Life As An Enneagram 3 | Sarah Wyland
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Life As An Enneagram 3

IAre you familiar with the Enneagram? If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m a 3. I wing a bit 4, but I’m the three-est three that ever did three. 

What is the Enneagram? 

For those who may not be familiar with the Enneagram, it is a model of the human psyche which includes nine personality “types:” 

1: The Reformer 

2: The Helper 

3: The Achiever 

4: The Individualist 

5: The Investigator 

6: The Loyalist 

7: The Enthusiast 

8: The Challenger

9: The Peacemaker 

Each of us is one of those types, but we may “wing” to one of the types on either side of it. So, since I’m a 3, I can wing 2 or 4. As I mentioned, I wing 4. You may hear someone say “I’m a 1, but I wing 7.” That’s not possible. There are also stress and growth numbers, but those are another post for another day. 

How do I find my Enneagram? 

There are a lot of quizzes on the internet that can help you figure out your type. I like this one and this one for free results. You can also take this one which $12 and arguably a little more accurate. You may find that your results show you having high percentages of multiple types. What I found works best is to use the quiz results as a guide. The quizzes I took helped me determine that I am definitely not a 1 or a 9 and was most likely a 3, 7, or 8.

Once you have a decent idea of what type you might be, read up on each type. I really like the Crystal Knows descriptions as they are concise as well as the more detailed descriptions from the Enneagram Institute.

My favorite resource, however, is the book The Road Back To You. I read it earlier this year and it was incredibly insightful. 

How can you use the Enneagram? 

The Enneagram is useful for helping you understand you. Learning about myself as an Enneagram 3 has really helped me understand why I am the way I am and why I do the things I do. The Enneagram digs into what motivates you, and I had actual tears in my eyes as I read The Road Back To You and saw myself in the pages describing the 3. I used to think I was a solid 3 until I read that book, then I learned I definitely wing a little to the 4. 

It’s also useful for me as a coach. When I know my client’s Enneagram, I can understand what motivates them which in turn allows me to be a better coach. Knowing the Enneagram of my friends and family also helps with understanding their behavior, how they see the world, and how I interact with them. 

So, what’s it like being an Enneagram 3? 

I often say being a 3 is “the worst one.” 

3s are the performer or the achiever. We’re goal oriented, always working towards something, determined to be first, best, and right. We’re competitive, sometimes to a fault, and have a hard time turning off. We have the ability to shapeshift in order to fit every room and we have a really hard time with failure. We need to feel valued and seen and can be image conscious. We’re also known to be charming and can be attention seekers. 

I say it’s the “worst one” because it really is hard to turn off. As a 3, I have a hard time resting. I’m almost always doing two or more things at once. For example, I’m watching the new season of Outer Banks as I write this. My best days are the days in which I check a lot off my to-do list and can end the day feeling accomplished. I wake up ready to take on the world and put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve all the things. 

Growing up, I had a hard time with anything less than perfection. My parents made a big deal out of my good grades and so I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep getting good grades. My parents didn’t pressure me – as long as I was behaving myself and not failing, they were happy – but I got high off of accolades and validation for hard work, so I would sit and cry over math homework and when I got a ‘C’ in trigonometry, I was devastated. 

I’ve always been driven to be in the leadership position, get the promotion, win the award. It can be exhausting, if I’m being honest. Knowing I’m a 3 and what drives me, I’m more able to identify when I need to chill and I’m getting better about resting. I’ll probably never be the person that can stay in bed with a book all day and leave chores undone and my business untouched, but I’m getting better at making time to relax. 

As a three, my fears are around failing, as mentioned, as well as feeling unvalued and unworthy. I need the “good job” more than other types. I struggle when I’m in an environment where my hard work goes unnoticed or I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I love a gold star, for better or worse (and I’m not a big fan of participation trophies – give me a real trophy for something I won…). I can place a lot of self-worth on what I’ve accomplished. 

Being an Enneagram 3 is something I wear as a badge of honor though. I know who I am, what I’m about, what drives me. My pride in being a 3 is likely related to the fact that I’m an achiever by nature so of course I take pride in being a 3. 

While I share a lot of fun Enneagram 3 memes on my Instagram, I do think there is a lot of value in knowing your type. Whether you’re a 3 like me or another type, knowing your Enneagram will help you better understand how you approach life – and it will help you relate to others. 

Do you know your Enneagram type? Let me know in the comments! 

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