Enneagram Type 3: The Achiever

Sat Feb 18 2023

Enneagram Type 3s are known as "The Achiever."

They are the most ambitious and success-driven personality types. They strongly desire to excel in their chosen field and are highly motivated to achieve their goals. The three’s secret weapon is their ability to adapt to any situation or environment.

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Enneagram 3 Description

Type 3 personalities are distinguished by ambition, charisma, and a strong desire for success. The person who is low-key bragging at a party is likely a type 3. They want to feel good about themselves and are conscious of their image.

Type 3s often excel in leadership roles. While their drive and adaptability are assets, balancing their ambition with authenticity and emotional awareness is crucial for their personal growth and fulfillment. Type 3s have been known to mentor people under them. They can talk to and inspire others to achieve lofty goals because they have lofty goals. They have also been known to be workaholics. Understanding these dynamics is critical to appreciating the complex nature of “The Achiever” and the path they walk towards personal and professional success.

Enneagram Type 3 Specifics

They are in the shame triad, which means they have high emotional intelligence. However, because they are in the middle of their triad, they are feeling depressed or feelings blind. Though they operate primarily based on emotions, this is done subconsciously. And if you were to ask them about their own emotions, they would have trouble defining what they feel. But they also subconsciously know how you feel and how you feel about them. And they are willing and able to use that to their advantage. Sometimes, they are called chameleons because of their ability to appear to change form. However, a more positive way to describe it is that they can read a room better than anyone else.

Key traits and characteristics of the Enneagram Type 3 personality

  • Driven Achievers: Type 3s aren't just ambitious; they're obsessed with consistently leveling up, fueled by a deep fear of falling behind. This relentless pursuit defines their identity and relationships.
  • Masters of Image: From fashion to career choices, every aspect is carefully curated to project success and win approval. But this constant performance masks their vulnerability and desire for genuine connection.
  • Charismatic Chameleons: They seamlessly adapt to any environment, morphing their personality to fit expectations. This charming skill can feel inauthentic, creating an internal struggle for self-discovery.
  • Emotional Neglect: Success becomes their drug, pushing aside feelings and relationships in a misguided quest for validation. This neglect can lead to loneliness and burnout, jeopardizing their true happiness.
  • Identity Puzzle: Beneath the polished surface, a confusing mix of roles masks their true self. Connecting with their core needs and accepting imperfections is crucial for authentic growth.

💪 Strengths of an Enneagram 3

Enneagram Type 3 individuals are the engines driving a team or community forward. Their vibrant energy and laser focus on achieving goals make them invaluable assets in any setting.

Their strengths include

  • Motivational Catalysts: These individuals are natural-born inspirers. Their infectious enthusiasm and can-do attitude light a fire under others, pushing them to reach their full potential. 3s are the charismatic coach rallying their team to victory!
  • Ambition with Direction: Fueled by a deep-seated desire to excel, Type 3s set audacious goals and relentlessly pursue them. They possess a clear vision for their path, navigating challenges with unwavering determination. Type 3 is the seasoned entrepreneur leading their startup to success and pushing the innovation boundary.
  • Chameleons of Success: Adaptability is their middle name. They seamlessly adjust their approach based on the situation, always aiming for optimal results. Picture a skilled salesperson closing deals in diverse settings. Or think of someone like Jason Calcanis, who has been successful in multiple careers and is usually the most charismatic person in the room.
  • Confident Go-Getters: Self-assuredness radiates from them. They believe in themselves and their abilities, allowing them to take calculated risks and navigate complex situations with poise. An Enneagram type 3 is the CEO calmly talking to the board steely-eyed while turbulent waters are ahead. Think of the founder of WeWork, Adam Neumann. That man had a vision and could rally those around him to march in a direction.

Situations where 3s thrive

  • Leading Sales Teams: Their charisma and relentless pursuit of goals turn them into sales superstars. Think of Jordan Belfort from The Wolf of Wall Street.
  • Conquering the Competitive Arena: Whether it's sports, business, or any competitive field, their determination and focus help them achieve victory. Think of an athlete pushing their limits to win the race.
  • Captivating Audiences: Public speaking or presentations are second nature to them. Their confidence and adaptability engage and inspire, leaving a lasting impact. Think of a captivating storyteller holding their audience spellbound..
  • Building Business Empires: Their ambition and efficiency make them natural entrepreneurs. They turn ideas into successful ventures, driving innovation and growth. Mant visionary founders building the next billion dollar companies are Enneagram 3s.

🤔 Weaknesses/ Challenges of an Enneagram 3

While Type 3 individuals are renowned for their drive and efficiency, they face unique challenges stemming from their core motivations and fears. Their pursuit of success and admiration, while a source of strength, can also lead to significant personal and interpersonal difficulties.

