3 Keys to Success

Renee Bethel

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published May 11, 2022
3 Keys to Success

True success is about believing, loving, and obeying God. This involves engaging your head, your heart, and your gut/body actions. Success is about being transformed by the work of God in your mind, in your heart, and in the things you do in your life. 

According to Merriam Webster, success is a favorable or desired outcome or attaining wealth, favor, or importance. If we are honest with ourselves, we all want success. How you define and measure success depends on how you are wired and your unique circumstances. You may have different definitions of success for different areas of your life, such as personally and professionally.

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses shares that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). He is reminding the Israelites to keep all of the statutes and commandments so that they can enjoy long life and so that they can prosper and increase in a land flowing with milk and honey just as God promised (Deuteronomy 6:1-3). Now that sounds like the dictionary definition of success!

The Bible says success is to “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). In this verse, you are told to honor God with your thoughts (head), with what you say (heart - out of the heart the mouth speaks Matthew 12:34), and with what you do (gut/instinct). Then you will be successful.

Honoring God with your head, your heart, and your gut, this holistic wisdom of God, is mentioned throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible (Deuteronomy 10:12, Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27). Let’s look at an ancient personality tool to learn more about these centers of intelligence, understand ourselves better, and discover how this knowledge relates to success:

The Enneagram as an Insightful Tool

The Enneagram is an ancient personality assessment that helps you understand why you think, feel, and act the way you do. It gives you insight into how you view the world. Each of the nine personality types has certain motivations that drive the thoughts, feelings, and actions of that personality type.

One important thing to remember is that while the Enneagram is an insightful tool into your inner world and motivations, the Word of God is the only thing that can bring lasting transformation to your life. (Hebrews 4:12)

Thoughts (head), feelings (heart), and actions (gut/instinct) can also be referred to as head intelligence (IQ), emotional/heart intelligence (EQ), and gut intelligence (GQ). These intelligences line up with the way you were designed by God. You were created to love God, others, and yourself with all of your heart, soul (mind, emotions, will), mind, and strength. (Mark 12:30

The Centers of Intelligence Triad

The nine personality types of the Enneagram can be grouped into threes called a "triad." One of the most well-known triads is the Centers of Intelligence Triad, which consists of the Head Triad, the Heart Triad, and the Gut Triad. 

There are three personality types in the Head Triad, three personality types in the Heart Triad, and three personality types in the Gut Triad. Each of these Triads has its preferred way of relating to the world. As Don Riso states in Personality Types, “in each Triad, one of the types over expresses the characteristic faculty of the Triad, another type under expresses the faculty, and the third is most out of touch with the faculty.”

The Enneagram Personality Types Within Each Triad:

Head Triad (thinking center) - Enneagram types 5, 6, 7

Heart Triad (feeling center) - Enneagram types 2, 3, 4

Gut Triad (instinctual center) - Enneagram types 8, 9, 1

So, what are the 3 keys to success in your personal and professional life?

1. Engage Your Head or Your Thinking Center of Intelligence

In the Thinking Center (IQ), you lead with your mind and focus on ideas, gathering information, and having safety and security.

2. Engage Your Heart or Your Feeling Center of Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) can be defined as the capacity to notice, control, and express your emotions. In the Feeling Center you lead with your heart and feelings and focus on relationships and meeting the expectations of others.

3. Engage Your Gut or your Instinctual Center of Intelligence

The Instinctive Center (GQ) is also called the body center or gut center and is characterized by gut-level perceptions, being in control of yourself and your environment.

It’s essential to connect with yourself and others using your IQ, EQ, and GQ to create harmony and enjoyment in yourself and in your relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. Harmony is a pleasing and orderly arrangement of parts. It’s about being congruent where everything fits with the way God created and intended.

Adele and Doug Calhoun and Clare and Scott Loughrige, authors of Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram, A Handbook for Harmony and Transformation, state “Jesus knew how to do this. He practiced loving God, friends, and enemies with every fiber of his being using his head, heart, and gut. His emotional intelligence (EQ) overflowed with compassion and love. His wisdom (IQ) confounded and brought the truth. His deep gut strength (GQ) wasn’t afraid to feel pain and sacrifice for love. Jesus gave his life to create harmony and love between us all. We who are made in the image of God are meant to use our three intelligences just as Jesus did.” 

Engaging your three Centers of Intelligence can begin with simply noticing what is going on in each area:

What does your head think?

What does your heart feel?

What does your gut or body know?

It’s also helpful to discover which Center of Intelligence you go to first. Each Enneagram personality type naturally goes to one Center of Intelligence (head, heart, or gut) when they process, react, and respond to things in life. Each Enneagram type has a Center that they tend to repress or underuse. Once you become aware of your default Center of Intelligence (the one you go to first), you can take steps to engage the other Centers of Intelligence. 

Taking action to learn more about who God created you to be and then using that information to grow personally helps you emotionally, spiritually, and physically, and also benefits your relationships with others and your work life. 

Just as “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52), shouldn’t we do the same? Regarding this Bible verse, Charles Stone, author of Holy Noticing, states, “Wisdom relates to our thinking and emotions, stature correlates to our physical bodies, in favor with God relates to our spiritual selves - our souls, and in favor with man points to our relationships.”

True success is about believing, loving, and obeying God. This involves engaging your head, your heart, and your gut/body actions. Success is about being transformed by the work of God in your mind, in your heart, and in the things you do in your life.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)


Holy Noticing, Charles Stone examines the relationship between our spirits and God in relation to our minds, emotions, and wills, providing a model to practice holy noticing and the positive brain science behind holy noticing.

Finding Me Christian Coaching - Discover your Enneagram Type, get clarity on your dominant Center of Intelligence, and have a thirty-minute coaching call to discuss your results here.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Kerkez

Renee Bethel headshotRenee Bethel, author of Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself, is a Professional Christian Life Coach and a Certified Enneagram Coach. Her passion lies in guiding growth-minded Christian moms towards embracing their identity in Christ and finding freedom in the finished work of Jesus. If you're ready to change the way you view yourself and your place in the world, join her FREE 31 Day Challenge to Embrace Your Identity in Christ.