There is a new (well new to some people) personality assessment in town called the Enneagram. If you are not familiar with the Enneagram, have no fear – I would love to introduce it to you! I do want to say that I am no professional Enneagram expert or coach by any means, but I do have some experience studying it.
I discovered the Enneagram just over a year ago. Do not get me wrong, I was familiar with other personality assessments, but this was different. Where other assessments left me feeling labeled or trapped in a box, this one left me feeling the opposite: free and understood.
What is It?
So, for those of you who are unfamiliar, the Enneagram is a personality assessment that proposes there are 9 different “types”, each represented on a 9-point graph. Each type has a number and a descriptive title, see below.
1 – The Perfectionist
2 – The Helper
3 – The Achiever
4 – The Individualist
5 – The Investigative Thinker
6 – The Loyalist
7 – The Enthusiast
8 – The Challenger
9 – The Peacemaker
These numbers are for quick reference, essentially. So, do not think of it as a number scale where 1 is better than 2 or 6 is better than 7 – it really is just for reference. Think of it like an abbreviation. For instance, when writing out a recipe most people write tsp for teaspoon instead of the actual word, right? Now that you have a better understanding of what the Enneagram is, I will give you a tiny little snapshot of each type. Please keep in mind that I am just scratching the surface of what the Enneagram is. These descriptions include positive and negative things about each type.
Type 1 – The Perfectionist
Sometimes this type gets a bad rap because they can be very particular and like things a certain way. However, ones are so necessary in the world! They are all about justice and following the rules. Ones typically have a strong conscious and are very moral. They see “in black and white” so to speak.
Type 2 – The Helper
The helper is a very common type, at least in my little sphere of people. I have found that I am friends with a lot of twos. People who identify as twos often put others’ needs before their own. This is typically considered to be a good thing, but twos often neglect their own needs because of this. While they are kind and sacrificial, they can also be possessive and put too much energy into pleasing people.
Type 3 – The Achiever
People who find themselves to be threes are often very driven and want to excel at everything. They seek out competition just so they can show that they are the best. It is very common for top level executives to be threes. A three’s downfall is that they can become obsessed with their image so much so that it can consume them and affect their relationships.
Type 4 – The Individualist
The people who feel all the feels. Fours are very in-tune with their emotions, and quite honestly they enjoy focusing on their feelings. They can be self-absorbed, but they can also be extremely expressive. A lot of fours are artists or are in some kind of creative industry/field. Fours just want to be original, the more they stand out the better.
Type 5 – The Investigative Thinker
Have you ever heard the statement “knowledge is power” (thought to have been said by Francis Bacon)? If so, it might have been coming out of a five’s mouth. Fives feel like they have to be an expert on anything they do or anything they are a part of. If they feel the least bit inadequate they will withdraw. Fives are extremely analytical and often times intense. Fives can become easily isolated due to thinking they just need to know more.
Type 6 – The Loyalist
Have you ever met someone who was nervous about almost everything? There is a very good chance they are a six. Sixes are very anxious people, while ones need everything in the world to go right and according to plan, sixes need everything in THEIR world to go right. They are very responsible people who like to have a back-up plan. They often find themselves thinking through every possible scenario, even the bad ones. Sixes are not quick to give you their trust, but if they do they are generally committed.
Type 7 – The Enthusiast
Sevens are fun-loving people who enjoy new things and shutter at the thought of routines. People who identify as a seven are good at quite a bit of things, and they enjoy variety. However, sevens can easily become distracted and find themselves struggling to complete tasks. Sevens do not like feeling limited and are very optimistic.
Type 8 – The Challenger
People who identify as eights are very confident people who do not back down from a challenge (hints their name). Eights are often confrontational and feel the need to defend those who cannot defend themselves. With this, eights can be quite stubborn, believing that only their opinion is right. Think of eights like a bulldozer: they are either plowing over people or plowing the way for people.
Type 9 – The Peacemaker
Being the polar opposite of eights, nines find themselves wanting everything to be calm and collected. They are very good at sensing what other people are feeling and what other people need. Being in a tense situation is a nine’s worse nightmare. They sometimes think that their opinion does not matter and can become very complacent.
Whew, I honestly forgot how much there is to know about the Enneagram. Again, those are very brief overviews of each type.
The Enneagram’s Purpose
Now that you know a little bit about each type, you might be wondering why it all matters. Well, it matters because the Enneagram is a tool that CAN HELP YOU GROW and point you towards Christ! Once you identify your type, you can read and research where you go in stress and where you go in health.
That may sound a little wonky to you, but think of it this way: you have good days and bad days and sometimes it is hard to identify why. Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and cannot figure out how to get out of it, but the Enneagram can help you. Am I saying that the Enneagram is your fix all that will conquer your problems, absolutely not. What I am saying is that the Enneagram is an incredible tool to help you identify common tendencies of your type, and it helps point out where you need grace the most.
For me, the Enneagram has been monumental. I finally understood why I respond to certain things the way I do. It has also made me aware of certain tendencies that I have that I never realized. The Enneagram has also given me a better understanding of how to interact with people who are different than me. Although, the biggest thing is that it has made me even more aware of how much I need God and his grace. I am human. We all are, we may be different types, but we are all sinners in need of God’s love.
Man oh man, I could go on forever; however, I know that your brain is about to explode from all the information. If you found this interesting and want to know more, I would encourage you to seek out an Enneagram expert. One of the people that taught me a lot of what I know is Beth McCord. She is the founder of http://www.yourenneagramcoach.com/, and has a wealth of knowledge about the Enneagram. I have attached the link to an Enneagram quiz on her site below, but I would highly recommend researching the different types in addition to taking the quiz. I also highly recommend these two books: Self to Lose, Self to Find by Marilyn Vancil and Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron.
Link to Enneagram Assessment: https://www.yourenneagramcoach.com/p/yecassessment
If you made it to the end of this post, I applaud you and thank you! I also want to ask: What type do you think I am?
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