The Wings of Enneagram 3

3wings1It’s time for another wings distinction video!  I’ve been somewhat surprised by the large amount of views on these videos in particular– it seems that people really want to know more about each Enneagram type’s two main varieties!  I’m really glad to see that, honestly, as I think one of the biggest mistakes one can make with the Enneagram is to be too shallow– learning about the specific variety of a core type that you are can be very, very helpful to growth!  Especially when it comes to using our knowledge of the Enneagram to better understand and interact with others, it’s kind of big deal to get the specific nuances of our loved ones right!  Wing is a big part of that, and I’m excited to continue exploring it here.

To follow the order of my previous posts, The Achiever is up next– 3w2 vs 3w4!  Check it out, and as always let me know if you have questions or insight to share.  Final note: I realized I have been covering a lot of heart type material lately, so will be switching gears for my next Misidentification video.  You can stay tuned by following me here or on Instagram, Facebook or Youtube!

The Wings of Enneagram 3

Misidentification: 3 vs 5 (video)


A new full length video is up on the Enneagram Girl YouTube Channel, and this time I’m touching on the main differences that help us to discern between 3 and 5– this inspired by a conversation I had with some friends last night!  Check it out and also the info graphics and instincts for the Achiever and the Investigator may be helpful!

As always, feel free to reach out to me at if you have questions or thoughts. 🙂


Misidentification: 3 vs 5 (video)

Misidentification: 3 + 8

misid_38Let’s talk about the movers and shakers of the Enneagram, shall we?  This misidentification is extremely common, especially among men– I personally have witnessed the phenomenon more times than I have fingers.  Yes, for real.

Even the words “Achiever” and “Challenger” are somewhat kindred in meaning.  Both 3s and 8s are people who get things done, and expect the same of others.  Both types come across as confident, self focused and in control, they tend to be blessed with leadership skills and presence.  This, however, is where we reach a decided fork in the road.  On the inside (which few truly see, for either type), Achievers and Challengers are completely different animals.

While 3s and 8s both like to win, this is with very different motivations.  Achievers live to win (and win others over), be the best and succeed because they believe they are unworthy of love if they don’t. Challengers on the other hand, win only as a side effect of their focus on survival, by dominating anything that (they perceive) would threaten them. 3s live to gain approval from others, 8s live to have absolute power and generally don’t care about approval or “likeability”.

Other marked differences are these: 3s are image focused people, who take care with their presentation to others– in appearance/style, in word, in reputation.  Conversely, 8s are body/action focused individuals who generally give little thought to how they are perceived. Achievers are people oriented and desire approval, Challengers are independent and desire power.  3s achieve success often by charming and winning over others, while 8s achieve success by controlling the environment and sadistically leveling the playing field.  Both types are “self serving”; 3s through manipulation, deception and charm, 8s through domination, intimidation and force of will. Achievers are often called “chameleons” as they are great adaptors to what others desire from them– this may also explain part of why many male 3s mistake themselves for 8s.

One fascinating comparison that I sometimes use when discussing the differences between these types: Oral Narcissism vs. Phallic Narcissism.  3s have the tendencies of Oral Narcissism– verbally self promoting and giving voice to their many achievements. Achievers can be quite the “name droppers” in this way, hoping to gain the admiration of others and be valued for their achievements. 8s on the other hand exemplify traits of Phallic Narcissism, choosing to demonstrate or show their superiority rather than tell about it. In this way, Challengers can be perceived as bullies or thugs because they dominate through action, in their attempt to survive those that might try to control them.

As aforementioned, because of their loss of true identity, 3’s are much more prone to this mistype than 8’s.  For more information on this topic, check out the Enneagram Institute’s overview of the differences between any two types.

As with any type misidentification, one of the best tools to determine accuracy are the other components of type: integration when health focused, disintegration when under stress, and even wings. 3 and 8 have very different health journeys, and stress points. You can read more about them here: 3 | 8.

Have questions? Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at, and tune in next time for my misidentification post on types 2 and 6.


Misidentification: 3 + 8

Misidentification: 3 + 7

misid_37Enneagram 3’s and 7’s can have a similar energy about them– external, positive, fast paced and people oriented. I know a 3 who has called herself a “false 7” because it’s what many identified her as at first. At the core though, Achievers and Enthusiasts reasons for doing things could not be more different. 3’s seek love and approval, 7’s seek stimulation and distraction. If there were two Olympians that were these types, they would compete with different motivation– the 7 to see the world, and have varied experiences, and the 3 to prove their worth by winning.  One is driven, the other more happy-go-lucky.

Enneagram 3 is a heart type, and struggles with issues of identity– because they have always tried to live up to the expectations of others (donning masks to do so) they often feel that they don’t really know their true selves. It’s said that they sacrifice their heart’s desires at a young age to live up to the ideals of their culture.

