I love learning about the enneagram and using it as a way to stretch and challenge myself.
The biggest positive change learning about my enneagram number made (for me) was identifying my struggles and pitfalls, and creating my own hacks to avoid and overcome them.
The Enneagram Seven is defined by an adventurous spirit. We are excitable with a love for learning and a desire to experience anything and everything. I attribute a big part of my success in life to a naturally positive mindset.
I’ve always believed I could do things that are above my level of experience, education, born skills, and so on. Enneagram Sevens can have the gift of confidence in both ourselves and those around us. We are believers and dreamers!
Sometimes when people who know me first find out I am a seven, they don’t believe me. They always say the same thing—that I can’t be a seven because I am too productive. But they can’t see the immense graveyard of forgotten projects behind me!
It’s still possible to be very productive as an enneagram seven, with a few hacks and a strong support system.
The downsides of life as a seven are that each day feels too full of new ideas and projects. So instead of indulging in a continued obsession, it’s easy for us sevens to jump from project to project, never finishing anything. I’ve have always struggled with finishing projects because my attention span is very short.
Another common struggle of the Enneagram Seven is the need to avoid pain. This comes out in obvious ways (like putting off a dentist appointment), but it goes much deeper than that. One of my biggest hurdles is the point in every project where I realize I’m not as good at it as I imagined.
Like 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 to create an app. Most people have an app idea in their lives, but most people don’t pursue it. Being a seven, I always knew I could create a great app, and that belief helped me to get started.
Inevitably, a point comes in every project where I realize I am way over my head and that definitely happened while making our first app, and with every other ambitious project I’ve ever started.
One of my biggest “hacks” for getting through this is anticipating the moment I want to quit and deciding in advance that I will push beyond when that moment arrives. My sister and my husband (my more practical “better halves”) help me as well. It’s so helpful for your support system to know when and how to help you.
My support system knows I have a tendency toward trying to quit when the going gets tough, and they help me push through it. It happens every time.
Though I force myself to push through on major projects and commitments, I don’t live by those strict standards in the small ways. In everyday life, I accept myself as the seven I am and I let myself be distracted and start too many projects.
I indulge my need to try everything and I don’t beat myself up for all the many projects that take too long or sit unfinished. I believe that as long as I am focusing on the big wins in my career it’s OK that I never finish my weekend to-do list. Accepting my weaknesses and not giving them too much power is helpful.
While I think it’s good to find little ways to protect myself from my unhelpful instincts, I think there is even more value in nurturing my strengths. One of the things I love about the enneagram is that it helped me realize my unique abilities, aka superpowers.
Once I realized my unique strengths, I began putting more of my own energy and resources into building them up.
Over the past few years, I’ve turned our home into a space that’s 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 give myself permission to skip around and spend my creative time working from my enthusiasm. It has turned out to be a wonderful environment for raising little kids.
Some days we bake, and some days we paint and make collages. We always have a puzzle going. 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 to live life.
It makes me excited for the years ahead of me because the biggest goal I have for aging is to never stop learning and never stop making.
I hope this has been helpful. If you’d like to learn more about all nine enneagram types, I recommend our podcast episode, Enneagram 101 and Emma’s post, What’s Your Enneagram.
Cheers to living life with enthusiasm and half-finished projects! Elsie
WOW Elsie! So much of this rang true for me – fellow 7! I am an optimist to a fault sometimes and love trying/experiencing new things. Your bit about not being good at new things really struck me because I recently started knitting and said, “Why am I not already good at this?” The only major difference for me is I can’t not stand finishing things. (Although I think that’s because I’m a Virgo. We tend to be perfectionists).
This is very illuminating Elsie, thank you for sharing! This helps me understand some people in my life a bit better; I’m not an optimist or particularly confident and I’m fascinated by the power that can come from those perspectives. I would love to see an AMB profile for every enneagram number, if you and the team are able to find someone willing to share with each number! I’m a 6 myself and I’d be really interested in how a fellow 6 leans on their strengths.
This post was so interesting and fun! I would love to see one from Emma too!
Hi! Here’s Emma’s. I just added it to the post! https://abeautifulmess.com/whats-your-enneagram/
I’m also a 7 so I see a lot of myself in what you’re saying. Sometimes people can’t believe all the things I’ve tried and experienced in life. Strange opportunities find their way to a 7. You’ve really pushed past that boredom phase where it counted though. Another 7 once told me, “We only like the beginnings”. It’s so true.
Yes, SO true!
This is so interesting. I have a lot of trouble stopping a project before it is finished. For instance, I love puzzles but I just want to sit and complete all 1000 pieces before moving on. So I’m reluctant to start things bc I know I will get obsessive and neglect everything else. And then I also worry about things being in the way of other people in my family or not giving them enough attention (I’m a 9 so I probably worry about this way too much.)
Can you talk more about how you’ve set your home up for creating and learning and accommodating half finished projects?
I feel you! Fellow 9 here.