When I was 24, I woke up for the first time.
It was at a Lady Gaga concert. Half-way through, Lady Gaga dismissed the dancers, rolled out an acoustic piano, and played “Born This Way” by herself. Next thing I knew, I was weeping.The song is an anthem for authenticity. As an Enneagram 3, I was a high functioning chameleon for most of my life. I smiled when I was supposed to, polished my manners, and built an impressive resume. I got straight A’s in high school and went to Princeton. There, I starred in theater productions, performed in a dance company, sang in an a cappella group, and ran for office in every group I was a part of. After college, I wondered: should I apply to Stanford Law School? Or, no, maybe Stanford Graduate School for Engineering…
When Lady Gaga played her song, I realized everything in a flash: I had lived my life in a trance, obsessed with a notion of success that was not my own. I had never asked myself, “What do you really want, Josh?” I had no idea. Apparently I wanted to go to Stanford. Why? For the same reason I did everything else: it would mean I was worth something.
This is the path of 3s. When we aren’t present, we chase success, and we lose ourselves. But when we become present, we rediscover ourselves and become authentic.
At the time, I was a high school physics teacher and writing tutor. I decided to quit and become a piano player. It was the first life choice I ever made for myself. The problem — I didn’t know how to play piano. I learned some songs from YouTube and 2 months later, I auditioned at a dueling piano bar called Howl at the Moon. I got hired. 2.5 years later, I opened Howl’s St. Louis location as band leader, and 1.5 years after that, I opened the Times Square location as a starting performer.
When I learned about the type 3, I was shocked. The description was so exact. I was embarrassed to be so blatantly called out, but also inspired — the Enneagram is beautifully precise in showing you both your shadow and your light. I also couldn’t believe that it described others as accurately as it did me. I became obsessed.
The Enneagram opened me to the truth that we are all inherently good. It also awakened my chief gift — seeing the gloriousness of other people. The Enneagram continues to deepen for me. It is an extraordinary tool for insight and compassion. I use it every day in all of my relationships, and teaching it is one of my greatest passions.
Post-piano life, I took a job as a Learning and Development Manager at FoodKick — a grocery delivery startup run by FreshDirect. The guiding questions for me were: “How does a company culture in which people are seen as inherently good and appreciated for who they are drive business results? And what does it look like operationally?” I rewrote employee policies, redesigned wage structures, and created operations trainings and leadership development workshops that aimed to foster such a culture. I learned the revolutionary promise of this approach and the challenges of implementing it without full organizational alignment.
My purpose as a life coach, Enneagram teacher, and entrepreneur is to help usher in a revolution in our collective way of being — one that embraces an integral sensibility, that honors inner work as much as outer achievements, and that champions love, planetary harmony, and the deepening of our consciousness.
To deepen myself, I meditate daily, practice Aikido and Alexander Technique, and draw inspiration from many teachers including Parker Palmer, Ken Wilber, Peter Senge, Frederic Laloux, Wendy Palmer, Byron Katie, Russ Hudson, Krista Tippet, David Whyte, Mary Oliver, and Adyashanti.
If the above speaks to you, please consider enrolling in a coaching program with me or attending one of my Enneagram workshops. I’d be delighted to connect.
What People Say
Josh’s Enneagram class blew my mind. I want everyone I work with to know this tool. If you are a start up founder, a leader of any organization, or a human in any other context, you should know this tool. And you should learn it from Josh.~ Dan Teran, Managed By Q, Founder & CEO
During my first coaching session with Josh, I was able to unearth professional barriers that I had been wrestling with for three years.~ Emily Rose Tormey, Marketing Expert
In all honestly, I went into Josh’s retreat weekend somewhat skeptical. All I can say is WOW, thank God I embarked on such a life-changing weekend. It’s scary to imagine a world where I didn’t attend.~ Carter Cleveland, Artsy, Founder & Executive Chairman
Whether you’re just starting out on a contemplative journey or if you’ve been on the spiritual path for a while, Josh meets you where you are with insight, wise guidance, and warmth. I can’t recommend him enough.~ Alex Sarkissian, Cure Hydration, Co-Founder