Key Challenges Faced by Type 3s:

  • Overemphasis on Image and Status: Type 3s have a deep-seated need to be perceived as successful and accomplished. This can lead them to prioritize external validation over inner contentment. They may become excessively focused on cultivating a certain image, resulting in a fear of failure and vulnerability and a tendency to equate self-worth with achievements.
  • Neglect of Personal and Emotional Health: In their relentless quest for success, Type 3s may overlook the importance of self-care and emotional well-being. This oversight can manifest in ignoring personal health, suppressing emotions, and neglecting close relationships. Such neglect not only affects their own mental health but can also strain their connections with others.
  • Workaholism and Burnout: Driven by ambition, Type 3s are prone to workaholism. They often put in long hours and take on excessive responsibilities, believing their value is tied to their productivity and success. This can lead to burnout, affecting their physical health, emotional state, and overall life satisfaction.
  • Struggles with Authenticity and Identity: While advantageous in achieving goals, their adaptive nature can lead to authenticity struggles. Type 3s may find themselves altering their behavior to fit into different roles and environments, resulting in a loss of sense of self and a struggle with identity.
  • Dominating Behavior in Pursuit of Goals: Type 3s can become overly aggressive or competitive when intensely focused on their objectives. They might unintentionally steamroll over others' ideas and feelings, focusing solely on their goals. This can create conflicts in team environments and personal relationships.
  • Dependency on Achievements for Self-Worth: Type 3s often feel they are only as valuable as their latest achievement. This dependence on external success for self-validation can lead to a constant fear of being 'exposed' as a failure, driving them to continuously seek new accomplishments, often at the expense of deeper personal fulfillment.

🧭 Motivations of Enneagram Type 3s

Enneagram Type 3 individuals, "The Achievers," are driven by a complex web of motivations that fuel their relentless pursuit of success. While we've explored their strengths and weaknesses, it's essential to understand what drives them and how they stay motivated to achieve their goals.

Motivating Factors for Enneagram Type 3s:

  • Recognition and Approval: The prospect of earning recognition and approval from peers, superiors, or society at large serves as a powerful motivator for Type 3s. They thrive on praise and acknowledgment, which drives them to excel in their endeavors.
  • Ambitious Goals: Type 3s set ambitious, often audacious, goals for themselves. The pursuit of these goals is a constant source of motivation. The bigger the challenge, the more determined they become to prove their capabilities.
  • Desire for Self-Validation: Achieving success provides Type 3s with a sense of self-worth and validation. They use their accomplishments to measure their value, motivating them to continually seek new achievements.
  • Fear of Failure: While their fear of failure can be a weakness, it also serves as a potent motivator. Type 3s dread falling short of their goals or being perceived as failures. This fear propels them to work tirelessly to avoid such outcomes.
  • External Expectations: Type 3s are highly attuned to the expectations others have of them. These expectations act as external motivators, pushing them to meet or exceed what is expected of them in various roles and situations.

Self-Motivation and Energy Sources

Type 3s are masters of self-motivation. They know how to tap into their inner drive and maintain their energy levels to stay on the path to success.
  • Positive Affirmations: They often use positive self-talk and affirmations to boost their confidence and maintain their motivation. Reminding themselves of their capabilities and past achievements helps them stay focused and driven.
  • Visualization: Type 3s are skilled at visualizing their goals and success. They create mental images of their desired outcomes, which motivates them and helps them plan and strategize their actions effectively.
  • Healthy Competition: Competing with themselves and setting personal benchmarks keeps them motivated. They view challenges as opportunities to prove their worth and rise to the occasion.
  • Rewards and Milestones: Type 3s often set rewards and milestones for themselves along their journey to success. These incentives provide them with the energy and determination to achieve their goals.
  • Social Support: Surrounding themselves with a supportive network of friends, mentors, and colleagues who appreciate their achievements and provide encouragement is vital for Type 3s. Positive feedback and reinforcement boost their motivation.

😨 Fears of an Enneagram 3

  • Fear of failure: Despite their strong desire for success, Type 3s often have a deep-seated fear of failure. They may worry they need to improve or will not meet their or others’ high expectations.
  • Fear of being unimportant: Type 3s value being admired, respected, and recognized for their accomplishments. They may fear being seen as insignificant or ordinary and work hard to maintain their image and status.
  • Fear of not being loved: While Type 3s may be highly successful and accomplished, they may still fear not being loved for who they are. They may worry that their worth is tied to their achievements rather than their inherent value.
  • Fear of being exposed as a fraud: Type 3s may worry that their success and accomplishments are not truly deserved or that they hide their true selves to maintain their image. They may fear being exposed as a fraud or imposter.
  • Fear of vulnerability: Type 3s may have difficulty showing their vulnerable side or admitting to their weaknesses. They may fear being seen as weak or inferior and work hard to maintain a solid and successful image.

