If you've ever known a perfectionist then read on, it may shed some light on their behavior and exacting standards. Jeff Lewis's outrageous antics on the hit Bravo show Flipping Out gives us an entertaining opportunity to see someone's Enneagram style at work. Let's explore the ways in which Jeff exhibits the characteristics of the One and some of the issues which are common to many Ones.
Jeff Lewis is a great example of a One with a Two wing (1w2).
"The 1w2 tends to be more outgoing, outspoken, and people oriented than the 1w9. He's also more grounded, more apt to voice his opinions, and more in the grip of the One-ish tendency to get tied in knots over wanting to speak out against something he doesn't like versus the need to solidly justify his critiques. "-Susan Rhodes, The Positive Enneagram
Although Jeff exhibits the sort of detachment and minimalist qualities of the 1w9 as well, particularly in his aesthetic tastes for minimalist/modern decor, he primarily exhibits the expressiveness and emotionally demonstrativeness of the Two style in conjunction with the perfectionism of his core One personality style.
One's want to strive for perfection and improvement of both their environment and themselves. Ones harbor a gut centered certainty of how the world should be and how people should behave within that world. This is the Reformer archetype who feels a deep sense of right and wrong, and finds that their gut instinct of ethics, appropriateness, and perfection drive every action, but can alternately be exhausting and creating a relentless critical voice.
In the television show Jeff, who is building a real estate empire as an interior designer, house flipper and real estate consultant, is frequently faced with what he sees as the incompetence of other people. Ones are notorious for believing (either secretly or quite boisterously) that others do not "have it together" and are inefficient, impractical and lazy. Unaware Ones may push others to strive to meet their exacting and perfectionistic standards, which are by very nature, impossible to meet thus feeding their belief that things must constantly be improved upon and it is their job to make sure that this happens.
The show comedically portrays Jeff's Obsessive Compulsive Personality as well as his Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. He is chronically punctual, obsessively organized, and requires that his house be kept in a state of pristine, clutter-free perfection by his faithful type Nine (The Peacemaker) housekeeper Zoila. Zoila balances Jeff's high-strung, tightly wound personality style with her relatively easy going, almost door-mat like ability to ignore Jeff's antics. Jeff seems to surround himself with mostly Nine employees. This is likely because on some level he recognizes their ability to remain relatively calm in the face of his "freak outs".
Jeff's need to keep his environment clear of clutter, dust, and dirt and his self professed germophobia (along with a bevvy of other phobias) is not uncommon for the often cleanliness obsessed One, who can see the environment around them as a direct reflection of an inner sense of self. If the house is dirty, he is dirty, which is unacceptable. Jeff's phobias could be part and parcel to the Six in his tritype.(Remember our tritype espouses that we have one type in each center that we utilize that supports our dominant Enneagram type).
The Six in his tritype exacerbates the appearance of phobias. Jeff is likely the 164 tritype which heightens his emotional reactivity (both Fours and Sixes are reactive types) and creates a more persnickety personality style. As a One, Jeff channels his persnickety nature into keeping extreme order, efficiency and practicality in his work and home life. However, with the Four thrown in he ends up behaving a bit like a frustrated diva when things aren't done to his specifications. Jeff's relationship with housekeeper Zoila is mutli-layered. While he does want her to "clean a mean house" he also relies on her for companionship due to the loss of his mother as a child. Zoila serves not only as housekeeper but also surrogate mother. Despite his obvious attachment to Zoila his lack of sentimentality, exacting standards and reluctance to praise can take its toll on even an enduring Nine:
In the following clip you can see Jeff "flip out" on his assistant Sarah (a somewhat ditsy, but kind Nine). His rant is characteristic of an unaware One who becomes incensed at what he believes to be the irresponsibility of others. Notice the admonishing like quality, as though he is an angry parent speaking to a child:
The interesting thing about Jeff Lewis' outburst is that he was completely unaware of the inappropriateness of his admonishment until it was brought to his attention by his Nine assistant Jenny, who frequently acts as an equalizer for Jeff (a role Nines . The One is often blind to their own irritation, anger and indignation until they explode in a fit of rage as he did in the preceding clip. He mentions that he has been "keeping it in" which is not uncommon for this type as repression and reaction formation (making negative emotions into something more positive) are substituted for genuine expression of anger in an appropriate and reasonable way. All efforts to be "reasonable" or "practical" are blown away due to the tendency to repress. The gut types (8,9,1) all have problems with repression and anger. The One controls the anger in order to be appropriate and correct until the bottom can no longer hold, whereas the Eight over-expresses anger and the Nine overly-represses anger.
Jeff's irritation and intolerance of emotionality and sentimentality are not uncommon with the rationally minded Ones. Ones can often seem like Fives in their attachment to rationality and logic. This is due to the Ones value of being practical and even minded. Ones have a connection to Four (which is an emotionally labile style) but they often develop a negative identification with their connection to Four. The fear is that if they give into their emotionality and negative feelings they will be imperfect, wrong, or be rendered ineffectual, lazy and illogical. Despite this fear, many Ones will harbor secret moodiness or melancholy that they nurse when alone. There can be an identification with suffering or pain but this is often embraced only in the safety of their solitude (if they even allow that). The pressure of perfecting themselves and/or the world can become like a heavy weight on their psyche.
As a house flipper Jeff often deals with clients who want to maintain aspects of their homes or spaces due to a sentimental attachment. Jeff is perplexed by this emotional attachment as he has siphoned off his own emotionality and therefore cannot understand why some of his clients may be attached to a couch or a child's toy. His desire to maintain order, cleanliness and perfection manifests as a desire to eliminate excess clutter or mess (which in Jeff's mind includes old couches, children's toys or other sentimental items of significance).
