The Other Way

046: Ali Dunn on Enneagram, personality typing, & your life purpose

August 08, 2023 Kasia Stiggelbout Season 1 Episode 46
The Other Way
046: Ali Dunn on Enneagram, personality typing, & your life purpose
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Have you ever wondered how different aspects of your personality shape your life decisions, relationships, and overall sense of purpose? Ready to debunk the mystery behind your inner motivations and values? On today's episode, you're in for a treat. Our special guest, Ali Dunn, a renowned Leadership and Enneagram Coach, joins us to decode the Enneagram, a powerful tool that unravels our unique personality types with their strengths, weaknesses and motivations.

Together, we journey through the nine distinct Enneagram types, and how this system surpasses other personality assessments like Myers-Briggs and astrology. Ali, with her profound experience, illustrates how understanding your type can guide you in finding your purpose, disentangling from self-limiting beliefs and aligning your life with your core values. We further dive deep into the concept of values alignment, how to identify when you're out of alignment and the steps to recalibrate your life path.

Navigating the challenges of managing our inner critic, overcoming imposter syndrome and understanding the pressure of success, we discuss the importance of authenticity and how to tap into our authentic selves. Ali shares her personal path to identifying when she was out of alignment with her values and how she bravely redirected her life. Tune in for this enlightening episode, and you may discover the Enneagram could be your key to self-acceptance and understanding.

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To connect with Kasia

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to Nourish. My name is Kasha and I'm an entrepreneur, a longtime meditator and a student of Chinese medicine. My mission with this podcast is to share the tools and practices to help you integrate your whole self into every aspect of your world. As someone who is both a Taipei high achiever and a deeply spiritual, vulnerable and empathetic being, I know firsthand how it feels to be living a double life showing up one way at work a different way alone and struggling to reconcile the two.

Speaker 1:

This disintegration of authenticity is one of the biggest causes of burnout, health flares and anxiety. For me, understanding how the mind-body connection is crucial to health and success, cultivating a strong sense of inner self and applying the healing philosophies of Chinese medicine and Zen Buddhism to my life has allowed me to lead from a completely heart-powered place, letting go of other people's judgments and finding peace in allowing my multi-dimensional being to shine. My hope is that this podcast may inspire you to do the same. I want to call out. It is a practice, it is a journey, but I believe it is the most important thing that we can do for our bodies, minds and our ultimate potential. Enjoy.

Speaker 2:

Enneagram. What is it, what can it tell you about yourself and how can you use it? My guest today, ali Dunn, bay Area Leadership and Enneagram Coach for ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs. Today we dig into the Enneagram so you can learn your strengths, your shadow sides and how to use the Enneagram to recognize if you're out of alignment and what can you do about it. We also cover finding your purpose, navigating career limbo and overcoming imposter syndrome and perfectionism so you can live your dream life.

Speaker 2:

This episode is absolutely a must-listen for anyone who is dealing with uncertainty, perhaps feeling a little bit out of alignment, or wants to integrate their whole self into their career, their purpose and finding true meaning in life. The link is below and let me know what you think. Ali, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. I'm so pumped to get into it as I was kind of hinting right before we started recording. I actually got a request today to cover Enneagram in the context of spiritual enlightenment. So, larry, shout out to you over there. We're definitely going to be digging into it today. But before we do all of that, ali, I want to kick it off with a question that I start every single time, and that is what are three words that you would use to describe yourself?

Speaker 3:

Adventurous, honest and loyal.

Speaker 2:

Oof. I love that, especially since I feel like we're getting to know each other. We've met a couple of times in person, so this paints a very, very next-layer picture of you. I'm curious we're going to dive into the Enneagram and how many of those words would also resonate with your Enneagram? And also, what is it if you can just kind of shout out for the audience?

Speaker 3:

Okay, my Enneagram type is a seven, so I am an enthusiastic visionary and I would say adventurous is one of the top components of that type. And then the honest and loyal piece I think can come with any of the Enneagram types. So I wouldn't say you're known as those things, as a seven, but I do think that sevens can possess a sense of loyalty because friendships, family relationships are really important to them. And then the honest piece, because sevens tend to be brave, they're not really afraid of putting it up there Can't believe.

Speaker 2:

I thought I was a seven, all right, but I'm getting ahead of myself here, so I just want to kind of set the stage for folks. So you're a mindset, career and leadership coach for high-performing executives and entrepreneurs. I absolutely love following your page. I've listened to a couple of other episodes that you've done and I know you cover a lot of topics, some of which we'll mention here Maybe we'll get into them, such as imposter syndrome, finding your purpose and really kind of navigating a lot of what it takes to thrive in this world, both professionally and personally. But one of the things that I think is so unique about your approach and this is why I approached you is that you are a certified Enneagram practitioner, and so I want to start there. What on earth is the Enneagram?

