Enneagram Superheroes

Here at team S+G, we believe that everyone has superpowers. We all have things we are uniquely good at—things that let our inner best selves shine. On the flip side, we also have holes—in our knowledge, our skillsets, and our experiences. These gaps drive our commitment to lifelong learning (our favorite Basecamp channel is called “We love learning!”), but they also remind us of the importance of a team. It’s not a big deal if we don’t know everything, because we work with teammates who can fill in our weak spots. 

The important thing is knowing where your gaps are—and, inversely, where your superpowers lie. There are a million tools to help you figure out your giftedness and unique personality, and we’ve done them all: Strengthsfinder, DiSC, Myers Briggs…we LOVE a good personality test. 

And the one that has been most revolutionary for our team has been the Enneagram

The basics: the Enneagram is a personality typing system, much like any of the others. What makes it unique is that it’s all about motivations—your core drivers, and, importantly, your core weaknesses. Every person falls into one of nine “types”—numbered one through nine—and every single number is full of superpowers. 

Using the Enneagram to understand our work personalities has been SO helpful for our team—and for the teams we have coached on this very topic. So we thought we’d give you a little inside look at our team’s Enneagram thoughts…

Allison – The Achiever

When Ian and I first started working together many years ago, he purchased a set of tiny buttons (they had puns about reading on them…they were great). Every time I did an especially good job on an assignment, he would give me a button. It was our own tiny Pavlovian reward system, and dang if it didn’t work.

You see, I’m a textbook Enneagram 3—the achiever—which means I have a deep need for affirmation, recognition, and praise. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something that’s true, which means it’s something to which I must pay attention. 

My achievement-oriented self comes with an awesome set of superpowers: I get stuff done. I’m high energy. I can knock out a task list like nobody’s business. These are skills that serve me every single day as an entrepreneur, copywriter, strategist, and parent. 

I also love motivating others to live into their full potential, which comes in handy when leading a team (and writing this newsletter!). I believe that I can do big things—and I believe you can do big things, too!

On the flip side, I can get swept up into hustle culture. I have spent over a decade learning to rest (and I’m not there yet). I get frustrated when work moves slowly or when we need to return to a task that’s already been completed. I have trouble recognizing my value outside of what I accomplish. 

It’s why I write so frequently about rest and boundaries and pursuing joy (not just work success); I’m writing to myself. 

Thankfully, my team knows my weak spots, and they remind me that I am more than the work I produce. They also make sure I’m not cutting corners or cutting people out in an effort to move more quickly through my to-do list. In short, they make me better—and give me space to let my superpowers shine. 

Amanda – The Helper

I am an Enneagram 2, often referred to as “The Helper” or “The Giver.” As an Enneagram 2, I possess several strengths that are highly conducive to teamwork. I am empathetic which allows me to have strong connections with my colleagues. I enjoy assisting others and supporting my coworkers, so I enjoy work environments where collaboration and cooperation are valued. In addition, I am sympathetic to the needs and goals of the team members and therefore try to ensure they have what they need to get the job done, which ultimately fosters a positive work environment

However, as a 2, there is also a set of weaknesses that can affect my work performance and therefore affect the team. After reading The Road Back To You, I learned that I tend to prioritize the needs of others over my own, I have trouble saying no, and I have a hard time processing feedback/criticism

Having worked with Allison and Ian in the past has been extremely helpful in my current role since they are both familiar with my strengths and weaknesses. They have both taken an active role in making sure I take time off, completely disconnect from work, and set boundaries for myself so I can also tend to my personal life (with a toddler). Additionally, Ian has continued to mentor me by encouraging me to discuss/reflect on past work and future work via his Monthly Action Plan meetings which have ultimately been helpful in finding areas of improvement for myself (processes, organizational tools, etc.) but also to talk through feedback in a positive manner. We have these meetings every month, and while it’s nerve-wracking to know we will be discussing my work performance, it is fundamentally helpful for my own development.

