It Takes All Kinds    Type 3

(This article appeared in the May issue of Mueller Living. For more information about the enneagram go to

Some people are easier to appreciate than others. At least, at first.

If we can increase our understanding of even the most difficult people among us, we then grow to appreciate their role in the community and in our lives. Previously, we’ve looked at Perfectionists with their impeccable standards and Givers who focus on the needs of others. This month we turn our attention to Achievers and their unrelenting pursuit of the goal.

We are viewing personality through the lens of the Enneagram, used world-wide as a powerful portal to self-awareness and understanding of others.

If I identify with the Achiever:

I’m competitive, adaptable, and faster moving than most. Some people make fun of my energizer-bunny style. But they just wish they could move this fast and accomplish this much. Image matters.

My attention goes to the goal, often to the exclusion of my emotional world because achieving is so all-important. I get into trouble by ignoring the feelings of those nearest to me. There’s never a good time to pull me off my track and ask me to listen.

Somewhere deep inside I believe I’m only lovable if I win, and it matters the most that you see me as a winner.  There’s no place in this world for losers. I confuse what I do with who I am.

At home I’m busy.  It’s hard for me to sit still, so I get a lot done. I encourage my kids to be the best. On vacation I have a good solid list of things we have to see and do. The idea of strolling around with no goal in mind makes me crazy.

At work I’m the one who will get it done. I can see the challenge ahead, so get out of my way. I may cut corners because the end result is what matters. (Perfectionists criticize me for this.)

In the community I’m a strong leader. Nothing gets in the way of my commitment to our goal. I have an infectious enthusiasm that inspires others to work hard.

What pushes my buttons: Your feelings needing my attention, especially when I’m busy. It’s also irritating if you don’t want my solution and you just want me to listen.

Something people who love me often say to me: Can you just sit down? Stop and smell the roses.  They complain that I’m always busy and unavailable to “just be.” What are they even talking about?

The things I have to be aware of so I can grow include knowing that I’m okay even if I don’t reach my goal or you don’t see me as a winner. I have to slow down and be present with the feelings of those close to me because they so often feel left out.

Don’t confuse me with another type who’s also hard-working, but perfectionistic. They’ll get the job done but they don’t think the end justifies the means.