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How to Use Your Enneagram Type to Actually Achieve Your 2023 Goals

Jan 01, 2023
Enneagram and Goal Setting on the Enneagram MBA podcast

Lots of time and talk goes into goal-setting at the beginning of the year.

But, how much time goes into planning for what roadblocks may come up and how you're going to navigate around them?

Inside episode 35 of the Enneagram MBA podcast, you'll learn about the personality and values of each type and how they may think about setting intentions this year.

You'll also hear about 3 common roadblocks each type might encounter that could prevent them working towards their intentions and stepping into the business owner they want to be this year.

Do you set New Year goals? Why or why not?


Type 8's will achieve their goals this year when...


they're responsible for making big things happen and empowering others to come along. They tend to be very attuned to the injustices in their community, industry, or in the world and have the bold, decisive, high energy to do something about it. 



Superpowers to bring to achieving your 2022 goals:

  • Self-assurance 
  • Leadership
  • Negotiating
  • Honesty/Directness
  • Protecting others

What you'll need in order to make your goals happen:

  • Autonomy
  • Being your own boss
  • A challenge
  • Be around other high energy people
  • Truth

What might get in your way...


Roadblock 1: When justice turns to revenge 

As an Eight, their Thought Fixation is Vengeance where they think about rebalancing wrongs through thoughts about anger, blame and intimidation. Be aware of when justice and passion morphs into unhealthy revenge.

Roadblock 2: When their passion becomes too intimidating and domineering

The Type Eight Emotion Fixation is Lust defined as excessiveness in a variety of forms as a way to avoid and deny feelings of vulnerability. This need for intensity can work for them or work against them.  With their anger living just below the surface, Eights will need to be aware of how they're being perceived by others in order to allow others to get involved in their missions for injustice and to spread the message they're so passionate about sharing. 

Roadblock 3: Always wanting to be seen as powerful and strong, never vulnerable

Another coping strategy Type Eights have is their Defense Mechanism of Denial. This happens when they negate the very existence of any thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that cause them anxiety or feelings vulnerability by disavowing these emotions entirely, as if they never occured or existed - both for themselves and others. The result is that others don’t feel seen and they end up bottling up uncomfortable emotions up, until eventually they explode.


Type 9's will achieve their goals this year when...

they spend time to tune in and get clear on what their own goals and desires really are versus what they might be picking up from someone else. 


People are drawn to their calming effect, non-judgmentalness, and reassuring presence. Others very much want to be connected with them - hiring them, on their team, collaborations, etc.


As much as you're able and willing to go with the flow, don't be afraid to rock the boat this year and speak up for what you want. 



Superpowers to bring to your 2022 goals:

  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Broad perspective; ability to see and sit with the grey
  • Listening skills
  • Openness


What you’ll need to achieve your goals:

  • Comfort - physical and emotional smooth sailing - examples: an office with the door closed, ample amount of snacks, familiarity, breathing room in your schedule 
  • Fairness 
  • Just the right amount of distractions 
  • Calm and serene work and day-to-day at home and in career - without conflict
  • To be connected with others 


What might get in your way...


Roadblock 1: doing comfortable tasks when you should be doing more essential tasks

Face important decisions even if they are hard.

Roadblock 2: saying no - you’ll do almost anything to avoid conflict

Prioritize your time, rather than treating everything as equally important.

Roadblock 3: showing your anger or even acknowledging you’re angry 

Stand up for yourself this year. Don't let going with the flow keep you from making things happen. Sometimes that boat needs to be rocked. Take clear positions even if it risks making someone else mad. 


Type 1's will achieve their goals this year when...

there’s a larger social or moral purpose driving their vision for their business. 


Ones are very idealist and see the possibilities for all the ways to take projects, other people and themselves from good to great. 


When Ones are allowed to both, cast the vision and have the autonomy for creating the plan to get there, they'll not only make great things happen, but also inspire others to do the same. 



Superpowers to bring to your 2022 goals:

  • Ability to organize and plan, create realistic timelines and schedules - you know how to execute on the idea 
  • Attention to detail - you can think through the process and identify what needs to be done
  • Being responsible comes natural - when you take charge you create predictability and try to treat everyone according to the same standard
  • Courteous and politically correct - you combine your principles with your love for helping comfort others and improve their knowledge
  • Strong ideals - You inspire others to make ethical choices in their work and personal lives, encouraging them to be truthful, live up to their potential 

What you’ll need to achieve your goals: 

  • Fairness
  • Respect 
  • Get things right
  • A “trapdoor” to release stress - getaway or doing something on a regular basis that doesn’t fit their usual self-image 
  • You work hard and expect others to do the same


What might get in your way...


