Enneagram Type 3 – The Achiever
With Maureen Gallagher, Eleonora Gilbert and Pat Knightly
Moderated by Iain McNay
Iain: Hello welcome again to Conscious TV, I’m Iain McNay and today we are going to have a discussion about a type of the Enneagram. Now the Enneagram I’ve personally found it very useful in my life and it’s something I discovered many years ago and I’m joined by three guests who all know quite a lot about the enneagram and their type. I have on my right Maureen Gallagher, Eleonora Gilbert and Pat Knightly. So Maureen, Iet’s start with you, just tell us briefly what is the Enneagram.
Maureen: (laughs) Well it is a big question, but in short in my experience what I have found it be, is a map. And it’s a map of nine - what I would say are - perspectives or worldviews that we have and what that does is lead to a whole set of motivations and values and then behaviors. So for example if I took a very simple example, two people walk into a room full of strangers, if you have a world view that contains the aspect of, “Hey this is exciting and don’t know who I’m going to meet, but I may find out something out here or meet somebody”, then the person is likely to go in, feeling excited, they are likely to be quite animated and talk to people and that will bring on a whole set of behaviors. On the other hand someone else might go in with more trepidation because part of their worldview is that connection with people is something very intimate and more personal, and so a room full of strangers wouldn’t give them that. So they might go in feeling apprehensive, or maybe bored, or not going to enjoy it, so that would set up a whole set of behaviors. So even in that simple example I can see that the whole thing is a mix and while the worldview drives behaviors, then the behaviors also reinforce the worldview.
Iain: So let’s just be clear, each person is basically one different Enneagram type and that influences how they are in terms of how they see life in certain situations.
Maureen: Exactly, yeh.
Iain: OK. I know there are nine different types, and one of the challenges of course is to, if we are interested, if people are interested, is to find our own type.
Pat: Yes it is, because having a worldview like that is limited.
Maureen: So what we are trying to do is, the reason it’s a map, if we can find where we start from, we can see what the confines are. Some call it a prison in a way, that we’re confined within that worldview and believe it to be the perspective. Whereas if we can broaden our perspective, then we have more choices. So the Enneagram helps us to know where we start from so we can move outwards.
Iain: And we can find our potential.
Iain: Yes, OK, so I know everyone has their own ideas and understanding of the Enneagram and use it to some extent to help them, but Pat how does it help you in your life?
Pat: Well I came across it, must have been 20 odd years ago I guess, and I found a book on the Enneagram and I thought it can’t be that simple, you know, that I have a type and therefore I enact throughout my type, but the more I read about the Enneagram, the more I realised how a lot of set of habits that I had developed as a child, that give me my personality i.e. persona, really can drive my behavior. So for me the Enneagram showed me that actually, I could run my ego rather than my ego running me which was very important and how my type helps me and how it hinders me and so it’s like nailing the jelly to the wall. So I started to study it, and as Maureen said, it is like a map, once you know the point that you’re at, then you can take that and move yourself further into if you like, being more of who you really are rather than how the personality can make you appear to be. Personality is useful to have, but sometimes it kind of gets it wrong and starts to drive you and it’s really important.
Iain: So you find out more of who you really are.
Pat: I believe so yes. Because the ego, or the personality can have a tendency to drive one and I have been in certainly a lot of boardrooms to see two year old behavior to know that to be true. So it’s kind of getting the ego in perspective and that’s what the enneagram helps you to do.
Iain: So Eleonora, how did you find out you were a certain type, because we should, we actually haven’t said yet that three of you are all the same type, which is the number 3. I’m not a number 3, I’m a number 6 actually, but we are going to talk about number 3 today. So how did you find out you were a number 3?
Eleonora: Well, it actually was quite a journey to find out I was a number 3 because first of all I started off doing a workshop at Emmaus House with the Helen Palmer kind of camp of the Enneagram.
Iain: So explain when you say Helen Palmer camp, what do mean by that?
Eleonora: Well basically there are various numbers of teachers worldwide that are teaching the Enneagram and one teacher is Helen Palmer and another two good teachers are Don Riso and Ross Hudson and then we got also David Daniels, those are the ones that I actually know. Claudio Naranjo is teaching the Enneagram too. How I got to find out about the Enneagram was through my spiritual path and how I found out about being a [type] 3 was a really long journey because having done a lot of therapy and lots of workshops beforehand, it was really, really difficult for me to pinpoint exactly which type am I, as I could identify myself with a lot of the various types. It was really through one of the workshops with Sandra Maitri - whom I forgot to mention and who is also a teacher of the Enneagram - that she absolutely pinpointed the fact that everything the 3 does is for getting value, so a 3 does not really value themselves for what they are, but they value themselves for the things that they do.
