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Enneagram Type 3: The Achiever



Enneagram System  » Enneagram Core Types

#3  #Type 3 

The Strengths, Weaknesses, Fears, Motivations and Love Style

Enneagram Type 3:

"The Achiever"

 Key Phrases

  • Adaptable and efficient
  • Driven and energetic
  • Highly aware of their image
  • Strives for success and recognition
  • Struggles with vanity and workaholism 

Enneagram Type 3 is known as the "Achiever". People with this personality type are adaptable, efficient, and driven. They are highly aware of their image and strive for success and recognition. They often struggle with workaholism and vanity. 

3's Strengths

Enneagram Type 3 individuals are known for their adaptability and efficiency. They are driven and energetic, often excelling in their pursuits. However, their desire for success can lead to workaholism and an excessive focus on their image.

  • Ambitious and Goal-Oriented: Type 3s are highly ambitious individuals who strive for success and achievement. They set high goals for themselves and work diligently to accomplish them, often displaying impressive levels of motivation and determination.

  • Adaptable and Versatile: Type 3s are adaptable and versatile individuals who can easily adjust to different environments or roles. They have a chameleon-like ability to fit in and excel in various situations, making them adept at navigating diverse social or professional settings.

  • Energetic and Driven: Type 3s possess a natural energy and drive that propels them towards their goals. They have a strong work ethic and are willing to put in the necessary effort to succeed. Their enthusiasm and motivation can inspire and energize those around them.

  • Excellent Self-Presentation and Image Management: Type 3s are skilled at managing their public image and presenting themselves in a favorable light. They often have a charismatic and polished demeanor that can create a positive impression on others.

  • Natural Leaders and Influencers: Type 3s have strong leadership qualities and the ability to inspire and influence others. They excel in roles that require them to motivate and guide individuals or teams towards a common goal.

3's Weaknesses

Despite their strengths, Enneagram Type 3s can also exhibit certain weaknesses. They may be overly competitive and focused on image, which can lead to superficiality. Their desire for success can also lead to workaholism or neglect of personal relationships.

  • Tendency to Overwork and Neglect Self-Care: Type 3s can become overly focused on external achievements and may neglect their own self-care or well-being. They may push themselves relentlessly, driven by a constant need for success and recognition.

  • Dependence on External Validation: Type 3s often seek external validation and approval as a measure of their worth. They may rely heavily on others' opinions and feedback, which can make them vulnerable to feeling inadequate or unfulfilled without constant validation.

  • Disconnection from Authentic Self: Type 3s may struggle with a sense of disconnection from their authentic selves. They may adapt their personalities or behaviors to meet societal expectations or to fit into specific roles, losing touch with their true desires and values.

  • Fear of Failure and Rejection: Type 3s often have a deep-rooted fear of failure and rejection. They may avoid taking risks or pursuing endeavors where success is uncertain, as they fear it will negatively impact their self-image and reputation.

  • Loss of Identity in Pursuit of External Accomplishments: Type 3s can sometimes lose touch with their true identity as they become overly focused on external accomplishments. They may define their self-worth solely based on their achievements, leading to a sense of emptiness or lack of fulfillment.

3's Basic Fears

Enneagram Type 3 individuals are driven by a fundamental fear of failure and being perceived as incompetent.

They have a deep-seated need to be seen as successful, accomplished, and admired by others. The fear of not living up to their own and society's expectations haunts them, propelling them to constantly strive for achievement and recognition. They often equate their self-worth with external accomplishments and accolades, fearing that any shortcomings or failures may undermine their image of competence and hinder their chances of success.

3's Motivations

Enneagram Type 3s are primarily motivated by the desire to excel and be seen as successful.

They have an inherent drive to accomplish their goals, utilizing their skills and abilities to stand out and make a significant impact. Recognition and admiration from others serve as powerful motivators for their actions, as they seek to gain validation and affirm their worth through their achievements.

3's are highly ambitious and willing to put in the necessary effort to attain their desired status and recognition. The motivation to maintain a polished image and succeed in their endeavors propels their relentless pursuit of excellence and drives them to constantly strive for greater accomplishments. 

Healthy vs Unhealthy 3's

When healthy, Enneagram 3s are able to use their ambition and charisma to inspire and motivate others. They are adaptable and efficient, able to achieve their goals while maintaining balance in their lives. They are confident but not arrogant, ambitious but not ruthless, and caring while still being competitive.

On the other hand, when unhealthy, Enneagram 3s can become overly focused on their image and external success. They may struggle with workaholism and have difficulty recognizing their own feelings. They may also neglect their personal relationships and become disconnected from their authentic selves. 


Growth Recommendations for Type 3

  • Balance work and play: Remember that it's important to rest and relax, not just work. Taking time for leisure can lead to overall better wellbeing.

  • Embrace failure: Understand that failure is a part of growth. Learning from mistakes can lead to greater success.

  • Practice authenticity: Don't just project an image of success; be true to yourself. Authenticity leads to deeper connections and self-acceptance.


Expressing Love

When a Type 3 loves someone, they often express it by helping their partner achieve their dreams and by working towards shared goals. They may show their love by celebrating their loved one's successes, motivating them, and being a cheerleader for their aspirations.

Type 3s often aim to be role models in their relationships, embodying the idea of 'actions speak louder than words'. They might express love through gestures like planning memorable experiences, or by offering support in practical, task-focused ways. However, because of their focus on task accomplishment and efficiency, they might struggle with being in touch with their own feelings and those of others, which can sometimes come across as detached or overly focused on image and achievements.

Despite this, Type 3s at their best are inspiring, admiring, and protective in their love, encouraging their partners to grow, achieve, and be the best they can be. Their love can be a powerful motivator and a source of strength for their partners, providing a dynamic and growth-oriented environment in their relationships.

For an in-depth understanding of Type 3's Compatibility see 3's Compatibility with the other Types.


Explore the Wings

Each Core Type has a Wing Type. Exploring the Wings offers a more comprehensive view and valuable insights, and offers opportunities for personal growth and development by tapping into the unique qualities and strengths of the adjacent Enneagram types.


3w2 "The Charmer"

3w4 "The Professional"


Betty Baker M.A. Psych, M.Ed

About the Author

Betty Baker is an awarded marriage and family therapist and contributor to the internationally renowned PeaceBuilders® Program - a science-based, research-validated violence prevention curriculum and professional development program for children, grades pre-K to 12.