Sometimes, I’m selfish. I do things for my own needs, not yours. Sorry.
Today is such a day. I’m not writing this post for you. Sure, you might get some benefit from reading it, but I’m really not writing it for you. I’m writing it for me. Because I’m annoying.
Yes, I said it. I’m annoying to other people. I do things that irritate those around me -- probably a lot. After all, I am an entrepreneur, and entrepreneurs are some of the most irritating people on earth.
This post is to remind myself of my annoying quirks so I can avoid being pushed off a cliff by those around me. Confession is the first step toward remediation, so without further ado, I give you the five most annoying habits of entrepreneurs (myself included!)
1. Constantly talking about how busy they are
Look, we get it. You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy.
Let’s stop using that as some sort of “badge of accomplishment.” Entrepreneurs often try to use their “busyness” as a way to show that they are successful, or at least on the path there. If you get a few entrepreneurs in a room at the same time, it quickly turns into a one-up contest on how busy they really are. Entrepreneurs believe, falsely, that he or she who is the busiest, wins.
The truth, however, is that busyness and success have very little correlation. In fact, I’m more impressed by the entrepreneur who isn’t running around “crazy busy” but still can accomplish what matters in their business and home lives.
2. Humble bragging
Humble bragging is the art of stating a self-depreciating comment about yourself designed to actually show how great you are. It’s worse than bragging because it’s wrapped in a lie.
An entrepreneur must be confident in their business and bragging comes with the territory. I get that. It's not a bad thing. But let’s not patronize others through the humble brag!
3. Job shaming
Entrepreneurs often believe that their way is the best way. Yes, entrepreneurship can be amazing, but so can working for a great company or doing work you love, even if that means working for "the man." Some people simply love to teach math. Some people love to fight fires. Some people love to build companies without being the head person with a noose around their neck.
If you are an entrepreneur, understand that your journey is but one path, not the only path.
My unique position is that I am an entrepreneur in my real-estate investing business, but I also work for a larger company (BiggerPockets.com) because I want to. I could do just real-estate investing, forging my own path, and I'm sure I'd be happy and successful. However, I love being a part of a company that is having the kind of impact that BiggerPockets is, being able to work with some of my best friends on a project that has the potential of being a billion-dollar company.
For more on the benefits of working a full-time job, read 5 Reasons Why I Quit My Own Business to Work for Someone Else.
4. Canceling plans at the last minute
I’m sure you’ve seen the quote around the web that says, “Entrepreneurs are people who work 100 hours per week so they don’t have to work 40 for someone else.” I think a better description would be “Entrepreneurs are people who commit to 100 hours of work that they try to fit into 40.”
Last-minute cancelations happen with everyone. But with entrepreneurs, they happen all the time. The reason is typically too much commitments due to an inability to say no combined with overzealous optimism. If you don’t want to do something: don’t say yes. If you say you are going to do something: do it.
“Rain checks” belong at the grocery store, not in your calendar.
Entrepreneurs tend to complain, a lot. Then they let that complaining wreck their entire day, week and "entire life." Their numbers drop a bit, and their attitudes change significantly.
- The payment processor went down for 12 minutes.
- The customers aren’t coming in as often as they did last week.
- The competition is releasing a new product that stole their ideas.
Yes, these situations can be detrimental to an entrepreneur’s business, but let’s be honest: these are generally first-world problems!
There are billions of people on earth unsure of where their next meal is coming from. War is ravaging a good portion of the population on this planet. According to Unwater.org, "783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. Six to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases."
Still think your server issues are worth dominating every conversation with? Is your life really that bad? It's time to put things into perspective and stop agonizing about our #FirstWorldProblems!
As I said in the beginning, this column was written for me.
These are the things I know I do to others and must work to change. These are also the irritating traits I see in other entrepreneurs all the time. We’re all cut from the same cloth.
If you’ve seen any of these five annoying traits pop up in your own life, I encourage you to enter confession with me and share this post on your Facebook wall. Admit your faults to your family and friends, laugh about your annoying traits and move on a better, less irritating, person.
Finally, if you have any other annoying traits you notice in entrepreneurs (or yourself) share them in the comments section below. We’ll have a laugh about them together.