Here's Jeff exhibiting some of his anti-emotionality:
Jeff is fixated on right and wrong, and feels compelled to force his employees to admit when they have done something wrong. His crusade against "wrong" manifests in his instinctual arena (as it will for most people). For example, the social One will manifest their focus on correctness and appropriateness in the arena of social conduct (i.e., manners, politics, religion, etc-think Miss Manners or Hillary Clinton both Social Ones), whereas the sexual subtype of One will manifest perfectionism in the arena of their intimate relationships or their own attractiveness. Jeff is a self preservation subtype One.
By nature all self preservation subtypes are focused on the home, health, security, food and issues of the self and survival. Jeff's career has a very self preservation focus (home renovation, real estate, interior design) and when his employees make mistakes it is a strong trigger which compels him to investigate this wrongness and force the other to identify or admit their mistakes because a mistake at work can feel like an incredible threat to the self preservation One and will ignite high anxiety when it comes to the financial well being and the fluidity and management of their business and assets.
Tom Condon writes about the Self Preservation One:
"[They are] characterized by a tendency toward worry and negative anticipation, especially as it relates to material well-being. Can seem a little like Sixes. they fret about how to avoid making mistakes that could jeopardize survival. Petty, finicky quality, could seem "penny-wise and pound foolish". As a parent or friend they might be critical and nurturing by turns, wanting to protect you from the same negative consequences they worry about." -Tom Condon, Enneagram and Movie Guide.
Predictably Jeff is not willing to admit his mistakes while bullying others to "own up to their mistakes". His own deep seeded fear of making a mistake causes him to zero in on it in other people and aggressively ferret it out to help qwell his own anxiety. The Six in his tritype exacerbates this investigative, persecuting and detective like quality as he can easily become obsessive about finding mistakes and seems to even delight in pointing them out. In the following clip you can see Jeff repeatedly making mention of mistakes. His lexical usage is very indicative of his One style, as well the frequent use of words like; "wrong", "unacceptable", "incorrect", "incompetent" and "mistake". We all use these words, but when it shows up in the everyday language of an individual we can bet that they have some sort of One component to their personality:
Here's another example:
Stiffness and irritability:
Jeff's body language is a bit stilted and stiff. This is not uncommon with some Ones as they tend to hold tension in the body as a physical manifestation of the tension they are holding emotionally. The gut types tend to manifest somatic symptoms more readily than some of the other types, and with Ones there is a tendency toward stiffness and if unchecked can branch into issues with neck and shoulder pain as well as headaches (which a preponderance of Ones report). Many Ones will store tension in the head/neck area as a literal physical manifestation of being "upright". The posture is kept straight as a somatic response to the desire to be upstanding. The irritability and constant tension is held in the body.
Ironically Jeff's obsessive compulsiveness and perfectionism do not extend to his behavior toward others. Jeff is often crossing boundaries with clients and coworkers. He seems to be unaware of his own assertiveness to some extent and has a tendency to blurt inappropriate or unprofessional comments, only to be somewhat embarrassed after it has slipped out of is mouth. Many extroverted individuals have a tendency to blurt, so this is a good indication of Jeff's extroversion. However this seems to contradict the Ones habit of being restrained and appropriate. It could be that his value of honesty causes him difficulty in filtering his opinions even when appropriate.
Despite Jeff's more difficult character traits he often maintains a relatively good sense of humor (except about himself). He surrounds himself with mostly Nines who understand his somewhat dark and sardonic sense of humor. Jeff even has a bit of a sadistic streak which he shows with intimates like Jenny and Zoila. Here he is having some sadistic fun with Jenny:
All in all Jeff has good intentions and appears to deeply care about his professional and personal relationships. He is passionate about his work and is truly committed to doing his best in all of his endeavors. His tendency to "flip out" comes from his own core fear of making a mistake and being wrong. His internal and external perfectionism causes him to exact his standards on his world, but it's important to remember with any One that to the extent they are delivering criticism to others is the extent that they are criticizing themselves.
Jeff Lewis is the 146 tritype which has been deemed "The Philosopher" by Katherine Fauvre, which at first glance may seem odd but when glancing at the core issues and blindspot of this tritype it fits Jeff quite nicely. It may be said that Jeff's philosophy is centered around the belief that people should be honest, hard-working, tasteful and well...strive for perfection.
The following was excerpted from Katherine Fauvre's seminal work on tritype:
Archetype: They are "diligent, intuitive, and inquisitive. You want to be ethical, original and certain. Morally focused, you have strong emotions and are inclined to voice your feelings and intuitions. You care deeply and want to help others improve their lives and the expectations they have of themselves."
Core Triggers: Feeling wrong, inadequate and/or uncertain.
Core Fears: The core fears are of being wrong, bad, evil, angry, inappropriate, unqualified, corruptible, nonredeemable, condemned, being inadequate, emotionally cut off, mundane, ordinary, commonplace, being abandoned, fear itself, danger, being alone, cowardice, submitting, and deviance, uncertainty, targeted, and chaos.
Blind Spot: The blind spot is that they can be so identified with what they perceive is the morally correct way of being that they can come across as overly prudish, rigid and inflexible. When they feel insecure, they can be overly critical of themselves and others and appear to be a snob.
Growing Edge: The growing edge is to recognize that authenticity is not cultivated. Their inclination is to create a sense of self around an identity of being informed and educated. Sophistry is a mimic of being. True awareness comes from being present to the moment rather than developing an image of being ‘in the know’.
Final Weigh in: Jeff Lewis 1w2 (146 tritype) Self Preservation subtype