The Enneagram is an ancient wisdom tool that describes nine personality types. One of the unique features of the Enneagram is the patterns it reveals in our personality when we are under stress. Given the current situation of a worldwide pandemic, a group of individuals was gathered together to find out how they have experienced the circumstances of COVID-19 through the lens of the Enneagram. This post is part of a series of posts sharing thoughts and insights from each of the nine Enneagram types.
God has uniquely made each one of us and we are called to love God and love one another. These posts are offered in the hope that, the more we understand ourselves and others and our often differing reactions and responses to life, the better we will be able to offer compassion to one another, to bring out the best in each other, and to offer the gifts of our unique perspectives to the world.
Spotting a Three
Threes are upbeat, creative go-getters. They are goal oriented and like to get things done. If they are in a good place, Threes are figuring out how to rock this social distancing, using their creativity to start side hustles, build sheds, be the best Zoom host or nail their new wellness regime.
Why It’s Hard for a Three
Threes find great value in what they are able to accomplish. In a pandemic, they are not able to do many of the things they typically do that they feel brings value to their work, their team, and ultimately, themselves.
Threes are trying to figure out the new normal, the new routine, the new idea of what success looks like so they can adapt and be effective, which they are very good at. If the new normals are elusive or ever changing, however, competent, confident Threes can start to disengage, going to the unhealthier side of Nine, feeling defeated and overwhelmed.
It is very important to Threes to be seen as good at what they do and that is challenging in these days when many of us have had to do things we’ve never done before or work under circumstances that strip us of many of the tools we rely on.
We look to Threes for their creativity and gumption. We need their optimism to lead us to new places. Threes need to remember that we value them for who they are, not just what they do. When they go to the healthy side of Six and use their charisma and vision for the common good, for giving a pep talk to the team that does not dismiss the reality of the challenges that we face but also encourages us that we have what we need to move forward, Threes really shine.
Try to Remember
Try to remember that you are a ‘human be-ing,’ not a ‘human do-ing.’ Threes are good at getting stuff done, and done well. If they are not careful, they can find themselves struggling to know their worth when they are in a position, like in this pandemic, when they cannot ‘do’ as usual. This time of social distancing is an opportunity for Threes to slow down and to be more present to God, to others and to themselves, their authentic selves. Take time to read your own feelings and the feelings of others. Accept that you are not in control and hear God’s voice telling you that you are enough, just as you are.
Spiritual Practices for a Three
Praying the Hours – Fixed-hour prayer is a practice of praying at specific times during the day. It is a reminder that our day is to be ordered around God, not the other way around. For Threes, this is a helpful practice because invariably they will find the call to pray at a specific time to be an interruption to their well crafted plans for the day. This regular pull back to God and to prayer is a helpful reminder to Threes that God is the source of their strength and the one who measures their success. They can be free to give of their many talents to whatever their projects, knowing that their image and identity is secure in Christ. Set you smart phone alarm to ring at the same three times every day this week, i.e., 7am, 12noon, 7pm, or whatever three times you choose. When the alarm goes off, sit in silence before God for a minute or two, remembering that God accepts you just as you are.
Gratitude Journal – Each day write down three things for which you are grateful. Be specific. Threes are so oriented to the future that sometimes you do not take the time to appreciate what has been accomplished or the actions or engagement of others; you have already moved on to the next thing. A Gratitude Journal is helpful to keep you more grounded in the present and more conscious and appreciative of the hand of God and the contributions of others in your life.
Loving a Three
Let the Threes in your life know how proud you are of them. Acknowledge their value in their successes and in their failures. Pay attention to, and point out to them, where you see the image of God in them.