by Jenna Kutcher
It’s the one personality assessment that my team is OBSESSED with: The Enneagram! The Enneagram assesses you as one of 9 types. Each of these types have a unique set of personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses and it is INSANELY accurate. My sister made my entire family take it last January, and the takeaways actually stuck with me throughout the year. Most personality assessments I have taken are interesting and impactful for a few days, but I have found the enneagram to be incredibly insightful in my personal growth, my business, my marriage, and basically have felt it’s insights stretch into every area of my life.
I’m excited to share what my enneagram is, how it has set me up for success in business, how Drew and I have used it to grow in our marriage, how it clarified a lot of dynamics in our family, and ultimately how you can find out your enneagram assessment and use it to transform your life. You can take the Enneagram Assessment here.
Upon taking the assessment, I found out that I am a Type 3: commonly called “The Achiever”. Surprise, surprise, am I right? There are 9 Types of people according to the Enneagram, and they all have their own nicknames and titles. If you’ve ever heard of people referring to themselves as a “Type” and then a number, they are probably talking about the Enneagram. Those who know this test well can really pinpoint a person quickly just knowing what their result is! Isn’t that wild?
According to the Enneagram Institute, Type 3’s are success-focused, image-oriented, adaptable, driven, and pragmatic. This quote summarizes it well: “Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: 3’s look self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be — role models who inspire others.”
To be honest, I loved being labeled “The Achiever” because who wouldn’t am I right?! Spoken like a true 3…. I love that by being a 3 I am always working hard, hustling, and working towards goals. Quite frankly, I expect a lot from myself — and I strive to be a “healthy” three that is ready to do achieve great things in the world. Threes know how to develop themselves and focus on their strengths to propel themselves forward. The Enneagram Institute states that they are “often successful and well liked because, of all the types, they most believe in themselves and in developing their talents and capacities.”
I loved the fact that it highlights that I play into my strengths. I feel this in truly every area of my life– in my business, my relationships, my self-care. When I read it, I was proud of myself, like “YES!” I am that girl, AKA I know my strengths, and I really know my weaknesses. The enneagram highlights that threes succeed and inspire others to invest in their own self-development– which, HELLO, is what my whole empire is about. The podcast, my courses, my Instagram– are all about growing a true TRIBE of women who are ready to be their best selves and tackle the world.
Along with these strengths I relate to, there are also some weaknesses that the enneagram pointed out that I found parallels into my life. No one really wants to read about their pre-dispositioned weaknesses, am I right? I kind of wanted to avoid reading that part of the assessment, but hey, I don’t do anything half heartedly in the least, so here goes.
Threes want to make sure their lives are a success, but how they define that can turn into a weakness. Example, success can be defined by your culture, the latest Instagram trend, followers, dollar signs… You get the idea. It’s easy to create identity in things that are fleeting for 3’s and so it’s something I have to watch out for.
We, as threes, are chasing “success” but how we define it can be consuming. For me, I’ve had times where I’ve defined success by dollar signs, what people thought of me, Instagram followers, by having a “full” schedule, by proving myself to people, and ultimately, defining success by things that did not FULFILL ME but I still wanted to accomplish it, like a true “achiever” does. I loved how the Enneagram Institute highlighted, “No matter how success is defined, Threes will try to become somebody noteworthy in their family and their community. They refuse to be a nobody.”
How did I overcome this tendency to constantly want to achieve more, more, more?! Let me be frank, A LOT of self work and awareness. I needed to step back and realize that time truly is more important than money, that what I think of myself is a million times more important than what Rachel down the street thinks of me, that if I feel fulfilled and grounded, than my life is already a success. There is no shortcut or secret — it’s just a constant reminder to step back, check my priorities, and be aligned with my mission.
Why the Enneagram is Helpful
It’s easy to discount these assessments as just another thing attempting to label you, but for me, it was almost freeing to start to understand the layers of who I am in a deeper way. The thing about the enneagram that I have found to be true is that it is SCARY accurate. All those seemingly “little” things that you thought know one knew about you… Those thoughts that you are scared to admit you have… The things you long for… YUP. The Enneagram calls them out which is exactly what makes it both memorable and powerful.
For me, it has reinforced natural traits of mine that I didn’t necessarily know were “gifts” like my ability to adapt to different situations and crowds, my ability to lead and inspire others, my strength of vision and drive, and always pushing myself to be better. Being I was reminded that these strengths exist within me as resulted in me using them more and feeling more empowered in them.
The same is true for my weaknesses. It called out the most nitty gritty details about myself that I know are less than stellar. And while some weaknesses I was aware of, other ones I had never considered in that light. It made me see how some traits of mine can come across as intense, aggressive, or condescending, and made me think differently about how I deliver words, treat others, and treat myself. It made me realize that certain traits of mine can be harsh. This intensity helps me accomplish my goals, but ALSO can be too aggressive at times. This assessment helped me see both sides of that coin.
HEALTHY versus NON-HEALTHY 3s
The “healthy” side of your type and the “unhealthy” side. Depending on your personal growth and evolution, you may be at one end of the spectrum in the management of your type.
For example, with Type 3, there is a certain range of how your “drive for success” shows up in the world. According to the Enneagram Institute, starting with an example of a low functioning 3: they can be incredibly narrow-minded with their goals, genuinely fearing failure and humiliation, they can be exploitative and opportunistic, jealous of others, and willing to do “whatever it takes” to preserve their illusion of superiority
An example of an average functioning Type 3 would be “image-conscious, way too concerned with how they are perceived, chasing success based on what others expect, they are efficient but premeditated: losing touch with their own feelings beneath a smooth facade. Simply put: they are getting stuff done, but for all the wrong reasons.”
