did NOT go well.

A lot of times, when you expose weaknesses — even those embarrassing moments when you failed or when you fell flat on your face — you’re actually turning it into strengths.

Here’s the thing…

People will love you because of your weaknesses. If you think about characters in Hollywood, the best of the best, have dramatic tension, contrast and polarity, which only comes from sharing both their positive and their negative traits, their strengths and their weaknesses.

When the Flatiron Building was brand new, people thought it wasn’t going to stand the test of time. But 116 years later, it’s still standing and it’s one of the most talked about buildings in a gigantic city that has so much to offer.

That’s what happens when you lead not just with your strengths but also with your weaknesses.

And when you have the courage to share your weaknesses, you’ll realize that your vulnerability, your humanity, all the things that you’ve messed up in your life are precisely what make you someone to watch, someone to follow, someone to love and someone to trust.

I’d love for you to think about this…

What are some of your “weaknesses?” How can you rethink and reframe them to become your greatest strengths? How can you inspire people to know you better and to love and trust you more by sharing the things you think you need to hide?

Share your thoughts in the comments — I personally read and reply every one 🙂

And no matter what, never let yourself forget…

Your weaknesses are precisely what people want to know about you and exactly why they’ll love you.

Now go out there and Live Your Message.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Virginia Reeves

    I’d like to see a re-naming of the term weaknesses. I prefer to think of them as talents, skills, thoughts, or beliefs that have not yet been nurtured. Why put a ‘negative’ spin on these to start with. It’s like rethinking the word mistake as a mis-take. I agree with the concept that these elements are part of what is an attraction for others because they can relate more easily.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Great point Virginia! So true, that reframing is key. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply ·
  2. Michael Lewis Lee

    The journalists in Texas must not feel the way you do do about that building icon. I’ve never seen it before and I don’t admire New York City but I think I would enjoy it.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      It’s a really interesting building in person. Highly suggest checking it out if you make your way to NYC 🙂

      Reply ·
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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

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