At first glance, the Enneagram (any-uh-gram) is a personality typing system that helps us understand who we are what motivates us. But in reality, it is so much more than that.
How is it Useful?
The Enneagram identifies 9 ways of seeing and experiencing the world and describes with amazing accuracy how we think, feel, and act. It is a fantastic tool for all kinds of relationships because it not only helps us see ourselves clearly but gives us compassion for other people in our lives. It also identifies core struggles for each type, which can help us deal with automatic and habitual patterns of behavior. Knowing these can help us get out of our own way so we can grow emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. The Enneagram itself doesn’t change us, but it helps us be honest about who we are and gives us clear steps for real transformation.
The 9 Types
Ones are called The Perfectionist or Reformer. Their focus of attention is often on what is wrong, broken, or out of place. They are motivated by being good, doing things right, and having integrity. Many Ones have a constant critical voice that reminds them of all the things that need to be fixed. Ones struggle with anger but it can often look like resentment, towards themselves and others. They give the best in everything and expect you to do the same. While they are conscientious, responsible, and strive for high ideals, they can also be judgmental, inflexible, and critical of others.
Twos are called The Helper or Giver. Their energy and focus is on finding ways to help and serve others. They are motivated by a deep need to be loved and valued for the assistance they provide. All this helping can at times be altruistic but it can also be just to get appreciation in return. Twos are great at feeling your feelings but can be out of touch when what they feel, need, and want. They are generous, caring, and insightful but at times can be manipulative and overly accommodating.
Threes are called The Achiever or Performer. They are motivated by the need to be successful and impress others. Their social sphere or job often defines this image of success for them, and they can morph or shape-shift to become this image. They are goal oriented, industrious, and get things done. At times they struggle with feelings, theirs and others, pushing them aside in order to be effective and efficient.
Fours are called the Individualist or Romantic. They have a deep need to be authentic and find their own unique sense of identity and purpose. Fours often feel like they are missing something in their life that they rest of us have, and they won't be whole or complete until they find it. They are comfortable with a wide range of emotions and usually wear them on their sleeve. They have the great gifts of being perceptive, intuitive, and compassionate but can also be withdrawn, moody, and self-absorbed.
Fives are called The Observer or Investigator. They have a strong desire to perceive and understand the world around them. They have a hard time depending on others and are often detached from their emotions. Fear and anxiety are a struggle for them and they manage this by gathering information and knowledge. Their energy is limited and everyday interactions can be draining for them. They are often objective, analytical, curious, and insightful but can also be dismissive, arrogant, and distant.
Sixes are called The Loyalist or Skeptic. They focus their energy and time on finding security and support. They are often the most anxious number on the Enneagram and deal with it by relying on outside authority to give them guidance and rules. They also manage their anxiety by engaging in worse-case-scenario thinking. Sixes are very aware of hidden agendas and possible threats. When they are healthy, they are responsible, practical, and trustworthy but they can also become legalistic, rigid, and defensive.
Sevens are called The Enthusiast or Adventurer. They are the most fun number on the Enneagram! They love excitement and are almost always up for an adventure. But behind all of this fun is a deep desire to avoid pain. They live on the happy side of life and struggle with negative emotions. They are masters at reframing situations to find the silver lining. They are energetic, outgoing, spontaneous, and imaginative but can also be impulsive, undisciplined, and restless.
Eights are called The Challenger, Protector or Boss. They are often in charge of groups and can make great leaders. They have the most energy on the Enneagram and tend to stand independently from others or even against them if needed. Protecting themselves and others is a deep motivation but it can cause them to be overly assertive, intense, and aggressive. They are direct, confident, and passionate but rarely open up to others or show much vulnerability.
Nines are called the Peacemaker. They have a strong desire to maintain peace and inner stability and to avoid conflict. They are patient, diplomatic, and make great mediators. They can see multiple points of view which is a great gift but can lead to being indecisive. They can also be stubborn, passive-aggressive and too often merge with others, giving up their own wants and desires.