Enneagram Type 3

The Performer

Performers believe you must accomplish and succeed to be loved. Consequently, Performers are industrious, fast-paced, efficient and goal-oriented; they also can be inattentive to feelings, impatient and image-driven.

What Type Threes Tell Us About Themselves

  • I identify with accomplishment and success.
  • My image drives my need to work hard and look good.
  • I seek approval and acceptance based on performance.
  • I am highly competitive and love winning.
  • I feel constant pressure to perform.

Primary Center : heart
Wing 1 : 2
Wing 2 : 4
Security Point : 6
Resource Point : 9

Type 3 on the Diagram
  • Primary Center: Heart
  • Wings: 2 and 4
  • Security Point: 6
  • Resource Point: 9
Focus of Attention

Tasks, goals and recognition for accomplishments

Life Lesson

To reclaim the truth that love comes to you because of who you are, not because of what you do

Speaking Style

Threes are enthusiastic, direct, topic-focused, fast-paced and confident. Others may perceive Threes as impatient, overly efficient and restrictive, and overriding of others’ views.


Threes channel their emotional energy into getting things done. They take the initiative and work hard to accomplish their goals. Focused on image and success, they are highly adaptable and excel at meeting the expectations of others. Threes like to stay active and on the go, so they find it hard to stop or slow down. A danger for Threes is concentrating on external praise or material rewards instead of their feelings, personal needs and health.

Basic proposition

You gain love, recognition and acceptance through performance, doing and success.


Enthusiastic, action-oriented, problem-solving, successful, efficient, practical and competent


Image-driven, over-worked, impatient, competitive, out of touch with feelings

Defense mechanism

Identification – taking on a role so completely that we lose contact with who we are inside

Threes use identification to avoid failure and maintain a self-image of being successful. The pressure to keep up a winning image prevents access to personal feelings and needs, and blocks Threes from feeling appreciated and loved for who they are rather than what they do.

Awareness practice

Observe your habit of mind or focus of attention with as little judgment as possible. Ask yourself the following questions, while noticing your feelings and how your body responds:

  • In what ways have I been adjusting to others? Wanting recognition?
  • How do I deceive myself? How do I deceive others?
  • How do I avoid failure?
  • How do I focus on doing versus being?
  • What happens when my feelings come up? What am I feeling now?


Relating to Threes

  • Let them know that you care regardless of their accomplishments.
  • Encourage them to pay attention to feelings.
  • Show and tell them what is really important to you.
  • Express your appreciation for what they do.
  • Join them in being active, getting results and earning recognition.
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Type Three’s journey is to avoid making life into tasks. Performers need to remember that they are not just human doings, but human beings. So the simple prescription here is to slow down enough to allow their feelings to emerge, and to realize that they can receive love and acceptance simply by being who they are.

Path of Integration

Mental: Vanity > Hope
Emotional: Deceit > Honesty

The aspect of awareness called the Inner Observer allows us to witness the internal patterns that drive outer behavior. The practice consists of focusing inwardly and becoming aware of the thoughts, sensations and other objects of attention that arise within us. As we become more present, our type patterns begin to relax and receptivity increases.

For Threes, take a moment to reflect on the following principles:

  • Our innate value does not depend on how others see us.
  • Feelings are a natural part of life.
  • Love comes from being as well as from doing.
  • Failures can be opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Everything is not dependent on our efforts – when we slow down and let things be, we can be truly present for ourselves and others.

The Enneagram and Spirituality



As feeling types, Threes hold a lot of energy or tension in the heart area, but rather than feel their own feelings, they prefer to channel everything into action, productivity and results. With their high charge, it’s hard for them to sit still. Emotional pressure builds up but the lid stays on – they are the original Type As. Threes have a strong life force, but often do not know how to access this without a moving-forward energy. They tend to hold energy or tension in the chest, and don’t usually slow down enough to experience the natural rhythms of their body.

If you are a Three…

Your task is to slow down and practice focusing your attention on what’s happening inside. This may seem like a waste of time, but it will open up space to know your own feelings and develop a relationship with your inner self. Follow the sensation of your breath, and focus on breathing deeply into your belly rather than your chest. It’s important to soften your assertive stance and spread the energy around your body. Relax as much as possible as you exhale, allowing yourself to let go.

somatic heart and belly centers

The Enneagram and Somatics