Exploring Enneagram:: What It’s Like To Be A One

This year, our Houston Moms writers will be giving you first-hand accounts of life behind their Enneagram type. For an introduction to the Enneagram, see this post, and then read on as Lindsay shares her experience of living as an Enneagram One. 

Ironically, I never thought of myself as a perfectionist. I know, it’s funny right? Enneagram Ones are literally titled “the perfectionist” in some of the literature. “No,” I would think. I don’t need everything to be perfect. This Enneagram One just needs it to be done right. My definition of right

The thing is though, “right” is arbitrary. Often it is something I’ve made up in my head. I’ll follow a rule if I feel like it is reasonable and makes sense. But if not, screw it. Sometimes rule following comes back to bite me, like the time my husband and I got in a month long back and forth with our HOA over permission to paint our front door, all to find out from our neighbors that they just did it and no one ever said anything. 

When I am stressed, it can feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, and I am the only one who can fix it. I start to see every tiny thing wrong and think that I am the only one that can take care of it. “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” runs through my head. 

I take ownership over problems or mistakes that aren’t even mine. If someone else messes up, and it affects me, my gut reaction is, “That’s on me for trusting someone else to do something.” As an Enneagram One, it’s hard to trust others when I’ve set the standards so high.

What It's Like To Be An Enneagram OneI can walk into a room and immediately notice all of the things that feel out of place or need to be done. They are like tiny sirens calling to me who won’t shut up until I check them off the list. People think I am remarkably productive and great at getting things done, but really I am just trying to quiet the sirens so I can take a break. It’s hard to rest when all the things around you are screaming to be tended to.  

I make a great employee, since I am constantly evaluating the most efficient way to do something and how to improve things. But I have to be careful about trying to improve things that aren’t my responsibility. It’s a constant dance of choosing when to dive in and when to let go. 

As an Enneagram One, order and systems calm me, and I am continually reorganizing spaces in my home. Looking at a neat and organized space is like a breath of fresh air. And I love me a color coding system. 

My main coping mechanism is jamming on my planner, laying out the week, keeping track of to-dos, and also giving me a safe and private space to mess up and be messy. A lot of the time my coping mechanisms make me look good, and like I have it all together. I’ll only let you see the mess behind it if I feel really safe with you. 

My worst fear is making a mistake and being caught in it. I’ll go to great lengths to cover one up. If you want to damage our relationship, point out my mistake and then tease me for it. It will send shame flooding throughout my entire body, and I’ll carry it with me for weeks, sometimes years.  

Directness and honesty are my communication currency. I get frustrated when people beat around the bush, are passive aggressive or unclear. 

I spend way too much time “shoulding” over myself and other people. I am in fact working to eliminate the word “should” from my self talk. It’s a journey. 

At the end of the day, this Enneagram One just wants the world to be a better place, and I want to do my part to help it get there. You know, the right way. 

I’m with ya, sister. You are now hooked and need more information—stat! Luckily, there are several resources available to guide you down the Enneagram rabbit hole. And just for giggles, do yourself a favor and follow Leeann & Michelle for some seriously hilarious {and painfully accurate} typecasting.

Stay tuned! This Enneagram journey is just beginning. For the next nine months, our Houston Moms writers will be giving you first-hand accounts of life behind their Enneagram type.

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Lindsay G. was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, and she and her husband headed south to Spring in June of 2016. As a clinical social worker, she works full time with families growing their families through adoption. Lindsay met her husband John when they were both camp counselors. They welcomed their future little campers G in December 2017 and R in 2020. Lindsay is constantly reading, researching at least one new thing, and attempting to organize her life through bullet journaling. Her first book, Parent Goals: The Millennial’s Guide to New Parent Preparedness will be published in November 2021. In her free time, she enjoys binging Gilmore Girls on a loop, baking, and running in the Houston area’s beautiful parks. Check out her website www.lindsaygarrettlcsw.com for parenting prep, support, and more.


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