Speaker 3:

Well, the Enneagram can be described in many ways and it was interesting when I did my training they wouldn't actually give us a definition, so it was up to us as individuals and practitioners to decide how we would describe it. So I would say, from a big-picture perspective, it is a construct of nine archetypes of human behavior, which determines our motivation. So the one word that sticks out for me for the Enneagram is really motivation. So it's not necessarily how we do things, but it's the why behind we do things. And there are nine different archetypes and we tend to fall. Our default is one archetype, so that becomes our number or a type, but essentially there are all types inside of us and really the idea of what the Enneagram is, full integration and how to learn, how to bring the other archetypes into your personality as well.

Speaker 2:

All right, that is super cool because I obviously filled out the test beforehand, before we started recording and I was kind of a bit confused by your core type versus your wings. But before we kind of walk through all of the types, could you share for us kind of how does this differ than, say, like a Myers-Briggs or astrology? Because I think that sometimes I hear these things kind of mixed together and is this more of like a personality test? Is it more psychologically based? Is it rooted in astrology? Tell us a little bit about that, well.

Speaker 3:

I think one of the differentiating factors about the Enneagram is your test. It is a personality test but it's based on your responses to questions, so that can be similar to a Myers-Briggs. You know differs from astrology because it has really nothing to do about the where and the when that you're born or the star's alignment, but it's more about your preferences and your motivation. And what's interesting about the Enneagram is that when you're doing the assessment, which is probably about 20 or 30 minutes, it actually is adaptive. So as you answer questions it poses new questions based on what you're answering. So it's helping really narrow down and kind of help you with a precise answer.

Speaker 3:

And when you think about maybe a Myers-Briggs or some of the strengths tests, what they're talking about is your preference or maybe your actions, kind of how you behave in a certain environment. So either you're an introvert or you're an extrovert and it's very, it's much more fixed. It's this idea. Okay, these are the ways that maybe you show up at work and this is how I know maybe how to work with you With the Enneagram. I feel like it is progressive and dynamic and it changes. So your core type won't change. But there's this it's almost like you come in at a baseline, okay, and then where can we grow from here? And that's where you start to adapt with the wings and the lines and you can really get a deeper understanding of yourself and your growth and the way that you show up in both yeah, your professional and your personal life.

Speaker 2:

I'm glad you mentioned the dynamic aspect because one of the questions that I had, because I think I told you at the beginning that I thought I was a seven and don't worry at all, we're going to get into the types. Can you change over time?

Speaker 3:

That's an interesting question because it is something that people have posed and I have seen it very minimally, but it does happen. One of the texts that shows up which we will get into that I've seen when people have gone through certain transformations maybe becoming a caregiver or a mother is they might identify as what's called a type two, the considerate helper. Because if your mindset or your space is in caregiving mode and you find yourself in that space, it might be hard for you to really sink into your true either beliefs or motivations. So I've seen that before. I also think if you take the test when you're younger and you haven't maybe fully gone through your own self-development, you might not entirely be sure of your core beliefs. So I noticed when people, the more work we do on ourselves, the more aligned we end up being with our Enneagram. I feel like the closer we are to what I would say would be our true type.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I can so resonate with that, because I feel like, especially if the Enneagram is rooted around your motivations and your why behind things. I can at least speak from my experience and maybe we'll get into this a little bit later but I feel like that has completely shifted for me, Even in the past two years, night and day, in terms of what is motivating to me and what is more ego-driven versus truly from within, and so I'm curious is that also something that if you're coaching people and they come in and they're like I'm a seven or a one or whatever, how do you decipher if that's more ego-driven versus true motivation?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's such a good question because I think it's almost like what is the motivation and then what do you want to do with it? So if we're thinking about maybe a seven, per, say a seven, that motivation is to experience at all. So a seven who's maybe not fully developed or hasn't done the work, might be someone who skips from job to job, might be someone who has a hard time committing, maybe someone who indulges too much Like. There's a lot of like what I would say the shadow or dark side of a seven, and I think if you are living in that space or running that life, you still are a seven. But there's this potential to live in the greatness where you are checking your ego at the door and really leaning into what I would call the opposite.

Speaker 3:

You're almost like your fear, and as a seven, the fear is confinement. So the fear is sitting in the darkness, sitting in the pain. So for someone, for example, for myself during the pandemic, when it was like restricted freedom and being forced to sit with myself, like that was my core issue, that was my hard time where someone else maybe who is a six, who's a little bit more anxious, you know, for them it was the fear of what could happen if I went outside, you know. So it's really just like unraveling those fears, knowing your motivation, facing the fear, and then how can you kind of find that balance between the two?

Speaker 2:

Such a good breakdown. Okay, tell us what are the different types? There are nine, right, there are nine, yes.

Speaker 3:

So number one would be yourself.

Speaker 2:

I'm also a Capricorn, by the way. Like I mean, please break down exactly what goes into one. But I'll just say I was like you know, I could have just used a little bit less of the same. But, yeah, please, less boldness, I know you're a Capricorn.

Speaker 3:

That's amazing. I love a Capricorn. I'm a Taurus, so I feel like we're very compatible.