Lindsey – The Achiever

I’ve taken the Enneagram test multiple times over the years. Multiple times because I can never remember what I am. It just didn’t feel that relevant to me. Then, I joined Swell + Good full-time and realized there was no way to be Enneagram-free anymore; I had to step into my Enneagram 3

That was when I understood the team is obsessed with the Enneagram for good reason. I’m still learning, but it’s already helping me better understand myself and my teammates. For example, it’s made me more aware of my tendency to seek validation through my work. And the culture of Swell + Good has helped me push back against that tendency by treating me as a human, not a copywriting automaton. 

Knowing the types of my teammates helps me understand the things that drive them crazy and the places where I can tap their strengths to create better work for our clients. It makes our teamwork stronger.

If this is how I feel about the Enneagram now, I can’t wait to see where I am in six months! Check back then—I might have something more insightful to say 🙂 

Ian – The Perfectionist

You might be surprised to learn that the Enneagram and I weren’t always best friends. For a long time, I dismissed it and thought it was just another personality test. You will not be surprised to learn that it crushed my “always need to feel right and argue” soul when I finally saw the light. I mean, who am I kidding—my need to improve isn’t just limited to my work, I’m always trying to hack my own life and myself. 

You see, as an Enneagram 1, control is my middle name. I thrive on order, perfection, and ensuring every ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ is crossed. I can’t stand a lack of process or clarity. 

For a leader, that is rarely something that you can truly control. We can pretend we control things, but the fact is we are nothing without the team we work with and for. So here’s where the Enneagram swoops in like a superhero cape. Understanding the Enneagram types of my team has been nothing short of eye-opening. It’s like having a secret weapon to navigate the quirks of our personalities. 

Take Allison. She lives for praise and recognition, and trust me, that’s something I could always be better at doling out. Knowing that makes me a better partner. Also, understanding where her infectious drive and energy come from means I can count on her to be the cheerleader and driving force our team needs when times get busy. She gets stuff done like a boss, her knack for motivating others is the tick to my tock. I can let go of these things (mostly) and trust that she’s got this aspect of our partnership.

Letting go and trusting the process can be a Herculean task for a One (honestly, it physically hurts sometimes), but having this Enneagram-powered team is a game-changer. It’s like assembling the Avengers of the personality world, and together, we’re conquering our work challenges, one project at a time. The Enneagram isn’t just a tool; it’s my secret ally in this rollercoaster of self-improvement. 

Lead generation and 4 other things you need to read this week

Lead generation and 4 other things you need to read this week

1. Don’t miss out on this library of free content 📚 marketing resources.

The Content Marketing Hub 2.0 is jam-packed with everything you need to know about content marketing, including instructive articles and professionally designed charts, visuals, and templates. Brush up on your content marketing fundamentals, including content production, promotion and distribution, and so much more!

Dive into the Content Marketing Hub 2.0. [via Backlinko]

2. What is lead generation? 🧐

Well, to get started, what’s a lead? If donors are the people who are actively giving you money, leads are the people who might give you money one day. Think: your newsletter list, your prospect list, or your social media followers. Want to learn how to boost your list of leads? It’s time to get great at lead generation.

How to be a pro at lead generation. [via Neil Patel]

3. Make your project 💅 icon-ic.

Digital icons make everything better. They make your website more user-friendly, your text more visualize-able, and your avatars more fun. But you no longer have to pay to get the top-tier icons — lots of sites now share their collections for free! 

Get free open-source icons. [via Smashing Magazine]

4. Secrets 🔎 to a great capital campaign. 

Have a major initiative, new building, or enormous expansion in your future? It just might be time for a capital campaign. But how do you begin? And how do you get your donors on board? Capital campaigns operate differently than traditional month-to-month fundraising, but luckily there a few simple secrets that will help you succeed. 

Become a capital campaign pro. [via Gail Perry Group]

5. Do what is right 💪 for your team. 

It’s easy to feel trapped by budget restrictions or your donors’ preferences. But here’s the deal: You are leading an organization, and you need to do what is right for your team. That means that you get to define your priorities — and use the resources at hand accordingly. Stop waiting for permission. You already have it.

