Enneagram Type 3: “The Achiever” Personality Type

23 May 2023

“Nothing succeeds like success” is probably the saying that originates from Enneagram 3 personality. These people know what they want as well as how to get it.

However, “fake it till you make it” also reflects the Three’s spirit just as well, as these people often know all the tempting, shady shortcuts to success too!

Will the Achiever use shortcuts or earn their glory through fair play? Well, it’s just one of the things you’ll read in this guide! Stay tuned to learn what drives the dazzling Type Three personality, what their fears, desires, strengths, and weakness are, and so much more!

Enneagram Personality Type 3 Overview

Threes are the most self-assured type of the Enneagram. Energetic, driven, and passionate, they do not doubt their skills, talents, and abilities but can’t wait to show the world what they are made of.

As children, they were usually encouraged to be the best and succeed, and they know which of their traits earns them the most recognition. For this reason, they also know how to impress and even manipulate others when there’s no other option left.

To understand Enneagram 3, you need to understand what success means to them. It is not about living a high-end life, becoming famous, or just being irreplaceable. For them, being successful means distinguishing oneself and thus earning the love and acceptance they need. It doesn’t even matter what they are successful at; as long as they are on top, they will feel worthy of love.

Logically, the challenges for this action-oriented type arise when, for any reason, they face failure. The dark side of their nature is that they may be prone to means of deception just to ensure success.

For example, when faced with strong competition, a Three athlete may feel tempted to use unapproved substances to boost their performance or play dirty to eliminate the rival.

Generally, when healthy, Threes are dazzling, inspiring people who motivate others to develop their talents as well. They are usually the class president, the cheerleaders' leader, the beauty queen, and the soccer club star everyone looks up to.

Enneagram Type 3 Compatibility

Achievers are passionate, devoted partners who, despite their often flirtatious disposition, prefer serious commitment.

For them, flirting is just a way of proving their worth. What they really look for is a warm and supportive partner who will inspire and motivate them. When they find such a person, they become a generous, dedicated, and caring partner.

Type 3 With Type 2

Although Threes are emotional, they hold their emotions locked to ensure nothing stands in their way to success. For that reason, they easily lose touch with their true selves and may be prone to deceit or unsure of what they really want.

Therefore, in a relationship with the compassionate Two, Enneagram 3 will find the support they need to stay true to themselves and achieve success on their own terms. Twos truly enjoy basking in the Three’s glow, and Threes are happy to impress their loving partners.

Type 3 With Type 9

In a relationship with Type Nine, Enneagram 3 learns to enjoy the little things in life. Since Nines unconditionally give their love and attention, Threes will finally realize that their worth does not equal their achievements.

In such a relaxed atmosphere, both types show the best sides of their personalities. Nines get energized thanks to the Three’s contagious drive and ambition, and Threes achieve goals with more joy and less pressure.

Enneagram Type 3 Worst Matches

Some relationships are easier to establish and maintain than others. Let’s see which Enneagram types are least likely to bring out the best in Threes.

Type 3 With Type 7

The Sevens are all about having fun and enjoying life, while the Threes are strongly goal oriented. Threes don’t really understand how someone can be so careless, and while they may have a great time with Sevens, they will not consider them for a serious commitment.

Type 3 With Type 9

Though theoretically this kind of relationship can provide a healing and transformative experience for both types, in reality they are more likely to avoid each other. That’s mainly because they do not share the same values.

Enneagram Type 3 Wings

If your Enneagram test shows the highest score for Type Three but your scores for Type Two or Type Four are also high, it may mean you have a wing.

An Enneagram wing is what we call the influence of those types that are adjacent to your core Enneagram type. Only the types that surround your type can act as wings. In the case of Three, those are Two and Four.


3w2s are exceptionally charming and people-oriented. Thanks to the Two wing, staying in touch with their emotions is less of a challenge for them. Reading others’ needs as well as intentions is also a great asset of 3w2s.

These people pave their path to success by building relationships with others, doing favors, and helping others. The Two wing brings more honesty to their personality but also sharpens the Threes’ people skills.


Unlike typical Threes, the Enneagram 3 wing 4 personality type is not so eager to conform to the common perception of success. It is not that they don’t care about being successful, but for them, success means achieving something different and extraordinary that will distinguish them from others.

The Four wing inspires Threes to stay true to their personal values and interests rather than conform to what others expect from them. Therefore, 3w4s invest in becoming experts in what matters to them and take pride in the uniqueness of their achievements.

Enneagram Type 3 Strengths & Weaknesses

Enneagram 3 does not question their capabilities, but they struggle with feeling self-worth. Charismatic and full of energy, they impress others with their strength and achievements, but few people guess how fragile they can be when they face failure.

