Your Greatest Achievement is You: Life is Not a Performance – Type 3

I am terrified that people will figure out I’m not as smart as they think I am. I can remember the moment clearly as if it was yesterday where I realized I was living a hidden life inside. I had just graduated with my master’s degree. The endless hours of studying after working a full time job had paid off. My career was taking off and I had just received a big promotion.  On the surface it all looked amazing and perfect.  So many people didn’t realize that underneath it all I felt inadequate, stupid and a failure.

I had worked so hard to get here and now I didn’t even know if here was where I wanted to be at all. How could I even say that out loud after all this? It would be a huge disappointment to those closest to me. Who I thought I was or could be was now locked in. My options were shrinking and I was finally being put in the box I had spent the first 30 years of my life avoiding. Now I would be locked in to this performance in ways I had tried so hard to avoid. Life was now sweeping me down a path from which I felt there was no escape. Pretty soon, I would find myself locked into a job and career that I needed to keep working at to provide for those around.   I knew the cost would be losing the last glimpse of my most hopeful self.

If you are grounded in the Heart Intelligence Centre, you experience your world through the filter of emotional intelligence. Feelings and emotions are important to you and they help to make sense of your surroundings. If you resonate with the heart intelligence centre, you are in tune with the mood or “vibe” of relationships, conversations and gatherings. You can actually “feel” or sense the undercurrents in conversations and meetings. You desire strong connections and can be an empathetic and supportive friend.

Relationships and connections are important to you. Feeling good in relationships is a priority as is feeling confident about your success and achievements.   If you identify with this centre, you probably see success and being seen as successful as very important to your security and well-being. Getting things done efficiently and well are priorities. Friends, colleagues and family would describe you as a hard driving performer who takes pride in your skill and expertise.

If you are a type three on the Enneagram, you are often described as; successful, smart, efficient, competitive, charming and entrepreneurial.

People see you as successful but that’s not always how it feels to be you. You can feel lonely and wonder if people only like you for what you achieve, not who you are. You are worried that if you stopped achieving, performing, who would you be? You can’t help but wonder how you can “be” more. Your relationships feel tenuous…. If they only knew who you really were or that you aren’t as smart as you appear….what would happen? Would people still love you or like you if they knew the real you?

Sometimes or over time, you can become tired and worn out and feel like it all rests on your shoulders. Defeat is scary so you work non-stop to avoid that shame or possibility.

The Cost of Not Being Present

Living your life  as a performance can be exhausting! When life overtakes you and you “over achieve”, there are some very real costs to your success and your relationships. If you aren’t operating from a higher level of consciousness and attention, you can be prone to self-deception. Your ability to gauge and measure your real impact and connections can be compromised and inaccurate.

You can miss chances for close, meaningful relationships. It is so hard to reach out for help or support when you think you have to do it all. This can cost you intimacy as well as higher levels of success.

While people who identify with the Heart Centre have some great strengths, there are also some real land mines to watch out for. If you don’t find ways to stay present and in the moment, you can find yourself over worked. Not the pretend – “I’m stressed” kind of over worked that everyone answers when people ask how they are…. The truly burning out, soul killing kind of exhausted that makes it difficult to remember who you really are. If you are having trouble relaxing, or thinking of things other than your work or your career, you may need to check in with yourself about how present you are really being in your life.

If you allow this lack of presence to go on too long, you may find you lose touch with not only other people’s feelings, but your own as well. You can lose sight of who you really are and want to become. You can begin to appear “thin” or unsubstantial. This could lead to people seeing you as uncaring, hurtful or cold. Friendships and relationships suffer. None of which is good for relationships or business.

Getting Present– Raise Your Consciousness

Sometimes it is ok to forget the plan and stay in the moment.  Sounds backwards, I know.

If you are Type 3 grounded in the Heart Centre and are a high achiever you are great with a plan. All those goal setting and planning systems work perfectly for you.  So perfectly that sometimes you hang on to the plan more than you are in the moment.

If you want to really leverage your strengths, finding ways to breathe and stay in the moment will lead to far greater impact.

  1. Notice when your self talk moves to being more about getting things on track than paying attention to what people are saying or telling you.
  1. Re-direct your focus back to those right in front of you and they will feel your attention and appreciate it. The interaction will be far more positive and authentic. The end deliverable might be shifted but it will also be so much better.

Slow down. Breathe. Listen to your self-talk

Sometimes you find it hard to just relax in the moment. There is so much that needs to be done. When you find yourself fixating on what needs to happen rather than the conversation you are in…..

  1. STOP.  You can actually visualize a stop sign or say the word STOP to yourself. Of physically stop your body.  Find a way to stop what you are doing. Change direction, change your thoughts, change what you are doing, change what you are thinking, change how you are doing something. Shake things up.
  1. Breathe. Seriously. For real, breathe. Pay attention to your breath. Focus on the in and out rhythm of your breathe. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Use a guided meditation if you have to but try and focus on your breath.
  1. Notice when you say something to yourself that is negative or critical. Instead replace it with a message focused on the moment. Change it to the positive. An example would be: You are in a conversation at an event that feels boring and a waste of your time. Instead of repeating those messages in your head – which is sure to make you more bitter and annoyed – find the positive. Tell yourself this is an opportunity for a new connection that could lead to great things at some point. Consider it a chance to learn about someone new, to broaden your horizons and widen your connections or to simply have a great, enjoyable conversation. Let yourself relax and enjoy the moment.

Focus of Attention

Type 3’s are typically about performance and achievement. If you have organized your life around goal achievement and you are Heart Centred, you may have organized your life around goals to appear successful. You desire the admiration of certain people and can mold yourself to what you think they want while losing your sense of self.

If you have become overly competitive, abrupt, focused, or afraid of true intimacy you can change all that.

The Practice of You – Getting Unstuck

Getting unstuck and really stepping into the best version of yourself can be scary for you. You may have started to believe the superstar image you have built and it can feel empty when you step out of the spotlight.

  1. Be “In Flow” rather than “On Plan”
  2. Set aside time every day for things other than work
  3. Experiment with talking about yourself without connecting it to your work
  4. Notice – become an expert at watching yourself and catching when you over identify with your accomplishments

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” Golda Meir

As with all Types on the Enneagram, they have their strengths and their challenges. The challenge of the three is when they are overly focused on performance and achievement. Getting unstuck and tapping into the other gifts and talents available to you allows you to lead a more integrated and full life.

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