I’m finally writing about something that has been HUGE in my life over the past 6 months! (my friends & fam know why I’m saying this LOL). I’ve been wanting to write about the Enneagram for a long time, but I often found myself distracted and I guess I just didn’t want to write about something this hard. This post took over 20 hours for me to write because I had to research a lot and tie together many pieces from different sources, so I hope you find it useful!
Have you heard about the Enneagram? Do you have any idea what this is all about? Here’s what I’ve learned from all the books I’ve read so far:
The Enneagram is not just another personality test. It goes way beyond that. It helps you dig deep in your heart to understand WHY you do things you do. It’s being used by major Fortune 500 companies, religious organizations, therapists, universities, and by us regular folks who simply want to improve our relationships with ourselves and others.
When I first found out my type, I cried like a baby. I have never in my life felt more understood. I have also never felt more vulnerable. Just by reading about it online, I learned so much about why I do the things I do and it sparked something in me. I simply needed to learn more.
So… What is the Enneagram?
I’m going to quote one of my favorite Enneagram websites on this one, because they can do a better job than me explaining what the Enneagram is. It can get a little bit complicated as you learn more about it, but here are some of the most simple definitions I found:
“The Enneagram is a system of personality typing that describes patterns in how people conceptualize the world and manage their emotions. The Enneagram model describes nine different personality types and maps each of these types on a nine-pointed diagram which helps to illustrate how the types relate to one another.
The Enneagram reveals that all people belong to one of nine major personality types. The purpose of the Enneagram is not to put you into a box, but to help you identify both the strengths and the limitations of a preferred strategy and to give you guidance on how you may develop more capacity beyond it”. (Source: Truity)
Personality types – According to the Enneagram
Note: The 9 types have different names and it depends on the author. If you click on the article linked above you can read about each type. I just didn’t include it here because it would have made this post too long.
- Type 1: The Reformer – Type Ones are Rational, Idealistic, Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic.
- Type 2: The Helper – Type Twos are Caring, Interpersonal, Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive.
- Type 3: The Achiever – Type Threes are Success-Oriented, Pragmatic, Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious.
- Type 4: The Individualist – Type Fours are Sensitive, Withdrawn, Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental.
- Type 5: The Investigator – Type Fives are Intense, Cerebral, Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated.
- Type 6: The Loyalist – Type Six are Committed, Security-Oriented, Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious.
- Type 7: The Enthusiast – Type Sevens are the Busy, Fun-Loving, Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered.
- Type 8: The Challenger – Type Eights are Powerful, Dominating, Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational.
- Type 9: The Peacemaker – Type Nines are Easygoing, Self-Effacing, Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent.
Each type relates to one another in a unique way. It’s actually beautiful to see. Also notice when you read about each number, they mention some negative traits too. It’s on purpose, because it’s easier to recognize those characteristics within ourselves, so it actually helps us determine our type.
How to determine your Enneagram type:
There are several online tests that will help you narrow your type to 2 or 3 different possibilities. Just please be aware that there are very few cases where these tests are 100% accurate. You have to do your part too.
You may have read some of the types above and at least one caught your attention, right? But remember, in order to determine your type you have to dig deep about WHY you do what you do, so here are the core desires, weaknesses and fears related to each type:
Core Motivations, Desires and Fears: (Source: Your Enneagram Coach)
- Type 1: The Reformer
Desires: Having integrity, being good, balanced, accurate, virtuous, and right.
Fears: Being wrong, bad, evil, inappropriate, unredeemable, or corruptible
Weakness: Resentment—repressing anger that leads to continual frustration and dissatisfaction with yourself, others, and the world for not being perfect.
- Type 2: The Helper
Desires: Being appreciated, loved, and wanted.
Fears: Being rejected and unwanted, being thought worthless, needy, inconsequential, dispensable, or unworthy of love.
Weakness: Pride —denying your own needs and emotions while using your amazing intuition to discover and focus on the emotions and needs of others, confidently inserting your helpful support in hopes that others will say how grateful they are for your thoughtful care.
- Type 3: The Achiever
Desires: Having high status and respect, being admired, successful, and valuable.
Fears: Being exposed as or thought incompetent, inefficient, or worthless; failing to be or appear successful.
Weakness: Deceit —deceiving yourself into believing that you are only the image you present to others; embellishing the truth by putting on a polished persona for everyone (including yourself) to see and admire.
- Type 4: The Individualist
Desires: Being unique, special, and authentic.
Fears: Being inadequate, emotionally cut off, plain, mundane, defective, flawed, or insignificant.
Weakness: Envy—feeling that you’re tragically flawed, something foundational is missing inside you, and others possess qualities you lack.
- Type 5: The Investigator
Desires: Being capable and competent.
Fears: Being annihilated, invaded, or not existing; being thought incapable or ignorant; having obligations placed upon you or your energy depleted.
Weakness: Avarice—feeling that you lack inner resources and that too much interaction with others will lead to catastrophic depletion; withholding yourself from contact with the world; holding onto your resources and minimizing your needs.
- Type 6: The Loyalist
Desires: Having security, guidance, and support.
Fears: Feeling fear itself, being without support, security, or guidance; being blamed, targeted, alone, or physically abandoned.
Weakness: Anxiety—scanning the horizon of life and trying to predict and prevent negative outcomes (especially worst-case scenarios); remaining in a constant state of apprehension and worry.
- Type 7: The Enthusiast
Desires: Being happy, fully satisfied, and content.
Fears: Being deprived, trapped in emotional pain, limited, or bored; missing out on something fun.
