Enneagram Type Three: The Achiever or Performer
Enneagram is a model of human psychology that describes nine fundamental personality types. Here comes the basic characteristics of the “Three”.
Focus of Attention:
- Meeting Goals and Hitting Targets
- Recognition of Accomplishment
- Having the “Right” Image
Basic Fear:To be Worthless
Basic Desire: To be Valuable
- A Good Provider
- A Motivator
- Image and Status Conscious
- Needs Validation from Others'
- Difficult to Know
- Puts on Facades
- Always “On”
General Behavior of the achiever
The Achiever, also called Three, is a personality type focused on accomplishments and success. Their identities are attached to their achievements. They achieve in order to receive external validation, which feeds their need to feel worthy. That is at the core of this personality type.
The admiration of their peers is important to a Three. So much so, that they are very conscious of maintaining the right image of success. Their image drives their need to be the best, and look their best. They have the required beautiful house, the beautiful wife or the handsome husband, the high-paying job, the latest car model – all of these are necessary for a Three to maintain their image.
Being goal-oriented, it’s easy for Threes to excel at any area they choose. They are hard-working to a fault, competitive, and focused on meeting targets. Attitudes that almost always ensure work success. Excelling is this personality’s way of ensuring their worth. A Three’s greatest fear is becoming a loser, worthless… a nobody.
Threes are known for their social and networking skills. They know how to work a crowd, and they carry themselves with confidence. Businesses love personalities like Three, who thrive on stressful and competitive environments. Many companies are led by Threes. They’re great leaders. They’re just good at everything they do.
However, the constant need to perform can be exhausting. We all need to be able to lower our guard every once in a while, and turn “off.” Try telling that to a Three. The compulsion to achieve is so deeply ingrained in their personas, that they don’t know how to be anything else.
Although they are likable, charismatic, and extroverted, it’s not that easy to get close to a Three. They wear their masks well, and their need to protect their image can make them fear intimacy. Deep inside, they are really insecure, and they don’t want anyone to see their inadequacies when they get too close.
Problems can start when Threes confuse real happiness with the image they’re trying to project to the world. When they have a “good” job, and an “attractive” partner, they may be willing to fool themselves into believing that they are happy, even if they’re not, just to maintain the façade. Most successful Threes seem happy enough on the outside, but deep inside, there’s a void that can’t be filled by the successful image they try so hard to maintain.
How to Get Along with a Three
- Join them in their activities, hit targets, and get recognized for it. Threes love that.
- Show them that you value them, and not just their accomplishments.
- If you’re in love with a three, tell them and demonstrate what’s important to you.
- Encourage them to give their feelings some attention.
- Appreciate them for their efforts.
- Help them maintain the image that’s so valuable to them.
- To excel at everything they do, Threes need to be focused. Don’t burden them with negative emotions if it can be avoided.
- Assure them that you already find them impressive, and tell them why.
How to Overcome the Negative Effects of Being a Three
- Realize that there is more to you than your achievements. They’re not all that makes you worthy of love and admiration. The right people will validate you for all the right reasons.
- Compete only with yourself. Be better than you were yesterday. If you keep comparing yourself to other people, there will always be someone better, richer, and more successful.
- Develop genuine relationships with people. Happiness does not come from maintaining an image of perfection and success. It comes in knowing that you are accepted and loved for all that you are, including the not so good parts.
- Don’t be afraid of intimacy. It’s where you often discover yourself. Try opening up to someone.
- Don’t push yourself so hard. Not all the time. Take the time to relax and just enjoy the simple things in life.
Read about the other eight types of Enneagram Personalities:
The Enneagram model of personality has been criticized as being subject to interpretation and difficult to test or validate scientifically. You can read about The Big Five model of personality that has gained more scientific consensus here.
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