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8 Traits of Healthy Narcissism That Drive Success When it comes to success, too little narcissism can be just as pathological as too much.

By Sherrie Campbell

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ezra Bailey | Getty Images

Every hard-working person craves approval. This need for approval is driven by our ego to make us feel loved, valuable, unique, important, powerful, successful and in charge of our lives.

Most of us do what we can to avoid criticism and feelings of inferiority. However, constructive feedback and healthy feelings of inferiority are a gift in that they drive us into action to feel a sense of our power. This drive is 100 percent natural and healthy. The drive to avoid feeling inferior protects us from failures and painful disappointments. It is essential for our overall psychological health. The impulse to boost our self-confidence, or healthy narcissism, is a powerful motivating force driving us to consistently better ourselves.

1. Self-aware

People with healthy narcissism have a quiet, comfortable confidence. They are aware of their strengths as well as their shortcomings, and view both as essential to their wholeness. They know they are not perfect, and have no expectations or intentions to be so. People with healthy egos view themselves as learners who are constantly growing, and are not at all seduced into trying to be better than others. Because of their high levels self-awareness, they set realistic expectations comparative to their abilities. They are fully aware of their "separateness" from others, and have faith in their own set of beliefs and ideals to live by.

Related: How to Work With a Narcissist

2. Collaborative

People with a mature sense of self-confidence gett their needs met without pushing others down in the process. People with healthy egos have a conscious and balanced perception reciprocity; allowing them to build and enter into mutually satisfying relationships. They do not lose themselves into the needs, opinions or pressures of others. They maintain their sense of self and see no benefit in "one-up-manship" or "one-down-manship" in when comparing themselves to others.

Related: 5 Ways to Tell If Your Workplace Is Really Toxic

3. Earns approval.

Those with mature narcissism do not operate from a sense of entitlement. They know to reach the levels of success they desire, they must earn it. If there is a failure, a person with healthy narcissism will trust that the failure or disappointment had less to do with their ability, genius or talent and more to do with needing to work harder or receive further training.

They are not resentful of hard work, and if anything, are inspired when they do not measure up. Not measuring up inspires a person with a healthy ego to dig deep to prove themselves beyond a shadow of a doubt. They are willing to take courses to learn more, to sit with mentors who can help guide them, and to take feedback wherever and whenever to gain the necessary improvement to get back on top of their game.

Related: 4 TED Talks About Love, Sex and Desire

4. Flexible

Those with healthy narcissism are flexible, and see little value in being rigid or controlling when it comes to success. They maturely accept that things change in business every day so they can anticipate and roll with changes as they occur.

Being able to flex with shifting circumstances makes these types excellent negotiators and problems solvers. Their overall goal is to head deals which benefit all involved. This flexibility keeps them on the cutting edge of the learning curve in business. It also keeps them open to learning about the needs of those they work closely with. The more flexible they are, the more in touch with their gut instincts they become, which is irreplaceable when it comes to be innovative and successful.

Related: Even Control Freaks Need Wisdom to Accept What They Can't Change

5. Firm

Although those with healthy narcissism are flexible, they also know when not to bend. Being flexible does not equate to pleasing, giving in, or getting taken advantage of. These types see no path to their success or advancement if they are unable to say No when the need to say No. This knowledge is what makes others develop a highly felt respect for them. People with a healthy sense confidence do not tolerate bullies, users, discourteous treatment or devious motives. Their bottom line cannot be pushed, which places others in a position to raise their own levels of integrity if they want to get anything accomplished with them.

Related: 6 Ways Beloved Leaders Demonstrate Strength and Empathy

6. Respectful

Those with healthy narcissism hold the concept of "respect" as the highest form of treatment. They respect opinions and ideals which vary greatly from their own, and which they may not even support. People with healthy egos do not approach business in a black and white, right or wrong fashion. There are always grey areas when it comes to agreement, and those with healthy narcissism can stand firm in their opinions without being disrespectful of another's. Further, these types show respect to everyone, from the parking lot attendant to the CEO of their company. They come to work to fulfill their role with the upmost respect and commitment. There have zero need to feel they are above those below them, and nor do they feel less valuable than those in superior roles to theirs. This makes them likable to all, which creates a reputation of being genuine and humble.

Related: Respect: The Cornerstone of Success

7. Team player

Those with a healthy sense of narcissism are unselfish. They understand that selfishness and being a team player cannot co-exist. They enjoy being part of a team. They value the success of the team, as much as their own individual success. They are ready to contribute, rather than to take, or to ride on the coattails of the movement of other team members. A person with a mature ego views it as part of their role to support their team members to succeed at higher levels, and they are happy to take the backseat when necessary. They work hard and desire to make their numbers for the bonuses, commissions and other rewards, but also work hard to make sure their governing manager makes his/her number, which is based in the collective sales of the team.

Related: How to Become an Exemplary Team Player in Business

8. Emotionally intelligent

Those with a healthy sense of narcissism know better than to vent and poison the morale around them with their own frustrations. They know who they are, and what triggers them into their more exasperating, negative states of mind. When feeling frustrated, they are able to hold on to themselves and regulate their emotional state. When feeling reactive, they choose to listen, say very little or say nothing at all in an effort to control their impulses to react emotionally. They take time to think before they speak. This ability to remain mindful allows them to come to clarity and speak from a place of calm knowledge.

Related: 7 Signs That You're an Emotionally Intelligent Person

Not all narcissism is negative, envious, superior or undercutting. It comes down to a balance. Too little narcissism can be just as pathological as too much when it comes to success. Too little narcissism leads to a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. Without confidence and solid sense of who we are, we become too fearful to be successful. Too much narcissism puts us at risk of having inflated egos, and putting ourselves in danger where we may compromise social cohesion in order to make ourselves stand out. However, when we are balanced we can use our healthy ego and self-confidence to move us forward into success.

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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