Weakness: Gluttony—feeling a great emptiness inside and having an insatiable desire to “fill yourself up” with experiences and stimulation in hopes of feeling completely satisfied and content.
- Type 8: The Challenger
Desires: Protecting yourself and those in your inner circle.
Fears: Being weak, powerless, harmed, controlled, vulnerable, manipulated, and left at the mercy of injustice.
Weakness: Lust/Excess—constantly desiring intensity, control, and power; pushing yourself willfully on life and people in order to get what you desire.
- Type 9: The Peacemaker
Motivations: Having inner stability and peace of mind.
Fears: Being in conflict, tension, or discord; feeling shut out and overlooked; losing connection with others.
Weakness: Sloth—remaining in an unrealistic and idealistic world in order to keep the peace, remain easy-going, and not be disturbed by your anger; falling asleep to your passions, abilities, desires, needs, and worth by merging with others.
As you can see there are a lot of deep, dark feelings listed above. I wasn’t joking when I said you’ll have to do your homework and start digging deep into your soul and heart in order to determine your type. However, don’t feel overwhelmed! There are many online tools that will help you narrow down your options.
Favorite FREE online tests to discover your type
I did many tests. They all clearly stated I was a Type 1. And I really am. It took me a while to accept it, but I am a Type 1.
Here are the 2 tests I think are the best ones:
These are both amazing resources. I encourage you to take them both because they are very different. Each takes like 10-15 mins and you only have to click and not write, but you should be fully focused and thinking about your answers, so the results are more accurate.
Very important things to know about the Enneagram
- You can only be one type. One. Just one. Read that again. Just one.
- It’s not about the things you do… It’s about WHY you do them. What is the core motivation or fear behind every decision you make.
- No type is better or worse than another.
- Use it only for yourself. I know it’s tempting to start trying to figure out which type everyone is, but instead of doing that, share with them the tools so they can find their type on their own. As I mentioned before, to figure out your type you need to know your core longings, fear and motivations and you don’t know that by looking from the outside in.
- It might take some time to figure out your type and that’s perfectly normal. Why? Well, you’ll be surprised… You might not know very well who you are. It took me a couple of months to find out and confirm it. It took G around 3 months. I had to do a lot of soul searching, but I’m so happy I did it. As I said before, I have never felt more understood and I feel like now I have all the tools to growth in certain areas of my life.
- You don’t have to be a Christian to understand it. The Enneagram is used in a lot of Christian settings with the belief that God created us a certain way and the Enneagram is a tool to truly see ourselves the same way God sees us and in order to have a better relationship with God, we have to know ourselves better. Isn’t that so beautiful? However, you can still use it if you are not a Christian. There are many Enneagram coaches that do not mention the Gospel at all. The Enneagram itself is not a religious thing. It’s just a tool churches are using to guide people through self discovery and to improve relationships.
Favorite Enneagram books
I have read 4 different books and I loved them ALL! Here they are in case you want to dive in. They are all on Amazon.
- The road back to you. By Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. I recommend starting with this one. It covers all the basics and describes each type in a very detailed way. I personally read through every single type because we are all connected and we have certain characteristics of each type. I also asked everyone I love to figure out their type so I could learn how to love them better and just be a better friend in general, but that’s just me being a 1 LOL.
- The road back to us. By Suzanne Stabile. I absolutely loved this one too because after figuring out my type and everyone else’s in my life, this book served as a great tool to learn how to navigate relationships in a much healthier way. I loved that it helped me understand other numbers better and to have more empathy towards the people I love the most. It’s game changing to try to see life and situations through other people’s perspectives.
- Becoming us. By Beth & Jeff McCord. This is the one I’m reading right now. I’ve only read a third and I really like it. It’s mostly about relationships, but there’s a lot of useful advice and it has open my eyes to see things differently and understand how a healthy relationship works and how to get there.
- The Enneagram collection. Type 1. By Beth McCord. This one is specifically for my type, but there’s one for each type and after you find out which type you are, I strongly recommend you to get your hands on one of these. You can find yours on Amazon.
Favorite Enneagram Instagram accounts to follow:
There are so many online tools to learn more about the Enneagram and some of the bets ones are on Instagram. Here are some of my faves in no particular order:
- Lindsay B – @lindsay_b_talkin_enneagram
- Gina – @ginagomez.co
- Beth McCord – @yourenneagramcoach
- Josh & Liz – @justmyenneatype
- Enneagram Explained – @enneagramexplained
- Sarajane Case – @enneagramandcoffee
- Enneagram Enthusiast – @enneagramenthusiast
So…. Now you know your type… What comes next?
The million dollar question. To be honest I’m still working on this. It’s a lot of information and it requires a lot of internal work and growth, but it’s 100% worth it. I’m going through the books and doing some journaling. It’s been really hard for me to figure out how I feel about every little emotion that’s inside me, because I’ve suppressed them for so long that I think I forgot how to deal with them. Before learning about the Enneagram, as sad as it is to admit, I didn’t really know or understand myself and my actions very well, so it’s been a journey.
I’ve seen a lot of the IG accounts I mentioned above have one on one sessions, workshops and online courses. Maybe I’ll try that later, but I’m not sure yet. Whatever you decide to do after, for now, I just encourage you to figure out your type and start learning about yourself. I think that’s a great way to start!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. I know this was long and I swear I tried to keep it simple, but there’s so much to learn about this powerful tool. I’m hardly an expert, but I’m here to help in any way I can 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Hope you all have a great weekend and please stay safe out there.