Speaker 3:

Oh yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, so, yes. So the one is a strict perfectionist, and so when I describe the types, I like to go to the motivation, because I feel like that's the way to be able to kind of bottom line it for people so that they understand. So with the one, your desire is to be good or right, so for you there's just your highly principled structure. Integrity, following the rules, is how you live your life, and there's an expectation that other people should also do the same, and ones can tend to be hard on themselves and hard on other people, but primarily hard on themselves, and often that can be stemmed from maybe how you grew up, sort of the external influences in your life and this idea of I must do better, I must do more, or maybe even feelings of not being enough. The next on the wheel so the Enneagram setup on a wheel of nine types is the two. So that's the considerate helper, the one that I was speaking about before, and two space outward and their very relationship focus. So a two is going to be someone who is about friendships, about people in a work environment. They're going to be the one that's arranging the baby shower. They are super conscientious, but they often can be self forgetting because they put so much focus on everyone else and they have a really hard time setting boundaries. So type three is the competitive achiever. You've probably seen a lot of those in your career I know most clients as well and so the competitive achiever, their motivation for motivation is success and to outshine the rest. So they really are results oriented. They want to be seen as successful and often maybe don't take the time to develop relationships or find that deeper meaning in their work because they're thinking of the next thing. So strive, strive, strive, check the boxes. Their fear is really being seen as a failure and so that can be the motivation for them to go, go, go, and it can be hard for them to sort of sit in, just being versus doing.

Speaker 3:

Then we have the type four, which is the intense creative. I love a four. They are by nature creative and their motivation is to be unique and authentic and authentic. But they don't necessarily have to be an artist so they can find creativity and beauty in words and language and art, any of those things. They're very sensitive, they look for meaning and everything and their deep fear is being ordinary, so they do not want to be like anyone else. They are so fascinating.

Speaker 3:

Okay, so our type five, that's the quiet specialist, and I always say that. You know, if tech companies could be a type, you know they would be the five, because their core motivation is to understand. So it's deep knowledge, deep research, very thought driven, less about feelings. I recently did a team building any of your own workshop and of all the numbers, there was one five in the group and he was probably sitting six feet outside of the circle because he's just there, he's got the knowledge, but it's not necessarily interested in the feelings or the engagement piece, and so their trigger or fear is not being understood. Or, if they're overwhelmed, they want to have clarity and understanding of data.

Speaker 3:

And then the type six is the loyal skeptic. So a six is a team builder. They are, they can be witty, they tend to run at a low level anxiety because they're always in preparation mode. So their motivation is to be safe and belong and they also will examine every possible thing that can go right and every possible thing that can go wrong in a decision before they say yes or before they commit. So they can be, yeah, very just skeptical. Just, they're kind of skeptical by nature, so they want to have all the answers.

Speaker 3:

And then type seven, which is what I talked about myself enthusiastic, visionary, very big picture, want to experience it all. Visionary, enthusiastic, spontaneous, all of the things definitely struggle with the details. I would say that is why sevens and ones are compatible, because you're in the details, I'm in the vision, and so we have a hard time sometimes sitting still, like I talked about, and just kind of being in the dark side. And again, it depends how far along on your self development journey you are. The eight is the active controller.

Speaker 3:

A lot of kinds of people find out there. And eight it's definitely triggering. I think that it could use a PR spin the name. So they need to be in control. They're often in leadership positions. They are, their pace is very intense, so they reach conclusions before everyone else and often can leave people on their team or family still at the start while they're at the finish line.

Speaker 3:

Their fear is being vulnerable, they've a really hard time accessing their feelings and they also tend to neglect their self care because they're so driven in the workspace. And then our last one is the type nine at the adaptive peacemaker, and the nine sits on the wheel at the top and I always think it's the nine, overlooking all of the types, because the nine, their core motivation is to keep the peace, so they want to make sure there's harmony. Their fear is conflict. They will not rock the boat under any circumstances and they often can be the last person to speak at a meeting. They're still driven. They have, you know, many other attributes that a lot of the other types, but they just do not want to create conflict. So they will be self forgetting and they have a hard time sometimes accessing their own intuition, so they're not sure exactly what they want. So that kind of default is well, I don't care, everyone else decide. But that over the long term can actually be really detrimental to their health and happiness.

Speaker 2:

Oh man, okay, so those are a lot of personality types. I'm curious here in the Bay Area I think you have obviously a lot of clients here. What do you typically see in terms of the personality types?

Speaker 3:

Okay. So I see a lot of nines, which is really interesting, and what it makes me sometimes I get so excited when a nine comes around because I think, oh, they're not doing that work right or they're self-pregnant and they're not ready to invest in their future or self. But I think with the nines is that they want that one-on-one attention. You know, they want that listener, that sounding board, that coach, someone to help them get to the next level. And so I see a lot of nines, sevens also very common Threes and eights, primarily especially in the entrepreneurial world or in the startup space. I think the threes and the sevens and the eights it's like going forward, action-oriented, getting the job done, growing the business. But then also ones as well I do have some one clients which I love them. I think that too. To be honest, I see I currently work with all types. The only type that I have not coached in a long-term relationship is the five. It's interesting. I don't know if it's because coaching is associated with feelings.

