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Your Strengths and Their Hidden Challenges

enneagram series professional development self-awareness strengths type one type three Jun 09, 2022

Discovering Your Strengths and Their Hidden Challenge

Every person has unique strengths they bring to the world and their work. Our strengths, gifts, and talents come automatically to us so we often don’t even realize how special and unique they are.

Interestingly, we can rely too much on our strengths and overuse them to cope, strategize, or get by. When overdone or overused, our strengths become the source of our greatest challenges.

We want our strengths leading the way, not getting in the way.

When we learn how to recognize our strengths, we can lean into and leverage them in our work life to reach our goals, add value to our team, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our work.

Recognizing when we’re relying too much on our strengths and getting stuck allows us the opportunity to overcome or work through our challenges, be a better team player, and show up as our best selves.

Recognize Your Strengths

The strengths we each bring to our work come from the strategy we developed when we were young to make sense of the adult world.

For some, they unconsciously developed a strategy to achieve and accomplish goals to get attention and acceptance. These folks carried this strategy into adulthood and became great at goal setting, taking action, and achieving their goals.

For others, the strategy was to be perfect, to do things the right way, and in doing so, get the feeling of worthiness they desired. These folks used this strategy of perfecting to be extremely competent, detail-oriented, reliable, and hard-working.

Each of our strategies are so ingrained in us that we don’t often see how well, or often, we rely on them and the strengths that come with them like being a goal-setting action taker or a detail-oriented, reliable person.

It’s an innate, automatic part of who we are.

And these strengths serve us well and when utilized properly, help us to achieve our goals, feel productive, and move the needle for our team or business.

So, how do you know what unique strengths you’re already using so you can leverage them for greater levels of both personal and professional fulfillment and success? 

It starts with knowing your Enneagram type.

The Enneagram is a personality map uniquely designed to help you understand how you see the world. It’s the strategy you developed years ago.

Each of us falls into one of the nine Enneagram types. Our type helps us understand the motivations behind all of our actions, reactions, thoughts, and habits. 

Your Enneagram type can illuminate:

  • your strengths, challenges, & motivations,
  • how you communicate, 
  • what causes you conflict, 
  • how you relate to others,
  • and so much more!

When we know and understand our Enneagram type, we know and understand ourselves exponentially better and can become more self-aware, more proactive in our personal growth, and able to make meaningful decisions and changes that can transform our lives.

The more we know and understand ourselves, we can be more productive, efficient, and able to balance our time in healthy ways.

And our type helps us fully understand our strategies and the strengths that are a natural part of who we are and how we operate.

Our Enneagram-based coaching provides the unique opportunity to learn your type and how it affects all aspects of your life, including your strengths. 

Why your Enneagram type matters

As we mentioned earlier, each of us has a unique strategy we use to get by and show up in the world. This is the basis of our Enneagram type. And what we do, and how we work, are directly impacted by our type.

Our strengths and challenges impact everything we do, so knowing your unique strengths and challenges can make a huge difference between ease and frustration, getting the promotion and stagnating, or enjoying your work and dreading your day.

For example, Enneagram Type Ones are conscientious, hard-working, and detail-oriented. Ones tend to focus on processes and routines, and doing things the very best they can, or even, as perfectly as possible.

Type Ones are great at seeing details, breaking things down into manageable tasks, mapping out timelines, and putting out high-quality work. 

We coach our Type One clients to understand that the strengths of their type are great, but they also come with some challenges.

When Ones rely too heavily on their strengths, like focusing on details, perfecting their work, and getting things “right”, they can unknowingly cause delays, frustration, stress, and resentment.

For example, being contentious and wanting to create high-quality, or perfect, work is great until…

  • it means not setting limits to your work, 
  • working beyond your hours, 
  • potentially missing deadlines, and 
  • being critical of yourself or your work if it’s not perfect.

Being focused on processes, tasks, and routines is great until…

  • it becomes a lack of creativity, 
  • being inflexible, and 
  • missing out on opportunities or ideas that come spontaneously.