Iain: So let’s have a practical example of that in your life.
Eleonora: Well a practical example of that in my life…I can bend over backwards to do all kinds of different things and to do them fast, to do them well, to do lots of them at the same time, so that you can see how valuable I am to you.
Iain: So it’s like impressing people in one way.
Eleonora: It’s more than impressing, it’s really getting the validation that I, as an individual, cannot do for myself; so I have to get you guys to validate who I am, based upon what it is [that] I can do for you. So for me that was very, very, very key, the sense of lack of self-value, not lack of self worth, but value. So I do not know if you want to add anything to that [Pat].
Pat: It’s being driven really by… I think 3’s are externally high acuity they can read people very quickly and there is a need to see the value reflected in somebody else’s persona or eyes and it would be quite nice if you told me I was pretty good as well, that would help. So there is a seeking to be externally validated which for me was one of the things that made me realise I was a 3. Because it took me a while to actually accept that was an important aspect to motivate me to get and do things.
Iain: So we all know there are nine different types all together and we all have an element of each type in us, but it’s the predominant type that we are looking at. So for both Pat and Maureen, was it quite easy for you to spot you were a number 3, or did you go through a process like Eleonora did?
Maureen: I, interestingly for a 3, when I read the Riso-Hudson book for me it hit me in the pit of my stomach, it was like, “Oh, how did they know, they must have been following me round for the last twenty years!”
Iain: So they know the intimate details of you, ahh.
Maureen: It really hit me, really physically and I was like “Wow”. Partly a relief, here explains the things that have been conflicting in my life and the things I have been struggling with and partly like, “Oh my god how did they know?” And in typical 3 fashion - picking up on what Eleonora was saying about the validation - someone said to me, “Oh you don’t look like a 3 you can’t possibly be a 3!” I thought, “Oh that’s alright then, I must be a 9”, and I spent a little while as a 9 because they had said so and then eventually I came back to know I am a 3. But what really did it for me was reading the book and hitting on the right type. I think it’s when you read it, there are a lot of behaviors in all the types and you can tick them and say, “Ah yeh, I get that one”, but it’s when it really hits you to the core, that’s when you know that’s your type.
Pat: It can often be the type that you least like to be.
[Eleonora and Maureen laugh and agree]
Pat: It’s like hello, I’m not really like that, so there is almost a kind of rejection of it.
Maureen: Often there is [agreeing with Pat].
Pat: I’m not a type 3 for god sake, but actually I am. Knowing you are a 3 can be very helpful because it helps you recognise how you drive yourself and in the same time drive others. I have a daughter who is a [type] 4, we are always in a clash because I am always trying to get her to do stuff and she doesn’t want to do it, so I have to recognize how what I’m doing is not a useful thing, or when it is useful. So for me it was recognizing how helpful it is to be a [type] 3 and how hindering it can be too.
Iain: Yes, so for someone watching this program that doesn’t know anything about the Enneagram and they are already hopefully intrigued and they want to know what type they are, what are the simple things they would look out for to try and find these triggers to being a number 3, what are the basic characteristics?
Maureen: I think if we go back to worldview, the way I would sum up a 3 perspective, for me anyway - it may be different for my colleagues here - is the phrase ‘It’s up to me’. That has two things for me, there is one side that Pat talked about the positive and the negative, the one side is the sort of American dream, you know it’s up to me, the pauper can be the President. If I do it, if I put my mind on something and decide to do it and work hard enough and conscientiously enough, I can do it. So there is a lot of achievement, success, working hard, efficiency, those kind of words are within that, but then the other side of the model is, if it’s up to me… the other sort of image that springs to my mind is Atlas, holding the world on the shoulders you know, it’s up to me.
Iain: So responsibility.
Maureen: Yes that’s right responsibility, burden. If I let go who’s going to catch it? Nobody, therefore you get on a treadmill of, “I have to keep going” and I think that’s more of the downside of the 3, a driveness and almost you have to hide your heart from yourself. I think that’s key for 3, because if I really got in touch with my feelings, sometimes I might not want to do these things, it might be a burden, but I can’t allow myself really to feel that, so I have to keep driving myself and driving myself, so I think if anybody recognises those kind of characteristics in themselves, then it might be useful for them to look into the type 3.
Iain: Yeh [agreeing with Maureen].
