Am I a Narcissist?
It’s a negative word, narcissist. It’s not an adjective that people like to use to describe themselves.
…I have narcissistic traits
In the last year of my previous company, E-Dressage, I had decided that I was going to push the business hard and ultimately make-it-or-break-it.
Sadly, I broke it – and it went up with a bang! (you can read more about that here)
When I announced the company’s closure and put it into voluntary liquidation, I received so many lovely messages from people offering me their condolences and wishing me the best for the future.
Literally hundreds of them!
It took me a week to get through, and even then, there were some that I didn’t manage to get back to before the servers were shut down.
Amongst all the pleasant messages, there were a few that were not so nice.
One message was particularly nasty. The lady called me a narcissist then told me to Google it.
I didn’t reply to the email. With the limited time that I had, I much preferred to respond to those that gave me their best wishes, rather than argue with someone.
But the word ‘narcissist’ always stayed in my head, and not for the reasons you might think.
Here is the snippet from the email
“I hope you have learnt a huge lesson from this Roseanna – I know I have. Perhaps a suggestion is not to believe you are bigger than what you actually are and taking everyone else along with it. Sadly that is a huge narcissist trait – Google it! “
I sit here and read it over and over again, and to me, it seems as though she is telling me off because I believed in myself…
…because I believed that I could do it and because I picked up the bat and took a swing at it.
Is that a bad thing?
What is a narcissist?
After following her instructions and indeed Googling the definition of narcissism, these are the traits that I found.
- A person who has excessive interest in or admiration for themselves
- A person who is overly self-involved, vain or selfish
- Receiving gratification from the admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes
Basically, someone who believes that they are better than everyone else and want’s everyone else to sit and ooh and ahh at them in admiration.
In an extreme sense, all of these characterises are a very bad trait. But on the lighter end of the scale, I think some of them are favourable and almost necessary in entrepreneurship.
Allow me to explain.
‘Narcissists believe they are better’
To start a business or to become an entrepreneur you need to believe in yourself.
You need to believe that you are good enough to do it and you need to believe that with every brain cell and fibre in your body because when things get tough, and when people around you are telling you that you can’t do it and that you should quit, you need to be able to believe in yourself with enough conviction to keep going.
You’re going to have stand toe to toe with your competitors.
Competitors that may have been in business a lot longer than you, that have more experience than you and that have a hell of a lot more resources than you. And with all of that going against you, you need to believe that you can offer something better, because if you don’t believe that, then why should your potential customers?
If you lack this conviction, if you don’t believe that you can bring something better to the table then you will struggle in the world of entrepreneurship.
‘Narcissists are selfish’
As an entrepreneur, you need to look after your own business and interests before you can look after anyone else.
To put this into a practical example, if you were a mother aboard a plane and the oxygen masks dropped down from the ceiling, you are instructed to put your own mask on first before putting one on your child. The mother must take care of herself before she can take care of her child – if she were to pass out, it may be game over for the both of them.
The same rules apply in business.
There is an unwritten rule that as an entrepreneur before you pay any of your staff or business overheads, you must first pay yourself.
Often, and I have been guilty of this, we give too soon and place ourselves in uncertain circumstances.
A wise man once said, ‘you can’t help those in need if you are a person in need’.
On the other side of the coin, there are philanthropist business owners out that that earn millions, if not billions, and each year give a substantial amount of money to charities, organisations and good causes.
The charitable donations from Bill Gates alone have totalled more than $50 billion. Do you think that any of this would have been possible if he didn’t concentrate on his own interests and businesses first? After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
‘Narcissists need admiration’
These days, social media plays a huge role in any business or entrepreneur.
We want people to follow us, to like our posts and to engage with us. We’re going to put our best foot forward and tell people why they should be following us, why we are better, why they should like us and how we can help them.
The majority of entrepreneurs just want to inspire people and show them what is possible. But in order for you to be inspired by someone, you first need to admire them.
A motivational speaker, Eric Thomas, frequently tells stories of people coming up to him, shaking his hand, telling him how much he has changed their life for the better, how his videos and speeches helped them to improve their business, their finances or their marriage.
This gratification helps fuel Eric Thomas through his hectic schedule and the day-to-day. But because he enjoys receiving this admiration, I guess you could say that this makes him a narcissist…
Maybe I got the wrong end of the stick
Okay, so I understand that narcissism is, in fact, a mental disorder and may lead to needing treatment through psychotherapy.
There are also other traits that make up a narcissism which include lack of empathy, always being the victim and nothing ever being their fault.
It is a complex personality disorder.
I’m just trying the highlight that fact that labelling those that that believe in themselves, those that are trying to get ahead and those that have the brass balls to pick up the bat and keep swinging for what they want, as having narcissistic traits is quite upsetting.
We should be cheering these people on and not trying to drag them down for ‘believing in themselves too much’.
As I am writing this blog, a post just popped up on Facebook from SUCCESS Magazine.
For those of you that have never heard about it, the magazine was founded in 1897 and has had some world-renowned entrepreneurs grace the front cover, including Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
The Facebook post quotes, “If you don’t make time to pursue being extraordinary, then you’ll never experience true greatness. All you’ll ever know is mediocrity.”
If me believing that I can be extraordinary, achieve true greatness and be more than the average person makes me a narcissist, then I will wear that label with pride.
No matter how many times I fail or make mistakes I will continue to believe that I can be better.
What are your thoughts on this post? Let me know in the comments below.
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