Have you taken an Enneagram questionnaire and gotten a Three as a result? Enneagram Threes, or “the Achievers” as they are described, are always working towards success and enjoy pushing others to their full potential as well. If you’re trying to confirm that this is your true type, then read through this list of 21 common traits!
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21 Signs That You’re an Enneagram 3 Personality Type
#1 – You tend to “market” or present yourself in new social or work environments.
You are always on the lookout for new opportunities. You have a talent for reading people and you tend to use that gift to mirror their body language, almost always resulting in new connections and friendships (whether you like it or not).
#2 – You have a hard time identifying your true interests and feelings.
Maybe you have had an underlying message in your life that feelings get in the way. Maybe you have been so focused on getting things done or achieving a new benchmark that the idea of taking a break and thinking or talking about how you feel seems almost silly. Either way, you are one to convince yourself that if you did have any emotional problems to deal with, they’ve been dealt with already and you can move on to your next task.
#3 – Oftentimes, you find yourself overbooked or over committed.
You enjoy being depended on in a work context (and sometimes even socially) but balancing your work and social lives is not always your strong suit. You tend to take on a multitude of tasks, especially the more rewarding ones, even if you know you don’t have much time to complete them. One last minute emergency request may throw everything off.
#4 – Reassurance is valuable and necessary to you.
Though you may secretly feel a sense of superiority to others in terms of success, reassurance is a huge motivator for your productivity. A lack of validation and appreciation may cause you to second guess yourself and question why you’re doing all of the work you’re doing.
#5 – You feel you always need to appear as if you have everything together.
You don’t enjoy when others feel the need to check on, “baby”, or pity you. You would prefer to put on a fake smile and act as if everything is fine in the middle of a crisis than to ask for help. You’re supposed to be the person who knows the answer, not the one who needs one.
#6 – Your life is socially centered but you often get drained around people.
Making connections and maintaining your image is important to you, but it’s exhausting to keep up, especially in a group setting. For example: You may have created a different image to “wear” for each colleague at a work party so talking to more than one of them at once is almost impossible to navigate. You don’t want to blow your cover.
You wouldn’t describe yourself as “fake” or superficial. You just need different things from different people and can provide different things for each of them, so you see your “camouflage” skill as being more of a survival skill than a form of malicious manipulation.
#7 – You’ve been described as a “workaholic”.
“Do I spend a lot of time working? Well, yes. But c’mon! I need to work in order to maintain a stable life, invest in my wants and needs, and to feel accomplished and content with myself.”
#8 – You enjoy standing out from the crowd.
You have an underlying feeling that you need to be the best in the room, most well dressed on the sidewalk, driving the prettiest car on the highway. A stranger may not know how much work you put into everything, but they can tell you’re supposed to be important by the way you carry, dress, and present yourself. Deep down you may worry that if you appear less than successful, people will reject you. Keep in mind, if you’re a Self-Preservation Three, this point may feel a little “less” like you. While you may still crave to be seen as successful, you may see being image-oriented as “bad” and therefore bad for your image.
#9 – Financial security is very important to you.
Anything can happen at any time. You like to be prepared and you fear that a certain crisis could put you in a situation where you’re choosing between your physical well-being or your security. You wish to always have back up and an “out” in case of such emergencies. You spend a lot of time thinking about these “what if” situations and you use them as motivation to propel your productivity.
#10 – You love a good list, chart, or schedule.
Although you can be spontaneous, it is very handy as someone who books up plans on most days to have a plan. A to-do list can go a long way when projects pile up. Charts are great for prioritizing tasks and a calendar can act as your saving grace when meetings and deadlines are involved.
#11 – When you have a task at hand, you “turn it on” in order to achieve productivity.
No matter how tired you are, sleepless your last night was, you feel that every day needs to be a productive one. If you need something to be done, you will flip the switch and push through until you can finally close your computer and get some rest.
#12 – You prioritize security and stability.
You understand that the world around you is out of your control. You bend over backwards to make sure that no matter what hurdle is thrown at you, you can handle it. The more financial security you achieve, the more you can relax. Often you’ll do anything to make sure that, at the end of the day, you and your loved ones will still be standing.
#13 – Downtime feels uncomfortable and threatening.
If you’re not being productive, you feel almost as if you are committing a crime. You feel there is always something you could be doing and it is selfish, lazy and wrong for you to spend that precious time doing nothing. If you’re not accomplishing anything, you may feel that you aren’t of value.
#14 – You present yourself differently to different people
You learned at a young age that everyone has different expectations of you and if you can predict those expectations based on age, body language, tone, occupation and certain context clues, you can make it in the world more effectively. Sometimes this leaves you wondering who you are at your core.
#15 – If you see a job that needs doing, you’re likely to make note of it.
You have a habit of making lists of tasks in your head. Sometimes you point out those tasks out loud in hopes that someone else will take care of it. This can come off as bossy, so you try to do it yourself most of the time. You don’t enjoy when people look at you in a negative light and would prefer to just get the job done alone that have to beg for help or put up with less-than-stellar work.
#16 – You don’t understand people who can get bored.
You feel there is always something that can be done and tend to overwhelm yourself in the effort to continuously be productive. This can lead to burnout and stress. Even if you aren’t doing something, you are rarely “bored” because your mind is constantly reminding you of what needs to be done.
#17 – You’ve been described as optimistic.
You believe that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. You have a realistic and logical mindset but you dream big and are always looking for opportunities for “better ways” to accomplish things for yourself and for others. You like the concept of growth and are passionate about discovering strategies that could boost not only productivity, but also your enjoyment of it. You want to love what you do and you’ll harness your talents so that you can thrive financially and mentally. You can also be an amazing cheerleader in catalyzing others to achieve their goals.
#18 – You are almost always busy.
You like the feeling of always having something to do. Even your “free time” is scheduled and you may even include chores, fitness plans, or even eating in that supposed free time. You almost always have something to do and when you don’t, you can find something. Fast.
#19 – “How you look and what you’ve done tells people what to think and feel about you.”
You have a few recurring thoughts that “keep you in line” with the image you work to display to the outside world. You can easily fall prey to the belief that your achievements and appearance are the only parts of you that are of true value. As you grow and mature as a person, however, you start to realize that true vulnerability and authenticity and inner integrity matter far more than appearances – and they make you happier.
#20 – You recover fairly quickly from setbacks that may come along.
When something goes wrong, you may feel like everything is falling apart, especially if it was a technical error made by yourself. You can be very hard on yourself and critical- including the criticism of your own emotional needs and concerns. After a setback, you are the type to quickly fly through your emotions, shut them down, and get back to the logistics. No time to waste.
#21 – You like to be the best at everything you do.
Even when enjoying the beauty of nature, your internal dialogue may lead you through the steps to enjoy the beauty of nature in the “best way”. If an activity isn’t your strong suit, you may avoid revisiting that activity, especially in social situations. You can be very competitive.
What to Read Next:
Average to unhealthy Threes can struggle with feelings of emptiness in pursuit of success. Deep down they often fear being worthless for who they really are, which is why they often put on different “masks” to get things done. Find some articles that will gently help you to grow past this struggle below:
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you relate to these typical Enneagram 3 traits? Do you have any thoughts or insights for other Threes who might be reading? Let us know in the comments!
The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, Bantam; 11th edition (June 15, 1999)
Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso with Russ Hudson, Houghton Mifflin Company.
The Enneagram Made Easy by Elizabeth Wagele and Renee Baron, Harper San Francisco; 1st edition (March 11, 1994)
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