“He who masters the power formed by a group of people working together has within his grasp one of the greatest powers known to man.”
Happy Monday everyone! Today, I’m excited to have someone from my hometown of Ellicott City, MD on the blog. It’s a crazy coincidence because we don’t know each other! Tim Brooks is a pastor, coach, and writer… and an Enneagram Type Three.
You will notice that the questions for each Type in the next month or two of interviews are the same. I’ve done this on purpose. In having different people of the same Type answer the same questions, we get to see and understand more deeply the similar motivations, thought patterns, and behavior. But, it also exposes so many nuanced deviations—because we’re humans and we can’t be put in boxes! The Enneagram is a useful tool, but it’s only a tool. We’re unique people with individualized experiences and to really grasp The Enneagram’s potential for personal growth, it’s so helpful to hear from as many diverse perspectives as possible! This blog is a brave space open to all beliefs or non-beliefs, all genders, and orientations.
Welcome, Tim! I’m so glad to have you here. Thank you for your willingness to share.
Type Three Interview: Tim Brooks
1. Three’s experience the world as a series of tasks or challenges to be overcome. Talk a little about how this shows up in your life.
I struggle to understand how people even view life differently than this! My wife once told me that she didn’t have goals of grandeur, that a simple life would make her happy, and I wasn’t sure even how to be married to that (I have come around, it was a short crisis). I’m hyper-competitive and still unsure if that is a result of being a Type Three, or if it feeds my Three-ness. But I do have an insatiable need to win, making competitions out of the most mundane tasks (how fast I can get in and out of a grocery store, beating the caravan back from a staff lunch, guiding my daughter’s soccer teams to victory, etc.)
If I’m feeling unchallenged, I tend to think I’m wasting time. I then add a new side-project, join a new committee or board, or even change jobs. Mastery equals monotony very quickly for me, whereas many of my friends feel accomplished by mastery, I feel boredom.
2. How do you make decisions? From your gut, from your head, or from your heart? (Or any combination.)
Emotions don’t play a huge role in my life, so I think heart is cut out of the equation. I’m suspicious of emotions as liars because it’s so easy to use them to manipulate and to be manipulated. As such, my authentic feelings are always at war with my rational thoughts. I bounce between the two. There are times that I have a gut sense of what needs to be done that seems overwhelmed by rational thought. But I have a deep confidence that I can beat the odds, and doing what my gut tells me to do is possible. I tend to be willing to bet on myself, and that pays off more often than it doesn’t. But when it doesn’t pay off, there tend to be catastrophic consequences.
3. What happens to your closest relationships when you’re stressed and go to Arrow Type Nine? What happens to your relationships when you’re healthy and go to Arrow Type Six?
When I’m stressed and go Type Nine, people don’t know what to do with me. I am usually a reliable leader (especially in my family), and when I go full “leave me alone, I’m playing video games, and I’m in my own little world,” it creates a void in the systems I usually cultivate, and I think people feel my stress.
My wife is a Six, and she drives me nuts in the normal marriage way. Think 3/6 marriage! I always want to break ceilings and accomplish something new, and man is she afraid of new! If she was writing this, she could tell you all about how I drive her crazy as well. But when I go to a Type Six in health, I suspect I’m more governed by the rational part of me: planning, articulating, weighing risk, being practical. My wife loves it when I live there.
4. How does the need for image and status play out in your daily life? Do you find yourself changing and adjusting to people and circumstances?
Yeah, in some ways it’s exhausting, trying, as the Apostle Paul put it, “to be all things to all people.” As a pastor, I feel this tension most acutely when I move from younger people to older people. Older folks want a formal, less flawed, articulate pastor who spends time with them. Younger folks want a flawed, fun, relatable character who practices being “real.”
When it comes to politics, I often find myself as a centrist because I am able to hear people from left and right of the political center and really understand their arguments, motivations, and dreams. Rather than not having convictions—as the center is often accused of—my problem is more being able to sympathize with those who are articulating their point at the moment. I really can see both sides of an argument very clearly.
5. What do you wish other people understood about being a Type Three?
That we are not “liars” and we are not “fake.” That our ambition is not about thinking we are better than anyone else either. So often, especially when Threes are healthy, our ambition is about elevating all of us: our communities, our churches, our friends, our teams, etc.
6. Tell us about your Wing. Do you know what it is? How does it color your experiences as a Three?
I guess I could be a Two Wing. But really, I think I’m more of a full Three. My job as a pastor seems to cultivate the Two Wing… I have to care about people a lot. But, honestly, it takes a ton of energy for me.
7. What would the phrase, “I am loved as myself, even when I fail,” mean to you if you knew it to be deeply true?
Yeah, I know that is deeply true, but I am not sure how it is true—I just know that it is. I don’t know yet how to tell the story of who I am without listing accomplishments.
8. As a Type Three do you connect to spirituality? Are there any spiritual practices you participate in?
Spirituality must be corporate for it to work for me. Meditation, personal devotions, etc. quickly turn into my mind wandering, processing all I have to do. But joining with others in prayer, study, book club, worship, conversation, etc. always centers me.
9. How do feelings show up in your life? Are you able to recognize and experience your feelings or do you suppress them?
I’m not good with my own feelings, but I think I am good at helping other people with their feelings. I suppress my emotions – not that I wrestle with them often. I mentioned this earlier, but feelings, which I acknowledge are legitimate, are so easily distorted.
10. Talk about what the words Authenticity, Be, and Pain mean to you today?
Authenticity: My wife hates reading about my Enneagram Type because all she sees is “fake.” I think the chameleon piece is our authentic self… because we aren’t simply what we are solely for self-preservation, but also because we need to be what you need us to be… and we can switch that on easily. If we were all accomplishment, all achievement without being able to be the person you need us to be, we would be aloof. Maybe we still are, but I think moments where we can be what you need, allows for all of us to appreciate each other.
Be: Man, this word is difficult. To be feels so stagnant. I am way more interested in what I want to become.
Pain: I know pain. I know it in many degrees from many moments. Pain makes me better. It makes me want to rise above it. It makes me want to create systems to avoid it. It cultivates empathy within me for others that I can draw on.
Tim Brooks is the lead pastor at Crossroads Church of the Nazarene in Ellicott City, MD. He is the husband to Charryse, father to Mackenzie (10) and Claire (8). Tim coaches softball, basketball, and soccer. He is an editor for Preacher’s Magazine, a writer for The Community blog, and a contracted author for The Foundry Publishing. He has an earned doctorate from Nazarene Theological Seminary where he studies the overlapping agendas and formational power of pop culture and religious worship.