Enneagram type 3’s are known as The Achiever. They are confident, charming, driven individuals who like success and admire accomplishing big tasks. Enneagram threes find joy in being recognized for their achievements. When healthy, threes are humble and competent with great intentions. When unhealthy, they can fixate on success at the expense of others and even compromise their values.

Enneagram Three’s work hard to achieve success to capture the admiration and respect of others. However, they can be driven by fear of failure and worthlessness when lacking awareness. They work towards significant accomplishments to project an image of success and value to combat this fear.

Enneagram Type 3’s can be very inspiring, full of drive and energy. However, an inability to control their drive can also lead to unhappiness, addiction, and personal failures. Read on to understand the type 3 personality.

Enneagram Type 3 Characteristics

What It Is Like to Be an Enneagram 3

what its like to be an enneagram 3

Enneagram Type 3’s are dedicated to their goals, always striving to be the best and raise the bar in their fields. They chase the feeling of accomplishing their next milestone with immense focus and energy. All while holding an active awareness of upholding an image of success and value for others to see.

Feeling worthless is what type 3’s fear the most, which motivates them to have high standards. They likely learned that having outstanding achievements is rewarded with praise and admiration. This message strengthens as children, and as this belief internalizes, they develop habits to help them earn respect for their accomplishments to feel valuable.

Enneagram Type 3’s are a part of the heart triad and struggle with a sense of shame that shadows their life. This overshadowing shame can cause them to feel worthless and lack self-confidence. To compensate, they will strive for success at all costs.

Everyday life for The Achiever involves meeting new people and learning new ways to face their obstacles. For Three’s, every situation is an opportunity for more success, making them open to new experiences and ways of thinking.

Besides professional achievement, 3’s will also prioritize their appearance to uphold an image of value and worth. For example, achieving an incredible physique, expensive clothing, or top-quality tech are all ways Enneagram Threes will attempt to convey success. Combining a charismatic attitude with a great outward appearance helps to reinforce their inner feelings of security based on success.

A Type 3 will surround themself with people that appreciate and value their achievements. Whether close friends or coworkers, they need people who make them happy about their hard work. If a friend is not encouraging, they may maintain a relationship with them if they are integral to accomplishing their goals.

Healthy Enneagram 3

A Healthy Enneagram 3 has the potential to brim with talent and personality. Healthy threes learn to develop inner confidence rather than relying on external factors like accomplishments or appearance.

Healthy threes learn to explore their interests rather than push them aside for the sake of others. They also use their drive for success to positively impact others to reap the benefits of their hard work. When met with failure, they are resilient to try again and be happy with themselves regardless of the outcome.

Healthy type threes value their relationships and see them as more than opportunities to get what they want. They also prioritize rest and recovery to avoid potential burnout.

Healthy Enneagram Type 3’s are comfortable helping others and trying new things. They become content with the rewards of their hard work and can accept constructive criticism without being overly sensitive. Resisting the temptations for faster advancement, they abstain from addictive behaviors.

Even if motivated by good intentions, an endless pursuit of achievement without contentment is harmful to anyone. For The Achievers, maintaining their work-life balance, health, and moral compass is key to living a healthy and happy life.

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Unhealthy Enneagram 3

An Unhealthy Enneagram 3 will tirelessly work without regard for themselves or others while spirally downward in denial and shame. Unhealthy 3’s often feel empty, especially if lacking the drive and motivation they once did. No matter how much success they experience, years of neglecting love and empathy become glaring holes in their psyche.

Without proper guidance, the fear of failure can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As with any other situation, an unhealthy lifestyle is spurred on by failing to keep desires and urges in check.

An unhealthy three can be ruthless in competition and with an overriding sense of pride in their accomplishments. Focusing solely on their advancement, they will gloss over basic relational skills like complementing others or ethics. 

In adulthood, unhealthy 3’s find devious ways to accomplish their goals and feel self-worth. When they fail, they take it very seriously and cannot let it go, especially if someone else gains from it in a competition. This pattern starts with small compromises but can lead to more extreme tactics like manipulation or lying for their benefit, making them a source of toxicity and pain.

Completely unhealthy 3’s become narcissists and sociopaths devoted to their gain and self-image. Backstabbing others is a common way to get what they want while putting on a persona of success. Three’s can also be prone to drug abuse to help them succeed or fill the emotional void from a lack of transparency and meaningful relationships.

Enneagram Type 3 Relationships

enneagram type 3 relationships

For Enneagram Type 3’s, their relationships can either be very fulfilling or a means to an end. Depending on how self-aware a three is, they can add tremendous value to their partner or use them to succeed in other areas. Because three’s care deeply about accomplishments, relationship failure can be devastating – often allowing their emotional security to hinge on how the relationship goes.

If 3’s care for their partner, they can strengthen the relationship with their high energy and strong social skills. This ability makes it easier when they try to make plans, interact with other couples, or need to get out of a slump. Plus, having someone with whom they can share their achievements makes all the work worthwhile for 3’s.

However, 3’s can also become obsessive when trying to satisfy their partners, whether romantically or physically. Worried that they will not be enough, they may do things opposed to their character, losing who they are as individuals. It is inherently wrong and unstable, as they cannot keep the act up forever, leading the relationship to fail.

If 3’s do not care for their partner’s feelings, they can control and manipulate the other person to benefit their personal goals. This unhealthy behavior can involve theft, favors, loveless sex, or using for appearances throughout the relationship.