Roadblock 1: self-critical and judgemental of others 

Don't let the pursuit for perfection be what keeps you from making progress on your goals this year. Progress always tops perfection (because perfection doesn't exist). 

Roadblock 2: overly crowded schedule 

You're responsible and hard working and can sometimes believe that no one else can do it as good as you, so you need to take on all the tasks. "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself" is your motto. You already know this isn't sustainable,  so don't run yourself into the ground this year. You can't make progress towards your goals when you're burnout.  

Roadblock 3: one right way of doing something

You can see so clearly there's a right way to do something and a wrong way. But is that true? Could there be another way? Another way that makes life easier for you? A way that allows others ideas to be heard and tried? Maybe even a way you haven't thought of yet that turns out better results? Be open to there being more than one "right" way and see what unfolds with your goals this year.


Type 2's will achieve their goals this year when...

their work is centered around helping others reach their own goals. 


While tasks are required to make things happen, Twos will set themselves up for success when time spent working directly with people is more than checking off to-do's and dealing with data. 


They will need to check in with themselves throughout to ensure they are taking care of themselves this year too. 



Superpowers to bring to your 2022 goals: 

  • Caring - you “get it” not just intellectually, but emotionally; you are a safe place for other to come to and feel seen and heard 
  • Create a feel good atmosphere - you pay attention to physical and emotional ambience of group
  • Go the extra mile for others - you have a next level of customer service 
  • Excellent people skills - you are incredibly tuned into people’s needs

What you’ll need to help you achieve your goals:

  • To be appreciated - it goes a long way when someone notices your efforts
  • To be treated well - you like to be the secret power behind the throne, especially to those that might not get treated well such as janitors and food services; in return you enjoy favors others don’t normally get
  • To fit in with your peers and networking group by connecting with others  
  • Making a difference - you need work that allows you to focus more on the people rather than the tasks


What might get in your way...


Roadblock 1: not taking care of yourself because so focused on others 

It's like the saying we've all heard, but Twos really need to embody it - put your own oxygen mask on first. You're no good to anyone burnt out. Also it may be worth checking in with yourself honestly if who you're helping is actually asking for your help or advice. You may be wearing yourself out needlessly. 


Roadblock 2: getting taken advantage of your wanting to help or please

Before saying yes, have your go-to response be that you’ll get back to them once you look at your schedule. It's automatic for you to want to jump in and help, but again, you can't help yourself or others if you're tired and burnt out, so this year work on your default response being that you'd love to but you'll have to get back to them and then honestly check in with yourself if you have the time and emotion capacity to take on another project or request. 

Roadblock 3: overwhelmed and overburdened when you can’t say no 

The solution to this one is simple but not necessarily easy for our Twos - Allow others to help. You're allowed to be taken care of too. 


Type 3's will achieve their goals this year when...

they're in a leadership or mentor position of some kind where they get to inspire others and bring them along the road to success.


Three's are efficient and great at asking the right questions and getting the right people on board with their goals. 


They're big dreamers and will need to surround themselves with people who support those dreams and the risks they'll take to make big things happen.


Superpowers to bring to your 2022 goals:

  • Ability to inspire others 
  • Efficient - at asking the right questions, at getting the right people on board and having it all move in the same direction towards the goal
  • Ability to read people - and then can adjust as needed 
  • Strong drive to win - and push others to succeed and live up to their potential as well
  • Hard workers - you "get it done" energy ensures you accomplish whatever you set you mind to 
  • Open to taking risks - you tend to be naturally optimistic and confident in yourself 

What you’ll need to achieve your goals:

  • An image that reflects success 
  • Dreams - you need big goals to pursue to really feel alive and thrive! 
  • Recognition - a pat on the back and a "gold star" can go a long way 
  • Stress reduction - you are constantly working so don't forget that to make it to the end of the year without crashing, you'll need to occasionally take a step back and recharge 


What might get in your way...


Roadblock 1: being impatient and forcing it 

 Being in the Assertive Stance, Three's tend to be very future focused. You want to go far and fast.  This constant push though will catch up with you and you'll end up burnt out. Focus on controlling the things you can and then trusting that the things you can't will unfold at the right time.

Roadblock 2: allowing yours self-worth to be determined by your achievements 

Failure is never fun for anyone, but as a Three is soul crushing. Your entire worth has a person can be wrapped up in how successful your latest project was, so it's devastating when things don't work out like you wanted.