Enneagram Type 3 Strengths

Threes are the most self-confident Enneagram type for a reason. Some of the many strengths they are gifted with include:

  • High energy levels. When inspired, Threes are tireless. They invest so much energy into everything they do that it’s no wonder they usually succeed.
  • Strong ambition. Threes always find a way to level up, get promoted, and advance in their career.
  • Personal charisma and warmth. Their enthusiasm inspires others, who are naturally drawn to their friendly and dynamic character.
  • Pragmatical mind. Atheory is nothing if it’s not applied, and Threes are always oriented toward finding realistic, applicable solutions to challenges.
  • Excellent communication skills. They know how to get others to like them and get what they need from them.

Enneagram Type 3 Weaknesses

Though excellent at hiding them, Threes have their share of weaknesses, too. Some of the most prominent ones include:

  • Difficulty overcoming failure. They feel defeated when they fail, and it takes time for them to bounce back.
  • Obsession with the outward image. They dress for success and sometimes tend to confuse the image with real achievement, investing more in their reputation than real work.
  • Focus on social expectations. Craving admiration and attention, they sometimes do things just to impress others, not because it really matters to them.
  • Lack of touch with their feelings. Nothing will get in the way of their success, not even their own feelings! It is easier not to let feelings sneak in until the medal is in their hands.
  • Unreasonable competitiveness. Anyone who attracts the attention of others may become a rival in the Three’s mind. They want to be in the limelight all the time.

Enneagram Type 3 Fears & Desires

Like a child who shouts to their mother, “look at me, look how high I can jump," Enneagram 3 forever craves the admiration of those around them.

They tend to confuse attention with love and achievement with self-worth, so they grind tirelessly to attain the image and the success that will ensure both for them. Therefore, both their fears and desires are closely tied to their achievements.

Enneagram Type 3 Fears

Invisible but real, Enneagram 3’s fears are always lurking in the background of their shiny image, including:

  • Failing. For them, failing feels like falling into an empty void. Failure is not a lesson for type Three but a test for their self-worth.
  • Being exposed as unworthy. They pile up medals, accolades, awards, and recognitions as a substitute for feeling worthy of who they are.
  • Being insignificant. The reason why success matters to them so much is that they believe they are insignificant unless they achieve something big.

Enneagram Type 3 Desires

The basic, developmental need to be seen and recognized is the need that drives all the most prominent Type Three’s desires, which are:

  • Obtaining prestigious achievements. Threes believe that if they manage to achieve big enough success, they will finally earn the right to be seen for who they are.
  • Feeling precious, valuable. All the hustle and bustle they fall into is ultimately for the goal of reclaiming their worth.
  • Living exciting, worthwhile lives. Threes do not dream of a peaceful life in the countryside—they need adventures, competitions, and challenges to feel alive.

How Does an Enneagram Type 3 Act Under Stress?

Skillful at putting their feelings aside to get the job done and willing to sacrifice even their authenticity for success, Threes are the prototypical workaholic. Therefore, burnout syndrome is the first trap they most often fall into.

When that happens, they become angry at others who they feel pressured by, though the real pressure comes from the inside. Since they do not handle vulnerability well, they will rather exercise, work even harder, or even drink their problems away.

Another source of stress comes from not getting acknowledgement for their work or being too harshly criticized by significant others. For this reason, they feel deeply threatened when others don’t show the admiration they expected.

In situations of prolonged stress, they become apathetic and demotivated. They may also withdraw from their relationships because they fear others will see them as failures, which is one of their biggest fears.

Enneagram Type 3 as Parents

Threes are warm and affectionate, but the quality of their parenthood will mostly depend on how successfully they have managed to overcome their fear of failure. Otherwise, if they are still dependent on external validation, they may project their ambitions onto their children and repeat the pattern of love conditioned on achievement from their own childhood.

However, once Threes outgrow such destructive patterns, they become great, stimulating parents who strive to provide their kids with the most beautiful childhood possible. They will play with them, teach them to swim and drive, and generally support the development of their skills and talents, without projecting their own ambitions onto them.

How Does an Enneagram Type 3 Behave in Relationships?

Enneagram 3 is a passionate partner capable of building stable, long-lasting relationships. They need a person who will encourage them to be vulnerable without pressing them too much with romantic expectations. When they feel safe, they will eagerly show their tender side.

Since they are very competitive, they may feel challenged into rivalry with a partner who is much like them. In such circumstances, relationships may turn into a battlefield.

As they mature, they realize they need a more sensitive, supportive, and understanding type of partner. Once they find the right person, they are warm and affectionate, and they enjoy bringing their trophies home to their partner. Though they love adventures and excitement, they will be loyal to a partner who sees them for who they are.