Enneagram 7 is a head type, and struggles with issues of fear– specifically of their own deep or negative feelings, or those of others. Enthusiasts are the true optimists, and choose to distract themselves away from negativity by seeking constant positive stimulation. They are continually looking for things to distract them from their own thoughts and feelings. This, of course, is hard to sustain, so 7’s bounce from thing to thing, not staying focused very long on any one.

I actually often use the term bouncy to describe the physicality of Enthusiasts. There is an energizer bunny type of vibe, distracted, bright and effervescent. Conversely, 3’s lack the childlike, open nature of 7’s– coming across in a more polished, charming and salesman-like manner. Because Enthusiasts value experiences over appearance, their physical presentation is usually an afterthought– or if distinctive, adopted for the sake of novelty, or variety.  3’s on the other hand find physical presentation of the utmost importance. Achievers generally put a lot of thought into their appearance, modeling it after popular culture, or people they believe are winners— another product and manifestation of not really knowing who they are.

The sins (or passions) of 3 and 7 are also quite different from each other. The former struggling with Deceit (of self and others) and the latter with Gluttony– the overdoing of, and overindulging in all things: food, social activities, hobbies, you name it.

Clearly there are some surface level similarities between these types, but a lot of core differences.  For more information on this topic, check out the Enneagram Institute’s overview of the differences between any two types and misidentification in general (which can be very helpful when determining type).

Tune in next time for my next Misidentification pair: 4 and 9!

Misidentification: 3 + 7

Enneagram Photo Project {Part I.}

This project is ridiculously, wonderfully imperfect. It’s one of the earliest things that struck me about it, even after just the first couple interviews. From the questions asked, to photographers, interviewers and participants, weather conditions and locations, each interview involved in this project was remarkably different from the next– but in a completely natural, and unplanned way. I’ve found in hindsight, that these differences, image by image, speak to the type in question, in many cases serving as subtle symbolism. Each detail, color, word and movement (like our selves and lives) have happened without intent on my part, but with so much purpose in the end.

As I said when I began writing this blog, this is not a sum-up of the Enneagram, nor is it a good way to learn about the types– that’s what books like The Wisdom of the Enneagram and Character and Neurosis are for. The purpose of this project rather, is to explore the nine core Enneagram types, to give them voice about their experiences, and to allow the viewer to gain insight into the nature of each type. In truth, I also hope that this project will pique individual minds about their own inner workings, and those around them– that the darkness of our sin patterns (what the Enneagram is based on) would be brought even more into the light, so that we can begin to heal and grow towards health.

To capture a fuller picture (and rather than bombarding you with all twenty seven images at once), I’ve decided to present this project a center at a time– heart, head and gut, each group containing three Enneagram types. Today, I’ll begin (in order) with the heart types: 2, 3 and 4.

A note on seeing the images closer (to read all the quotes): click the image once, which should open a new page, and then click to see the full sized image. 🙂


The heart types have in common, themes of Identity, Shame and Worthlessness– these manifest differently for each.


Helpers place their identities in just that, self-sacrificially aiding and loving others. This often stems from feelings of shame, that tell them they must earn love, by loving others first and best. This of course often results in an entitled expectation of love from those that they “help”, resulting in resentment and anger. Internal message: you must love others to be loved.

You can check out my overview of 2 basics here.



3’s are the most unaware of their Identity themes, because they are said to “sacrifice their heart’s desires” at a young age, in order to meet cultural expectations– an Achiever’s qualms with identity are in finding one at all.  Because they are so focused on “winning”, they often adapt themselves (their identity) in order to meet the needs of a person, or situation– so at the end of the day, they are uncertain which “mask” is really them.  All of this achievement is often rooted in a belief that they must win to be loved or accepted, with only Shame to greet them if they don’t.  Internal message: You must be the best to be loved.

You can check out my overview of 3 basics here.



Individualists have a fixation with authentic Identity, and dig deeply into their own beings in order to find it. They err in believing that dark, painful things are the most real– this gives them a painfully accurate read on themselves, flaws and all, but usually leads to a disposition of shame (or feeling less). Internal message: You must be always authentic to be loved.

You can check out my overview of 4 basics here.

As always, feel free to reach out with questions or comments, and be sure to tune in for head types (5, 6 and 7) tomorrow! 🙂 I’d love for you to share this project, but please do not use the images without my express consent. Thanks!


So much thanks to all of my awesome participants, and friends who helped with interviewing! Photo credit for 1, 2, 4 and 7 goes to the lovely Jamie Gray, while 6 and 9 are the work of Tony Au. All quotes are the words of my participants, and the writing/artwork is my own. Thanks everyone, I couldn’t have pulled it off without you!

Enneagram Photo Project {Part I.}