Mindshift Triangles

Recognizing and shifting from reactive mindsets to building resilience

4 min readOct 11, 2020


Over the last few years, I’ve become an avid collector of personality frameworks and self-help books in search of the age-old question of “who am I?” and “what am I doing here?”. Very rapidly, one will realize these books often circle back to the same hand-wavy answers of self-knowledge, mindfulness, vulnerability, and empathy. But in practice in everyday situations, this becomes a lot harder.

I’ve found three frameworks that have been useful in learning about my needs, feelings, and desires that is the core first step of shifting my mindset. Furthermore, these independent frameworks overlap on each other to reveal aspects of my personality.

Framework #1: Control, Approval, Security from Conscious Leadership

“The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership” is not your average business book. While it’s about leadership, half of the chapters is about self-knowledge. After all, true leadership is being your true self with integrity, responsibility, and self-expression. One core concept is the human desires of control, approval, and security. When we feel a threat to any one of these, the situation drives us to our fight, flight, freeze responses to seek what is missing. When we feel scarcity in one of these areas, it drives us to find it externally.

In Conscious Leadership, the goal is first to recognize and acknowledge the feelings of threat and desire. There is nothing wrong for having desires, but to recognize it as just that. If you can let go of the “wanting” feeling, you can realize that control, approval, and security comes from within and is already there.

Learn more: Video from Conscious Leadership

Framework #2: Villain, Hero, Victim from Karpman Drama Triangle

Stephen Karpman published a paper in 1968 on a personality framework that people experience when encountering conflict: the villain who puts blame elsewhere, the hero who jumps to save the day with temporary fixes, and the victim who feels helpless. We all get trapped in these feelings and move between these different roles.

Getting out of the Drama triangle first relies on an act of will. The villain can chose to not point fingers, but to challenge themselves and others to rise to the occasion. The hero can chose to no longer provide quick fixes and coach others to help themselves. The victim can chose to not be at the effect of the situation, but create their own situation. This reframing allows us to take ownership of the situation and find productive solutions.

Learn more: Drama Triangle Video from Conscious Leadership

Framework #3: Anger, Shame, Fear from the Enneagram

Of all the personality classification tools, I have found the Enneagram to be the most enlightening for self-knowledge because it drives straight down into an individual’s neuroses and reoccurring patterns from childhood trauma. It calls out all your fears in front of you where there is nowhere to hide. But from this, it can guide you to self-acceptance, self-love, and self-actualization.

There are 9 basic personality types in the Enneagram, but with all the nuances it actually is 108 subtypes. Originated from unknown cultural and religious practices, the most recent iterations have been popularized by Claudio Naranjo, Don Riso, Russ Hudson, and Helen Palmer. While I could go into a deep rabbit hole here, I will have to bookmark it for another time and focus on one triangle observation.

The 9 types can be categorized into 3 dominant feelings that reoccur and is a foundation for each personality. When in conflict, Types 8, 9, and 1 predominantly feel anger. Types 2, 3, and 4 feel shame. Types 5, 6 and 7 feel fear. Each type then responds to the challenge in different ways by some withdrawing, some conceding, and some ready to fight.

Working through these feelings help to understand the core issue. All feelings are valid because they are there to protect you. Understanding where the feelings come from, the reoccurring patterns in our lives, and the desire underneath will help you shift.

Learn more: The Enneagram Institute


By now you may have recognized a theme to these frameworks. Not only are there 3 groups for each, but their groups are very similar and you can almost lay them on top of each other…

Together, these 3 frameworks can help you acknowledge your feelings, understand your desires, and shift from being responsive to external forces to acting from a mindset of feeling enough.

To aid in your journey, I created a foldable paper pyramid to help you revisit these frameworks!

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