An example of a high-functioning Type 3 would be “Self-accepting, inner-directed, and authentic. They are modest and charitable, gentle and benevolent. They are highly effective and motivate others to be like them in some positive way”
As you can see, the traits of chasing success can be delivered in positive or negative ways. In each of these examples the Type 3 is chasing down success, but their motives and delivery differ.
TYPE 3 IN MY BUSINESS
When I started my business, I was SURE of myself. Where I see so many people crippled by fear, I was ready to go. I knew that if I would put the work in, the hustle, and make it happen, all would work in my favor. But along with that confidence in those beginning stages, when I wasn’t in touch with myself and my emotions, I was prone to look for external validation to assure myself I was on the right path. This led to finding comfort in things like followers, image-focused, more weddings, more clients, more money — more, more, more. But with time, I have been able to find validation in my heart, from my closest confidants, my faith and my gut. This has taken self-awareness, growth, and self-work to move past the more superficial affirmations.
Now, this is where it gets juicy — Mine and Drew’s marriage and how our types combine and collaborate, and where there are issues! One of my favorite parts about the enneagram is the place where you have the opportunity to see how your relationship profile is between different types. As you know, I am a Type 3, The Achiever, and Drew is a Type 1, The Perfectionist.
Our relationship profile highlighted that we are both competent, have clear opinions, and are idealistic. The Enneagram Institute highlighted that this is a “highly task-oriented relationship, with both partners driven to hard work and to be intensely aware when, individually and collectively, they are not measuring up to their own expectations and high standards. Both parties can bring selflessness, self-discipline, good work habits, and the ability to put aside their personal feelings for the sake of the objective good that needs to be done. Both types are used to working so hard that they often succeed, garnering admiration from those around them and attaining places of leadership and responsibility. The One and Three combination can be dazzlingly accomplished, high energy, extraordinarily competent and impressive both individually and collectively. They both strive after excellence, both as an ideal and as something to personally embody.”
The assessment also highlighted that our types strive to make each other proud of them, someone the other can look up to and show off to his or her friends and family. I can deeply feel this between Drew and I. There is a certain level of always wanting one to be proud of the other. Whether it is through my business or Drew’s caring ways, we are always looking to make the other proud to be married to us.
Further, the assessment said that a Type 1 and Type 3 relationship enjoy planning and organizing their lives, dividing up responsibilities after seeing who is objectively better at which tasks. I can see this with how Drew and I divide household responsibilities and work responsibilities. Drew is more apt to clean the house and make our lives run, while I am more gifted at financially supporting us. Since both the one and three are highly practical, they will try to solve problems in the relationship by discussing the issues involved since neither likes emotionally charged bickering or unresolved issues. They believe there is a solution to everything. According to the Enneagram Institute, “Ones help Threes to be more grounded and realistic; Threes help Ones stretch themselves and not be so perfectionistic.”
WEAKNESSES IN MARRIAGE
With each Type’s independence and three’s insane work ethic, often times, marital matters stem from time commitments and lack of emotional attachment. According to our marriage profile, ones tend to find Threes too workaholic and too concerned with image and with their reputations. They can become annoyed with three’s intense focus on goals, work, and success at times. On the other end of the relationship, issues arise because three’s tend to find ones too rigid and judgmental in their attitudes and inflexible in various areas. While Threes generally value Ones’ organizational ability and ability get things done, Threes can also feel that Ones are too narrow-minded and methodical, too perfectionistic and focused on details rather than results.
Drew and I have definitely felt these frustrations with one another: me being “too” driven and Drew being “too” particular. But all in all, this is why we are able to function the way we do! Drew handles the logistic and “details” of every day while I think big picture and make things happen. This assessment has helped both of us see each other as individuals and appreciate how the other one thinks. It created such good conversation around our strengths and our weaknesses, and how our two types can combine to create the most fulfilling, great marriage possible.
The Other Types
Briefly, here are the 9 types. To ensure accuracy, I am sharing exactly as they’re described by the Enneagram Institute descriptions. For more info on these types head to enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions.
1 THE REFORMER The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
2 THE HELPER The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
3 THE ACHIEVER The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
4 THE INDIVIDUALIST The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
5 THE INVESTIGATOR The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
6 THE LOYALIST The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
7 THE ENTHUSIAST The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
8 THE CHALLENGER The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
9 THE PEACEMAKER The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent
Did any of these stick out to you? Do you have an idea of what you are just from hearing those? I challenge you to take the assessment, and then answer these questions to create a space for reflection, goal setting, and clarity:
- Was I surprised by my results?
- How do I see these traits playing out in my business?
- Did any of these insights hurt my feelings?
- What opened my eyes?
- How are these traits playing out in how I treat myself?
- My Marriage?
- My family? Friendships?
- What is my most vivid weakness?
- What are my unique strengths that other types don’t have?
- How can I better utilize this unique skill set?
- What can I do better to ensure my spouse understands how I think?
- Why do I do what I do?
The Big Picture
Use the Enneagram Assessment to take a step back, look critically if you are living your best life, exemplifying your strengths, working on your weaknesses, and cultivating quality relationships. This assessment TRULY does give you such a unique look into you and why you do the things you do! I couldn’t recommend it enough. Take the assessment and share your type with me on Instagram.