Is it egotistical and arrogant, or confident and self assured?

Last week, I had a startling “dress down” via email. I have to admit… I was shocked! I mean, I’m a cuddly, lovable ball of fluff filled with marshmallow goodness! Yet when I put forth this self-description to friends and family… they dissolved into a puddle of hysterical giggles. Then I see where Catherine Lawson wrote about “Do you think you know it all“… oops…. maybe I do.

She links to James’ article “The Classic Entrepreneur” over at Men with Pens.

An entrepreneur is more than just a person who strikes up a business. There are specific personality traits and quirks that make up the classic profile of an entrepreneur – and they’re not very flattering.

His post continues…bull headed, control freaks are terms that appear at headers. Other unflattering terms such as “egotistical” appear under these headers.

OUCH! It appears that I am suffering from the classic symptoms of entrepreneur-itis which is pronounced by some people as “bossy, know it all jerk”.

However, I’ve been candy coating those descriptive terms. Instead of “egostical” I prefer “confident”. “Bull headed” is labeled with the much more flattering term “self confident”.  Am I being sef delusional?

I’m not alone in my struggle. IttyBiz offers a tongue in cheek “quiz” with the post Getting More Jobs: Are You Cocky Or Do You Have Balls?. The next post references the backlash unleashed as a result.

I admit, I thrashed about the evening following my stern dressing down. I thrashed… while Naomi found pay dirt with “Entrepreneurship: What To Do When You’re Scared Sh*tless

She’s right.  It all boils down to fear.  It makes sense that the emotion I was battling was fear.  She was right… as soon as I labeled that monster, I was able to process it effectively.

When I began this “self employment” journey a decade ago, I came from a position where I was PAID because people liked me. The more people who “liked” me, the more money I made. That’s the way the ad game is played. I sold my agency’s services to business owners who were successful enough to have built a business big enough to hire an agency. None of us had a functioning accurate crystal ball. They signed because we “clicked”. When they signed, I heard “Ka-ching!”

Talk above Pavlov and his experiments…. they like me, I make money. They don’t and not only do I not get rewarded with a nice big check, but my actions are reviewed and I get to meet with the agency owner to “improve” my process.

So it makes sense that my fear would be based upon some well founded experience.  They like me… I make money.  They don’t like me… my kids don’t eat.

Customers can’t measure quality… they can however decide whether they like me.

So I’ll work on making sure “confident” doesn’t escalate into “egotistical” … because really, isn’t egotistical just a matter of “confidence on steroids”.

One thing about it…. my blog and it’s readers will certainly let me know when I stray into “egotistical” land.


  1. James Chartrand - Men with Pens says:

    Too funny – People tend to call me arrogant and I always answer back with a smile, “It’s not arrogance. Canadians can’t be arrogant. I prefer the world self-confident.”

    Using the politically correct terms to define ourselves is much more flattering 🙂


  2. Hi Kathy – Thank you for the link. I think you’re right. It’s best to think of ourselves in a positive way. I like the Men With Pens article though, as it reminds us not to get too carried away with ourselves.