Let Your Heart Lead {Book Club}

Thank you for joining in this journey with us as we continue talking about The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. I’ve enjoyed your insights and our discussion in the comments.

This week we are moving into the section on the heart triad. The three types in this triad are more focused on and driven by feelings as they make decisions and relate to others. Like last week, I’ll start with a quick description of these three types: 2, 3 & 4.

Type 2 The Helper: Healthy 2s can often name their own needs and feelings without fear of losing relationships. They are generous in their efforts to love well and care for others. Average 2s are convinced that the expression of their needs and feelings will automatically threaten the stability of their relationships. They are generous people, but they often consciously or subconsciously expect something in return for their efforts. Unhealthy 2s can be insecure, manipulative and often play the role of the martyr.

Type 3 The Performer: Healthy 3s have transcended the goal of merely looking good and are moving toward being known and loved for who they are, not for what they accomplish. They still love to set goals, rise to challenges and solve problems, but their self-worth is not tied to these things. Average 3s push achieving to overachieving. They see love as something to be earned, so they quiet their convictions, valuing what others define as success and striving to do more and do it better. Unhealthy 3s find failure unacceptable, which renders them unable to admit mistakes and causes them to behave as though they are superior to others.

Type 4 The Romantic: Healthy 4s have a considerable emotional range, and they manage it by not speaking or acting on every feeling they have. They are deeply creative, emotionally honest and connected, and attuned to beauty. Average 4s struggle daily with learning to accept themselves as they are. Such efforts are complicated as they seek their identity by exaggerating their uniqueness. Unhealthy 4s tend to be manipulative, playing the role of victim to create or maintain relationships. These 4s feel so much shame they are unable to connect to the very part of themselves that believes they can change and be better.

As we talk about each type, I’ve included the range of health described in The Road Back to You not to add on shame or attack different types. We are each in need of transformation, and this growth can only come with the help of the Holy Spirit. These warning signs can also wake us up to when we might be headed down an unhealthy road. As I’ve learned more about how God created me and the myriad layers of my personality, the Enneagram has been one tool that has helped me see when I am getting stuck.

According to Cron and Stabile, “All the numbers in the Feeling or Heart Triad (2, 3, 4) reject the idea that they can be seen for who they are and unconditionally loved, so they abandon their true selves to inhabit roles. Twos throw up a chirpy, likable image they can change in a heartbeat to please who they’re with; Fours project an image of uniqueness, and Threes cast an image of success and achievement to win admiration” (page 133 in the print book).

Spoiler: I am not a 2, 3 or 4 (my type is coming next week). If you are, what is it like to not feel seen for who you really are? How can we (your friends, spouses, teammates, this community) seek to better understand you, support you, and acknowledge your feelings?

If you are not in the Heart triad, what would you like to better understand about those who are? What do you most appreciate about this type?

There are more great resources out there to understand the Enneagram!

The Enneagram Institute– you can sign up to receive a daily email about your type. It is short but so often I look around and wonder if someone is watching my day play out before they send the email! It has been a helpful reminder to keep paying attention.

Beth McCord’s interview on the That Sounds Fun podcast- Beth does a great job explaining the different types. I’ve come back to her descriptions often!

Story Brand videos– Ian Cron shares about what each type is like as a leader with some dos and don’ts.

Next week we’ll finish up the book!

January 29: Chapters 9-12

Sneak peak: In February we will be reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. You’ll find a summary and the schedule in next week’s post! Come join Rachel for the discussion of this fun book!

Photo by VanveenJF on Unsplash


  1. MG January 21, 2019

    As a 2, culture stress meant that I needed a LOT of reassurance, cheerleading, and emotional support from my team leaders. Unfortunately, this was pre-enneagram awareness, so I failed to realize that my leader and his wife were both in the thinking triad and completely oblivious to why I felt so insecure. The more I tried to explain all of my emotions to them, the more they came back with critiques (meant to be helpful) on what I needed to do more of to help myself. For a helper, it read as “you’re letting the team down because you can’t get it together in these areas”. My insecurity led me to talk more and cling tighter, and they were overwhelmed with it all and wanted more distance… all in all a HOT mess!! Thankfully the Lord redeemed it, but I wish I knew then how to identify my insecurities and articulate them better AND how to receive their thinking-triad qualities as they intended them to be received. Also, PSA: help us 2s out by couching any advice or constructive criticism with a lot of cheerleading!!! We need it, as it all comes across as a major failure on our part that might jeopardize our relationship.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann January 22, 2019

      MG, wow what great insights into the heart and experience of a 2!! Thank you for helping us understand a bit more, and also sharing what you learned from your initial experience on the field. I wonder if it would be helpful to use the Enneagram in pre-field training and team formation. I know I would have benefited from understanding the uniqueness of my number in those initial stages.

  2. Rachel Kahindi January 22, 2019

    If not for the line in the first section about motivation being the determining factor in typing, I might have thought of myself as a 4. I identified with so much of that – the emotions, the creativity, the mortal sin of envy, even the wounding message received in childhood. But in motivations, I am definitely a 9.

    I am pretty sure that my oldest son is a 3. When he was 11 months old, he took his first step and fell down. He didn’t take another step again for 3 months, at which time, he walked across the room. He doesn’t want to try and fail and try again, he only wants to do what he knows he can do successfully. He struggles with learning curves and needs a lot of encouragement to keep trying until he gets it. What I admire in him is his social confidence and charisma. I don’t know if super-friendliness is a 3 thing or just a him thing, but as a reserved person, I admire it so much. When we are in the US, we go to every playground in close proximity. He loves when there are other kids there, and he organizes games that include everyone. I don’t observe him on the playground at school here, but I imagine he operates the same way. When I’ve asked him who his friends are, he lists every kid in school.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann January 22, 2019

      Rachel, I love that you can see those 3 qualities in your son! I would imagine that is helpful as you encourage him and help him keep growing!

      Isn’t helpful to have that motivation piece in understanding our type? I thought from the initial descriptions I might be a 1 or 2 but then when I got to my type (6) I definitely knew that was my number (but more on that next week). 😉

  3. Lisa O'Brien January 23, 2019

    Thanks so much for these bonus resources! I enjoyed the podcast you linked with Beth McCord. I also found the Do’s & Don’ts with Story Brand so helpful! They even given a link for you to get a pdf version of the basics from their discussions–so great! Any doubt I had in concluding my number has been confirmed through all of these different resources you included. Thanks!

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