Speaker 2:

There's this idea of that's the quiet specialist.

Speaker 3:

Yes, exactly that's the one client I don't have, because even the four clients I have one is in tech sales and the other is in politics they don't present as a four. On the outside you wouldn't say, oh, that's super creative or you're an artist, but just their core values and principles align with being a four. I do see a run of the gamut, but the threes want the success plan, the seven need accountability and to pull down the four. But yes, I definitely am near Yad, but there are some themes for sure.

Speaker 2:

One of the things that I find and maybe this is just me, because here I am a perfectionist but I feel like there can be an element of who am I? People are all fascinated. A lot of people especially are into this. Everybody loves to learn more about themselves. But there can also be an aspect of okay, I am this box, I'm curious, and we can talk about a bunch of different topics. I'll rattle them off.

Speaker 2:

I know it might be difficult to make this broad recommendation, but how can you apply the guidance of Enneagram to different topics without it being limiting? Let me use an example. If we're talking about finding your purpose and you are a one or a seven, there might be a different approach to each, but it's not meant to be. I assume that if you are a perfectionist, then finding your purpose might be very certain. Things are off limits or other things are better for you. Is that the way that? How should we take some of the recommendations from Enneagram in these different scenarios and we can start with finding your purpose? Let me know if that makes sense For sure.

Speaker 3:

It completely makes sense and I think because it's that balance between my natural default state and alignment and then pushing boundaries Because I think that's where we're lost in finding our purpose is this idea? Well, first of all, I think we're sold a story about purpose which is you just need to find it and the rest will work out, or do that, and then it won't get. It doesn't matter if you work for free or not after that, because you're so aligned. And I think the first step in finding your purpose or at least in my experience or what I see with clients is kind of breaking the rules. Right, in order to figure out what you want to do, you have to step out of your comfort zone. In order to feel what is most aligned, you have to take risks, and I think that as a culture or society, we're kind of all swimming down the same river and there's a feeling of monotony or grayness or something of that. I don't belong, I don't know what I want, but if you don't step out of the river, you are not going to find it. So I would say that's number one baseline is really that disruption piece. You have to step out of your comfort zone.

Speaker 3:

And then, when we think about types, for example, if we were to think about the one part of what comes easy for a one is what I would ask the one to lean into and thinking about their purpose. So if, as a one structure is really important to you, I would say let's make a plan, right. So let's look at your week, let's book off some time for when you're going to maybe step out of that comfort zone where you're going to have some meaningful conversations, where you're going to sign up for retreat, whatever it might be. So we'll use your strengths in that part of your default comfort to design a plan that works for you. But then, as a one, I'm going to ask you to step out of your regular self or your comfort zone.

Speaker 3:

So, with a one, I would ask you to be playful, I would ask you to be spontaneous, right? I would say, ok, what are some things that are different that you haven't done before, that you've always wanted to try, and so it's really, I think, breaking free of your own self-limiting beliefs and your own barriers in order to find that alignment. And with purpose comes values. So that's the other work that I do is that, in order to live in alignment. You must be clear on your values. So I think kind of funny how you asked the question about what are three words you would use to describe yourself. I feel like that also is in alignment with your values. So, figuring out your values and then assessing, ok, on a scale of one to 10, right now in my life, how close am I living to each of these values? If you get a two out of 10 on one of your values, that's where the purpose is misaligned and then that's where we would lean into it.

Speaker 2:

OK, I love that because you know, for a minute there and it's funny, I had lunch with a seven the other day, literally yesterday as well, and it's funny I could see a lot of similarities in your personality.

Speaker 2:

For a minute I was just kind of noticing or feeling at least like as a one, as somebody who strives for perfection or is motivated like my why is to create something that you know kind of reaches a certain standard in my eye. Does that also correlate to like a limitation in terms of what would be good for me versus wouldn't? And I love that you kind of spoke to almost like using and at least this is me like paraphrasing correctly, hopefully, but using some of your strengths as a type to structure the how of, let's say, exploring something like your purpose, as opposed to viewing your type as a box to which you are likely to be better suited. And I think that is a common misconception that I think people have, not just with any of them, but like with astrology, myers-briggs and stuff like that, where it's like this is a prescription for your personality, if you are somebody who's going through a journey of trying to figure out, like what are you meant to do, or you know, like for the topic of purpose.

Speaker 3:

No, I agree, and I think that the way I like to see the enneagram, and then possibly some of the other tools you were talking about as well, is it opens the door to what's next. It opens the door to self-acceptance and understanding, because for me, before I found out that I was a seven, I had a lot of judgment around my behavior, right. So what is it about me that wants to always be on the go, right? What does it say about me that I want to travel the world, and I felt like throughout my life I had received feedback from people that you know. In some ways, feedback can be in the eyes of the giver, so some of my actions make people uncomfortable, so that I can come to understand.

