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3 Toxic People You Should Avoid as a MENA Entrepreneur

2 years 4 days ago

Striving to turn an idea into a successful business venture is a challenging task to say the least. Imagine if you were trying to build a business in an environment where laws seem to speak a foreign language, a culture that values obedience and stability, the very opposite of what you need to be a successful entrepreneur; alongside a scarcity of funding opportunities. I think it’s safe to say that MENA entrepreneurs are literally defying the odds on a daily basis.

Naturally, working in such hostile environment makes your chances of experiencing burnout and fatigue sky high. However, there is a simple formula for survival in this case, that is reducing stress results in improved performance thereby increased chances of survival. Bear in mind that I’m not talking about the type of stress you encounter with an upcoming deadline or a challenging task; instead I’m talking about the type of stress you usually experience in relation to a specific type of people, in the form of a feeling that slowly and gradually consumes your energy in an indirect way.

Since achieving better results depends to a large extent on your ability to manage your emotions and remain in control of the situation under high degrees of pressure; our goal in this blog post is to help you upgrade your performance through helping you identify toxic people who might jeopardize your emotional well-being thereby negatively impacting your performance. Therefore, without further ado, below are three types of toxic people we recommend you avoid as a MENA entrepreneur:

    1. “There is no Hope in the Region” Squad

These people are literally everywhere, they could be family members, friends, co-workers and fellow entrepreneurs (Can you imagine?!). It’s fairly easy to identify them because their target is usually to persuade you that there is absolutely no hope in this part of the world (i.e. MENA region) and you are better off building your career somewhere else where your talents and abilities are far more appreciated.

Why avoid them? As an entrepreneur, you most likely already decided to invest time, money and effort in your business idea and won’t be taking any strategic decisions anytime soon. Therefore, this type of people will only clutter your vision and you will end up spending a considerable amount of energy to get back in focus.

     2. Innovation Experts

I remember a few months ago, a startup launched what in my personal opinion was a very innovative marketing campaign except for it was clear that a few shots in the video were inspired by a popular short film. However, the campaign had a localized storyline and flavor. Reacting to the campaign, someone started attacking the startup’s marketing efforts saying “they literally copied the video”.

This type is slightly harder to identify as they come across as confident, and highly educated. If you see one of these people coming your way, go the other way because despite all the effort you constantly inject in your startup’s activities, it will never be innovative or good enough for them, and you will just end up drained and frustrated. (Disclaimer: this is not to encourage any form of copying, or engaging in theft of intellectual property rights but, the bottom line here is that innovation doesn’t occur in isolation rather it builds up on all the things that preceded it).

    3. Chess Players (Manipulators)

Unfortunately, this type of people is almost impossible to detect. Most of them have such charismatic and supportive personalities which makes it hard to believe they can have this damaging impact on people around them. Identifying them begins when you realize the true meaning of the words “the means justifies the end”; to them life is exactly like a theatre where they skillfully craft each scene to send a specific message about their designated target (i.e. you).

How do you know if you are currently dealing with a manipulator? Pay close attention to what people talk to you about and monitor the waves of gossip around you. If people suddenly start telling you to cut someone some slack, then someone is saying “you are tough” or “you are intentionally targeting this person”. 

Look, if you can entirely remove those people from your life then go ahead and do it without giving it a second thought. Because first, as an entrepreneur, you not only represent yourself but, represent an entire brand thus, your reputation is of utmost importance. Second, no one wants to be a piece on a chess board being moved in different directions to achieve a specific purpose so, you have to choose your battles wisely.

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