Enneagram Type 3: Typical Stressors & Strengths

enneagram type 3

The Enneagram Type 3 personality (The Achiever) marches to its own drum beat, i.e. a different set of motivations, desires and fears from the other eight EnneaTypes. Let’s decode the typical factors – both Stressors & Strengths – that can impact the Enneagram Type 3’s health and well-being. 

Important caveatThe insights provided here are noticeable patterns drawn from many years of studying thousands of people around the world. They are indicative only, and not predictive or judgmental. Also, not all of these observations may apply to you. The aim is to prompt reflection and inspiration, rather than put you into a box. 

Enneagram Type 3: The Achiever

enneagram type 3 personality

  • The adaptable, success-oriented type.
  • 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: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be  – role models who inspire others.

Strengths & Stressors

People with the Enneagram type 3 personality display certain traits, which can influence their health and well-being at multiple levels.

Typical Stressors Typical Strengths


They tend to be very concerned about physical appearance, of themselves and their environment. So, they may put themselves on starvation diets and/or over-exercise. They generally very competitive and can easily become workaholics, in order to succeed. Besides, they can also be restless and experience poor/ disturbed sleep. Caution: Risk of addiction to stimulants – caffeine, steroids – and even cosmetic surgery. They can slow down their frenetic pace. Hence, they feel “grounded” in their body, instead of managing and improving it all the time. To balance their drive to succeed and excel, they give themselves ample downtime, with opportunities for self-discovery and self-disclosure.


People with enneagram type 3 personality experience negative emotions like shame, guilt, vanity and jealousy. Given their competitive nature, they can become selfish, impatient and callous. May be prone to Narcissism (self-orientation) and a sense of emptiness in themselves. They can let go their attachment to a “superior self-image” and accept their foibles and frailties as an integral and OK part of who they are. From this place, they acquire self-assurance and authenticity that is charming, motivating and energizing. Above all, their essential “competence” can shine through.


They view the world (and themselves) based on a hierarchy of “superior-inferior”. Like to benchmark, in order to improve, excel and succeed. But given life’s diversity, comparing apples and oranges is impossible and meaningless. This creates stress. Particularly fear being worthless or having no inherent value. Might use phrases like “I am superior, others are jealous of me” or “It isn’t OK to make mistakes” or “I have failed if I am not No. 1 in everything I do”. They live by their values of achievement, attractiveness and recognition. Also, they use their drive and competence to keep developing themselves, constantly raising the bar and setting an example for others to admire and emulate. Can break through mediocrity and inertia.


They tend to be disturbed by lack of ambition, ineffectiveness, falling short and losing the limelight. As a result, they can become opportunistic, vindictive and manipulative to achieve their goals, no matter what. Inspire others to stretch beyond the status quo and aim for the highest standards of excellence.


Losing contact with the innate unity and flow of Presence makes them feel worthless and of no inherent value. Hence, their ego copes by projecting an image of success and avoiding failure. This is how ‘Deceit’ arises. Staying ‘Present’ not only helps them to rediscover the ‘Veracitythey have lost i.e. a devotion to perceiving but also help them express the truth.

Further Exploration

If these insights regarding the Enneagram Type 3 don’t resonate with you, please review the typical Stressors & Strengths of the other EnneaTypes, below. If you wish, you can learn more about your Personality type and also take a more detailed (paid) test at www.enneagraminstitute.com.

More from this series


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here