What’s Your Type?

nine personality types on blackboardThe Enneagram is a robust system of personality, self-awareness and personal growth. As parents, we are challenged daily to grow ourselves into our best selves so as to meet the developing needs of our children in a peaceful and loving manner. The Enneagram can offer a path out of ineffective parenting patterns such as reacting to children with shortness, yelling and using punishments.  Once you identify your core personality type, it can be studied, practiced and incorporated into one’s behaviors to show up for our children and the rest of our lives with more grace and effectiveness.

The Enneagram is different from more commonly known personality typing tools, like the Meyer’s Briggs, because it provides more than a static snapshot or box that people fit into in terms of their tendencies and behaviors.

The Enneagram is an ancient personality system which aims to capture the 9 personality types present in the human family. The types include The Reformer (1), The Giver (2), The Achiever (3), The Individualist (4), The Investigator (5), The Loyalist (6), The Enthusiast (7), The Challenger (8) and The Peacemaker (9). The names of the personality types come from the ways in which each type attempts to make its mark on the world, and respond to its need for love and recognition. Each type behaves in specific ways to gain approval and earn the love that we all seek as human beings, starting from a young age.

In addition to providing a current view of how a person is behaving, the Enneagram system is built upon the idea that personalities, and people, evolve over time. The more a person knows about him/herself and his/her behaviors, takes conscious action to untangle misconceived ideas about love and belonging, and becomes fully self-accepting, self-realized and effective in the world, the more each type evolves to become their highest self.

I came across the Enneagram many years ago when I was having challenges in a relationship and at work, with people who often seemed to speak a different language than I did in their behaviors and assumptions.

At that time, my father had just passed away and I had just begun the arduous journey of becoming an inner city public high school teacher. I was under stress and was typed as an Enneagram 4 — the Individualist. I was withdrawn, focused on how different I was from others, and often assumed that no one else saw the same issues and problems that I saw in the same ways.

I came to realize when I began my coaching program two years ago, that I had been mis-typed. Each Enneagram personality not only has a type that we evolve to, but also a type that we go to under stress. I am actually an Enneagram Type 1, the Reformer. The Reformer is concerned with doing the right thing, serving people, and is very values and ethics-based with decision-making.

All personality types have wonderful qualities, but they also have patterns which can create problems, especially around self-criticism and perfectionism.

It is my self-development work to evolve to a Type 7, The Enthusiast, to overcome my patterns and assumptions about people and how to go about gaining love. In fact, when one evolves to their highest self/type using the Enneagram system as a tool, life no longer is about approval and seeking love from the outside, but rather about being true to oneself, living from a place of deep authenticity, integration, peace and flow.

 

Finding Purpose as a Mompreneur

Jen Harris with her family

Jen Harris with her family

When I was planning our wedding in 2008 I was looking for the perfect photographer. I knew I’d find the right person when I saw the right image with a balance of artistry, emotional charge and that years-in-an-album memorability. When a google search landed me at Jen Harris’ gallery of wedding photography images, I knew in my gut I had found our match.

We had a relatively small wedding photography budget and I figured someone who produced this level of beauty in her images would charge at the highest rates. Most photographers I had started to explore were charging $5000 and more for one day of wedding shooting.

I picked up the phone and called her. In minutes, she was telling me her own story as a Mompreneur, how she decided to pursue her passion for photography as a home based business when she fell in love with capturing images of her own children. Creating this business gave her the opportunity to be with her children as often as she wanted to. And, she added, it wasn’t really about making money (gasp!) as much as it was about providing a high quality, relationship-building service to people during one of the most important times of their lives. Her values of quality, service, artistry and relationships come through in all of her photos and in her business. Continue Reading

Being Your Own Kind of Good Mom

Today I’m working from home because my daughter had a fever yesterday and couldn’t go to her nanny share today. I also have a sitter here playing with her while I meet with clients, write, study and go to appointments that are on my calendar. Being a mompreneur with my own business has allowed me the flexibility to be the kind of Mom I need to be on days like this. Sometimes I feel disorganized in the midst of juggling work, child care and my daughter’s calls for me. At others, I feel guilty when I compare myself to an ideal of being with my daughter all day every day, having no work outside of caring for my family. And most of the time, I feel thankful for the freedom to define my own motherhood journey as it feels right and balanced for me. Continue Reading