• Randy D Mosier

Enneagram Type 3: Successful Achiever - Stress Busters


Throughout this series on Enneagram Types we are exploring a little of each type, how you look when you are healthy, and when you move towards your stress zone. The wonderful thing about the Enneagram is its ability to help each of us to both understand how we are hard-wired, warning signs that we are moving towards becoming unhealthy and steps to get to our best functional level.

So let me ask you a question, have you ever felt so stressed out you felt like someone flipped a switch and you were like Jekyll and Hyde or Steve Banner becomes the Hulk? It’s not a pleasant experience moving from a person in control to stress levels that are pushing us way out of balance. Each of us individually has been facing increased stress levels in our current pandemic, political climate, and racial tension here in the United States. What I want to do in this series is to help you to see that there is a sequence of unhealthy behaviors or feelings that engage when stress pushes us past the brink.

Let’s take a quick deep dive into the Type 3: Successful Achiever. Your Enneagram type is known for being adaptable, excelling, and image-conscious. At your best; you tend to be optimistic, self-affirming, industrious, efficient, energetic, goal-orientated, and a team builder.

Core Fear: Being worthless, a failure, belief of being incapable, unimpressive, being unsuccessful, inefficient, and exposed.

Core Desire: To feel valuable and worthwhile - while just being yourself.

Core Weakness: Deceit: A three can deceive themselves into believing that they are only the image they present to others. Hence the fear that they would be seen for what they are not.

A Type 3 longs to hear that they are loved simply for being themselves. Unfortunately, there can be a childhood wound that tells them it's not ok to have their own feelings and identity. [which is a false narrative - but it's an interpretation that creates stress]. So for you to experience a growth path, threes need to be more genuine, authentic, and less focused not themselves, and on appearing successful.

When under stress a Type 3 moves towards the unhealthy side of Type 9. You suddenly become disengaged and apathetic. You may neglect yourself, feeling numb, and watching endless hours of tv, playing video games, shopping, eating…

When you are growing you are moving towards the healthy side of Type 6. Here you become more cooperative and committed to others. You are more aware of your feelings and reveal who you are behind your achieving mask.

So what gets you to the unhealthy side and what will move you out of this stress?

Threes are stressed by feeling progress towards a goal is not happening. When you have feelings of failure. When you are not acknowledged for all the good you do. Not being challenged. Being around people that lack vision. You see as a Type 3 you are driven to succeed and can burn out by trying to be the best. You desire to be seen as more confident and successful than people around you - the mediocre. As you stress you can become listless and those that love you will not understand why you are acting this way.

So what lifts you out of all of this stress?

Amazingly, perhaps simply being able to take off your mask and be accepted as ok for just being you is freeing. Tuning in to your body will be a key for decompression. Consider mindfulness activities, deep breathing exercises. Tuning into your body to know how you feel in the moment is helpful. Similar to the type 2 intervention - creativity is a way of releasing stress levels. Writing, drawing, listening to music, or playing music helps to move you back towards your healthy mindset. If you live with a Type 3 there are things you can do as well to help them. Give them space to express themselves and to be vulnerable. As a coach, I know it is so important for a Type 3 to have the space to speak freely and not feel judged. As you help them be authentic about your struggles, this lets them know it's ok not to be perfect. It is super important to let a Type 3 know how they have personally helped you. One last thing you can do, clean up the mess in the area they work or live as disorder increases their stress levels.

So your biggest takeaway, I hope, is recognizing it's ok to take off your mask and be you. Plug into your creativity, acknowledge to yourself your own wins. Journaling can be a great place and space for personal reflection. Looking at your wins on paper is freeing. Sometimes we need to tell ourselves we are ok and it's ok to not be perfect. Remember your personal worth is not tied to the need to succeed in establishing your worth. Your worth is in your personal connections of you being you. You are wanted, you are loved, you are ok.

If you have taken value in today's blog on Type 3 the Successful Achiever let us know. Until we meet again, know that if you ever need a life coach to help you become the best possible version of you, in a place you can be real and not judged. In a space where a coaching relationship enables you to see clearly goals, you can establish to move you forward, then give us a call.


Materials from this article credited to Beth McCloud at "Your Enneagram Coach"

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