Maureen: Because I think as Pat said, it is both positive and negative. There are great qualities, but there is also a great cost to I think be a 3.
Pat: I think it’s fair to say that often 3’s feel like the little hero, they take the responsibility of the family and may often give away their heart’s desire; it’s a fortunate child that doesn’t give up the heart’s desire and actually does what they want to do, but a 3 will quite happily give up their heart’s desire to achieve whatever they believe is the goal. I was in corporate life for many years and did very well until I got to the top of the ladder and realised there was nothing there, there was no heart there, and that’s often what will happen.
Iain: That’s pretty scary to get to the top of the ladder and realise there’s nothing there.
Pat: Well yeh, I perceived it at the top of the ladder but it could have been the bottom.
Maureen: It is, that’s the sadness of the 3 and we don’t like to go there because it is very sad.
Iain: So you discover this emptiness inside you.
Maureen: Yeh I realised that a 3, if you can get in touch with that emptiness inside you, can feel like a polo mint, you know. It’s all on the outside.
Iain: A big hole in the middle right?
Maureen: On the inside there is nothing there, there is no one home because you are doing everything for others.
Eleonora: [For the validation of] an adult or from the outside world, really. Or from your parents; everything about the child tries to be someone your parents want you to be, rather than finding your own heart’s desire.
Pat: I found that after doing a lot of this work, that people - in fact it was my stepbrother who said it to me - you’re not the same person as you were before. And I said, “I have always been here, I just haven’t been able to show you that I’m here”. So the work for me has helped me to be able to show who I am without the persona. I am not saying the persona goes away, but there is this kind of an awakening to some extent, that I’m more than just my type. I’ve actually got something else to offer rather than just this efficiency that’s driving this competitiveness, this success that actually there is more to it and often you don’t get to see that side of the 3. 3’s will often be sales directors, you know, people who are at the top of their game.
Maureen: It might be interesting to say lots of famous people who are 3’s.
Pat: Yeh Tony Blair would be a good example, 3’s are great at being able to think on their feet, to be able to spin a yarn sometimes that gets them into trouble because they haven’t done the detail, but there you go. So, good at sales.
Iain: Well I have a list here, sorry to interrupt… that I dug out from a couple of books that I thought might be interesting. Tony Blair is not here actually, but Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney, Tony Robbins, Tom Cruise. I’m just saying what I read: Madonna, Sting, Diana Ross, George Clooney; that is a list that I took out from two different books, but they are all obviously - like you were mentioning with Tony Blair - they are very driven people and they’re very much at the top of the ladder in their professions.
Maureen: And also image wise, there is a real image aspect to a 3, we like to look good, you know, I mean, hey...
Iain: Let’s look at this image thing, so you like to look good, what else about the image?
Eleonora: Well the image seems to be everything - and that’s what I was talking about in terms of the lack of value - is that what you are appreciating about me is about what it is I can do for you and the way I can look.
Eleonora: The fact that I can be absolutely adaptable to any kind of situation and circumstances and I actually know what it is you want as well! But inside, what do I want? Why am I doing this, what are my motivations? So that is what is missing in a sense.
Pat: The self-value that you talked about [addressing Eleonora].
Eleonora: Yes the self-value yes, and really follow your heart’s desire rather than trying to fulfill somebody else’s dreams, or somebody else’s expectations, or your parents’ expectations and dreams.
Maureen: Sorry I was going to say, my example would be I did work for Pricewaterhouse which is typical of a lot of the consultancies and the phrase always used was, “You are as good as todays project”. So you could have been brilliant on yesterday’s project, last year’s project, the last twenty years, but that doesn’t count, it’s only today’s project that counts, so it’s that constant “Who are you today in the eyes of the people?” There is no history in a way for the 3, it’s only today, so it’s very hard to keep satisfying everyone’s expectation because they are so wide and so dispersed and even if they were happy with you yesterday we don’t assume as 3’s that they will happy with us today unless we prove ourselves again. It’s a kind of ground hog day.
Iain: That’s a lot of pressure on you on you guys.
Maureen: It’s a ground hog day existence.
Eleonora: It is a lot of pressure, even if it comes from the inside not necessarily on top of perhaps the expectations of others, but it’s also a way of being excellent in your own eyes and god forbid you make a mistake!
Pat: It’s funny that actually you pick up on the person that you think doesn’t like you and put all your energy into trying to make them like you and then when they like you, you can move onto the next now and..
Iain: Really, is that how you [Pat] feel, you can really tick them off?
