Out of Desperation Comes Inspiration: How to Become a Business Narcissist

Latest posts by Dr. Travis and Michelle Fox (see all)

When people hear the word recession, they imagine poverty. But when we hear that word, we think about fluorescent light bulbs, Scotch Tape and chocolate chip cookies. We think of the ballpoint pen and the basketball. Because those are just a few of the things that were invented during an economic recession or depression.

Many things that the world loves—and which we use every day–sprang out of hard times. They weren’t brought to life by people who were obsessing over the headlines, checking their 401(k)s or hanging on every word from the Federal Reserve or the president or their boss.

They were invented by people who were relentlessly focused on their business, and their mission to offer something new to the world. They were brought to us by people with single-minded, ruthless determination.

And the same thing will happen this time around. If we are unfortunate enough to enter another recession, there will still be inventors and company builders stubbornly insisting on doing what they do best: bringing new things into the world.

Being that kind of inventor or builder means tuning out the noise. It means maintaining focus instead of getting distracted or giving in to despair.

Bringing great things out of hard times—which entrepreneurs and builders worldwide will continue to do—requires embracing something we’ve been taught all our lives to shun: narcissism.

8 Surprising Strategies for Unstoppable Focus

Business narcissism

We would never advocate for anyone to actually be narcissistic because narcissists are terrible people. They hold themselves above others, and imagine that everything they do is unimpeachable. They believe they are superior and that is insufferable.

So never be a narcissist. Except when it comes to your business. 

Here is just a brief snippet from the Mayo Clinic’s definition of narcissism:

  • Exaggerated sense of self-importance.
  • Preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty ….
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people.
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office.

While this does sound like the perfect description of an annoying dinner date, these are attributes that can help an idea turn into a business, or turn a business into an empire.

You don’t want to be a narcissist in your personal life, but when it comes to launching or scaling your business, you do want to hold yourself and your goals above others. You do want to be preoccupied with visions of success and power. You do want to surround yourself with only the best and the brightest. Because that’s what it’s going to take.

5 Vital Traits You Must Have to Thrive as an Entrepreneur

The steps

So how can you go from being an everyday person with an idea to a relentless business narcissist who will stop at nothing to realize a dream? Tuning out the noise and attaining this kind of focus won’t happen overnight, but there are simple steps you can take every day that will give you the determination you need:

Evaluate the way you spend your time every day. Itemize your life down to the last minute. How much time do you spend on your job vs. your family vs. your business idea? Since every effective decision in business is a data-driven decision, you must get the data you need. Many people are surprised how little time they spend on starting a business or bringing a new idea to life. Seeing it on paper is powerful, and it’s the first step toward devoting more time.

Come up with a new plan of action. Whatever plan you originally had for getting your business or idea off the ground, that plan is likely to change dramatically once you have done a thorough inventory of the way you spend your time each day. This change to the plan is a good thing. Now that you know what the challenges are—and how you really spend every hour of every day—it’s time to come up with a new plan, one that is informed by relevant data. 

9 Habits Successful Entrepreneurs Use to Increase Productivity

Rethink your to-do list. Writing down every single thing you need to do every day is a great idea, but a lot of people get overwhelmed by their own lists. With too many items on the list, people tend to accomplish the easy ones quickly and then procrastinate on the rest. Starting now, make the list but then put a piece of paper over every item but one – then complete that item. When it’s done, move to the next one. Never look at the whole thing all at once.

Take an hour a day for the big picture. When you have finished meticulously completing tasks on the to-do list, it’s time to take a big step back. Forget about the day-to-day considerations. Think about why you started this business in the first place. Think about what it is supposed to be. This change of perspective is important – so devote a full hour to it every day.

Take care of yourself and your business first. If you do, you will be more present when it’s time to take care of others. This is what it means to be a business narcissist.

Dr. Travis and Michelle Fox

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