🤯 Enneagram 3s Under Stress

Their stress number is Type 9. Type 9s are normally peaceful, accommodating, and harmonious. They might become more withdrawn, passive, avoidant, and indecisive when stressed. They might also struggle with feeling unimportant in the eyes of others.

More on Their Shift to Type 9 Under Stress

  • Withdrawal and Passivity: Under stress, Type 3s may withdraw from their typical active, goal-oriented behavior. They become more passive, often avoiding confrontations and challenges they would usually face head-on. This withdrawal is a contrast to their usual proactive and ambitious nature.
  • Avoidance: Type 3s typically focus on success and accomplishments, but when stressed and moving towards Type 9 traits, they might start avoiding tasks or decisions that they perceive as challenging or potentially unsuccessful. This avoidance is a form of self-protection, keeping them away from situations where they cannot maintain their image of success and competence.
  • Indecisiveness: The confident decision-making of a Type 3 can give way to indecisiveness when stressed. As they lean into Type 9 traits, their usual clarity of purpose and direction may become clouded, leading to uncertainty and hesitation in making choices or taking action.
  • Struggle for Importance: One of the core fears of Type 3s is being worthless or unsuccessful. Under stress, as they adopt more Type 9-like behaviors, they might struggle with feeling unimportant or insignificant. This is particularly challenging for Type 3s, as their self-worth is often closely tied to their achievements and the recognition they receive from others.
  • Seeking Harmony: In their stress-induced shift towards Type 9, Type 3s might seek harmony and peace at the cost of their desires and goals. They may prioritize maintaining a peaceful environment over asserting themselves or pursuing their ambitions. This need for peace can lead them to suppress their own needs and conform to others’ expectations, starkly contrasting their typically assertive and goal-focused personality.

Coping Strategies for Type 3s Under Stress

  • Recognize the Shift: Awareness of this shift towards Type 9 characteristics can help Type 3s understand their stress responses and address them more effectively.
  • Maintain Self-Care: Engaging in self-care activities can help Type 3s stay grounded and reduce stress.
  • Seek Support: Talking to trusted friends or a counselor can provide Type 3s with perspective and help them navigate their feelings of insignificance.
  • Reconnect with Goals: Reminding themselves of their goals and achievements can help Type 3s regain their confidence and direction.
  • Mindfulness Practices: Techniques like meditation or yoga can help Type 3s stay present and reduce tendencies towards avoidance and passivity.

Read more about other types under stress

Type Characteristic role Ego fixation Holy idea Trap Basic fear Basic desire Temptation Vice/Passion Virtue Stress/ Disintegration Security/ Integration
3 Achiever, Performer Vanity Hope, Law Efficiency Worthlessness To feel valuable Pushing self to always be “the best” Deceit Truthfulness 9 6

🧸 An Enneagram 3's Childhood

  • Childhood Stereotype: Raised in settings where achievements and external success were highly valued. Family or societal expectations are often centered around visible accomplishments.
  • Childhood Wound: Internalized the idea that love and acceptance were contingent on their successes and achievements.
  • Developmental Aspects:
    • Encouraged, sometimes pressured, to excel in various fields like academics, sports, or arts.
    • They often received more attention and praise for their actions than who they were.
  • Typical Behaviors: Highly driven, often overachievers, striving to be the best in their pursuits. They may have taken on leadership roles in school or extracurricular activities.
  • Thoughts and Feelings: Felt a constant drive to achieve and be recognized, often equating success with self-worth. They may have struggled with the fear of failure and needing approval.
  • View on Childhood: Likely view their early years as a foundation for their ambition and success. However, there may be a loss for not experiencing a more balanced childhood, where they could be valued for themselves rather than their accomplishments.

👫 An Enneagram 3 in relationships

Enneagram Type 3s bring a dynamic and engaging energy to their relationships. Their interactions are often characterized by ambition, charisma, and a deep desire for success and recognition. However, they also face unique challenges affecting their romantic and interpersonal connections.

Positive Traits in Relationships

  • Supportive and Motivating: Type 3s are inherently supportive. They often encourage their partners to pursue their ambitions and can be a significant source of motivation and inspiration.
  • Adaptive and Charismatic: With their natural charm and adaptability, Type 3s can easily connect with various people, making them exciting and engaging partners. They tend to be socially adept, often making their partners feel proud in social settings.
  • Goal-Oriented: Their focus on goals and achievements can bring a sense of direction and purpose to the relationship. They are often driven to create a successful and admirable life, not just for themselves but also for their partners.
  • Energetic and Enthusiastic: Type 3s bring energy and enthusiasm into their relationships, often leading to a dynamic and active partnership.

