Narcissism is bad right? How in the world would something deemed a negative personality trait actually help a person succeed? Narcissism is by definition (at least from what google says) an extreme form of selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration. That cannot be good right? How can a person be successful when they only think of themselves, have a grandiose view of their abilities and talents and crave admiration?
The term “narcissist” actually has an origin in Greek Mythology. Narcissus was a man that fell in love with himself after looking at his reflection in a pool of water. Due to his inability to obtain the love he desired from his reflection, he died of a broken heart. So now that we all know the definition and the origin of the word lets move on to thinking a little differently about the idea of healthy narcissism.
What does narcissism have to do with entrepreneurship and leadership? Starting a business, working for yourself, or running a cooperation takes guts. It takes determination. It takes being innovative and taking a risk. An entrepreneur is someone who is so in love with their own ideas that they will pursue them to no end. Any person that has stepped out of the ordinary and created something extraordinary with no real reassurance that success was a guarantee had to have a reason to do so. Sure self preservation plays a part, but in order to be successful a person has to be a bit self serving.
Entrepreneurs and innovators are the ones that are so in love with their ideas and what they are able to create that they will invest every penny they have in it. They will work over 80 hours a week, giving up sleep and leisure for their belief in themselves and what they are able to offer. They do not stop there however. They are also the best self-promoters of their service and abilities. They love what they can do and they are not afraid to tell everyone exactly why they love it. They are also not afraid of rejection. They will simply move on until they find another person that will give them the chance they feel they deserve.
This is a person that has a healthy dose of narcissism. When narcissism is based on a need to feed an ego or to garner attention this is when it becomes unhealthy. The attention that is being sought is based on an over-inflated sense of self that deflects from how much they dislike who they are. Their personal reality is based on a false image of self instead of a belief that they are creative, innovative, and deserving of value.
The key here is to find the right balance of healthy narcissistic belief in yourself and not work from a negative self-view that you do not want to look at. It will take some deep soul searching to figure out where your narcissism originates from. If you truly believe that you are working from a healthy belief in yourself then do not worry about being a bit narcissistic. If you dig around inside of yourself and find that you might not like yourself very much then be ready to step back from whatever it is that you are doing and work on yourself for a little bit. Once you have done that, re-visit your ideas for entrepreneurship and see how you can make it work for you. The end goal is always success so it does not matter how you get there as long as you do and you are stable with it.