Speaker 3:

But I think it's also this other part of OK. So should I check that part of myself and be more kind of streamlined, because that's what I should do, and so I think I was questioning that part about myself for a while, and only when I realized my enneagram type did I understand kind of the, the why behind my behavior, and was able to connect with myself and kind of give myself a yes. And so, yes, when you feel your best, you actually are being spontaneous, or you're out there, or you're learning, or you're exploring, but there's also this undiscovered part of stillness within you that you can access as well, and, as a business owner, I need to be able to access those things in order to be successful. So the Enneagram has helped me as a business owner, as wife, mother, friend, all of the coach you know all of those things. So I feel like it only opened up the doors for my future and my success.

Speaker 2:

I think your real-life examples is really helpful there. I definitely do want to dive into values, but before we talk about some of that stuff, I wanted to ask how can people potentially use the Enneagram to recognize if they're in or out of alignment?

Speaker 3:

Great question. I mean an alignment means so many different things to different people. So if I was to describe out of alignment, that would be a sense of, on the extreme, maybe a sense of despair, of detachment, boredom, being vague, not interested, or the opposite Highly stressed, highly overwhelmed, highly anxious, all of those things. So I think on either spectrum, using the Enneagram, let me ask you so, when you're not feeling aligned, what shows up for you?

Speaker 2:

So for me it's actually pretty fascinating reflecting on this.

Speaker 2:

For me, what I noticed and to tie it back to the Enneagram, but one I'm hyperjudgmental of myself, but not from my own core values and beliefs, but more so from the perceived perceptions of others.

Speaker 2:

So when I'm misaligned, the narratives and the voices if I'm being really, really careful are actually not my own.

Speaker 2:

So a perfect example of this actually could be I have spent the past couple of months building a tech business in the space of intersecting spirituality with my background in tech and I mean as incredible as that concept is and was, and I put in a lot of effort and I have a lot of innate skills and abilities in that direction, like an 11-year career.

Speaker 2:

It was only recently that I realized that my motivation to make that successful actually stemmed from trying to prove something more so than authentically how I want to build a business that I'm really aligned and passionate in. And the reason why I bring this up is because a lot of the judgments and the standards and what I was pushing for at the time was they were really coming from external voices as opposed to my innate voice, which was a bit more excited by different aspects of the business, but maybe not the particular path that I was taking to make it successful. And so, yeah, I think seeing that high standard in the external voices, like if I tune into that, that's typically how I recognize if I'm misaligned.

Speaker 3:

Well, and I think that. So with the one it's like again that it's like perfectionism to the 100th degree of I want to show up good, I want to show up right, I want to follow the rules, I maybe want that external validation. This is what I should be doing. So that's almost you're in, even possibly like the shadow side of the one right, or you're so saturated in your oneness. So I will use the Enneagram in this space to actually draw you to your lines. So it's something we haven't touched on.

Speaker 3:

But in the wheel itself, the Enneagram, every type has two lines and some call it a stretch and release, but I call them more connector lines. So for you as a one, you have a seven connector and you have a four right. So if you're in this space right, where it's like external validation, working too hard, not sure my purpose out of alignment, the four is the deep, creative right. So how do you get into the passion and the depths of what you're trying to build? And then the seven is like how do you get out there and just be spontaneous, shake it up, create a new pathway in your brain, do something just to kind of like unstick that energy? So I would use the Enneagram for your lines as a way to help you get out of that kind of stuck in oneness.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I love that and correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm hearing a really clear directive that for people who are maybe feeling like something's off in their bodies and that can show up at least for me it was like a ton of anxiety and stress.

Speaker 2:

You know that I couldn't at the time even figure out what it was tied to. If you're noticing like some of those shadow patterns of your Enneagram pop up in your behavior or your kind of internal dialogue, like those can maybe be signs that something is off as opposed to right. And I love how you kind of spoke to like the four and the seven. So the four is the creative and then the seven is that visionary side. Because on the flip side, on something like the podcast which I'm so aligned in, I still have like perfect perfectionist tendencies in terms of recognizing like what is really good, like high bar of an interview or you know, like creative that I create after the fact, but it's, but like the kind of where it's coming from is not coming from like a perfectionism of external shoulds, it's like internal kind of desire and passion. Does that sound like more of an aligned one? I see you nodding your head.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So I think that's the beauty of accessing all parts of yourself, right. So to do a podcast like this, you need to have that feeling of depth and meaning and creativity, right. But the beauty part and why I think this is a successful avenue for you is that you get to marry the two, right, so you get to access the four, which is just your unique, your authentic, your all of those things, but then you have the one that can run this business. So I think, yes, please, right.

Speaker 3:

So, as a seven, my lines are five and one. So for you, for me, what I'm, you know, in the clouds and thinking, okay, what am I doing with my business? How do I kind of move forward, expand and grow? I draw on the one. So I think, what would a one do? How could I get more of a one? And so that's me setting up my week for success, that's me being structured, and then the five, that quite specialist. That's the information. What information do I need to? You know, speak at this event, run this workshop, what do I need? So, calling on those parts of you, it just helps give you more of that complete picture.

