I have always found it hard to pinpoint my passion. I find myself constantly comparing my level of joy over my work compared to what appears to be others, and never quite understanding how they arrived at the spot where they felt fulfilled, whether it was through self-employment or working for someone else. None of my jobs have ever seemed that similar, and I had a difficult time figuring out what motivated me, or made me feel accomplished and satisfied. Over the past few months, it's become increasingly important to me to figure this out, almost urgent.
Why is it that I’m interested in being a community worker? A business consultant? A mother’s helper? A marketing agent? A house cleaner? A photographer? An office assistant? It didn’t seem to add up in my head, and I kept feeling like I was on the wrong path all the time. Or that maybe I just have an unlikely mix of skills and those were the jobs that made sense at those periods in my life. It began to feel like everyone else was filled with more passion than I was, and I was just floating through life, faking joy and fulfillment, hoping to God it would start building inside of me if I just kept on pretending it was.
And then during a messy, breakdown cry to my mom one day, she said something that resonated in my head for days after. “You and I are helping personalities. We always want to help people do better, whether they want it or not, and you have to be careful that you don’t overstep your boundaries”.
She's right. I often overstep my boundaries.
In fact, I have a hard time creating boundaries at all when it comes to "helping" others with their problems.
And if we're being even more specific, it's not the "helping" of others that really drives me, it's the ability to help them reach success.
When I hear someone talking about a problem in their personal life or business, I have a really hard time keeping my yap shut and letting them go about their day. I have an intense desire to help them work through those problems, so they can reach success. I'll do my best to start explaining it:
Almost a year ago now, my sister started delving into The Enneagram. Have you heard of it? No? Well, be prepared to have your mind blown. No exaggeration. My family has been obsessing over The Enneagram for a full year, and I would be lying if I said we talked about much else besides it. That's how pivotal and life-changing this concept is.
Here's a super brief rundown: The Enneagram is a system that works on the basis that there are 9 Personality Types in the world, and that each of us identify closely to one of those numbers. If you want to start looking into it, and maybe take an online test or two, check out https://www.enneagraminstitute.com to start with. There are TONS of books that you can buy on this subject - I was just joking with my family the other day that if we all die in a car accident one day, and people come to our homes to go through our things they'll probably think we're part of some cult based on the amount of Enneagram books we've collected in just a year. Honestly, if the Enneagram is a cult then I'm totally okay with being a committed member. This shit has changed my life, and I'm just getting started.
When I originally started reading the Enneagram, I was positive I was a Type 8 personality. Strong, entrepreneurial, not afraid of conflict, and the big one - ruled by my anger. This is one of my favourite parts to figure out - there are a number of different groups that each personality type can fall into, depending on which division you decide to read up about. The division I'm talking about is sometimes called "the centers". The Instinctive Centre (ruled by anger), The Thinking Centre (ruled by fear), and the Feeling Centre (ruled by shame). So I spent the last few months up until January saying that I was a Type 8, which is ruled by anger in the Instinctive Centre. I put up a wall, and marched on, refusing to consider any other number. And although I learned a lot from thinking I was an "8", and I struggled through tons of my anger issues and triggers, the day that I considered that I was possibly a Type 3 instead, ruled by shame, is the day I started to feel a real break through.
It took nearly seven months to arrive at what I think may be my true personality number, but who knows, maybe I'm still wrong. Heck, maybe the Enneagram doesn't even really make sense, and it is a bit of a cult.
But what matters is that it forces you to look deep into yourself, and the way you react to the situations around you, and to question it. To learn how to deal with your demons, and give a softer response to the world.
Yikes, what a nasty word. No wonder I avoided that one like the plague. I'm pretty sure the first time I read the descriptions of the personality types, I remember saying, "Wow, 3 sounds terrible. I'm definitely not that one." Cue Karma.
So why am I describing all of this to you, and how the heck did we go from talking about discovering our passions, to talking about shame? Claiming that shame, that "negative" number that I didn't want to admit I was, lead me to some big break throughs about my personality. Some things I'm willing to share, some things I'm not ready to share yet, and some that I may never share with anyone. Claiming that shame, meant I read the page in my Enneagram book that says 3's love success - they love it for themselves, and they love it for others. And sometimes that's a negative thing, but sometimes that's a beautiful thing.
And when it comes to finding work that gives me fulfillment, it means that it has to be something that helps someone else find success. There are SO many ways that could take shape, and I have a pretty good idea of what it looks like for this year, 2018.
So here's to claiming the nasty shit about ourselves, dealing with it, and then using it to fuel the good in our lives. You guys really have to go pick up a book about the Enneagram now. Don't wait. It will help your work life, your personal life, your relationships, your friendships.
If there's only one thing that you accomplish in 2018, let it be discovering your personality type so you can start to discover a better version of you.
*If anyone would like book recommendations, or more on my "take" on the Enneagram, feel free to comment below or send me a message on Facebook :)