Pat: It can be, I’ve got that one that’s good I can move on. Particularly if you are in a competitive situation. I think the competitiveness of the 3… there is focus too you know, completely like the train coming down the track; this is where I am going, I am going there and nothing takes you off it, so that’s a bit of a difficult one, because you can run over people when you are so focused.
Eleonora: Before I actually started working from the spiritual perspective of the Enneagram, as well as other things, I used to say to myself “I’m going to do that, even if it kills me. I will get that, even if it kills me or even if I have to run over somebody”. I don’t do that anymore, but I used to.
[They all laugh in agreement]
Iain: You [threes] are also never bored is that right? It’s what it’s said in one of the books you are never bored, is that right?
Eleonora: Well we try never to be bored because - at least speaking for myself - boredom used to be a big issue, like “God I’m so bored!” Now I’m not bored in the slightest, but now I have different views on what boredom is. Certainly before I embarked on understanding more of myself, boredom was a big issue. And not to be bored, I would do anything.
Pat: To be bored means to be slowed down, that’s not an option, and we’ve got to keep going.
Maureen: I was going to say, I think we are the human-doings of the Enneagram types. I think I have read that somewhere, rather than the human-beings, so as long as we are doing, we are achieving what we want to, because then there is a chance of success. Failure isn’t an option for a 3 really, so we keep on the treadmill of whatever we have created for ourselves, what ever that is.
Pat: It’s a little train that could [run away] isn’t it?
Maureen: Even if we are enjoying our selves, we do it to the best.
Eleonora: I also find that energy wise it’s just so high. Sometimes, when I compare myself to my friends for instance, I think “Oh I can keep going and I have left them behind a few hours ago”, but it’s a way for me, also of feeling very much alive and that energy keeps feeding on itself and it almost gives life meaning, to some extent. So yes, we are the doing of the Enneagram, and the thing that we try to avoid is actually Being.
Pat: But that’s the workaholism and then comes the big burnout. You work yourself into an early grave at that rate.
Iain: So that’s one of the dangers you [3’s] burn yourselves out and have a bit of a break down.
Pat: I used to go on holiday and would be ill the minute I would stop work, the minute I would stop a project, or a project was over I’d fall ill, because I would not allow myself to be ill or anything while there was a project going on.
Eleonora: I have heard that before in fact, it is really typical.
Pat: And then I’m only ill for the time I am on holiday then I am back at work. So there is this kind of drive-ness this workaholism that 3’s then discover; actually you know you’re going to burn out.
Iain: One of the things I read was that you are always doing lists of things to do is that right, do you find that you do that?
Maureen: I do them in my head, I don’t write them down.
Eleonora: I do, I have to, and I have more than one list as a matter of fact.
Iain: So you have lists of lists?
Eleonora: No, not lists of lists, I’ve got several lists in order of importance...
Eleonora: It’s true otherwise I don't get things done.
Iain: So you are impressed by this are you [Pat]?
Pat: Well they are all in my head my lists, but anyway yeh…
Iain: So I think we have got quite a few clues if somebody wants to try and spot by watching this program what they are in terms of if they are a 3 or not. You are driven, you are constantly on the go, ambitious, you do lists.
Pat: We are good at what we do, we get things done.
Iain: And you mention shape shift, talk more about this, the chameleon you mentions, that’s a kind of shape shift, talk more about that.
Pat: This was what Eleonora was talking about, an ability to be whatever somebody else wants you to be, so I read somewhere once that even someone in a Buddhist monastery who was a 3 would still be the best Buddhists they could ever be, there would always be this kind of ‘jump to always be at the top of the game, top of the list’. So a lot of sports people, I can’t remember them off the top of my head, that are driven, are 3 like, or are that 3 energy, you don’t necessarily have to be a 3, but the 3 energy is about succeeding, moving forward, getting things done, task oriented, that kind of sums us up. Do you think that is fair to say?
Maureen: Yes, and I think it goes back to - what we were saying earlier about living on the outside of ourselves - looking for validation and so we’re looking to see who wants what from us. And then we are always trying to satisfy it, so you know… great kind of marketing, that’s why sometimes people put that thing that we are the marketeers, but it’s because we are very good at having acuity as you [Pat] said, and then looking to see what they want and trying to give it to them, because it comes back to there is nothing inside you, because if we give what we think the other needs then we will be successful, that’s success to us.
Eleonora: We will be successful, and we will be loved, and we will be acknowledged, because the thing that is missing intrinsically is that sense of not valuing yourself, so until you get that, you will always look outside of yourself for that kind of validation, and if you don’t get it, you are going to go over and over and over again until you do get it. Even then, it’s never going to be quite the way you want it anyhow, so it’s really the key to this.