Speaker 2:

I love that. I absolutely, absolutely love that. So, shifting gears for a second, which I think it's still really related to this topic of authenticity versus misalignment. You mentioned earlier kind of the importance of connecting to your values and how that can be helpful when people are looking to connect with, let's say, meaning and purpose and maybe if they're changing careers or trying to figure out what's next, or if they're even in the right path. Tell me about this whole practice of values, like, first of all, how do you define them and how does somebody kind of start to tap into and explore what those are within themselves?

Speaker 3:

Well, when I think about values and I think the definition spans, but for me it's almost like this idea of it's like feelings and your truths and behaviors kind of wrapped into one Right, so this idea of what things need to be present in order for me to feel my most aligned. And so sometimes they can. You can have a value of family, right, which obviously is a, you know, a noun. You can have a value of connection right. You can have a value of love, so it's kind of it can be span, you know different, I would say grammatical terms, but at the same time I think that there's an essence to it. I have referenced, you know, bernadette Brown has an incredible list of values that you can kind of go through and assess. There's a few different ways to figure out what are your values and how to name them. But one of my favorite values exercises that I do with clients where I've done in workshops is actually something that I call peak experience, and so I'll have people remember and maybe walk through a you know a few minutes of a visualization, a moment in their life where they felt completely like themselves, right, where it was like the world is my oyster. I am so aligned and it could be work, personal, anything.

Speaker 3:

When I think of one of my peak experiences, I think of being 19 and backpacking in Europe, right. So at a young age I'm just kind of doing my own thing and exploring, and so for some people that would be terrifying, right, but for me it was like the most ground, one of the most grounded experience of my life. So when I think about that moment and I extract, I can extract my values from that experience. So, okay, independence, you know adventure, travel, bravery, connection, you know those kinds of things. And so if you think about those times other people have said their wedding day or a birthday, or you know a promotion, a reward, anything like that, it can be your own special peak experience.

Speaker 3:

But that always helps me initially, when working with a client, to understand what's important to them. So I have that on my intake form, so you kind of fill it out and share that with me. And then, once we extract those values, then, like I said earlier, it's this idea how closely in alignment are you with these values right now and what do you need to do to move the diet? How can you get more connected? And so it's that play between personal and professional, and usually there's kind of like a Venn diagram, crossover, right. We would love to have all of them present across the board, but it isn't necessarily. You know completely, you know, true, that you could do that, but just knowing your values, put them on a post-it and stick them on your computer and look at them every day, oh I love that, and do values change over time?

Speaker 3:

I think they can a little bit, depending on your experiences, you know, especially as come from 20s to 30s to 40s. I do feel like they change because you change, your experiences change and you grow. So I might not have valued rest the same way I did in my 20s, right, I may not value, you know, courage the same way I do now. So it's kind of the things that we experience do more of it. But I would say certain things have been present in my whole life, like growth and love of learning always, right, really appreciation of beauty always. So those certain things have always been steadfast and I know when they're not around, that's when I feel like I'm out of my skin and I'm just not acting like myself you can definitely relate to that.

Speaker 2:

For sure I'm curious, and at least this has been. My experience is like I work to realign with my values. I think that there can be a lot of fear in that because, depending on how far away you are from whatever you've written down or your core values, that can be super, super scary. And so I'm curious if somebody's out there and they're listening to this and they've just gone and done their Enneagram and now they're like looking up Brene Brown's values and they're realizing, hey, I'm super misaligned. What are some of the blocks that your clients typically mention come up when they start the process of that realignment and what are some of the ways that they can kind of work through those? Like I know we won't cover all of them, but maybe, like the top two would be really amazing to kind of help people.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean I think there's a few things that come up. One of the things that I noticed is your support network. So a lot of times when you change, the people around you get uncomfortable. So there's a tightening, there's a. I thought you were this way. Now you're this way.

Speaker 3:

So I would say, first off, it's really when you discover those values, align yourself with other people who have similar values, because that belonging piece, that community piece, even if it's one other person but you need to have a trusted advisor or a space where you can be yourself and where someone isn't putting their fears on you Right? Because, like you said, if you're really misaligned, there's a lot of fear in that space and it's a hard place to be in. So, being alone or with other people who don't share similar values, it can just be really hard to break yourself free. My other suggestion is a question that I ask often, which is when it comes to limiting beliefs like what about? That is true? So I'm always just asking what about that is true? What about that that is true? Because what happens when you discover that your values are off? There's a tendency to pretend that those values aren't true.

Speaker 2:

Right, oh yeah, oh yes.

Speaker 3:

You know resonates. So you start the self-talk into making yourself think that you're wrong for either A wanting those things or B believing those things right. So, first off, okay, what about? That is true. What's true is yes, actually this means something to me. What's not true is that it's not possible but I have this or that I can't do both, because I think the binary thinking if I have this, I can't have that is also what stops people and the roles we're supposed to play and the expectations, all those things you were talking about before.

