enneagram 3 - the achiever

Did you feel like you just won the Enneagram when you found out you’re a 3? Or are you just looking to better understand all the driven, goal-oriented Type 3’s in your life? Read on to learn all about Enneagram 3!

What Is a Type 3 Enneagram?

At its most basic level, a person who identifies as an Enneagram 3 is often dedicated, driven, charming, and flexible. They’ll do what they need to in order to get the job done, but they’re often pretty open-minded and eager to hear innovative solutions.

Backing things up a little, the Enneagram, which literally means a 9-sided object, usually refers to a personality assessment that breaks people down into 9 major personality types based on motivation. So it’s more like the Myers-Briggs test than a horoscope. It’s often a useful tool in marriage therapy to help better understand yourself and your partner.

If you want to brush up on your Enneagram numbers, this article does a pretty good job breaking them down. But if you’re a Type 3, you’re probably less interested in everybody else, and more interested in how understanding this assessment can better help you achieve your goals.

Just like all of the types, Type 3 has different strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. But if you’re a Type Three, you’re probably pretty forward-focused and not spending too much time dwelling on your past failures. Unless, of course, those problems help you find a more efficient way to achieve your goals. You’ve got work to do!

Of all the Enneagram types, threes are the least likely to be in touch with their emotions, and they can often draw a sense of fulfillment or energy from what they do, rather than who they are. They also usually bring a lot of positive energy to whatever project they’re working on, as they’re constantly looking for better, more efficient ways to make things happen.

Enneagram 3 graphic

Image Credit: Hillary McCaskey @enneagramandcoaching

Enneagram Three Characteristics

Even though two people most strongly identify as an Enneagram 3, they might act completely differently than one another– since we all have different goals, accomplishments, and ideas of success. The overriding thread between the people with this Enneagram Type remains the basic desire to succeed. So it’s not surprising that people with this type are often called the achiever, challenger, or performer.

Like all of the numbers, 3s act differently when they’re in mentally healthy or unhealthy headspaces, which can make identifying your number a little more difficult.

At their best, Enneagram 3s take on characteristics of healthy 6’s. They don’t just desire to do their best on a personal level but seek the success and security of the collective group. According to Enneagram coach Hillary McCaskey, “A three finds true joy when they stop focusing so much on their own personal success and focuses on the success of those around them. One is not truly successful without the other.”

In contrast, an unhealthy 3 can burn out and become completely apathetic, like an unhealthy 1. For example, a 3 in an unhealthy place will want to tune out everything and stay in bed doing nothing.  At a normal level, they’ll want to go on a run to get some fresh air and exercise. At their healthiest levels, they’ll go on a family run or bike ride so everyone can exercise together.

enneagram type three

Photo Credit: @okayenneagram

You Know You’re an Enneagram 3 When:

  • You don’t really have time to talk about feelings and emotions. Get it done!
  • You have two speeds: fast, and fast asleep.
  • It can be really, really hard to separate your work from your personal life, but when you finally can relax, you go all the way!
  • You still feel snubbed by the way you were shut out of awards at your 6th-grade graduation 30 years later.
  • Fear of failure is at the top of your list.
  • If Plan A doesn’t work out, you can still try B, C, D, and Z.
  • You constantly set goals and make to-do lists, and if it looks like you won’t get there, you’ll readjust your expectation so they do.
  • There’s no letting the kids win during family game night!

Enneagram 3 Wings

When you really geek out on the Enneagram, the Threes break down into two extra subcategories. If you’re a three-wing two, also known as the Star, Charmer, or Enchanter, you really tap into your social skills and tend to be more people-oriented.

Enneagram 3s with a 4 wing aka “The Expert” really value professional accomplishments and tend to be more controlled and introverted than other 3s. Some threes can tap into both wings during different times, some don’t really access either one. But in a nutshell, the existence of wings reinforces the fact that even though two people might identify with the same Enneagram number, they could behave very differently from each other.

enneagram type 3 self care

Image Credit: @justmyenneatype

How Do You Encourage a Three?

Enneagram 3s often care about external recognition, so just letting them know that you recognize them for who they are, not just what they do, can go a long way. Of course, they’ll also appreciate any external recognition when they reach their goals or go above and beyond, as well.

Instead of pressuring the 3 in your life to share all their hopes and fears while you cry on each other’s shoulders, you might have better connections when you meet them where they are. A little honest, but not overly critical feedback can go a long way!

Who Are Some Enneagram 3 Celebrities and People in History?

While you can’t truly know someone’s Enneagram number, since it’s all about your motivation, the following people definitely display a lot of the Type 3 attributes. So you’re in good company!

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Cindy Crawford
  • Tom Cruise
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Lady Gaga
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • Michael Jordan
  • Madonna
  • Elvis Presley
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Will Smith
  • Taylor Swift
  • George Washington
  • Oprah Winfrey

Are you an Enneagram 3, or do you have friends and family who are? Or do you just want to learn more about the Enneagram Type 3 or another type? Talk it over with your family and friends on your favorite family app!

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Laura KrausAuthor posts

Laura Kraus

Laura was born with many stories to tell and has been writing in one way or another ever since. She's written TV news stories, blogs, children's cartoons, legal briefs, commercials, and everything in between. In addition to working for FamilyApp, she's also architecting the Faithful Beginnings School Readiness Guide for preschoolers. She loves traveling, new adventures, finding a great bargain, and reading to her three children.

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