Challenges in Relationships

  • Image-Conscious: Type 3s’ concern with image and success can sometimes lead to superficiality in relationships. They might prioritize how the relationship appears to others over its depth and quality.
  • Work-Life Balance: Their ambition can sometimes turn into workaholism, leading to neglect of the relationship. Balancing their career aspirations with their personal life can be a significant challenge.
  • Emotional Distance: Type 3s might struggle with vulnerability, often opting to maintain an image of strength and competence. This can create emotional distance between them and their partners.
  • Competitive Nature: Their competitive drive, while beneficial in many aspects of life, can sometimes create conflicts in relationships, especially if it turns into a need to outdo or one-up their partner.

Enhancing Relationships with Type 3s

  • Foster Open Communication: Encourage honest and open dialogue. Let them know that it’s safe to show vulnerability and that they are valued for who they are, not just for their achievements.
  • Acknowledge Their Achievements: Recognize and appreciate their successes and the effort they put into their work and the relationship.
  • Balance Affection with Independence: Type 3s value both connection and independence. It’s essential to support their ambitions while offering affection and emotional Support.
  • Create Shared Goals: Working together on shared goals can be a bonding experience and help align their ambition with the relationship’s growth.

Learn more about other types in relationships

💼 An Enneagram 3 in the Workplace

Enneagram Type 3 individuals are highly driven and goal-oriented, making them well-suited for the workplace.

They are Stereotypically workaholics. They are ambitious and results-driven, often focused on achieving success and advancing their careers. They are often skilled at networking and building relationships, which can be a valuable asset in many industries.

In the workplace, Type 3s are very competitive and often strive to be the best in their field. They are self-confident and natural leaders who inspire and motivate others to achieve their goals. They are often skilled at strategic planning and have a talent for seeing the big picture, which allows them to make sound business decisions.

Type 3s are often excellent at multitasking and can juggle multiple projects simultaneously. They are also skilled at adapting to changing situations and can think independently when faced with unexpected challenges. This makes them well-suited for fast-paced, high-pressure work environments.

However, Type 3s may struggle with work-life balance, as they can sometimes prioritize their career goals over their personal lives. They may also struggle to delegate tasks to others, as they often feel they can do better themselves. Additionally, they may work with criticism and can be sensitive to feedback that they perceive as unfavorable.

Learn more about other types in the workplace

Career Paths

Enneagram Type 3 individuals thrive in competitive environments and enjoy being recognized for their achievements.

Some common career paths for Type 3 individuals include:

  • Sales and marketing
  • Public relations
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Acting or entertainment
  • Standup comedy

🌱 Growth and Development for Type 3 Personalities

Enneagram Type 3 individuals, or “The Achiever,” can grow and develop by focusing on personal growth and emotional intelligence. Some key ways that a Type 3 can produce and design include:

  • Cultivating Self-Awareness: Type 3s can benefit from developing a deeper understanding of their emotions, motivations, and behaviors. By becoming more self-aware, they can gain insights into their strengths and weaknesses and work on developing areas where they need improvement.
  • Embracing Vulnerability: Type 3s focus on projecting a polished and successful image to the world, which can sometimes lead them to avoid vulnerability. They can build more profound and meaningful relationships by learning to embrace vulnerability and being authentic with themselves and others.
  • Prioritizing Relationships: Type 3s can sometimes prioritize their career goals over their relationships, which can lead to feelings of loneliness or isolation. By making an effort to prioritize their relationships and connect with others on a deeper level, they can experience greater emotional fulfillment.
  • Developing Empathy: Type 3s can benefit from developing their empathy and emotional intelligence. By learning to understand and relate to the experiences and emotions of others, they can become better leaders, team players, and communicators.
  • Focusing on Personal Growth: Type 3s can benefit from focusing on personal growth and development rather than solely on achieving external goals. By setting personal goals related to their emotional well-being, relationships, and personal growth, they can experience greater fulfillment and satisfaction in life.

🤝 Enneagram Three's sharing their experience

In this video, Beatrice Chestnut moderates a panel discussion with several Enneagram Type 3 individuals, who share their personal experiences and insights about this personality type. The key takeaways from the video are:

  • Threes often struggle to distinguish their true self from the image and persona they present to the world, leading to a confusion of identity.
  • The different subtypes of Threes (self-preservation, social, sexual) have nuanced differences in how they express their drive for recognition and success.
  • Threes frequently avoid or suppress their emotions, only addressing them when faced with a major life crisis or breakdown that forces them to reevaluate.

🌟 Famous Enneagram 3s

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