Enneagram Type 3 Careers Matches

Threes have many talents and are usually aware of them. On top of that, they are highly driven, ambitious, and hardworking, so if they decide to succeed in something, hardly anything can stop them.

They generally love fast paced settings with lots of excitement and stimulation. Working alone is not at all inspiring for Threes. They can only be alone in the center of a stage—otherwise, they prefer the company of others.

Best & Worst Careers

Due to their image-conscious, driven, and communicative nature, Threes usually excel as marketers. They are also great in sales, PR, and business development. Moreover, since they enjoy being in the limelight, they can also be gifted performers, TV hosts, and journalists.

Besides these professions, it is not rare for a Three to choose the career of a professional athlete, as sport provides them with many chances to be seen and to compete. Needless to say, they also make excellent coaches and trainers.

The worst careers for Enneagram 3 are those where there’s no structure, hierarchy, challenge, or contact with people. Therefore, they would not be happy as IT experts, lab technicians, or accountants.

Enneagram Type 3 Development Levels

The traits of each Enneagram type, including Enneagram 3, will look different depending on the level of development the type reached. Generally, most people function at an average level. The more developed a type is, the more its strengths will be pronounced and the less it will suffer from its weaknesses.

Healthy Level Enneagram Type 3

A healthy Enneagram 3 has successfully resolved their inner conflict caused by the need to impress others at the cost of their own authenticity. Energetic, honest, and inspiring, they attract others to follow them naturally.

At this level, they do not see their emotions as a threat to their career. As a result, they become more invested in personal relationships and avoid the trap of workaholism. Thanks to such an inner balance, they usually achieve exceptional success in the areas of their interest.

Average Enneagram Type 3

At an average level, Enneagram 3 is very ambitious and invest the majority of their energy to ensure their career is going up. They are usually competitive and highly concerned with their social image, too.

At this point, these individuals often struggle between the urge to conform to the social image of success and their authentic need to succeed in areas that they are really interested in.

Whether they will progress and reach a healthy level of functioning depends on whether they stay in touch with their feelings and overcome their need to impress others. Their surroundings can play a huge part in this. If a Three somehow manages to have a true friend or partner who encourages them to be real, they will develop into their best selves.

Unhealthy Enneagram Type Three

At this level, Threes focus more on their public image, and their fear of failure gets the best of them. As a result, they become jealous of anyone who succeeds at anything and are willing to do whatever it takes to impress others.

At their worst, they can exhibit narcissistic traits and engage only in relationships with people who flatter them.

Enneagram Type 3 Growth Tips

Every type changes and evolves at its own pace. Here are some tips that can help Enneagram 3 develop into their best selves:

  • Understand that attention and admiration are not equivalent to love. Focus on building close relationships with people who can love you instead of those who support your social image.
  • Take time to engage in charity projects and initiatives that have nothing to do with your career success. Cooperating with others and developing empathy will help you stay in touch with your feelings.
  • Avoid overworking yourself. Success is nothing if you sacrifice your health for it, so schedule regular breaks and stick to your plan.
  • Take time to do the things you enjoy, even if they do not contribute to your social image or career. This will help you discover what really matters to you and help you stay true to yourself.
  • Try to stop identifying yourself with your achievements. Your feeling of self-worth should not depend on how successful you are.
  • Learn to relax. Mastering some relaxation techniques like mindfulness, meditation, or similar will help you distance yourself from the pressure you are constantly imposing on yourself.
  • Take courage and be honest with others about how you really feel. Once you understand that you don’t have to conform to other people’s expectations to be accepted and valued, you’ll feel much better about yourself.

Enneagram Type 3 Famous People

Since they enjoy the attention of others, Threes do not shy away from the stage lights. Some of the most famous Enneagram 3 celebrities are:

  • Will Smith, a talented American actor, singer, and songwriter that was awarded both for his roles and rap performances.
  • Justin Beiber, Canadian singer who rose to fame very early thanks to his good looks, talent, and charisma.
  • Lady Gaga, American singer and actress whose performances are always unique and memorable.
  • David Copperfield is an illusionist and magician best known for his combination of illusion and storytelling. During his 40-year career, he managed to break 11 Guinness World Records!

Key Takeaways

And that’s a wrap!

We hope this detailed Enneagram 3 description helped you understand Achievers better.

Let’s briefly remind you of some of the Enneagram 3 core traits:

  • Threes are self-confident, action-oriented, energetic, and charismatic individuals with a strong drive to succeed.
  • They are often very popular as they embody many socially desired qualities.
  • Fear of being worthless unless they are successful constantly pushes them to work harder, develop, and grow.