Enneagram Type 3 - The Successful Achiever
Superstar, Producer, Performer, Motivator, Role Model, Ideal Exemplar, Best in Show
Worldview of the 3
You are a driven, confident, and efficient person who strives for excellence and can achieve extraordinary things. You delight in accomplishing goals, completing tasks, and celebrating “a job well done.” Others see you as polished.
Focused intently on your image and public presentation, you can mold yourself into whatever seems to be called for in any given situation. On occasion, adaptability can lead to inauthenticity. Your keys to growth include recognizing and expressing who you really are at your core, and seeing what actually needs to be done in the present moment.
What You Are Great At
Being positive, pragmatic, efficient, and productive.
Managing your public image and presentation.
Being industrious and getting results quickly and successfully.
Setting practical, concrete goals to motivate yourself and others.
Doing a good job and looking good doing it.
Maintaining a calm, composed demeanor even under difficulty/stress.
Adapting well to changing circumstances, settings, and relationships.
Winning at whatever game you play.
Mentoring, coaching or leading a team to the win.
Packaging and marketing things well to highlight value/worth.
Knowing how to adapt and present in different situations.
Leading the team with enthusiasm, energy, and clear direction.
You want to be accomplished, dynamic, and a high-achiever; but most importantly, you want to be good at what you do and to look good while doing it. You are highly ambitious, driven, focused, and self-motivated. You are goal-oriented, and know where to direct your energy.
You need goals and projects to achieve and feel the reward of completion and success. Under stress, you may become self-promoting, self-deceptive, or overly competitive. At your best, you are self-confident, positive, energetic and extremely productive.
What Drives You
You are results driven with a strong need to succeed and excel. You are motivated by a desire to feel valued and admired for your hard work.
By focusing on constant achieving, you secretly hope for the applause, accolades and rewards that will validate that you are a winner. You long to be an impressive, successful all star.
Inner World of the 3
Your core fears are of failing, missing the mark, lacking ambition or being without merit. Fear of not getting results.
You may also fear being incompetent, useless or a “nobody” that “hasn’t amounted to anything.” There may be a deep fear about being “found out” if you imagine that the image you’ve been projected is actually fake or false, and what underlies it is more meaningless or worthless.
To be capable and productive, to be seen as outstanding, successful, and as having extraordinary merit.
You need to be the best at whatever you do. You love the sound of applause and accolades for a job well done.
You need others' praise and acknowledgement of your achievements. Looking successful in someone else's eyes motivates you to push yourself harder and accomplish more. Always one to seek attention through your personal achievements, you find relaxing difficult; stop being the peacock and become part of the herd.
Life is essentially competitive. You're only as good as your last win.
To be admired, I must continually succeed. The world only values winners. Getting things done and being productive is key to my well-being.
DOING! and then seeing a job well done
Being admired and getting applause
Crossing things off the “to-do” list
Accomplishing and achieving
Receiving praise and recognition
Being “the best”
Creating and having clear goals
Feeling challenged by new opportunities
Appearing confident and competent
People being jealous of you
Negative emotions that slow you down
Losing or failing
Being ignored or seen as unimportant
Being passed over for a position
Not getting the highest marks (being second best)
Wasting time, being unproductive, not getting results
Not getting desired results or anticipated outcomes
Feeling incompetent or inept
Being disliked, unpopular, being unadmired
Having work disrupted or delayed
Watching someone else “on stage” or being recognized
Outer World of the 3
You set your emotions aside to continuously achieve and stay in-motion. You take massive action, put forth a good image, and believe in faking it till you make it.
Impact of Strategies
You accomplish praiseworthy and admirable goals. People see you as successful and extraordinary.
What's Great About You
You are positive, motivated, practical, industrious, goal-oriented, and successful. You easily set goals and generally accomplish whatever you set your mind to.
Attention goes to...
Your attention goes to performance, prestige and seeking status for approval. You are hyper focused on your audience and adapt to their expectations. You want to be the very image of success wherever your are and with whatever you do.
Operating System of the 3
At Your Best
You are determined, pragmatic, goal-oriented and hardworking person who focuses on achievement and success in any given situation. You tend not to rest for long, perpetually enthused about the next prospect for achieving admiration and recognition from others. You are a master at goal setting and keeping your eye on the prize.
Accordingly, you often achieve outstanding results and surpass all expectations for productivity when you set your mind on something. You generally appear poised and competent to others, maintaining a “good image” no matter what is happening.
You adapt to changing circumstances, sizing up what is needed and appropriate in any setting. Your emphasis on effectiveness make you an asset to any team in the areas of clear and meaningful goals, strategic thinking and decision making.
