Enneagram Type 3 (The Achiever)

The Achiever or Type Three people thrive on showing us what success looks like. For example, they are adaptable, intelligent, oriented to success, focus on their goals, and work hard to make their dreams a reality. That is to say, some of the best traits found on Achievers are, according to Riso and Hudson (1987), Type Three people, when healthy appear to be: “Inner-directed and authentic, everything he or she seems to be. Self-assured, energetic, adaptable, often physically attractive, and popular. Ambitious to improve self, becoming outstanding, a kind of human ideal, embodying widely admired qualities.”

Also, The Achiever needs to be ambitious, confident, and a hard worker. Overall, Achievers need to earn and portray an example of accomplishment and success as significant as the image they have of themselves. Therefore, one of their goals is being someone people look up to, so they cannot afford to miss these personality traits. We can also corroborate these traits in the book “The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery,” where Morgan Cron and Stabile tell us that Type Threes are “Success-oriented, image-conscious and wired for productivity, are motivated by a need to be (or appear to be) successful and to avoid failure.” However, we need to pay attention to the fact that the same goals are not for all of them; while some Achievers show motivation and want people to like them, others mean to become role models.

Also, Threes are confident, attractive, and charming. Certainly, according to Riso and Hudson (1995), Achievers are “Pragmatic chameleons, calculating, saying, and doing whatever “works” for them,” which may make them seem like a bit manipulative at their worst.

They are concerned about personal advancement. They pay attention to their looks and to other’s opinions of them. Baron and Wagele (2009) explain that Threes are not good at handling inefficiency and continuously compare themselves to others. Also, they struggle a lot to impress people and to feel admired by them, hence they could be seen as narcissistic.

When not at their best, we can find that Threes typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. It is also common for them to experience anxiety and panic attacks, mainly when they feel things get out of their control or when their expectations of themselves may not be met, they need to be able to stop, re-group, and re-start. On the other hand, at their best, healthy Threes are self-accepting, authentic, and everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others. To sum up, if you have an Achiever on your team, you can be sure they will do things aiming to stand out, they will not only comply with the bare minimum.

By:  Dr. Graciela González Calderón-Psychologist

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