How an Enneagram Type 2s healthy boundaries led to major success
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Do you struggle with boundaries? So did my guest and Enneagram Type 2, Melissa Lin.
Melissa is a podcaster and CEO who helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses. She was only able to get to a successful place in her business by making a change. And guess what that change was? Boundaries!
Interview with Melissa Lin
Callie: Tell me about when you figured out your Enneagram type and how you found out about the Enneagram?
Melissa: I didn’t know much about it before someone asked about it. So I started researching and took one of the free online quizzes and found out I was a Type 2. And it made so much sense! This is exactly who I am. I’m reading through the fears and blocks in my life and it spoke to me. It’s crazy because as a Enneagram Type 2, I am one of the biggest recovering people-pleasers and I’m still working on that process.
It’s been a huge struggle for me personally and in my business. A lot of it is behind the scenes where I was giving so much that it got to a point a year and a half ago I was burning out from giving so much to me. I’m a giver and a helper and it started changing the stories I was telling myself. Is this what I’m meant to do? Creating boundaries was one of the biggest things that helped me build my business as a Type 2.
C: I think when a lot of Type 2s hear the word “boundaries” it makes them cringe. But when you have the right boundaries, it actually helps you thrive and experience more freedom in your life, in your business, in your soul, and in your headspace.
So you started out as a health and fitness coach, then transitioned into business coaching before leaving your 9-5. How did you explain to your family you were going to switch from your career as an engineer to the online space?
M: I warned them before it was coming, that I might be making this transition. My dad gave me the whole “oh why don’t you start an engineering business!” But I left my job and didn’t tell my parents for two months. I was so terrified, but when I did tell them they were so supportive.
C: Type 2s really have this desire to be wanted and loved and they’re willing to do what it takes - and that’s your strength, but it can also be a curse when that’s what controls you rather than identifying this is what I want. So, walk me through what that was like to actually leave your job and pursue what you wanted?
M: I get goosebumps even hearing that question! This was over two years ago. I had been thinking about it for a while and before I left I thought I was Superwoman who could do it all and give to everybody and not sleep much. Then I started to get some birds in my ear, other entrepreneurs and they began asking me, “Melissa, what are you doing in your 9-5 still? Why are you still there??”
One of the big things for me was I knew deep down I couldn’t take on any more clients. I was in my car at lunch taking coaching calls, before work, after work and trying to make it work. But I also knew to make that big dream of mine, staying in my 9-5 wasn’t going to get me any closer.
C: That is key right there! You started having this vision for your life and THAT began to override the need to people please. You wanted to give, travel and serve people. I’m so happy you shared that because that’s often what Type 2’s can lack - and all of us. This is what gets us caught up in survival mode.
M: One-hundred percent. Everything comes back to vision!
C: Okay so let’s go back to boundaries. So, you quit your job in 2018 and you’ve been running your business now for about two years. Type 2s in general can struggle with boundaries because it’s so easy for you to take on so many things and feel like you can do all the things and keep going. But, there is a point where you will burn out. You have to take care of your soul so you can take care of others’ souls. When did you learn that boundaries were important for you in your business?
M: I never want to say it was too late, but when I did I was physically burnt out. The really early stages of my business in 2014-2015, I was really undervaluing myself, undercharging, giving people my personal cell phone number, all that. I didn’t know any better.
The person that I am as an Enneagram Type 2, when I get a notification on my phone, my initial reaction is “I have to stop what I’m doing and answer.” For me to move out of that and save myself, I had to put boundaries up. After just one day, I had so much relief it felt like I got 10 years of my life back.
C: What’s an example of some of those boundaries you put up?
M: A few big ones, which I push my clients to do, is turning off ALL social media notifications. They can wait for you when you’re ready. Be intentional with time on social media. My clients know how much I love them, they’re my girls; however, I don’t leave Voxer notifications on. I’m intentional with how often I go into Voxer. I set expectations with my clients.
My very first group coaching program included Voxer 1:1 access and set no boundaries at all. I remember waking up one morning with seven different messages with over 10 minute voice messages. This was before I knew you could speed up the audio. I almost sat there and started crying and thinking I couldn’t do this.
I was so set on the results and the giving, and I was afraid of letting go of Voxer. That was hard to make a new boundary. But I can tell you now my clients in that program still get amazing results without Voxer access.
C: I find that when I take Voxer access away or make it less, my clients actually get more results because they show up with more excitement to talk with me on our calls and we get to work. If you’re listening and don’t have a business, even with friendships, it’s the quality over quantity.
M: I agree! And you’re also giving them the space to make their own empowering decisions. As coaches we can't hand-hold, we have to allow them to get to their own realizations of what to do.
C: Have you implemented boundaries in your personal life, too? Maybe even with friendships or family or your boyfriend? Type 2s can struggle to take care of themselves in this way.
M: I have a pretty strict work schedule so I give myself as much time as I need in the morning to go through my morning routine. My friends know if they don’t get on my calendar they may not hear from me. And they make fun of me for it but I have to! They usually know when I’m available - Fridays are lighter so I can catch up with them then and go on walks or calls. My real strict boundaries are clients, business, my team is on my Slack channel, I get no email notifications to my phone, it all goes to my work computer and iPad. We have to separate it. We are more than our businesses.
C: What do you want to say to a fellow Enneagram Type 2, or anyone struggling with people-pleasing like you were 2-3 years ago?
M: You’ve got to fill your cup before you can fill anyone else’s. You get to please yourself first and take care of you. How can you serve yourself to the fullest if your battery pack isn’t at 100%?
Melissa’s Instagram @themelissalin
Follow Callie's Instagram @callieammons