When a Type One is self-aware of both their strengths and challenges and when to leverage them, they can tap into their strengths in an appropriate way that works best for them and their team.

What works for One, doesn’t always work for another.

Similar to the Type One is the Type Three.

While both types highly value being perceived as competent, doing things the “right” way, and are planners who like to put a lot on the to-do list, their strengths and challenges are different.

Type Threes are hard-working, efficient, and very competent. They are great goal setters and skilled at using those goals to motivate action and efforts for themselves and others.

Type Threes like to make a good impression and are naturally gifted at reading a room and marketing themselves. Generally, they are highly successful and achieve their goals by being resourceful, productive, and action-oriented.

Just like the Ones, when Threes overuse those strengths, they come up against challenges and struggle not to overdo and burn out.

So for Threes, being hard-working and action-oriented, are great until…

  • it means overworking to the point of mental or physical exhaustion, 
  • demanding more of others and not considering how they feel, or 
  • constantly adding to your to-do list and never feeling like it’s enough.

Wanting to achieve success is great until…

  • it means not knowing who you are outside of your work or accomplishments,
  • missing deeper connections with others in pursuit of success, or 
  • avoiding your feelings because they get in the way of task completion.

Because their strengths appear similar, but their challenges and motivations are so different, what works for the Type One in overcoming challenges, won’t work for the Type Three.

Creating self-awareness of unique strengths and challenges.

Both Ones and Threes have a strong drive for accomplishing goals and doing things the “right way”. For Ones, doing things the “right” way means following the rules and the high standards Ones set for themselves. Threes, on the other hand, perceive the “right” way to do things as the way that’s most efficient and effective.

In their work, both Ones and Threes like to produce work that’s high quality, but the way they go about using their strengths to do so is different. Ones produce quality work through perfecting it, whereas Threes produce quality that’s based on the customer’s perception. If the customer thinks it’s high quality, that’s good enough for the Threes; they don’t need it to be perfect. 

When experiencing challenges, we coach our Type One clients to notice when they are: 

  1. Setting unreachable standards because they don’t trust that things will unfold as they should.
  2. Micromanaging or interrupting/interfering with others to help them achieve perfection and make it better.
  3. Working harder and harder to make things perfect and missing deadlines or not getting work done.

When experiencing challenges, we coach our Type Three clients to notice when they are:

  1. Working to physical or mental exhaustion or breakdown.
  2. Losing sight of who they really are without their work, title, or accomplishments.
  3. Sometimes being hard-hearted and insensitive, missing deeper connections with others.

With a greater sense of self-awareness, each person is able to pause and choose a new course of action. This is truly what leads us to change, to be able to work through our challenges, and show up for ourselves, our work, and our team with our strengths leading the way, not getting in the way. 

Using self-awareness to create change

Once you’re aware of your strengths and challenges, you can take action to change to create the results and the outcomes you want. Of course, for each type, the path for growth is unique.

We coach our Type One clients to step back from overdoing their strengths and working through those challenges by: 

  1. Understanding that perfection is a process and not always achievable.
  2. Trusting in your own growth process and others’.
  3. Appreciating the moment as it; accepting yourself and others as they are.

We coach our Type Three clients to step back from overdoing their strengths and working through those challenges by:

  1. Letting go of controlling everything to achieve and impress others.
  2. Recognizing when they feel rushed, overwhelmed, and adding more to their agenda.
  3. Learning to relax into being and go with flow more often by being hopeful.

Tap into your strengths and work through your challenges.

When you know and understand your Enneagram type, like the examples of types One and Three, you can leverage your unique strengths to be more effective, enjoy your work, and reach your goals. And you’ll be more at ease when you’re not sabotaging yourself with challenges you aren’t aware of.

Our Enneagram-based coaching is designed to work specifically with your needs, strengths, and challenges in mind. 

If you are ready to discover how to make your work more enjoyable, check out our website and book a call with us to see if our Enneagram-based coaching is right for you and your team.

Want to know more about our Enneagram-based coaching? Book your free discovery call here: 

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