I love learning about the Enneagram and using it to stretch and challenge myself.
The biggest positive change I’ve experienced (for me) about my Enneagram number has been identifying my struggles and pitfalls and coming up with my own hacks to avoid and overcome them.
Enneagram Seven is defined by an adventurous spirit. We are enthusiastic with a love of learning and a desire to experience anything and everything. I attribute a large part of my success in life to an inherently positive attitude.
I’ve always believed that I could do things beyond my level of experience, education, innate ability and so on. Enneagram 7s can have the gift of trusting both ourselves and those around us. We are believers and dreamers!
Sometimes when people who know me first find out I’m a seven, they don’t believe me. They always say the same thing – that I can’t be a seven because I’m too productive. But they can’t see the huge graveyard of forgotten projects behind me!
It’s still possible to be highly productive as Enneagram Seven with a few tricks and a strong support system.
The downside of living as a 7 is that every day feels too full of new ideas and projects. Instead of giving in to a constant obsession, it’s easy for the seven of us to jump from project to project and never finish anything. I’ve always had trouble completing projects because my attention span is very short.
Another common struggle of Enneagram Seven is the need to avoid pain. This manifests itself in obvious ways (like rescheduling a dentist appointment), but it goes much deeper. One of my biggest hurdles is that point in every project where I realize I’m not as good at it as I thought I would be.
As I said above, I can be pretty delusional about my abilities, which can be a HUGE strength. For example, when I first had the idea of creating an app. Most people have an app idea in their life, but most people don’t pursue it. As a seven-year-old, I always knew I could make a great app, and that belief got me started.
There always comes a point with every project where I realize I’m completely overwhelmed, and that definitely happened when we made our first app, and every other ambitious project I’ve ever started.
One of my biggest “hacks” to getting through this is anticipating the moment I want to quit and deciding ahead of time that when that moment comes, I’ll keep going. My sister and husband (my more practical “better halves”) also help me. It’s so helpful for your support system to know when and how to help you.
My support system knows I tend to quit when the going gets tough and they help me get through it. It happens every time.
Although I force myself to carry out big projects and commitments, I don’t live by these strict standards on a small scale. In everyday life I accept myself as the seven that I am and allow myself to be distracted and start too many projects.
I indulge my need to try everything and don’t get ready for all the many projects that take too long or remain unfinished. I think as long as I’m focused on the big wins in my career, it’s okay that I never finish my weekend to-do list. Accepting my weaknesses and not giving them too much power is helpful.
While I think finding little ways to protect myself from my unhelpful instincts is good, I think nurturing my strengths is even more valuable. One of the things I love about the Enneagram is that it has helped me recognize my unique abilities, aka superpowers.
As I recognized my unique strengths, I began to put more of my own energy and resources into building those strengths. Over the last few years I have transformed our home into a place made for creating and learning. I wanted to live my life in a creative environment where I always have what I need to create something magical.
Instead of feeling guilty for all the projects I start and don’t finish, I allow myself to jump around and spend my creative time working from my enthusiasm. It has turned out to be a wonderful environment for raising young children.
Some days we bake, other days we paint and make collages. We always have a mystery going on. We always have a half-read book. We always have three (or more) projects on our to-do list. I think it’s a beautiful way of living life.
It makes me excited for the years ahead because the number one goal I have for getting older is to never stop learning and never make stop.
I hope that was helpful. If you want to learn more about all nine Enneagram types, I recommend our Enneagram 101 podcast episode.
Cheers to life with enthusiasm and half-finished projects! Elsie