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An Open Letter To Enneagram Threes

Dear Three,

I genuinely hope your day is going well. I hope that you woke up today feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. I hope that you get a lot done today and go to bed tonight with that tired-fulfillment in your bones…you know the feeling…the one that says, “Yes. Today was a good day.”

How often do you have that feeling at the end of the day? What does that feel like? And how long does it last? Can you accomplish enough in one day to sustain you for a week? What is the next morning like after a successful day? Do you still think about yesterday? Or do you immediately move on to accomplish more today?

It’s strange for us non-3 Type people. We don’t understand what your world is like. But I will say, it seems hard sometimes. Are you happy? I think you’re happy when things are going right, moving along, and getting done. But what about the simple joy that comes with listening to a good song? Or watching a sunset? Or reading a fiction book? When is the last time you read a novel? You know it’s good for you. Try Sherlock Holmes or The Hobbit…they’re wonderful!

Work isn’t evil; don’t get me wrong. And neither is your ambition. I can see what you value, or rather, who you value. Despite what some may think, I believe you love people. And you want to work hard and achieve for those people. Is it ever tiring to you when they don’t see that? When they don’t see how hard you’re working for them? But there’s got to be a balance. It’s great to work hard for the ones you love, but there’s always a risk of working so hard that you push away the ones you love. Is it worth it?

You live at such a fast pace, it can be hard for others of us to keep up. We want to, but you’re just geared differently than we are. And, a word from a friend, when you’re going so fast, it can be difficult to see the flaws in your own system. Even the fastest race car drivers have a pit crew. It’s worth it to slow down at regular intervals and get a quick tune-up. You can actually stay in the race longer this way.

Take time to remember the past. Not all successes are worth remembering, and not all failures are worth forgetting. You’re not so special that your path to success hasn’t been paved by stones of failure. But that’s not shameful! It’s what the rest of us call “normal.” The people whose love you really should value won’t abandon you because you’re real.

We love the Threes in our lives. But we don’t need you to win all the time. It’s okay to be normal with us for a minute. Sure, there are a lot of people who value you for what you can do, but there are a few of us who actually value you for who you are. Don’t forget about us down here! Eventually, those other people will become unimpressed.

My best piece of advice for you, my friend, is to get to know yourself apart from the eyes of others. You have an incredible talent for showing up and meeting people’s expectations, and it has served you well over time. But when you are all alone (how often do you even do that?), where there are no expectations for you to stand on, who are you? In an empty house, with no social media, who are you? I believe that there is something -no, someone- inside of you that is far better than any stage performance you could contrive. And I believe that if you will do the scary work of slowing down (GASP!) and spending time getting acquainted with yourself, you’ll find something you may not have seen for a long, long time: you.


The rest of us normal people


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