Just Do It – The Enneagram’s Type Three


Nine Ways of Relating in Life – Are You a Type 3?


Ready-Set-Go! Do you love to keep yourself busy?  Like to make to-do lists, set goals, have a plan and don’t mind putting in the time and focus to accomplish what you set out to do?  Do you love competition and have that natural optimistic attitude about life? If these statements resonate with you then follow along to learn more about the drive of the Enneagram Type Three and how that can play out in your life.

Remember that we all have a bit of every type in us so it is valuable to explore how each type fits into our own way of being.

Type Three’s can be called the Achiever, the Motivator, The Performer, The Succeeder, The Initiator.  Decisive, risk-taking, adaptable and optimistic; no type equals the Three in terms of energy and motivation. They expect success and more often than not, they get it.

Three’s can juggle many balls in the air at any given time – no moss will grow under their feet.  Evenings and holidays are rarely spent relaxing with their feet up, (why waste all that time?).  They always have lots on their to-do list including hobbies or just being out with friends enjoying the activities of life. Three’s are looking for recognition and acknowledgement for being successful, outstanding in their field or someone to watch out for.  This comes from the deep fear of not having value outside their achievements.  “I can not be valued for who I am therefore what I do must be successful.”

The “F” word for Three’s is Failure, because it is so difficult to separate what they do from who they are.  So image plays a big part in the Three’s life.  If you are going to be successful, you had better look successful and three’s will take time investing in how they look and present themselves. That will include having all the latest and greatest technology and new gadgets.  It not only looks good but it is efficient, it attracts attention and it’s fun. With all this activity, it can be difficult for three’s to get in touch with their feelings.  Though they are often motivated by them, it’s not a place to hang out. Here’s how one Type Three puts it: “ I daren’t stop and relax, all I can feel is this great hollow space inside and I don’t like the feeling…so I get up and fix something or start another project, or go out for a run – anything rather than face that empty place where feelings come up.  I can deceive myself that I don’t have them, that everything is fine, as long as I am busy.  Anyway, if she knew the real me, she’d leave wouldn’t she?”

Threes at their best in a relationship, value and accept their partners.  They are playful, giving, responsible and well regarded by others in the community.  At their worst in a relationship are preoccupied with work and projects.  They are self-absorbed, defensive, impatient, dishonest and controlling.

Practical suggestions for Type Three:

  • Be proud of all your special gifts, talents and accomplishments.
  • Work toward fulfilling the needs that were not met in your childhood. Treat yourself lovingly and compassionately.
  • Value living in the present.
  • Find ways to make your everyday duties and responsibilities creative or playful.
  • Commit yourself to creative work that will bring out the best in you.
  • Try taking a back seat at a meeting and listening to others.
  • Take a day with the family, doing whatever they choose.
  • Take time every day to meditate. Pay attention when feelings arise. Instead of pushing them down, practise staying with them and observing the effect on the body.
  • Notice when the urge to leap up and go arises in mediation…Sit for at least another 5 minutes and gradually increase this time.

Famous Threes:

Madonna, Bill Clinton, Barbara Streisand, Elvis Presley, Joan Rivers, Tony Robbins, Shania Twain, Christopher Reeve, Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, John Travolta, Kathy Lee Gifford, Whitney Houston.

How about you? Do you relate to being a Type 3? I love getting feedback. And here on my blog, you’ll get commentluv. This is a plug in that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment. But, you don’t have to be a blogger to leave a comment, I’d love to hear from everyone!

Until next time,




6 replies
    • Karen says:

      Thanks Charlene – I would love to take full credit for them, however they are summarized from my reference books and definitely make sense. As in moving forward with any new way of being, it is the small steps taken consistently that produce change.
      I appreciate your comments! Karen

    • Karen says:

      LOL – I love your honesty!! With a Type 3 brother and son and having a 3 wing myself, I can so relate! I experience this Being and Listening side of you when in session at Heartlight so it could be an enlightening experience to increase this presence in your work environment. Thanks for the comment Rebecca! Karen

  1. Katie says:

    the last enneagram type i feel i idnetify myself with is a three. i took the test a while ago and it came up on the screen i was a full three and that was half across the page and second down to it was an eight, i idenifyied myself as a one because i do have moral belielfs of whats right, wrong good and bad… and the fact i know i have repressed a lot of myself, even now a little but to a point.

    The thing is i love to express myself and i love to talk… guaranteed i know I’ve got to hush up and let others talk, but, which might be an interesting thing for anyone to know who may be reading this and i dont mind admitting this but growing up i had a terrible, terrible speech problem but when i had it dealt with no body could hush me up because i spent years unable to get my words out and now that i could well id just go on…

    i’ve always wanted to get into acting stupidly enough – i think its because i like to provide a source of entertainment for others and the ability to dive into another character… but the thing is ive never been to an acting school or anything like that so i’ve never been able to shine as much as i feel id like to. But, i love to write… and i write loads. My Dad has told me i ought to send my stories off and i think id like to look into that.

    At my worst i know i can be dishonest and cunning a lot more than my closet friends and family are aware of even though they have some of the times found me out but i find that because of this i can spot others who do the same thing. and then it comes down to that saying it takes one to know one. i’ve caught people out myself…

    i like others to think of me – esp work people in what i can do… i can make a list right here right now, but the point is i feel as i look young for my age others don’t take me seriously enough, and i feel like i have to tell people what i can do to show how much i can do to show how much i am capable of. I mean i worked years back on a concession stall in a store, and i do not know what happened but as soon as i got the job and went into it – seriously no manager came into that consession and i ran it by myself (had a little help from my friends on the shop floor with putting the delivery though the reccords) but i ran that department ALL by myself before a manager was appointed to the job. Each transaction i did i had to use two tills – one for the store records and the consession records too… and getting down the queues of customers, i did everything, changed the manikins did the changing rooms – i had to answer the phone to get a jewlary stand… just about everything.

    i worked at new look for a time i’m sure people are wildly famillar with that clothing branch name. I was up in the delivery room – getting up at 6 to get there for 7 to start undoing every single box. Sorting boxes into piles so the people assigned to shoes or handbags could take them away, and start putting them out… sometimes i struggled and at times i did have help but for the most part i did the whole delivery to the whole store by myself…. but i never liked to complain and i always tried pushing myself.. even if i woke up with a headache… or anything else.

    The last thing i want to point out is sometimes i cant work out why i do it but growing up i’ve felt when people anyone for that matter friends or family come to the house i feel like ive got to provide a source of entertainment – and the more i feel i make people laugh the more i feel they are having a good time – once they are gone i feel exhausted but then i feel like ive done my part… and my sister has commented on this as well as my Mother they tell me i show off – and at times i dont feel like i do and tell them they are crazy but i know i do and i don’t know sometimes how to calm it down… i am getting better but i’ve always done that. And i find it funny how these enneagram types reflect me in several different ways and are amazingly true…

    • Karen Armstrong says:

      Hi Katie – well, you have shared alot with me in this note. I can identify type 3 characteristics – your need to look and be competent, your high energy level, a can do attitude, the dishonesty. Do you give yourself permission to stop and relax or is there always things to be done. Sometimes the way a Type 3 stops is to get sick, then their body forces them to stop and they are not happy about it! How are you with your feelings? Can you identify and express them well or do you prefer to express in a more practical way and express through action? The enneagram is such a road map of our natural thoughts, feelings and actions…enjoy exploring more. Thanks for sharing.


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