When your focus is so resolutely set on constantly needing to perform, achieve, and keep the wheels turning, you can burn yourself out like a hamster on a wheel often to the detriment of relationships, your health, and any lasting fulfillment. Your desire for prestige and constant activity can give rise to a cycle of “doing and overdoing” because you are afraid that if you stop, the world will crash down around you and you may have to face failure or emptiness.
You don’t like to waste time, energy, or resources on anything that won’t produce favorable results. Believing that “I'm only as good as my last win” can cause relentless stress, anxiety and competition. You may be prone to shutting off feelings because you believe that emotions are like speed bumps that only slow you down and get in the way of focusing, succeeding and accomplishing.
What Holds You Back
Identifying with what you do rather than who you are at your core.
Valuing personal achievement above group/team success.
Needing to be the best; being overly competitive with others.
Focusing on work but can neglect relationships.
Relying on praise/recognition from others to feel good about yourself.
Having difficulty resting, relaxing, stopping or just “being.”
Deceiving yourself and others by adjusting your image in order to be admired.
Relating from an idealized image rather than from your authentic experience.
Constantly “doing,” which can leave you exhausted and burned out.
Multi-tasking, taking short cuts and doing things too quickly.
Being impatient with emotions and insensitive to others .
Valuing success over quality (money, clients, projects, accolades).
To cope with fears of being incapable or inefficient, you become a charming “energizer bunny” and project polished, positive pizazz-- wooing others so they see you as praiseworthy and commendable. You may cope with your fear of failure by switching the game or goal prior to any shortcoming being exposed or before being seen as less than the best.
For example, you may change departments or your career when you’re not achieving the prestige that you secretly crave. Feeling that you are valued for what you do rather than who you are, you may engage in incessant doing and be resistant to stopping, resting, and being.
Identifying with an image that you believe will be admired is your main defense against feeling unworthy. In other words, you package and market yourself for worldly success and approval, and come to believe you are the brand rather than the substance.
In the process of adopting an idealized self-image, you may also cope by suppressing unwanted or “unsightly” emotions, desires, and blemishes keeping them out of awareness (yours and everyone else’s). There can be a sense of being absent, untouchable and impenetrable – again, not only to others but to yourself.
Hot Buttons & Triggers
Not being recognized or acknowledged for achievements
The prospect of not being able to work or function well
Feeling like “nobody-others being applauded, promoted, or recommended
Failing at anything-losing the deal, big game, race or election
Inefficiency, incompetence, or ineptness that slows you down
Image/value being questioned (knowledge, wealth, status)
“Dead time” with nothing to do-waiting or feeling like you are losing valuable time
Others not supporting you in your quest for excellence
Any sense of feeling held back, delayed, or detoured
Any situation where feelings or mask may be exposed
Any threat or opposition to status, power or position
Being “dragged down” into details or “process”
With a strong focus on image management, you may become blind to many aspects of yourself and the ways you try and get others to praise you . The polished parts you show may seem more true than your authentic feelings, thoughts, and sensations.
You may become disconnected from your true desires by trying to fulfill the roles of the ideal person, perhaps thinking your true self is unimportant – really believing “I am what I do.” Being and feeling are second to doing and can be cut off from and unavailable to one’s awareness. Needing to project a positive image, you may also downplay and be in denial about your liabilities and shortcomings.
Mistaken Beliefs / Trap
You mistakenly believe that worth and value come from doing rather than being. This leads to feeling, “I am what I do and I am only as good as my last home run,” “I must do it all myself,” and “Others can’t be trusted to do it as well as me”.
You can also fall into the trap of running after praise and recognition, thinking that they will bring satisfaction, but the bar just keeps getting raised and it proves to be an endless, unsatisfying pursuit. Even more painful, is adopting an idealized image or believing yourself to be the wrapper (rather than the substance) draws the attention away from your needs and truly valuable essence.
Growth Journey of the 3
Your transformation journey involves:
Being able to fully rest in the present feel valuable for who you are without needing to 'turn it on' or achieving anything more.
Trusting the flowing river of life to take you places, and recognizing that you do not always need to be aggressively paddling for things to happen. You can take breaks, enjoy the scenery and still be moving forward in life.
Allowing yourself to do what really makes your heart sing, not just what gets you titles, credentials, certificates, prizes or recognition.
When you fear failure or ending up a “nobody”, you can become preoccupied with gaining recognition, praise and approval. You may start to believe that your value comes from what you achieve rather than from what you are. You work product can suffer if you cut corners to produce results or if you burn yourself out to impress others.
Team members may resent it if they feel you are self-promoting, trying to get them to admire you, or putting them down to look superior. Even if you secretly feel insecure or jealous of others’ successes, you will likely maintain a polished presentation and a cheerful, supportive demeanor.
You workaholism or tendency to put work tasks at the top of your “to do” list might cause your relationships to deteriorate. When you focus too much on presenting an outer façade, it can leave you detached from your own authentic feelings and from true connection with others.
