Think about the people in your life. Many of them like to be the center of attention. They dress in ways that get people to notice them. They take a leading role in conversations. They are the ones that other people look up to.
Now, some of those people are extroverts. Buried in their personality is a drive to be in the spotlight. Extroversion has a lot of good consequences for people. It can help them to make a wide network of friends. It can help them to get people together to work toward a common goal.
But some people who have this tendency to get into the spotlight cross a line to narcissism, and that can be a problem. Narcissists build up their self-esteem through the reactions of others. They need to feed on the energy of other people to maintain their self-image and their confidence.
Are you a narcissist?
To answer that question, think a little about your interactions with other people. Do you need other people to approve of what you do in order to feel good about yourself? Do you find yourself telling everyone about the good things you have done in order to get their reactions? Are you sad or disappointed when people don’t notice something you have done? Do you try to take credit for things you worked on with a group?
Those are all signs of being a narcissist.
The problem with being a narcissist is that you run the risk of sucking the life out of the groups you are a part of. When the people around you don’t feel like they are getting credit for their efforts, they stop trying to work with you. When people begin to feel like they have to prop you up, they start finding reasons not to spend time with you.
If you think you might have the tendency to be a narcissist, there are some things you can do.
First, keep a journal of the good things you have done. When you are feeling bad about yourself, read that journal over. Remember all of the ways that you have helped the people around you, whether they realize it or not. Your worth as a person comes from within, and doesn’t require other people to validate it.
Second, share the credit for things. Develop the habit to thank other people for the contributions they make. Even if (deep down) you feel like you were mostly responsible for some good outcome, it never hurts to share the glory. It makes everyone feel good.
Third, when you are in a group having a conversation, pause every once in a while before speaking. Go out of your way to give everyone a chance to participate and to share their ideas. Your friends and co-workers will be much more engaged with you when they know you are listening to them.
And if you want to know more about the ways that your personality affects your interactions with other people, check out my new mini eBook "Habits of Leadership." The book comes with a personality profiler that will help you learn more about yourself.
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