My Enneagram Story

For years I’ve been in love with the Enneagram (12+ years in fact.) And so many times I was the one bringing this personality map up in conversation. And now I sense that the Enneagram is exploding 💥and expanding into more of the personal growth world which is making me SO HAPPY. And far from making me sick of talking about the Enneagram it makes me want to talk about it MORE without apology.

{I think I used to fear being an Ennea-nerd. Or people losing interest because it is complex. I am releasing those worries. Seriously No more.}

So I am going to be talking about the Enneagram more openly in my blog and on social media and share more (hopefully) useful little nuggets.

To get us started here is an excerpt from my book The Flourish Formula. If you want to learn more about how I coach folks using the Enneagram reach out to me at And you can also grab a copy of my book. Next we need to create an Enneagram emoji!  xo Courtney

“My Enneagram Story

Despite all these conversations, what I have never shared before writing this book is more of my own personal story vis-à-vis the Enneagram. What have I experienced that is so powerful and what do I hope for you?

I first learned about the Enneagram when a friend paid for me to attend a workshop with Dallas-based Enneagram Master Suzanne Stabile. This was an all-weekend affair in which Suzanne described each of the nine types is detail, one by one, as we slowly worked our way around the circle, or Enneagram diagram.

I had a hunch that I was a heart type. When she got to Type Three, which is also called the Performer, she started her description with these words: “Threes are the chameleons of the Enneagram.” Kaboom! I knew I had been found.

She went on to describe more Type Three attributes. Threes are often leaders and organizers, we prioritize and focus on our work and have a hard time slowing down to enjoy life. We are extremely goal-oriented but don’t hang around once the confetti drops on one of our goals, instead pressing ourselves forward onto the next one. The chameleon description points to the Three’s habit of shape-shifting or turning into the poster child of any group to which we belong, however temporarily.

We are very good at sensing the mood of the collective and becoming what you want us to be.

If this sounds familiar, Three may be your type. Many of my high-achieving clients also lead with Type Three. But it may not be. Hold that idea lightly while we continue to explore the Enneagram together. The U.S. is actually thought by many Enneagram teachers to be a Type Three country due to our emphasis on success and looking good.

Dallas, my hometown, is also understood to be a Three town: all sparkle, little heart (or better put, a disconnection with one’s own heart). If you are resonating with this Type Three description, it could just be a by-product or an overlay of the dominant culture.

Back at the weekend workshop, when Suzanne finished her description, she asked if anyone in the room thought they might be a Three. As I decided whether or not to raise my hand, I sat there excruciatingly aware of one painful detail. She had explained that Threes are often overdressed.

(Looking good is very important for this personality type.)

I looked down at my faux fur coat and the funky brooch that I had gotten as a gift for performing a wedding (it actually lit up and twinkled!) and thought, “This was probably a tiny bit too much for a Saturday afternoon at the learning center.”

I recognized that part of me that loved making an entrance.

Honestly, it was pretty uncomfortable to raise my hand (I was the only one) and claim that type. I felt really exposed. Not everyone feels this way, but Threes are in the shame/sadness triad (more on that in a minute), which likely helps explain my response. So please be kind to yourself if this process of identifying your type makes you feel vulnerable. On the other hand, you may feel super excited or curious or just neutral about discovering your type.

This is what the Enneagram has really helped to deliver me from: not just the ways I can shape-shift or morph to be what others want me to be, but also the way I can be a chameleon to myself.

Not even letting myself know what I truly want. Going for the big credential over the tender nudge and doing what people want me to do, rather than risking my own truth.
In fact, for most of my twenties, I lived my life on two tracks: the real life and the resume life. For example….”

Grab the book to read the full story. I also share a free digital copy of the book at if you would like a taste before you buy. 50% of the proceeds of the print book go to support an amazing mentorship program for girls in Nicaragua.


xo Courtney
PS Do you know your Enneagram type? How did you learn it? I’d love to hear more of your story…. Leave it in a comment below.


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Courtney Pinkerton is a certified life coach and the author of the Amazon bestseller, The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever's Guide to Slowing Down & Accomplishing More.

Courtney is an inner life coach and Enneagram mentor. She helps conscious women (and a few amazing men!) to pursue their most salient creative, professional and quality-of-life dreams and to discover more pleasure in their everyday.

She has dual master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is a certified Wayfinder life coach and has been studying the Enneagram with master teachers for over a decade. After selling their house and all their belongings and spending a year in Nicaragua tutored by their neighbors in the art of slowing down and living more, Courtney and her husband and their three children now make their home in a co-housing community in Asheville, North Carolina.