If you can broaden your interests beyond work with other activities or hobbies you can see that there's so much more to you than just work success.

Roadblock 3: burning out from overworking 

Three's are the ultimate workaholics. Working non-stop is not only unsustainable, but also unenjoyable. You never let yourself to celebrate how far you've come and the goals you've already accomplished. This year work on setting firm boundaries around your working hours and push yourself to get involved in non-work related hobbies and activities. 


Type 4's will achieve their goals this year when...

they're doing meaningful work. Mundane tasks and the wrong working atmosphere will drain a Four. 


Fours are thinking, "What can I contribute?” “Am I doing work that is adding something to the world?” “Is my work making a difference?” and if they can answer yes, they'll be lit up and make important change happen.


Superpowers to bring to your 2022 goals:

  • Authenticity
  • Compassion/empathy
  • Creativity 
  • Deep meaning
  • Dauntlessness - your courage inspires others to stir things - you’ll quit your job or change careers if something doesn’t fit your value and you’ll speak up if the subject is important to you

What you’ll need to achieve your goals:

  • Authenticity as a guiding principle - the services and products you sell you need to believe in
  • Beauty, style 
  • Creative outlets - you'll need to express yourself in some way 
  • Time apart from others - you won’t likely do well in creative on demand type of work or back to back to back meetings and agendas; ensure you're carving out wide open space in your calendar to play and create without any pressure


What might get in your way...


Roadblock 1: getting lost in your mind or ideals of the world 

Channel your Arrow Type One to add structure and guardrails to your ideals so you can actually bring them to life and allow them to happen. 

Roadblock 2: envy - feeling like you are defective 

As Fours, it's a core story to feel like others have something that you're missing. To help realize all the amazing things you do bring to the table (and you bring so many!), take time to reflect, identify, and appreciate what you do have.  Bring in a friend to help remind you if you get stuck. 

Roadblock 3: needing everything to be original and beautiful and unique 

This can stall the work you want to put out in to the world, or keep it from ever getting out there to begin with. Don't let all your amazing ideas stay hidden in your head. Allow things to be ordinary sometimes. 


Type 5's will achieve their goals this year when...

they can bring their observational superpowers, expertise, and logical reflection to a project or mission. 


Fives are incredibly creative and have an original way of seeing the world and how their work can help others. 


When they can use those gifts to creativity solve any roadblocks that may come up, there's no stopping them this year. 


Superpowers to bring to your 2022 goals:

  • Focus - this is such a gift! You rarely go off on tangents or get distracted from your original goal. #makeithappen
  • Ability to grasp structure - you perceive how things fit together and can predict likely outcomes
  • Objectivity - you see things in unbiased, non-judgemental way
  • You have an original way of looking at the world - you can come up with creative ways to go around red tape
  • Sensitivity - you're highly aware of others (the observer!), inherently gentle, and considerate 

What you’ll need to achieve your goals: 

  • Independence - you have a laissez-faire attitude towards people and would appreciate the same in return
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Time alone
  • Time to respond 
  • To be self-directed and perceived as self-directed  


What might get in your way...


Roadblock 1: hoarding; believing there's not enough to go around; scarcity mindset

This withholding of resources, or more likely emotions and time, could hurt the feelings of someone you care about - a peer, a client, a friend, a family member. Allow yourself to trust you'll be taken care of there will be enough. While you are very good at setting firm, but healthy boundaries, be sure you're checking in with each individual situation to access and apply the boundaries accordingly. 

Roadblock 2: thinking, thinking thinking 

Fives can be extremely cerebral - very much living inside their heads and can forget they have a body. To ensure you're using all your centers of intelligence put time on your calendar this year to get out of your head and into your body - with a run, a yoga class, an exercise class, a hike - whatever feels good to you! 

Roadblock 3: always avoiding emotional conflict 

You're comfortable with intellectual conflict and might even welcome it, but anything that seems illogical or overly emotionally is hard to process. It can be frustrating to engage with someone who is emotional and seems like they're overreacting, but if this relationship is important to you step out of your comfort zone to see and hear them - rather than jump into problem solving or rationalizing imagine how they must feel and empathize with whatever is going on. 


Type 6's will achieve their goals this year when...

they're collaborating, planning, preparing, and providing support for others.


Their fear of something bad happening gives them the ability to analyze, create systems, and minimize risk to help ensure what they set out to do this year gets done.