Iain: OK so once you realise all of this, then what happens? You realise what this pattern is for you all, so how does this start to change the way you see life?
Maureen: Good Question.
Pat: So that’s good question because I think for me when I had the realisation, it was, “Oh really, is that it?” I came to that realisation when I left corporate life because I realised that I could not burn myself out more than I already had done. For me it was burnout.
Iain: So practical things, you left the job you were doing, and you decided that was taking you nowhere, so what did you do then?
Pat: Well then I guess it was not a loss of hope, but of trying to find something more than just the image I thought that I was projecting, so really I had to slow down and spend some time looking at myself and knowing myself more, which is what I do now.
Iain: And how is that for you?
Pat: It’s much more satisfying because I actually feel that I have more worth than I thought I had before. So for me, I think I can see myself as a softer gentler person than the person I was before. I wouldn’t show that side of me. I don’t feel so rejected, it’s kind of a strange thing to try and explain, I do know that when I slow down and smell the coffee there is a sense of being here and being present in my own self is actually the only thing that’s worthwhile doing otherwise…
Iain: That’s a huge change.
Pat: Huge change yes.
Iain: And you’re happier?
Pat: Very much so, yes.
Iain: What about you [Maureen] how have you integrated these realisations?
Maureen: I think I haven’t had quite such a big road to Damascus as Pat, I think how it helps me practically everyday is to know the characteristics and then sort of catch myself doing it, you know, so for example yesterday I was doing the garden at the front and it was getting dark and I wanted to do everything before it got dark, because success is doing everything, and if I had done three quarters of it and not the other quarter, that would not have been success because I couldn’t tick it off my list. So I would have driven myself before like, it’s got to be finished, then I said to myself, “Hey, I have a choice here, I can finish it if I want, but I don’t have to”. Then I weighed up the pros and cons and actually, it made more sense to finish it off before it got dark, but before I never would have had even that conversation with myself, I would have just driven myself. So it’s about catching myself in very small ways of things that I am doing to drive myself, and giving myself the choice and of course there are bigger things, but it’s in the minutiae of life as well.
Iain: It seems you relax a lot and you see what wants to happen, rather than I’ve got do this.
Maureen: That’s right, then fun comes in, I always know, I know the triggers for myself, I know when I’m too driven because I loose my sense of fun, everything becomes very serious. I must do, very harsh, so when I know I’m not smiling and laughing I know, “Hey, relax, slow down, have a drink”. Its just knowing myself more, knowing the little things in life and allowing myself to have a choice which is that worldview; not being constrained by this is the only way I can live, saying hey there are choices here.
Pat: I think that is true to all the types because you actually end up being kinder to yourself, you’re not beating yourself up so much and I think that what we all end up realising, that actually like Maureen said, you don’t have to do anything, it’s a choice, and that’s a huge, huge release [Maureen laughs in agreement] and we talked earlier about the burdens that we 3’s have, I don’t think there’s that much of a burden, we don’t feel we have to do everything for everybody else, we actually start to do stuff for our selves, and don’t feel bad about it, because within that there is shame, shame that I am actually expected to be validated externally, so I think there is a huge shame that suddenly goes as well from that, that’s my experience…
Eleonora: And for me it’s a question of beginning to appreciate all the gifts that this particular type has to offer – [it’s] the same with every single type - so rather that rejecting them, like I used to in the past [and said], “Oh this is wrong if I do it this way, or I shouldn’t be driving myself”…you know a lot of criticism, internal criticism going on. Now when I recognize, “Hey my goodness I'm rushing through things again,[I ask myself] wow what’s that about?” So it’s through observation and even through light heartedness. We can’t change effectively, but what we can do is observe how we are, how we behave and we have choices, you can still go in that particular direction, rush through things and making, ticking it off the list, or you can actually relax and laugh about it. And the other thing is also looking at my motivations, “Why am I doing this, who am I trying to please, who am I doing it for?” and to really be clear about what is it that motivates me in this particular moment, to do this particular thing. And do I have to? What’s the internal conversation? So those are the aspects I found to be interesting, but also really validating myself for the capacities that I have, and yes they could be better but so what? This is what there is and this is what I can do, this is who I am to some extent. You know, when I say this is who I am, in terms of the personality, this is the kind of personality I have, it’s not who I AM, but it’s the personality that I have.