Speaker 3:

So I always ask about the third option. So it's not yes or no, it's yes, no and what else? So once people can start to open their minds to the possibility of being able to, like, expand and grow, then I think they can start tapping into those values that otherwise seem scary or kind of. It's really interrelated to your inner critic, right? The inner critic pops up all of a sudden and says oh no, you can't be that. That's not you. You're known as XYZ. This is a whole different space, and so your inner critic is trying to keep you small and safe. So you have to like channel your inner leader and be able to break through that and get out there, and put yourself out there and yeah, it's not an easy path, but it is the most fulfilling.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I can resonate with that so deeply. And I'm gonna throw a really tough question at you, though, because this, like sticks like this, has come up for me so many times in the past and you know, as like a long time meditator, I feel like over time it's gotten easier because I journal and I meditate, I'm like I can figure out whose voice is popping up, but, like, when it comes to those inner critic imposter moments, the narrative you know, like even tuning into, like kind of the reaction that we might have towards our values or the changes we wanna enact, for me, I've experienced kind of a conflict between what is my inner voice saying versus what are the voices from the kind of like external world telling me, and a lot of that can also sound like my voice, because it's ego driven, and so I'm curious, like when people are running into that, how can they start to decipher that? And if you want, I can literally share an example with you, but I don't know if that makes sense. Right, they share an example only because I'm curious, not because I can't answer the question otherwise. No, I'm happy to share an example of one that I've recently worked through, which is why this comes up for me, and this is a big one.

Speaker 2:

As you know, I have a background in tech. I spent 11 years, kind of, in some aspect of tech, working product management, mostly marketing operations as well and I have, for the longest time, known that working as an entrepreneurial, like in an entrepreneurial way, was part of my path. However, I also have really created a box view for myself of what that was going to look like. Right Like tech entrepreneur. Whitney Heard Bumble founder like great job. She was like my idol. I wanted to really really be her and after I left Microsoft, I was really seeking to bring that part of myself to life. And I had a really interesting experience of just a ton of struggle. Like I felt like I was swimming upstream every single day and at this point I already had launched the podcast, so I'd pursued and started something from scratch. I've organized head events, so like I've had experiences where I've done these things from scratch, brought them to life. But with this particular thing, I was just struggling and I was in therapy. I worked with a coach before I met you, of course, and I was just really really working through this and I had a very clear experience after a lot of reflection and a lot of self-work that, as challenging as the experience was, I realized that I was climbing up the wrong tree.

Speaker 2:

It's not that doing something entrepreneurial wasn't right for me and I kind of alluded to this earlier but it was the way that I was doing it.

Speaker 2:

Like I was going by the playbook, working to build a VC-backable business and, frankly, if I'm being really honest with myself and what's true for me and the way that I want to create in this world, like I'm not striving to do that.

Speaker 2:

Like I want to have an impact, I want to have a value, but I don't need it to be valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, which is like this thing I was trying to present on a pitch to try and raise money at the time and so completely pivoted my direction like the product and how I'm doing it to a more fulfilling direction for me. But at the time there was such a struggle to figure out what was my inner voice calling for, what was a block. That was like you know, because it showed up as a lot of imposter syndrome, but it also for me, just I think the pressure of like this is what success looks like was like really getting to me and I really struggled to recognize that that was success. That wasn't truly aligned with my heart, if that makes sense. And so if anyone's listening to this and they're trying to figure that out, like I would love to give them a shortcut to starting to like tease that apart, because this was like I mean years of working through this.

Speaker 3:

If that makes sense, well, and there's so much in there that I could, you know, pull apart, and I think you know focusing on that inner critic piece is key. So, thinking about the inner critic piece for there is huge, there's a lot in there, because I'm hearing just a few things to name them before going forward I'm hearing external expectations. I'm hearing this is the way it's done, this is how I know what success looks like, this is the manual. These are all of the things. In order to be successful, I must be XYZ right. So there's kind of this like playbook or idea of what you had ahead of time, of what that success would look like, which you said, self-admittedly, I think, what happens with the inner critic and for anybody listening, a lot of people use the inner critic as their motivator and that becomes very difficult. Yes, oh, my God, so that? And people have a hard time turning the voice down because they think if I don't have that voice, I will not get the work done, I will not be successful. And so this idea of separating yourself from the inner critic, step one, and what I have learned in my work, as well as I have done a program through Tara Moore, who wrote a book called Playing Big, love her. She's amazing. I did her facilitators program and she talks a lot about inner critic and inner mentor and one of the things I learned from her was the idea that you can't beat the inner critic Right. So the minute you start fighting with the inner critic, it's back and forth, back and forth, and the inner critic will win.

Speaker 3:

So the idea is that to turn the volume down. And she also suggests like personifying the character. So when the voice comes up okay, what is it so? Is that? Is it a literary character? Is it a teacher? Is it? When you start to kind of name it, create it and put some kind of texture around it, you can start to separate it from your inner voice. So you look at it and you say, oh hey, maj, you're back. You know, whatever you decide to call him or her, you notice it, you name it and then you just put it somewhere else. So voice shows up, I'm going to put you on the shelf, I'm going to put you on the garbage, can? I'm going to put you outside the window. We're going to do something.

