“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”-–Vince Lombardi
An Enneagram Type Three is often called the Achiever or the Motivator. They are in the dead center of the Heart Triad and yet are the most disconnected from their own emotional life because they don’t have a Body or Head wing to help pull them out of autopilot.
Type Threes focus on success as a way to achieve the love and admiration they think they’re incapable of receiving as their authentic self. The main motivation towards relentless doing and succeeding is the underlying fear of being worthless. They want to feel accepted and desired in an unconditional way.
When Threes are at their healthiest they have a sense of their own worth and so are able to access their emotions more freely. They connect to their heart. They are high energy and can then use their big hearts to be passionate about motivating others to achieve goals. Healthy Threes also work to accomplish worthwhile goals; things that help others and contribute to the good of the world. They become team players and aid their team in the journey to success. They get things done, but in a way that is realistic and paced, making sure to create time for rest. They stop seeing others as extensions of themselves and their projected image and incorporate healthy boundaries into their daily life.
When Type Threes move into autopilot their attention is focused on both being successful and appearing successful, and all their boundless energy flows in this direction. They can obsessively succeed in any area of life: relationships, work, or as a parent or spouse, but usually, they tend to focus on work. They want to be seen as prestigious and professional and so they will work until they drop (and maybe never drop). They will achieve goals and complete tasks in a fast-paced and efficient manner.
They also want to physically look successful so they will be very conscious of their image, and the way in which they talk. They will adapt their mannerisms and speaking style to any circumstance or person and project whatever image is necessary to succeed in the given moment. They are highly magnetic and engaging—like a salesperson. But they can also be perceived as robotic by those close to them who sniff out their inauthentic posturing.
Path of Integration (Health): Type Three takes on positive characteristics of Type Six.
- Become more group focused. They work towards the interest of the whole rather than promoting their own agendas.
- Think through potential risks and dangers. They are more cautious and less likely to act impulsively in order to achieve fast results.
- Instead of acting superior, they begin to show a softer, more self-deprecating, humorous side.
- More spontaneous. Less attached to specific outcomes and able to be authentically engaged in the moment.
Path of Disintegration (Stress): Type Three takes on negative characteristics of Type Nine.
- Emotional disengagement becomes more pronounced. They begin to shut down, becoming increasingly insensitive to problems and passive-aggressive with others.
- In the face of failure, they begin to numb themselves either with hyperactivity (doing and accomplishing LOTS of things) or with inaction and substances (TV, Food, Reading, Alcohol).
- Check out of life. Energy levels plummet and they become stagnant and unmoving. They will say things like, “I don’t care.”
- They can seem fuzzy and unfocused, their attention is easily diverted.
“Type Threes as children often have a well-spring of pent-up anger and hostility because [they feel] nothing they do is enough to please their unhealthy nurturing figure. Children Threes often play the role of Family Hero.” –The Wisdom of the Enneagram, Riso & Hudson, pg. 154