An Average Day
As you become more connected with who you really are, rather than what you do, an exciting new world of possibilities opens up for you. The need to compete with others and portray an impeccable image starts to ease, and along with it, the unrelenting anxiety of constant doing and performing. Concern with doing your job well and achieving goals becomes less about establishing your self-worth and value, and emanates from a genuine passion for excellence.
You now strive to BE your best, and an entirely new arena of self-mastery captivates your attention and channels your insatiable energy. You start to conquer the most challenging peaks of the inner world and both your work life and relationships become richer and more fulfilling. Others are inspired by your example to be the best they can be through growth and self-discovery.
In The Zone
Seeing through the paradigm of relative value and the inherent trap of identifying with the packaging rather than the substance, you become unencumbered by persona and free to pursue life whole-heartedly. Your energy is now directed in projects that are inspiring and uplifting to others rather than self-promoting. You have confidence in others and exude an optimistic, enthusiastic, infectious attitude that makes everyone in your presence feel self-assured and competent.
Others around you believe in themselves and their own value. Your natural affinities for being adaptable, personable, dynamic, self-responsible, accountable, and directed serve you well in your quest for excellence at all levels. You are truly authentic in word, thought, feeling, and action. Your heart and life are full with life-affirming and life-enhancing relationships and work that truly benefits and serves the whole.
Keys to Growth
Pay attention to your inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences – what you actually feel, think, and sense rather than what will give you the competitive edge.
Experiment with letting events and experiences flow and being less driven to try to make things happen.
Take the emphasis off tasks, “to-dos” and goals, and start to prioritize play, fun, rest, and relaxation.
Notice the difference between doing and being; take a few minutes each day just to stop completely and rest.
Become the observer of your persona and see where and how your presentation has become “real” to you.
Notice self-deception (when you exaggerate your abilities or enhance your image) .
Examine how strongly you cling to accomplishment as the measure of who you are.
Reframe your beliefs about success to include what you wish to BE (not just DO).
Think about what you really want to do vs what you think you should do to be successful .
Notice when you feel the need for a “win” or victory even in small daily interactions and situations.
Open yourself to the world of emotions, and use your tremendous focus and determination to master your inner world rather than your outer presentation.
Consider “failure” as a doorway to even greater heights.
Type 3 In the Workplace
Working with Others
You are an extraordinarily hard worker who can be an active contributing member of a team or a very capable leader. You thrive at goal setting, strategic thinking, and getting results.
Intently focused on outcomes, you doggedly work to accomplish goals, often multi-tasking and “moving mountains” to get the job done. In the process of working efficiently and quickly, you may be less attentive to details and unaware of or naïve to potential pitfalls in your well laid strategies and plans. Your competitive spirit may create tension and mistrust on the team.
You work best on a team that sets clear goals, focuses on practical results, and is self-accountable about getting the job done. In your ideal work environment, team members work independently in the most efficient way possible, minimizing interruptions, meetings and communications that seem to waste time, as well as processes and emotions that slow down production.
You thrive in a stimulating work environment that showcases your distinct talents for value proposition and presentation, such as sales, marketing, and advertising. You want to be recognized for your achievements and do well in a workplace with a clear contingent reward system.
You may work less effectively in a work environment that emphasizes “process” and team collaboration because you generally prefer to complete your work on your own time table. You can be impatient when feeling held back from personal achievement and promotion.
You don’t like to get bogged down by details and may resent “nay sayers” or “devil’s advocates” questioning your seemingly clear and direct strategies to achieve results. You may also resent working without a clear and fair system for advancement based on productivity and results.
You will take direction and work tirelessly under a respected mentor who conveys regular support for your advancement, reinforces you for good work, and holds your same high standards for excellence. It may be more challenging for you to take in feedback that seems counter to your idealized image, questions your carefully laid out plans, or delays production. You like to learn by modeling success. “Cooperative leadership” may be a solution, granted that roles and mutual objectives are clear from the beginning.
As a leader, you can energize and motivate others with your passion for excellence, your determination to achieve results, and your drive to outperform the competition. You can offer an inspiring vision of how the organization will distinguish itself from the pack. However, your leadership may lack the inspiration of true creativity and innovation when fixated on public presentation and concerned about conforming to industry standards.
You may also have a tendency to overcommit, juggle many balls in the air at the same time, and value quantity over quality, all of which can compromise the ultimate results your team is able to achieve. You may become impatient, inattentive to important details, and overconfident about what can be accomplished.
You may expect your team to shift focus and adapt to changing circumstances as quickly and as well as you do, which may not be possible. You have extremely high expectations for your team, which can be positive but can also be demoralizing if the bar is too high.
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