Iain: I brought two books with me, I know Eleonora has brought a huge pile we might get through some of them later, but I brought two that I really like, one is The Enneagram Made Easy [by Baron & Wagele] which is fairly basic, but for anyone who wants to take this further and maybe investigate what kind of type they are, this is a great book, it gives you a series of questions, some cartoons in here, so it’s very simple, it’s not necessarily always easy to find your type, and it makes it a lot simpler than some of the other books. And this one here by Sandra Maitri, who we have interviewed twice on Conscious TV, this one is Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram and she says here one interesting thing which I wanted to discuss with you ladies, she is saying modern life is taking on more and more of the 3-ish quality. I thought that is interesting she said that, because that seems to me to be very true; people are rushing around even more, mobile phones, black berries and everything, you can’t get away from being a 3 can you?
Pat: And also it’s a celebrity thing, this whole kind of 'Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' that’s very 3-ish, you’ll get a lot of actors.
Iain: And the apprentice is very 3-ish I would guess is it?
Pat: Very much so, I look at the apprentice and try and guess what the type might be, not that I would know totally, but…
Maureen: And the whole Susanne Boyle phenomena, which I guess will date us, but the fact that she was pulled from obscurity and became this huge super star that’s a very 3 thing; and that’s also what we are valued for, being 3’s in our society, in a way it’s a very addictive type to be because we are applauded for it and we get a lot of success for it.
Pat: It’s also shallow, it’s that shallow stuff.
Iain: It’s interesting for me this is the way society is moving, the 3’s, the way. Society is moving like you said with the celebrity thing, we hide more and more, all of us, and as a society [we hide] what we really are and what’s really going on, and we do what we think is going to bring us success, and then we think that’s going to bring us happiness, but it doesn’t work out that way.
Pat: And I think that’s what drives the doing-ness of the 3 because we think if we do everything for everyone, and be the best we can be, conquer the Everest, everyone will love us and we will be happy. Well… hmm.
Iain: Might be for a little time,
Pat: Might be for a Nano second if you allow yourself to appreciate it.
Maureen: Yes that’s very true.
Iain: Also in Sandra’s book, I have just pulled out a couple of things I thought we could cover which I thought was worth looking at to see if you all agree, she was saying that 3’s can have a very painful inner journey because the whole image thing is a lie and when they realise that, it’s actually quite devastating. I think that’s probably what you felt Pat when you left.
Pat: Painful, because you spend all of these years building this image and then when it fails it's like a piece of tissue paper, you realise it actually stands for nothing, and the only thing that stands for anything is what you think of yourself and how you are in your self, which is a hard lesson for a 3 to come to terms with.
Eleonora: Yes indeed, it’s almost as if everything you have done is worthless, actually.
Iain: Well that’s quite a deep statement to make isn’t, everything is worthless.
Pat: Shall we get the tissues out?
Iain: So the potential for the 3 is also, I gather the potential for the 3 is the nearest to the pearl beyond price. Does anyone want to explain what the Pearl Beyond Price is?
Eleonora: Wow, I'm not going to explain it, well it’s quite hmm…
Maureen: Well I think the Pearl Beyond Price is the transformation of our ego. Our ego is absolutely essential as we know to get us to here, and it is a great development, but we have seen the trap we get into and the potential in living the spiritual life is to transform that into our spiritual life away from the ego. And I think you said at the beginning Pat, about being driven by the ego, it’s about using that to move us into our spiritual journey. So I guess in that sense we do have a potential.
Pat: Yeh, and I think the gift of the 3 - all types have gifts - is hope. If we can get through our huge ego - which we have, type 3 ego - then anybody can do it. There is a hope that through the Enneagram and through our 3-ness, is this authentic hope, because the shadow - if you like of the 3 - is self-deception, it has to be because in order to have a personality you have to self deceive, so our kind of shadow is self-deception, we lie to our selves that this is A OK, and sometimes stretch the truth a bit, like you know… the fish was this big [demonstrating large size] not this big, and when we actually realise to become authentic, to become truly connected to who we are, our True Nature if you like, then that is real hope, that is authenticity, which is what we all, I think, at the end of the day would call happiness. To be true and authentic to myself. To have me, running my ego instead of my ego running me. I call my ego Rover, when it gets in the way I say, sit!
Iain: Does it always obey?
Pat: Sometimes [laughs], like all dogs they don’t always do it.
Eleanora: So where I got to actually live with [my] personality, is again through appreciating the fact that what’s manifesting here - in terms of True Nature - is through this particular kind of personality and I happen to have been born, because there is something about nature vs nurture, somehow you are born with a particular type of personality, or the blue print of a particular type of personality and then, the kind of nurturing that you have received builds up on the nature – or how you were born. So here I am, I am on this planet being given this kind of personality and being as authentic and truthful as I can be, but it’s not about destroying the personality or making it better even; it’s about being able to live with whatever I have and I happen to be having this particular kind of type 3 personality and it is through appreciation that I see my True Nature manifesting itself through that.
