Not everyone is cut out for the corporate grind and nine to five, and yet it’s a system that the majority of Americans find themselves in. Square pegs smashed into round holes? Check. Having your 30 minute lunch be the highlight of your day? Everyone else is doing it. There are major personality differences between entrepreneurs and employees, and understanding that what others (or yourself!) may consider “flaws” are actually great building blocks for entrepreneurial success.
This doesn’t mean you can excuse horrendous qualities for the sake of entrepreneurial quirkiness. However, it does mean that criticisms don’t necessarily mean you should go against your instincts. Complaints about your habits or tendencies aren’t always commands to force change. Take a look at some common “personality flaws” that are actually fantastic qualities of entrepreneurs.
Maybe it’s your career, not your personality, that you need to change.
1. One track mind.
This could be dubbed “obsessive”, “overachiever” or another word laced with negativity. However, ask any successful entrepreneur what it takes, and they’ll often tell you it’s an unstoppable need (not want) to succeed. Those 100+ hour work weeks, major sacrifices and sleepless nights aren’t going to be fueled on anything but a one track mind. Work-life balance is an oxymoron for many entrepreneurs.
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2. Problems with authority.
Have you always been told you can’t follow directions, you dove right into class assignment before teachers gave the go-ahead, or questioning authority (like refusing car searches when you get pulled over) is your MO? What others see as a rebellious streak or inability to follow orders is actually exactly what you need to be an entrepreneur. Sheep don’t become the next Steve Jobs. As long as you keep things legal, it might just be a sign that you’re more entrepreneur than worker bee.
3. A series of failed relationships. Or none at all.
This comes back to that whole work-life balance thing. Just because you’ve never had a long, successful relationship doesn’t mean you “can’t commit.” For entrepreneurs, they’re more ready for commitment than Leonard Hofstadter — it’s just that they’ve committed to their careers. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not growing up, are destined to be a perpetual playboy (or woman), or that you haven’t found “the one” yet. What your friends and family don’t realize is you’re madly, passionately in love with the one. It just happens to be an entrepreneurial venture.
Related: 10 Habits That Will Dramatically Improve Your Life
4. You’re an introvert-hermit-recluse.
Not all introverts are Jeff Bezos’ in the making. However, just because you’re not a social butterfly, that doesn’t mean there’s anything “wrong” with you. Many successful entrepreneurs have been called quiet, introverted, anti-social and other terms that may have made high school a struggle. While it’s always a good idea to hone your networking and public speaking skills, many alleged “introverts” are actually highly skilled at observing, planning and executing great things.
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5. You’re arrogant.
Have you been called arrogant or told that someone needs to take you down a peg or two? Humility and false modestly are traits that don’t necessarily serve entrepreneurs well. As the founder of a startup, the first person who has to believe in you and your project is yourself. You’re likely your first investor, cheerleader, fan and support system. The more you say or act like less than you are, the more you’ll internalize it.
A small percentage of Americans are successful entrepreneurs-but many more have the personality traits of them. Are your “bad qualities” actually entrepreneurial boons in disguise?