Speaker 3:

But the other part that needs to be present, besides turning down that volume, is that you need to channel your inner leader or your inner mentor. So that's when you go back to the values exercise. That's when you go back to the idea of the higher self, and that's the person who came out, I would say, when you made the decision to pivot right. If I look at my deep self, my true self, it's someone who has these values and, in order for me to feel like my best self or highest version, this must be true, and that was not you standing up with your pitch deck, which maybe eventually you will be, but it's not the path that makes you feel the most fulfilled. So my inner leader is a version of Beyonce and Brunet Brown, and I call her Bray on say so.

Speaker 3:

She's both like fierce and intellectual in all the things right, and if you don't have this voice that you call upon, whether it's a higher version of yourself or someone else, that inner critic is just going to keep knocking at your door.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I love that and I love that you also brought it back to the values, because and you kind of alluded to this earlier but we weren't kind of talking about this particular aspect of it, so I picked up on it now how important it is to recognize also not just that like inner critic voice, but that most authentic highest self when working on that exercise, because I think that the values that I would have chosen, like I don't know five years ago, would actually not look completely different, but at least one or two of them would emotionally resonate differently than like the ones that I would select now.

Speaker 2:

For example, like they would be way more status oriented a couple of years ago as opposed to impact oriented or really fulfilling things around, like creative joy, which really does light me up right, and like the purpose behind things, as opposed to something that is purely focused on I don't know, like something that is like very status oriented or just the outcome, like the how behind the outcome, would matter more to me now than it had before. So I think that recognizing, like the voice behind who is driving your value selection yeah, the voice behind your values.

Speaker 3:

I love that and that's why when I do that peak exercise, I do it as a visualization, where I do, you know, try to get everybody to get in their body right and kind of set the stage for that. So it's like, judgment aside, right, how can we just, you know, tap into ourselves? Because I think that's the other thing that does play a huge role in our inner critic and the way that we operate is how much we're in our head, which I'm sure you see a lot in the wellness phase, and then your work in tech, where we're doing so much up here and we're so disconnected from our bodies and our feelings that we can't be alive. So only when we can tap into our bodies, which happens during that visualization, or if I do a future visualization, then that's where people can tap into their authentic selves and it's not just like the shoulds or the expectations doing the work I love that.

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, Ali, I could keep chatting with you for hours, but we're actually up on time, so I would love for you to share with our audience where can people find you and what is something exciting that you have coming up or that you want to share with our audience in your programming or anything you're working on?

Speaker 3:

Yes, you can find me on Instagram at AliMDun, and also my website, aliduncom, and then for what's coming up. I'm currently doing a fun vision and vibes enneagram session. So just a one off which I've never had in my practice before because I always do longer term transformational coaching because, as you know, it takes more than one session to do the work. So I have that happening right now and there's a link on my Instagram account for that and we can probably put it in the show notes and as well. I'm also doing a lot more work with teams and really diving deep into the communication and then creating teams that are empathetic, understanding and using the enneagram as that tool. So that's been super fun. So just trying to change the work environment a little bit, bring a little bit of the enneagram love in there, as well as doing coaching for career professionals and for entrepreneurs.

Speaker 2:

I love that Everything will be hyperlinked below, so folks definitely go check it out and we have time for one last question. This is a new one that I kind of is like just really coming up for me, and so one of the things that I've recognized recently is that we can kind of choose how we decide to bring meaning into our lives and like what we think the meaning of life quote unquote is. I think it could also change, and so I'm curious what are some of the ways that you are finding meaning in your life today?

Speaker 3:

Meaning for me? I mean there are a ton of things, but for me, relationships are key. I mean, I think that I am someone who values a meaningful conversation. I am someone who wants to feel connected. I think that, yeah, it really anchors myself as a person. But I also think meaning for me is just a connection with the world as well, like I want to know what's going on. I want to know how I can help. I want to be present in what's happening today. So I think it's just, it's almost like an experience base. So maybe it's a walk or playing a game of tennis which I love, or it's really tapping into, yeah, what's happening in the world and human behavior.

Speaker 2:

That is so good. I love that, Allie. Thank you so much for joining us. It was such a pleasure.

Speaker 3:

Such a pleasure being here. Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, thanks everyone for listening in. See you next time.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Nourish. If you enjoyed this conversation, please leave a review. Five Star Reviews helped the podcast grow and I'm so grateful for that. I publish new episodes twice a month, so hit the subscribe button to be notified and if you want to stay connected in between episodes, join my community on Instagram and TikTok at nourish underscore podcast. All right, that's all I got for you today. See you next time.

Understanding the Enneagram
Introduction to Enneagram Personality Types
Using Enneagram for Finding Your Purpose
The Importance of Values Alignment
Navigating Inner Critic and Authenticity
Manage Inner Critic, Find Meaning

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