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.
Cheers to living life with enthusiasm and half-finished projects! Elsie