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What Can I Do?

Feeling refreshed after taking time out last week to focus on what I could do to fill my cup, I sat down to my desk today to compile a list of what measurable, time-based, and realistic action I could take in the first few months of this year to be the change I want to see in the world.

My list looked like this:

1) Attend the Seattle WA, Women's March on January 21st at 8 am.

2) Host a diaper drive at work on behalf of my local diaper bank as 'diaper need' is an often overlooked contributor to poverty among women. Completion date, March 1st, 2017.

3) Sit down with at least five people who have a 'grossly different' view of the world than me and listen with an intention to find common hopes and fears. Completion date, June 1st 2017.

So that's my list for now.

But, as I was writing my list it occurred to me that it might be important to remind us all that each person's list (or not list) will be as different and diverse as the people who write them.

Why? Well if we speak in Enneagram terms you'll remember that there are at least fifty-four unique internal drivers that shape how we humans move through the world, and each of these is influenced by varying levels of self-development and a hierarchy of needs.

Without detailing here the fifty-four unique ways you might go about coming up with your list, or, more importantly, learn to STOP JUDGING other people's lists, let me break down three different ways you could go about this exercise.

The Enneagram points us to three innate instincts that influence where our attention goes on a subconscious level - social, one-to-one, self-preservation. In preparing for the year ahead each 'instinct,' also known as a subtype, might focus their attention in one of three ways:

A social subytype: Focus goes to the group. Understanding my place in the group will keep me safe.

"Where is my place in the group? How do I get involved"

A one-to-one subtype: Focus goes to intimate connections. Understanding my connection to another person will keep me safe.

"What does my partner need? What do I need to do to keep my family safe?"

A self-preservation: Focus goes to keeping the self safe. Making sure my basic needs are met.

"How will I be safe? What do I need to survive?"

Let me assure you that all three are equally important. As a strong social instinct it has been part of my self-development to harness my one-to-one and self-preservation instinct.

For example, if you look back at my list, I was very considered about how much I felt I could give while also taking into account my attention to self-care, care of my family, and my own personal values.

As you begin to plan for 2017, pay attention to where your attention leads you. Once your personal instinct is satisfied, how can you open yourself up to lessons from the other subtypes?

Lindsey T H Jackson is a Life Coach, movement therapist and storyteller. Contact her at for inspiration, list of services and bookings.

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