Enneagram Type 3: A Profile 

By Kara Reynolds | Feb 28, 2020

Is your motto “go hard or go home?” If so, you may fall into the enneagram type three personality type. This overachieving sort derives their sense of self-worth from what they accomplish in life. You can probably think of other people who fall into this category if you’re a follower of financial columns — these are the movers and shakers that make magazine covers. However, as driven as they are, they can sometimes feel lonely due to their struggles to relate to others. If you fall into this personality type, knowing yourself can smooth your relationships at work and home, and also pave your pathway to success.

The Achiever

When you picture a CEO, chances are, you imagine someone like an enneagram type three. If you fall into this personality category, you define your sense of worth through extrinsic means. You do more than take pride in your accomplishments — they represent who you are as a person. You focus intently on the pursuit of your goals, and you feel lost if you don’t have a critical project in the works at all times. You do seek your sense of approval through others, but like the Leos of zodiac fame, you like to do so by showing off. At times, you can be a braggart or downright aggressive. However, if you do treat others dismissively at times, it often stems from ignorance, not a desire to be mean. You merely don’t recognize the needs of outsiders, so single-mindedly is your eye on the prize. You put enormous importance on maintaining a proper image. You’re the sort who considers a run in their stockings a significant crisis, not a minor snag. Having a sizeable house in a respectable zip code matters to you, and you consider your vehicle another extension of your worth. You take care to dress in well-known fashion brands, and you find it anathema that some people consider going to the market in their pajamas acceptable. This emphasis on life’s finer things doesn’t mean money is your prime motivator, although you enjoy the things it can buy. Rather, you feel a compelling need to be respected, even revered. Like a politician who pours a ton of personal money into a campaign, you might want to perform acts that benefit others — but when and only when you get accolades for doing so.

The Achiever’s Strengths

One of your greatest strengths as an enneagram type three is your confidence. While others may shy away from activities like public speaking, you see these engagements as opportunities to spread your unique knowledge with the world. If your company needs someone to give a TED-style talk, you’re the first one to raise your hand and volunteer. Social gatherings, like networking events, often invigorate you. While it’s possible to be an introverted type three, many fall on the extroverted part of the scale. It isn’t surprising — you probably learned early on that emotional intelligence matters as much if not more than IQ when it comes to getting ahead. Since your goal is the corner office or its equivalent, you developed slick interpersonal skills. You can put anyone, from the janitor to the CEO, at ease at the holiday office bash.

The Achiever’s Weaknesses

With all your exuberant energy, at times, you can come off sounding a bit like a used-car salesperson. While you want to share your energy surrounding your projects, keep in mind that human beings matter every bit as much as the bottom line. You don’t always have to bulldoze people to get what you want — keep this in mind, particularly when dealing with subordinates. Additionally, your pressure to perform can sometimes turn into self-sabotage. You find it difficult to relax and enjoy things like quiet times with your partner. You can push yourself to the point of burnout and become enraged when your exhaustion leads to poor decision-making. You need to learn that it’s OK — highly beneficial, even — to slow down sometimes.

Relating to Type 3 in the Workplace

If you manage a type three, you probably recognize them from their continual willingness to tackle tough projects. Do you have written performance metrics? You can count on this individual to crush them or practically die trying. However, sometimes, they can drive you a little bit crazy, especially when you try to balance the needs of all workers. This individual is such an overachiever that they consider downtime a sign of weakness and can unwittingly put unnecessary strain on others to keep up the pace. If you’re a type three, you likely perform at your peak in the following career fields:

  • Sales: Because you practically ooze confidence, you see every customer as potential money bags with legs. You consider things like overcoming objections challenging, whereas other personality types might quit at the first or second “no.” Plus, you adore charting the income you’ve earned.
  • Actor or public speaker: You love to take center stage, and you don’t shy away from the limelight. You might not like the struggling part until you make it in Hollywood, though. If you can’t smooth your way in through your connections, you’ll often get involved in local politics — and potentially extend your career to a higher level. You might also pursue work on the lecture circuit.
  • CEO or another high-ranking officer: This role fulfills your intrinsic need for admiration from others. Just take care to remember that your subordinates are human, too. Believe it or not, some employees need time off to tend to personal matters — this doesn’t make them less effective when they are on the clock.

Relating to Type 3 at Home and in Love

Enneagram type three can seem emotionally distant because of their intense focus on goal-achievement. They can ignore their loved ones, sometimes to their detriment. They can also come off as overbearing, expecting their partners to live up to their exacting ideals. Think of Joan Crawford in “Mommy Dearest” — this type is the most likely to cause a fuss if their child uses a wire hanger. If you love someone with this personality type, the best way to engage them is to help them in their pursuits. Sometimes, merely asking what you can do to help endears you to them, as they see you as a partner in achieving their dreams. Even if you don’t know anything about their field, you can say things like, “I know you have a critical presentation on Friday. Why don’t I take over cooking the family meals for the week?”If you fall into this category, you should make an extra effort to show your loved ones that you care. Attend your child’s soccer practice — without taking your tablet to catch up on work-related emails from the stands. Come home from the office at a decent hour at least two to three days per week.

Enneagram Type 3 — Grind Hard but Remember Those Whom You Love

If you’re an enneagram type three, you should take pride in all you do. However, slow down and appreciate the ones you love, too.

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