Iain: So when you [Eleonora] say True Nature, what do you mean by that?
Eleonora: Well True Nature is what’s real about ourselves, rather than what we think is real, or the kind of persona that I want to portray.
Iain: So what’s real about you now?
Eleonora: What’s real about me now? That I am here, that I am breathing, that I have emotions going through and sensation going through my body, thinking about [pause] or even being confused about who I am right now. It’s a combination of various things and yes, there is the personality and yes, there is also what I am experiencing right now at a physical level and at an emotional level.
Pat: Yeh, I think when I am teaching the enneagram I visualize it almost like a jacket, so the more I know about my type the more I can unbutton this jacket and at some point even take it off and wear it lightly, it’s always going to be with me, but the less I use my personality to live my life as it unfolds, the more likely I am to be able to live it in the moment and be present and be conscious of who I really am. But the personality will always be there, it’s just how we deal with that.
Iain: It seems where we are getting to here is, you are all aware of someone, something that is aware of the personality…
Pat: The Inner Witness, yes.
Iain: Who kind of realises it isn’t just a personality and the personality sometimes gets in the driving seat, or Rover goes running way and you’re running after him, but actually there is something else there that is maybe, using Maitri’s words here, “A constant which is nothing to do with the personality”, would you say that is your experience?
Maureen: Absolutely, and if we take it back to the enneagram that would be the whole point wouldn’t it? That if we know that our starting point is the 3 and we our opening up our potentiality to the other energies, the other worldviews, the other perspectives, then they are all available to us, and they are always available to us, but if we are in a limited worldview, we only think we have one perspective available to us. So if we can relax and open up to that, we have all those energies, I think that’s what you [Eleonora] were saying and we have access to them all.
Pat: Yes it’s like being in a box and you can only see out of this bit. And once you know your type the box opens and you have the whole spectrum to play with, and then you actually start to understand how to relate, because the higher purpose of the 3 is relating, connecting, being with people and often people can’t be with you because you are spending too much time telling how great you are when actually, when you stop doing that, people start to tell you, or they see you are great. So it’s getting the persona or personality in perspective and not letting it drive you.
Iain: Maureen how are you feeling in terms of how you are finding your potential as you understand more and more about the 3-ish nature of your personality and you realise you are not just the personality?
Maureen: I think first of all, the sort of polo mint kind of perspective has gone and I’m more in touch with reality and more in touch with who I am and what qualities I have. Before I wasn’t really aware of those, so I’m more grounded in myself.
Iain: So when you say qualities, being grounded would include one of the qualities, wouldn’t’ it?
Maureen: It would be one of the qualities yes, and seeing the strengths I have and believing that I have them, that would be the first aspect, but then the second aspect would be… you know, sometimes other strengths are required, maybe like strength and straight talking for example - that 3’s are not so good at - but then realizing they are available to me as well; it’s being able to access those if it’s appropriate, if an occasion arises when that is required. I have more freedom, more choice.
Iain: So you are not so caught in having to please everybody, or this approval you can just tell someone what you really think.
Maureen: If that’s required yeh, I don’t mean in a crass and…
Iain: No, no I didn’t mean that…
Maureen: But yes if that’s required that would be more available and easier to do, whereas maybe when I am caught in 3-ness you know…”What would they think? And is it the right thing? And what would their reaction be? And should I do it?” There’s this whole inner talk of whether I could even do it and whether it’s the right thing, rather than just being present to: this is what’s required right now, let me do it. There is no angst, no inner talk, it just flows, so there is just much more flow, much more freedom, there’s much more choice, there’s much more relying on, rather than it’s just up to me. If I go back to my world view of it’s up to me, maybe isn’t up to me, maybe there are other things around and I just can tap into them. If I am open to the possibility, if I am open to life rather than being contained, then things can flow much more easily.
Iain: And do you find that people who are close to you see you differently now, see you in a different way?
Maureen: Yeh, yeh I think, for example if my dad was ill and he has now subsequently died, but I gave up work and took a sabbatical to look after him in his last days and I know my friends were very surprised because I was the corporate woman on the treadmill running round the world every week, running workshops, coaching managers and they were very surprised that I would do that, and I was quite surprised as well, but hey ho, I did that and thoroughly, it was a blessing to be able to do that. So I think yeh, things are changing for me.
