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Personality & Pacemaker: Type Three- The Achiever/Performer

Welcome back to our Personality & Pacemaker series where we explore the ways that personality may affect the writing process. We recently looked at the generous, self-sacrificing, but sometimes manipulative- Enneagram Type Two: The Helper/Giver. If you’d like to join us as we continue on this amazing journey and get to know yourself a little better along the way, feel free to take the Enneagram personality test! Once you know what your personality type is, let us know how you use Pacemaker and how you think your personality influences your Pacemakerplan customizations! Let’s jump in!

Your Personality- Type 3- The Achiever/Performer

Charm, confidence, ambition- Type Threes never leave home without them! People with Enneagram Type Three personality types are called Achievers/Performers because they are extremely image-conscious and very concerned with the impressions that others have of them. This ‘look-at-me’ impulse isn’t an empty promise, however, as Type Threes indeed are a dazzling sight to behold. Extremely charming and dynamic people, Type Threes are able to transform into whatever version of themselves is needed in any given situation. They so perfect the art of the charm offensive, and turn it on so seamlessly, that those looking on are left bedazzled, in awe and envious!

They do not believe in unfulfilled potential so they invest time and energy into carefully curating a self-image which reflects whatever their own definition of success dictates that should be. As the Enneagram Institute puts it,

Threes want to make sure their lives are a success, however that is defined by their family, their culture, and their social sphere. In some families, success means having a lot of money, a grand house, a new, expensive car, and other status symbols. Others value ideas, and success to them means distinguishing oneself in academic or scientific worlds. Success in other circles might mean becoming famous as an actor, or model, or writer, or as a public figure of some kind, perhaps as a politician. A religious family might encourage a child to become a minister, priest, or rabbi since these professions have status in their community and in the eyes of the family. No matter how success is defined, Threes will try to become somebody noteworthy in their family and their community. They will not be a “nobody.”

Beneath this desire to be the best all the time, though, is a fear that without constantly achieving and performing, without being admired by and impressing people, they will be seen as, and feel, worthless. So, importantly, their achieving is very much an effort to gain a sense of worth and value, and not an attempt to gain material possessions or power.

When healthy, Type Threes can inspire others towards productivity with their can-do attitude, and encourage others not to settle for less than the ideal. They’ll encourage you to dream big, set goals and not stop until you achieve them. They are pragmatic and willing participants in the work it takes to realize big dreams. They are popular and superlative individuals, often voted ‘most likely to succeed in…’, ‘most likely to become…’ and ‘most likely to do…’, BIG things!

When unhealthy, they can become competitive, vain and self-seeking, even throwing others under the bus in order to achieve their own goals. They can become so consumed with image that they become inauthentic and insincere, stuck in the ‘fake it’ phase of ‘fake it ’til you make it’.

As Peter O’Hanrahan of The Enneagram at Work says, “Their challenge is to take the time to listen to others, build good relationships, and develop more long term strategy. They need to watch out for personal burnout due to “workaholism.””

How it may be affecting your writing process

Type Threes are not afraid to pour enormous amounts of energy into amassing degrees, promotions, credentials, experiences, assets- whatever aligns with their definition of success- in order to feel like they look the part. So, if completing writing goals is part of their definition of success, it’s more likely than not that those goals will be smashed! They may overload their schedules with writing time, and so need to guard against overwork which could lead to burnout.

Unsurprisingly, you find that Type Threes are incredibly industrious, productive people, who keep busy schedules. They are dedicated in their pursuit of their success and committed to self-improvement and advancement. Again, not surprisingly, many Type Threes can become workaholics, pushing aside anything that gets in the way- including people, to make room for more action towards achieving their goals.

The question for Type Threes therefore becomes, how much, and who, are they willing to sacrifice to achieve those goals as spectacularly as they may want?

Pacemaker can help!

Pacemaker gives users the ability to control the intensity of their plans – a feature we believe Type Threes would really enjoy. While they may gravitate towards the Biting the Bullet strategy preset as it allows them to ride the high of that new-goal energy and get a lot done up front, Pacemaker provides many opportunities to keep the intensity going no matter the Strategy preset selected. Meanwhile, multiple visualizations of the same plan can help them better budget their energy across all their plans, and increase the likelihood that they’ll avoid burnout.

Type Threes are master multitaskers! Pacemaker’s Unified Calendar, where they can colour code each plan and checklist they create, can help them stay on top of the many plans they’ll have going at once, and Projects will help them group like plans together and track stats in one place, to stay even more organized and on top of things.

Because Type Threes do some of their best work under performance pressure, those with Premium subscriptions or access to the Challenges feature might particularly enjoy being able to get a group of their peers or strangers together in one place, you know, so that they can crush the competition!

And lastly, as is the case with Type Twos, our Type Three friends crave being recognized for what they do. So we think they’ll love our confetti canons that explode in a burst of sheer jubilation when progress is logged or a goal is reached. It’s our little way of reminding our Type Three users that progress is just as important as achievement, and that they’re worth celebrating every step along the way!


Next, we will dive into the personality and possible Pacemaker experience of the Enneagram Type Four: The Individualist/Romantic. If you’d like to join us on this journey but don’t know what your personality type is, take the test! There are tons of places online where the test can be taken for free, here’s one we recommend. The key is to be totally honest with your answers. Don’t answer from the perspective of your ideal self, answer truthfully from the perspective of where you are now. Your result should feel eerily accurate and personal!

If you want to just dive into the Types for yourself, you can do so here or here or any of the other thousands of places online where the Enneagram is being shared!

HUGE DISCLAIMER: we are not psychologists or therapists or certified Enneagram Coaches e.t.c., and in no way is anything we write in this series to be taken as medical advice. Any information provided in this series is for informational purposes only!

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