There are 9 different core types to the Enneagram.
I personally seem to resonate with the Strict Perfectionist. The type that likes things to be done correctly, and is pretty hard on themselves.
I have a lot of that in me too – although my core is more the 7, the Enthusiastic Visionary. I have a line to the 1 though, which makes perfect sense. I am also a Virgo, so the perfectionist (read anal-retentive) side of me sits there below the surface, and tends to pop up in times of stress.
The biggest thing to consider when you are dealing with a Strict Perfectionist is that they are way harder on themselves than you can ever be. What makes them so amazing is also what haunts them – that hectic inner critic that drives them to insane levels of competency.
So they, understandably, are not great at taking criticism either. Especially when it comes from a dodgy source.
Let me give an example. I have seen perfectly capable 1's blow up when they are taken on in what they perceive is an unfair manner by someone they don’t necessarily respect. That lack of respect can be caused by the other’s lack of integrity, follow-through, or just the fact that they don’t collaborate with the 1.
So when dealing with a 1, you need to know you are dealing with a very strong person with a tremendous foundation in their value system, and that they have an idealistic view of the world and their role in making it a better place.
They are not the best at seeing someone else’s perspective. They, funny enough, don’t like unwarranted criticism – but they are pretty ok giving it. Because it comes from a good place and they just want to make the world a better place. In their minds…
But back to that ever-present inner critic. It’s textbook Impostor Syndrome stuff – that nagging feeling that you are never good enough, that you don’t belong. For a 1, it shows up in increased application and performance. And no matter how much you tell them how amazing they are, they probably will never quite believe you.
From personal experience, as a colleague of a leader, the mistake we make is to think a 1 can tame that Impostor. It’s harder for them than many other types, and they would rather work themselves into a state of disrepair (literally ending up in the hospital) before facing up to that inner critic. Be wary of this, and try to stop them from doing themselves in for the cause.
A way to tackle this is probably mindfulness practices – slowing down to speed up, deeper inner work, and creating a discipline of time for self. That would be the ticket!
Reducing anxiety is the key to unlocking sustainable performance from a 1.
Next week: The 2 – Considerate Helper - and the Impostor Syndrome.