Are Business Owners Narcissistic?


As a TAB Executive Advisory, strategic planning is a big part of my focus with clients. In building that strategic plan, Personal Vision is, and should be the starting point. We often use the analogy of the bicycle when discussing vision. The front wheel of the bicycle represents your Personal Vision and determines the direction you go, while the rear wheel is your Business Vision and provides the engine to get you there.

So, are business owners narcissists? I don’t think so. I’ve found that getting business owners to think about what they really want out of life is one of the most difficult things I do. Of course, everyone says, “I want to take care of my family and my retirement.” But few think about the specifics of how and in what ways. And what about taking care of yourself? I’ve found that owners rarely think about themselves and are the last person that gets taken care of.

The other thing business owners often do is focus solely on their business plans and the needs of the business, instead of what they need personally from that business.

What’s is a Personal Vision?

When designing your personal vision, think of the Future You. Think of the Future You in very specific terms. Not just the material things (those are important) but also the intangible things. Below are some things to think about when designing the Future You.

  • What Legacy do you want to leave? How do you want to be remembered later in life or beyond?

  • What are the Spiritual Beliefs that motivate you and bring happiness to your personal life? 

  • What Personal Achievements will bring you fulfillment? (Writing a book, sail around the world, hike the AT, going back to school)

  • What Family Involvement is important to you? (Home for dinner with family several nights each week)

  • What type of Social life, and involvement with friends do you want?

  • What kind of work do you want to be doing? What Activities? What kind of work and activities do you Not want to be doing? What work activities would you like to delegate?

  • How much and how many Vacations do you want to take each year?

  • What do you want your Financial and Material situation to look like; what do you want to have accumulated in terms of property, investments, etc.)

  • What is the total Annual Compensation package desired from your business for you and your family that will provide the financial freedom you desire? 

  • What Intangible Rewards are important to you? (Being recognized as a leader in my industry, political influence, create high-paying jobs for employees)

  • Psychological Rewards? How would you like to be recognized in your community; your church; your industry?

  • What sort of Physical condition do you want to maintain in your life; how will you achieve that as you get older? How will you achieve and balance a good Mental Health?

  • What Non-Business activities bring you peacefulness or contentment? (Family time, hiking, reading, sailing, skiing)

  • What Humanitarian Interests are important to you? (Volunteer time at children’s hospital, create charitable trust through business)

  • What type of Work Role do you want to have in your business?

  • How much Time do you want to spend working at your business during a typical week? (full-time consisting of at least 50 hours, three-day work week) How do you see your Work/Personal life balance.

  • Retirement Plan? What is your plan for how and when you retire? (What will you do in retirement; what will you have by the time you retire (home, vacation home, travel trailer, etc.)

Now that you’ve thought about it a little, is your business giving you the satisfaction you want? Is it helping you reach your Vision? If you are not sure….. Think about yourself for a change.

…To your success.