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Jungian Archetypes, Enneagram and Raising Kids

Raising kids is hard.

Our boys are 4 and 5, 11.5 months apart, and a handful. My mom celebrates the fact that they are lively, we are trying to moderate the sudden knowledge of F* words learned from THAT kid at school. It’s a journey.

But, in a conversation with my cousin this morning, I heard myself say: ‘Things are going a lot better. We’re working with them… but we’re also working on ourselves.’

And isn’t that the truth, hey? The lifelong mission to learn and improve and figure it out. And by 'it' I mean what you need to be doing out there to influence behaviours and outcomes, but even more importantly, what needs to be done in here to figure out how you can show up in a better way.

It feels like a straight parallel to the work I do around personality constructs. The Enneagram is all about understanding self, own triggers and motivations, and then taking that knowledge into your external relationships and better understanding what is going on for others. Everyone has their own stuff going on, and the work of trying to get into their shoes and have empathy is never easy. I have found it an amazing construct.

Then, just to confuse me, I have decided to figure out a few things around Jungian Archetypes. Now Jung was an interesting cat, and the marketing folks have successfully appropriated his core types into a comprehensive strategy for positioning brand messaging. It’s a rabbit hole, but through the magic of AI, I can now quickly and easily understand and align messaging to the type of person I’m trying to talk to.

Why both? Why bother to understand both?

Because the Enneagram does diddly squat for your marketing and branding message. It’s the deeply personal and foundational work of integrating the different facets of who you are, and in a way, rediscovering the childhood wonder that you buried under a bunch of B*S just to be safe in the world.

Jungian Archetypes are more concerned with how you show up, not why you show up that way. So I can be an Enneagram Type 7 Enthusiastic Visionary and a Jungian-type Explorer. The Enneagram Visionary tells you that I fear boredom and constantly need stimulation and new projects, and it showcases what problems this might represent in my relationships and workplace. The Explorer will showcase how I show up but doesn’t go deep into the why. Explorer brands like Patagonia will therefore get my attention by showing me dudes on mountaintops, which feeds into my need for new experiences.

In terms of relationships or my workplace, though, people will get the best out of me if they understand that I’m constantly looking to move on. A great starter, not a great finisher. Love setting up projects, once they’re up, happy to hand them over. And I do this because the boredom… the sameness… well it scares the ever-loving crap out of me.

So, when it comes to my family, I feel like I’m constantly trying to sell my boys on an idea. Get dressed. Eat your food. Stop swearing. Put down that phone and come for a bike ride. And the way I talk to them needs to recognize where they are at and how that triggers me, which is where the Enneagram work is useful. But then, when they are looking at me to model behaviour, they only have surface inputs to work on. So maybe deciding which message I want to send out - what does brand PG stand for – has more to do with the Jungian archetypes.

I’ll keep you posted on where all of this lands.

Connect with me on LinkedIn where I am doing a series on Jungian Archetyps vs Enneagram, how & when to use each type, linking with core values & purpose, and much more.

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