Who are you?...
As a teacher of the Embodied Enneagram, I get asked A LOT about which personality tests to take. I’m not a fan of personality typing quizzes and here’s why:
- Ultimately, they have far too many limitations and for this reason are flawed – human beings are complex and dynamic and need to be explored in their complexity.
- They’re inaccurate. Because quizzes are limited and can not assess you in a complex and dynamic way they are wildly inaccurate. Their accuracy is also dependant on your level of self awareness and your understanding of what they’re assessing in each question. Your self awareness is dependent on many things including your ability to recognise your biases and willingness to acknowledge aspects of yourself that aren’t the most favourable.
- The most important… they rob you of the opportunity to discover for yourself. “A pattern presented belongs to the presenter, a pattern discovered belongs to the discoverer…” Anything you discover for yourself, you own and that kind of learning is powerful. It is through self discovery that you develop the skills of self awareness, self inquiry, somatic feedback and how to work with what you discover. By putting you in a box and telling you what you are they tend to limit the sense of self rather than help us to recognise the ways we have been limiting ourselves by seeing ourselves that way. It is through honest, deep self inquiry that we develop the skill of working with our personality tendencies that ultimately helps us to step out of such a limited way of being and into a more expansive, open and whole sense of self. In short, they defeat the purpose.
That’s why I’ve created these self inquiry experiments for you.
Becoming exceptional at what you do is down to two main things, who you are and extraordinary skills.
When people come into my world when life has got too much, they feel burnout, confused, struggling with lack of confidence or indecision or just not performing as well as they’d like. These are all symptoms. The real problem is they don’t know who they really are or what they’re really capable of. This leads to living out of alignment, not honouring or working well with who they are, relationship conflict, playing small in a life that doesn’t quite fit right, lack of meaning and fulfilment in career and business or plateaus in their results and success.
Grab a journal and journey inward and find out what you find out. If you’re new to this kind of thing a journal can be a great way to help reveal patterns in your attention and awareness. Explore with gentle curiosity and compassion for what you discover.
"When I'm tired what I worry about the most is..."
Grab a journal and as notice over the course of a month (although patterns may be revealed sooner) when you’re tired or under resourced, what do you worry about the most, note it down in your journal. What concerns do you prioritise? What do you habitually focus on, when you’re tired. What is problematic to you about being tired. What might happen? What might not happen?
Reflect on your notes throughout the 30 days with the intention of noticing repeating patterns in your focus of attention and awareness.
One of my clients, Simon, was experiencing burnout at times. He often judged himself harshly and for not doing enough, and not doing a good enough job.
After some deep self inquiry he discovered, as a Type 3, how achievement oriented and performance driven he has been and how much self worth he was trying to get from external validation and achievements. How busy he was doing what he should be doing.
He also discovered the strategies he was using to avoid the shame of failure. Only pursuing what he thought he could be the best at and avoiding anything where he thought he could not compete. With this insight he returned to a sport he had given up. With friends who were some of Australia’s best at that sport, in the past he had thought “I’ll never be as good as them, so why am I even doing this?!” Why bother if he’s not improving and couldn’t compete at their level.
He began to drop these stories and strategies, designed to protect him from failure. He dropped all the stories about being too old and not good enough. He started doing it for the joy of it. And for the joy of the challenges, failures and learnings.
And then… a funny thing happened. He started improving. He was practising with his friends, many of whom are Australia’s best, and instead of comparing himself and feeling bad, he began learning from them.
In a short period of time he was invited to join a team from one of the leading Australian companies in the sport and even started placing at events.
This is the paradox. The very way he was going about avoiding the shame of failure, was the very thing keeping him from succeeding. When he leaned in to failing, and dropped the stories, joy returned and he started to win.
“I felt shame and disappointment with myself, it was crushing. I felt lost and alone. After working with Amy and unpacking this, I was able to see my fears as a way to protect me from failure, and that they were also preventing me from experiencing life. I was able to combine this insight with small actions (and a little bit of courage) and started to process my fear in more healthy ways. I started showing up more in the sport I’ve enjoyed for so long, but with a new perspective. This helped me to learn faster, with more fun and less pressure – the complete opposite to the approach I’d had before. Where I thought I would perform better under pressure, this new playfulness actually was much more helpful in giving me the experience I wanted, but also gave me better results in my performance too, which actually blows my mind. The funny thing is that I don’t think I need to perform or be seen by others as performing well any more – I can enjoy it for what it is and the skills and performance comes along with it. I’ve been able to apply this to other areas of my life and it’s been opening up new doors and new levels of enjoyment and fulfilment for me.”
"When do I lie?... to myself, to others and what for?"
Grab a journal and as notice over the course of a month (although patterns may be revealed sooner) when do you lie, to yourself, to others and for what purpose and note it down in your journal.
Reflect on your notes throughout the 30 days with the intention of noticing repeating patterns in your intentions, the things you’re trying to create, the things you’re trying to avoid, your fears, focus of attention and awareness.