Type 3: Achiever

Lee Bladon 10:27 am

Enneatype 3: The Achiever

Performer, Motivator, Status Seeker, Role Model, Professional

Key Characteristics of Enneatype 3

Ambitious, Accomplished, Image-Conscious, Confident, Successful, Competitive, Approval-Seeking, Adaptable, Charming, Efficient, Energetic, Focused, Driven, Inspirational, Performer, Professional, Direct, Abrupt, Emotionally-Detached, Workaholic, Vanity.

General Description

Threes are driven to achieve their full potential, but their attempts to emulate completeness and perfection are distorted into achieving and vanity. Their desire for approval drives them to continually strive to achieve a self-image that matches (what they believe is) society’s idealised image. Their sense of value is determined by their image and achievements, so getting the job done is always their number one priority, even if it is at the expense of their other needs. Threes find it difficult to relax, so they are always doing something – even when ‘relaxing’. Threes come across as professional, polished and well-presented, but at the lower levels of development they appear shallow, inauthentic and fake.

Characteristics of ennetype 3

Self-Preservation Threes

  • Countertype – Can look like Ones.
  • Pragmatic, ambitious, productive and reliable, but can find it difficult to disengage from work.
  • Unlike other Threes, this countertype doesn’t actively express their vanity. They still want to be seen as attractive and successful, but don’t openly advertise it.
  • They want to be a good person / friend / partner / parent / employee because they think their goodness hides their vanity, but their goodness is actually motivated by vanity.
  • They only tend to see their image-based reasons for doing things, because they don’t want to admit their real reasons or true feelings.
  • They are self-reliant workaholics who appear calm, confident and in control, but they are often more stressed than they would care to admit.
  • They would benefit from slowing down and turning their attention inwards to acknowledge their real feelings and insecurities.

Sexual Threes

  • Can look like Twos or Sevens.
  • Charasmatic, enthusiastic and supportive, but tend to compete for attention and affection. 
  • They come across as sweet and a little shy, but their personal appeal and sex-appeal are always in the back of their mind.
  • They want to be seen in an attractive light, so they project the image of being good, sincere, supportive, friendly and family oriented.
  • Pleasing and supporting other people brings them approval and love, without them having to be a conventional achiever.
  • They are positive and enthusiastic, and more emotionally connected than other Threes.
  • They would benefit from relaxing their need to be seen as attractive and supportive, which would enable them to tune into their real needs and relate more authentically.

Social Threes

  • Competitive, attention-seeking and influential, but may cut corners or cover up failures.
  • They have a flawless image and want to be seen, admired and applauded.
  • They know how to talk to people, make a good impression and climb the social ladder.
  • They are highly competitive and have a talent for marketing themselves or whatever they want to promote.
  • They are devastated by criticism, but would never show it.
  • They need to keep some people at a distance, because if they get too close they may see through the highly-polished façade.
  • They would benefit from observing the differences between their image and their real self, and realising that their real self is more lovable than their image.

Evolutionary Behaviours
(when safe and relaxed)

  • Threes become more cooperative and committed to others, like healthy Sixes.
  • Threes become more relaxed and receptive, like healthy Nines.
Enneagram type 3

Devolutionary Behaviours
(when stressed)

  • Threes become disengaged and apathetic, like unhealthy Nines.
    Threes become more anxious and self-doubting, like unhealthy Sixes.

Threes with a Two Wing

Charming, Spontaneous, Friendly, Fun, Popular, Cheerful, Supportive, Caring, Self Esteem, Impressive, Flashy, Covertly Competitive, Seek Validation, Artificial, Chameleon.

Threes with a Four Wing

Professional, Polished, Outstanding, Career Oriented, Ambitious, Focused, Perfectionist, Serious, Diplomatic, Elegant, Private, Self-Doubt, Moody, Critical, Arrogant.

General Advice for Threes

  • Acknowledge your desire to impress others.
  • Learn to cooperate and work with others without needing to be the centre of attention or taking the credit (or offloading the blame).
  • Learning to relax and practicing meditation will help you to let down your façade and become more authentic.
  • Find someone (a friend or a therapist) with whom you can let your guard down, open up to and share your feelings with.

  Core Beliefs & Strategies of Enneatype 3

Lost Essential Quality: Personal Essence (The Pearl)

The Pearl is the complete embodiment of true nature, where potential has been fully actualised to become a perfected human being.

Mental Ideal (Holy Idea):

Harmony

The mind’s sense of the lost essential quality – the harmonious functioning of personal essence within the oneness of true nature.

Emotional Ideal (Virtue):

Authenticity (Truth)

The heart’s sense of the lost essential quality – the authenticity of being that comes from abiding in true nature.

Core Belief: 

I am Worthlesss / Insignificant

The loss of the essential quality (personal essence), the mental ideal (harmony) and the emotional ideal (authenticity) contribute to the development a core belief of being worthless and insignificant.

Core Motivation (to disprove the core belief):

To be Valued / Worthwhile

In an attempt to correct the core belief (worthless) and to reconnect with the essential quality (personal essence), the mental ideal (harmony) and the emotional ideal (authenticity), Threes develop a strong desire to be valued. They seek approval and validation because want to feel worthwhile.

Mental Strategy (Fixation):

Vanity

The ego-mind doesn’t see the authentic personal essence, so it puts its energy into cultivating a ‘perfect’ persona.

Emotional Strategy (Passion):

Inauthenticity (Self-Deceit)

The felt sense of inauthenticity that comes from presenting a false persona as if it were true nature.

Ego Ideal (what we aspire to be): To be Accomplished / Successful

The ego-ideal (to be accomplished / successful) is an aspirational idealised idea of ourself that incorporates the lost essential quality (Personal Essence).

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