Superpowers to bring to your 2022 goals:

  • Being exact - your fear of losing or something bad happening gives you the ability to analyze, create systems, and minimize risk 
  • Skepticism - this is essential for getting to the truth of something and can be a real asset in business
  • Loyalty 
  • Problem solving -  similar to Type 5’s, you excel at reviewing and making sense of large amount of complex information
  • Protectiveness - this may come more natural for the counterphobic Six, but phobic Sixes do the same, they just more creative solutions to protect themselves and others
  • Wit - this probably comes from finding ways to cope with fear and anger, seeing past phoniness, and pointing to the truth most of us haven’t perceived - Jon Stewart is an example of this humor.

What you’ll need to achieve your goals:

  • Certainty - predictable work days, and projects, too many possibilities of what if leave your mind overworking
  • Fighting for a cause 
  • Intellectual and physical stimulation - your nervous system needs to discharge energy, so avoid taking jobs or raks where you might be expected to look busy when you have nothing to do. You thrive in careers that keep you challenged and active. 
  • Reassurance - support systems, protective boss, they’ll be enough money, etc. 


What might get in your way...


Roadblock 1: too cautious or hesitant 

Analysis paralysis can come into play here. The opposite could be a roadblock too - doing the opposite and jumping in recklessly just to prove you're not afraid.

Roadblock 2: self-doubt

You might be second guessing yourself or vacillating in your decisions. Part of this comes from your Center of Intelligence being in the head - you process the world through thinking. The more you look for answers outside of yourself though, the more you'll most likely realize that most people know just as much as you do, if not less. There's no industry authority or guru who holds something you're missing and need. The biggest thing you need it to trust and believe in yourself. 

Roadblock 3: trying to control everything

You want certainty and control, so you can minimize the risk of anything bad happening - I get it.  However, when you try and control everything, not only is it exhausting and going to burn you out, but it cuts off any creativity or something better from unfolding. 


Type 7's will achieve their goals this year when...


they're casting visions and helping others see what's possible.


They are the ultimate visionaries with "Why not?" pioneering energy that allows new ventures and ideas to unfold. 


Sevens thrive in relationship building and networking. When they can pair that with the needed structure and commitment to follow through on their ideas, expect to see great things from them this year.


Superpowers to bring to your 2022 goals:

  • Pioneering energy - exploring new ventures (serial entrepreneur??), “Why not?” energy
  • Multitasking - your quick thought process that is well suited for work that requires flexibility, versatility, and ability to juggle multiple activities simultaneously (hello entrepreneurship!) 
  • Networking/relationship building - you're good at conversing, gathering information, and making connections
  • Optimism - “I know we can do it;" you generate excitement and belief in what’s possible 
  • Playfulness - you find ways to get the most out of life with a sense of humor

What you’ll need to achieve your goals as a Seven: 

  • Fun and excitement - you spice up work with creative situations 
  • Lack of limits - you need options, variety, flexibility
  • Idealism - you need to be passionate about your work, hard to do the job/work for long if they’re not passionate about it  
  • Being liked 


What might get in your way..


 Roadblock 1: running from negativity and conflict 

In order to make progress, to have something you've never had before, you need to do something you've never done before - deal with your emotions. Eventually running from your emotions and hard conversations is going to catch up with you. As uncomfortable and hard as it may be, you'll be able to go further in your work, in your relationships and with your own development when you face the conflict and challenges head on.

Roadblock 2: commitment - too many ideas, not enough follow through 

Brainstorming is the love language for Type Sevens! You love to come up with creative ideas, but bringing them to life with the mundane tasks and structure needed for most projects can be hard, but so needed in order to actually use all your big ideas for important change. 

Roadblock 3: planning for the future constantly, not being present

Don't let your life pass you by - live it. Be where your feet are. To help you do this, scale back your activities and work projects - allow yourself to be bored, be present with no plans for what you're going to do next.


Of course we're more than a single number on the Enneagram, so you might notice a couple of these ring true for you - both what you need to thrive in 2022 and what might get in your way. The key is to understand what lights you up and what could knock you off course. 


If you're reading this and don't yet know your type, there are several resources over here that can help, including a type-specific guidebook with lots more insight and information to help you narrow it down.

About the Author:

Hi there! I'm Sarah Wallace -  owner of Enneagram MBA - a team training company, host of the Enneagram MBA podcast, speaker, and Certified Enneagram Coach.

With over 15 years in relationship building roles working with government agencies and companies like the US EPA and adidas Outdoor, now small business owners, national organizations, and event organizers hire me to help them use the Enneagram to develop confident, empathetic, and emotionally intelligent leaders with powerful, productive, and happy teams.


Learn more about bringing the Enneagram to your team or event:







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