The instincts of the Enneagram types are self-preservation (sp), sexual (sx), and social (so). They are traditionally used to define three instinctual subtypes or variations of a basic type (e.g., SP 3, SX 3, and SO 3). One of these three subtypes is called the counter-type because it can look different from the basic type. Below are brief descriptions of the three type 3 instinctual subtypes.
SP 3 - Security, Company Man/Woman (counter-type): security through hard work, material success, and accomplishments; seeks recognition from others through effort not overt self-promotion; can overidentify with work role and career.
SX 3 - Masculine/Feminine, Charisma: presents attractive and pleasing image to others; promotes and supports important others more so than promoting oneself; success of significant others becomes one’s own success.
SO 3 - Prestige, Achievement: adopts the persona and image that garners respect, approval, admiration, etc.; can confuse persona and image with who they truly are; enjoys the spotlight and achieving success, reputation, status, influence as they climb the social ladder.
While an individual may be identified with type 3 in general, that same individual may be more specifically identified with one of the three instinctual subtypes as well.
A more recent approach to using the instincts is instinctual variant stacking which can be used independent of Enneagram type.