Break the scarcity thinking habit. [via Social Velocity]

Deadlines are stupid and long live deadlines

Deadlines are stupid and long live deadlines

All too often, we live in an either/or culture. It’s this way or that way. This decision or that one. 

Here at Swell+Good, we are getting better and better at choosing and. 

And while there are countless very serious topics that could benefit from a good “and” conversation, today, we’re thinking about one of our favorites (that is, admittedly, not all that serious at all): 

Deadlines are stupid and long live deadlines.

We pick both.

Look, we get it. Deadlines are almost always self-imposed and arbitrary. We pick a date and then rush to meet the goal we set for ourselves. Do our donors care? No. Would it matter if we picked the next day, or the day after that? In most instances, probably not. 

In our most creative moments, we find ourselves nodding along to ideas presented by Basecamp founder Jason Fried, who refuses to set goals and instead just “does the best he can.” His book, It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work, challenged us to reconsider so many of our built-in business practices. 

But then we remember something else: 

We suck without deadlines. 

Having checkpoints (even arbitrary ones) keeps our team moving forward. And when we’re working on deliverables that impact our colleagues and clients, meeting those key dates is an essential quality of being a good partner.

As much as we want to live in the freedom of doing good work, we know that, at least for us, timelines matter. Goals matter. Milestones matter. And yes, deadlines matter, too.

So we choose and

Yes, deadlines are made up. They’re random. And they’re often pretty pointless. 

And also, we love them. They help make our work better—or at least help us get our work done. And they help ensure that we keep moving forward. 

Picking the right colors and 4 other things you need to read this week

Picking the right colors and 4 other things you need to read this week

1. To start working, embrace what isn’t working. 🤨

If you have a problem acknowledging you have a problem, you’re not alone. But facing your organization’s weak spots is the best way to prepare to solve them! Learn how to compassionately fix what isn’t working so you can focus more of your attention on what is.

Embrace your less-than-perfectness. [via Social Velocity] 

2. What can you learn from the story of the Coca-Cola 🥤 logo?

The success of Coca-Cola is not just the story of a bit of luck behind a good product (or a potentially stolen recipe, but we digress…). It’s one that involves a creative marketing push to merge both the timeless and the modern. We love when history makes our current work better, so dive into the details about how Coca-Cola became the iconic beverage it is today.

The story of the Coca-Cola logo. [via Logo Design Love]

3. How to pick the right 🎨 color.

There’s a reason we don’t usually wear neon to funerals, white after Labor Day, or that one blue tie with that clashing blue blazer. Colors tell stories—and when they’re used thoughtfully, colors can prompt emotions in others. So why not harness that power in your marketing? Dive into a rainbow of color tools to help with color scheme generation, data visualization, historical color palettes, contrast checking, and much more!

Color tools and resources. [via Smashing Magazine]

4. Is your Instagram marketing strategy getting stale? 🤔

We know, it still feels like Instagram is a “new” platform. (Eep, yes. We’re old.) But with Instagram Live, IGTV, and new options for sharing to your story, marketing on Insta is no longer just curated pictures and old filters. Luckily, Social Media Examiner pulled together a list of tips and inspiration to keep your content ✨fresh✨ for modern users. Learn the new strategies that are working in 2021 to keep people engaged with your feed, your stories, your highlights, and your brand!

What’s working on Instagram in 2021. [via Social Media Examiner]

5. How to optimize 💪 your on-page SEO. 

Good SEO helps search engines read content and good writing helps humans read content—so why not do both at the same time! Learn how to implement meta-tags, format your content, and optimize your keywords so that you catch the attention of all of your readers—humans and computers alike! 

3 Powerful on-page optimizations to power up your content. [via MOZ]

We’re thankful for honest conversations

We’re thankful for honest conversations

This week, we are thankful for…honest conversations. Yes, they are hard. And yes, while they are happening, they can be painful. But summoning the courage to voice your candid wants and needs is so much better than bottling them up and hoping that things magically change. Despite the in-the-moment awkwardness, it’s always better to face the challenge (or decision or conflict or question) head-on and deal with it—regardless of the outcome.