'The Achiever': A Roundup of the Best and Worst Careers for an Enneagram Type 3

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July 18, 2024 at 6:56AM UTC
If you've taken the Enneagram test and have landed on this page as a result, then you probably identify with the type 3 personality known as "The Achiever" or "The Performer." Of the nine personalities, this type is particularly goal-oriented, pragmatic and competitive by nature.
If this sounds like you, then read on to learn more about your characteristics and the best and worst careers for your personality type.

What are all the Enneagram personality types?

The nine Enneagram types are as follows:
  1. The Reformer — the principled and idealistic type
  2.  The Helper  — the empathetic and altruistic type
  3. The Achiever — the competitive and success-oriented type
  4. The Individualist — the creative and reserved type
  5. The Investigator — the curious and insightful type
  6. The Loyalist — the committed and reliable type
  7. The Enthusiast —  the adventurous and optimistic type
  8. The Challenger — the dominating and decisive type
  9. The Peacemaker — the receptive and easygoing type 

What is the Enneagram type 3 personality?

Enneagram type 3s are hardworking and success-oriented. They have a no-nonsense, shoot-for-the-moon kind of attitude, which is as influenced by their fear of failure as it is by their competitiveness. 
That's why, when striving to reach the high expectations they set for themselves, Enneagram type 3s will smartly leverage their network and resources to do so. This quality also makes them great conversationalists and increases their chances of moving up the proverbial ladder. 
As is true with the other Enneagram types, the Achiever has it's Achilles' heel which is their appearance — they care deeply about how they look to others and want to be seen as successful. Though type 3s can be extremely confident, they need constant validation in order to feel worthy.
Some Enneagram type 3s you might know include Madonna, Muhammed Ali, Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and Elvis Presley.
Below are some of the characteristics you and the famous type 3s above might have in common:

Characteristics of a type 3


Type 3s are competitive, focused, hard working and charismatic. The combination of these strengths make them passionate toward getting what they want. They're also energetic, sociable and optimistic which balances out their competitive edge. 


The Achiever's inclination toward competitive thought and action can sometimes backfire. Type 3s may overwork themselves, and can be impatient, overly critical, non-adaptable and even resentful.


Type 3s desire to feel successful, valuable and worthy. Because they lean on their image for fulfillment, these high-achievers rely on validation from others to fulfill their desires.  


Consistent with their need to succeed is a type 3s fear of being unsuccessful, invaluable and worthless.

Speaking style

A type 3s speaking style can be described as enthusiastic. They use their voice to speak things into existence, motivating others and themselves.

High emotional habit

A high emotional habit is a pattern of thinking or acting that positively raises a person's vibrations. For type 3s, that higher emotional habit is their truthfulness. Through practiced affirmations and redirection toward reality, type 3s are able to tap into their most authentic selves.

Low emotional habit

Opposite of a high emotional habit is a low one, which negatively influences how a person feels or behaves. Vanity is a type 3s worst enemy, which comes from an unwavering need to look and feel successful.


Type 3s are susceptible to over-stressing, over-working and starving themselves. They can also grow addicted to caffeine as a means to increase production and stimulants that'll push them to work even harder. 


Type 3s are challenged by their image and their need for validation. They may put on facades or overextend themselves in order to "become" their delusions.

Possible careers for type 3 personalities


Type 3s make great attorneys because of the intellectual challenge posed by the field. A job in the legal field also allows them to have a global influence using a macro way of thinking and measurable approach. This allows them to track their success as they experience them and requires validation and agreement as a measure of success. 


Enneagram type 3s fare well as agents — whether it be literary, real estate, sports, etc. The responsibility of acting on behalf of another party allows them to channel their 'performer' energy and poses the appropriate challenge for type 3s who want to play an active role in achieving a certain goal.


Being an executive means having the power to enact laws, make calls to action or create plans of attack. For an enneagram type who likes to take charge, this career gives them the power — and exigence — to aggressively reach and exceed their goals.  


Coaches may not play the game, but they have the highest say in how the game is played. This is right up a type 3s ally, because it allows them to take control, delegate action and gives them to opportunity to witness the progression or digression of a team's success.

News journalist

It's a journalist's job to get the inside scoop on what's hot, what's new and what's happening so they can get everyone in "the know." Therefore, a career in journalism gives type 3s the authority and popularity they need to feel accomplished and validated.


A career in the arts requires performance and achievement which is basically type 3 energy at its core. Acting is one route, but the Achiever could also thrive in other performance-based roles such as singing, dancing and stand-up comedy. Plus, a standing ovation is just the validation they need to continue pushing. 


A producer's responsibility is to oversee the production of music or film, so type 3s strike a balance between control and performance in this role. They appreciate the opportunity to engage in the construction, direction and delivery of a work of art, and get their validation from the audience engagement that comes after. 

Careers Enneagram type 3s should avoid 

Freelance work

Freeform work, such as freelance writing or designing, does not pair well with type 3s personality because of it's lack of structure. If the Achiever's not able to track their success, nor has the power to influence its progression, they'll quickly grow frustrated and may set unrealistic goals for themselves, in an effort to have any at all. 

Running an online store

Selling products online may be a desirable way to make money for some personality types, but this won't be the case for a type 3. While type 3s do thrive off of control to reach their goals, having full control over creating those goals may push them to set their expectations unrealistically high. They also don't have the patience to wait on growth or engagement, which may make them feel like they've failed. 

Areas for personal and professional growth

Prioritize "the why."

Type 3s channel much of their energy into what goals they want to reach and how they want to reach them, but not nearly as much into why. By shifting their energy from the literal drive behind their goals to the emotional, type 3s can get a better sense of who they are and what they value. Hopefully, this will allow them to experience their successes more deeply, further aligning them with the purpose of creating those goals in the first place.

Learn how to balance.

Type 3s have a must-win attitude, which sometimes prevents them from living in the moment. Balancing work and play — or better yet, integrating the two — could help alleviate some of that self-imposed pressure. Incorporating activities just for fun, in general, could also help loosen up a type 3, maximizing their productivity when it's time to get back to work.

Practice non-judgement.

The Achievers can practice non-judgement by exploring their emotions and allowing themselves to access the place with which those emotions lie. A type 3 person can access this source by journaling which provides a low stakes opportunity for them to get to know themselves. They can also cultivate a warmer intrapersonal relationship by reciting positive affirmations which will redirect any thoughts and feelings that don't serve them.

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About the Career Expert:

Stephanie Nieves served as a SEO & editorial associate on the Fairygodboss team. Her words can also be found on MediumPayScale and The Muse.

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