Iain: And what about you two guys, how do you think people see you differently, if they do see you differently?
Pat: I think I sort of broached it a while ago when I said somebody said, “You are not the same person as you were before”, my step brother said that and I said, “Well actually I’ve always been here I just haven’t been able to show you.” I think that’s the difference for me, you know failure was not an option, now I see failure as really quite a good thing, it slows me down, I live my life in a much more relaxed state of being, if I have got to get a job done and I do a lot of work at the moment with young offenders, then you know I have to keep very grounded. When I am doing that sort of work and that’s been very good for me to know that I am not depending on them liking me, because actually most of the time they don’t, and you know you’ve got to stand up there and talk to them with absolute no response what’s so ever, and for a 3 that’s really hard, but at least that was really great, so yeh I think I am much more like Maureen was saying, more grounded and hopefully more authentic and living my life more meaningfully, with real meaning rather than just superficial meaning which is how I lived it before.
Iain: And Eleonora?
Eleonora: I have stopped trying to please anybody really, and people around me have noticed that tremendously, because I am not as helpful as I used to be and always there and always in charge… that sort of thing. So I’ve actually transformed my life completely since I first started finding out about the Enneagram and subsequently I got involved in a spiritual path and so a lot of stuff really changed. My life has turned around completely and I no longer try to please everybody.
Iain: OK, I know you have got a big pile of books and we’ve got about two minutes left, so maybe just…
Eleonora: So we talked about The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram [by Sandra Maitri].
Iain: If you give them to me I can hold them to the camera. We talked about the one by Sandra Maitri [Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram]. Here is another one by Sandra Maitri [The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues], which I have read, we have all read this so we can probably recommend this [.
Eleonora: Then we have Helen Palmer.
Pat: That’s a great book for relationships and…
Iain: OK so this is The Enneagram in Love and Work. Probably says on the cover what it does inside yeh…
Pat: What it says on the tin.
Eleonora: Then we have from Riso-Hudson…
Iain: So this is Don Riso and Russ Hudson who also do seminars.
Eleonora: Two of many of the books they have actually written. They are very easy books; Personality Types and The Wisdom of the Enneagram. This is a very [good book]. If somebody wanted to get their first [book], as well as the one you mentioned earlier, that would be [the] one. Then we have…
Pat: That’s a good little book that’s David’s [Daniel] book there.
Iain: That’s another concise one. The Essential Enneagram by David Daniels.
Pat: It also talks about differences between the types, so some people say well I think I am three and maybe I am a nine, well actually it says yes you could be either, but this is the motivation, which going back to what Maureen said, is different.
Eleonora: Then we have Claudio Naranjo [Character Neurosis], one of the many books he has written.
Iain: So he was actually one of the people to bring it to the forefront, this is 5000 years old the enneagram system, isn’t it?
Maureen: The symbol is, but the actually putting the types aren’t. It was done by Ichazo in the seventies.
Iain: So this is Character Neurosis by Claudio Naranjo.
Eleonora: And we have Facets of Unity. I mean, this is just a small selection of the vast amounts of literature [on this subject].
Iain: That’s quite an advanced one but a very interesting one, A H Almaas Facets of Unity. So of course Eleonora and all of you have read all of these because you are such good number 3’s, is that right?
Maureen: Iain, it even might be worth saying that if people wanted to find out about their type - and maybe they are not convinced after this of what they are - then there are a couple of good online questionnaires that they might want to take.
Iain: OK do you want to mention those?
Maureen: The one I am particularly familiar with is the Riso-Hudson one, which is, enneagraminstitute.com and you can take it for about $10 dollars I think online, it's very good and that might be a good start point and I think David Daniels has one as well, doesn’t he?
Pat: I think so.
Maureen: But I’m not sure about that, it might be in the book, but certainly the Enneagram Institute is a good starting point for people.
Iain: I think anyone who wants to follow it on - more of an investigation - then we have given them quite a good few clues there. Ladies, Eleonora, Pat and Maureen I wanted to thank you very much for coming in and spending your time talking very honestly about your number 3-ish and how you’re moving beyond your number 3-ish and thank you everyone for watching Conscious TV. We aim to do a program about all the different enneagram types, we have 8 more to go, so if you live in London, or near London and you feel you know your own enneagram type, or indeed you know a lot about the enneagram and would like to be considered for appearing on these programmes, then do email us in and let us know and we will get back to you. So thank you for watching and we hope we will be seeing you again soon. Goodbye.
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