Enneagram threes want a partner who will support their accomplishments while deeply valuing them as individuals, regardless of what they achieve. When with a 3, have open conversations about goals and expectations for the relationship. These conversations create a safe place for threes to be vulnerable and create boundaries for a happy relationship. After experiencing a setback, having a supportive partner makes a world of difference for a 3.

Type 3 Enneagram Careers

Just as in their personal lives, 3’s prefer work environments that appreciate and acknowledge their hard work. Having a boss and coworkers who support their ambition with thoughtful feedback will help an Enneagram type 3 thrive in their career.

As for the work itself, 3’s do best when they can grow and earn. Threes are adaptable, result-oriented, effective networkers, and excellent at meeting new people. If given a chance to sink their teeth into new opportunities, 3’s can put their energy to good use.

Definite hindrances for 3’s in the workplace include fixed, limited objectives and negative attitudes from their boss and coworkers. 3’s need room for high achievement, and being kept below a particular line reduces their potential. Without positive reinforcement from others, 3’s do not feel secure in themselves and their work.

Below are some of the common career choices and best jobs for an Enneagram Type 3:

  • Surgeon
  • Banker
  • Lawyer
  • Politician
  • Entrepreneur
  • Marketer
  • Advertising Consultant

Enneagram Type 3 Celebrities

enneagram type 3 celebrities

Because Enneagram Type 3’s thrive on the admiration of others, they can devote a lot of energy to being publicly noticed. This tendency often results in threes becoming famous for their work. Well-known examples of Enneagram Type 3’s include:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Will Smith
  • Courteney Cox
  • Tony Blair
  • Bill Clinton
  • Mitt Romney
  • Bernie Madoff
  • Tiger Woods
  • Tom Cruise
  • Truman Capote
  • Paul McCartney
  • Oprah Winfrey

Key Enneagram 3 Traits

An Enneagram Type 3 desires others to admire the achievements to receive recognition and value. Threes use their motivation to succeed by setting big goals and focusing on productivity. However, not being secure in themselves can make this drive an obsessive urge that leaves them feeling unfulfilled.

At first glance, most people see 3’s as highly energetic and adaptable to change. Since they are always looking to set and complete goals, they have a noticeable focus and work ethic that sets them apart. They also usually have an attractive appearance and a charismatic personality that attract others.

The core desire of the three is to be admirable, successful, and respected.

Three’s most want to hear the message: “You are valuable simply for being you .”

The gifts of an Enneagram Three include:

  • Ambition: Threes are ambitious and have the will and energy to strive to be the best at whatever they pursue. They believe in their ability to succeed.
  • Efficient: The resourceful Three knows how to do things in a way that is efficient and productive.
  • Adaptable: Along with being willing to adapt to achieve their goals, Threes can adjust to different situations, people, or environments skilfully.
  • Driven: The Three’s high energy and enthusiasm for projects get things done and push others to perform.
  • Results-Oriented: Setting goals and applying themselves to achieve these are as natural to Threes as breathing. They are focused on the result. (Integrative9.com)

Further Signs Of An Enneagram Three

Strengths Of Enneagram Type 3:

  • Drive to accomplish: 3’s have an innate motivation to work harder than their peers, making them rise above the ranks quicker
  • Pro-social encouragement: drawing from their own experiences, 3’s can help others around them to accomplish their own goals
  • High social energy: through years of engaging with collaborators and colleagues, 3’s have developed a large capacity for social engagement
  • Charisma: 3’s use charisma to project their success and put on a particular image, making them more likable and friendly
  • Efficiency: 3’s can adapt to problems quickly, they can make the most out of their time, and be highly productive

Common Weaknesses Of An Enneagram Type 3:

  • Self-criticism: while their high standards help them accomplish outstanding achievements, it can also cause 3’s to be superficially concerned with their image
  • Failure: since success in every aspect of life is vital to 3’s, loss on any level can be very damaging and problematic to recover from
  • Self-neglect: in their quest to seek approval from others, 3’s may overlook their feelings
  • Negative perception: sometimes, their drive and competitive spirit can be seen as insensitive to others’ feelings or as an obsession with winning

To reduce the impact of their weaknesses, enneagram type 3’s should take time to accept that failure is a part of life to move past it. Rather than seeing it as a setback, they should view it as a learning opportunity for even greater success. This perspective will allow them to experience humility and strive toward their next goal.

Enneagram Test Type 3

If you feel like you could be an Enneagram type 3 but still need help, you can take a test. We recommend the Truity Enneagram Test.

free enneagram test

The Truity online Enneagram test will provide a score to indicate how strongly your answers identify with each of the nine Enneagram personality types. These scores are helpful because you can use them to determine traits you are familiar with or recognize areas you overlook.

To take the Free Enneagram Test offered by Truity, click HERE!

Truity also provides a six-page report of in-depth information and questions to help you identify your enneagram type. Over one million users have taken this test and have been satisfied with their results.

Want to pass on a test, or do you want to do more research to determine if you are an Enneagram Type 3? Check out the post:  Learn How to Find Your Enneagram With 4 Helpful Tips.

Enneagram Type 3 Conclusion

The Enneagram can help demystify certain aspects of life, especially when looking inwards. Identifying with a personality type does not simplify us to a stereotype but can provide an opportunity to understand oneself better. By clarifying our base motivations and fears, we can recognize behavioral and emotional patterns that keep us stuck.

For an Enneagram type 3 personality, achieving is a way to hide from fears of being worthless. In the right environment and with a healthy dose of self-awareness, 3’s can uplift those around them and feel secure in their accomplishments to serve others in meaningful ways.

Enneagram Type 3 Sources