We’ve been downloaded on exploring our Enneagram and how it can help us see ourselves, our strengths, and our soft spots more clearly. We know that self-exploration, while seemingly indulgent, is really about a deep understanding. It’s difficult to be honest with ourselves—to truly know ourselves, and allow acceptance and clarity so that we can move forward with the intent to always be better, always improving, and thus, thriving.
We spoke with Debbie Burditt, founder of the Enneagram Group, who knows exactly how this application can be used directly to improve our lives, loves, friendships, and careers. She tells us that “the Enneagram is an incredibly accurate personality system that can help us be more present, have better relationships, and live a more balanced and happier life. The Enneagram describes nine distinct ‘types,’ or ways of seeing the world that result in particular personality characteristics. What distinguishes the Enneagram from other personality systems is that rather than describing a fixed set of personality traits, when used properly, it is actually a powerful tool for personal transformation and spiritual growth.”
And that’s why being honest with ourselves during the test is so important—it’s room for change and growth, not a set-in-stone “answer.”
“Understanding our Enneagram type helps us maximize our strengths, while at the same time giving us insights and practices that help us address our challenges. Here are some examples of this for each of the nine types:
Type 1: The Reformer or Perfectionist.
Ones are particularly responsible, hard-working, sincere, and have very high standards both for themselves and for others. They can be even more effective and improve their relationships when they practice lightening up, not taking life quite so seriously, appreciating life’s shades of gray, and not being so hard on themselves. In making decisions, Ones should trust their gut instinct and recognize that not everything needs to be perfect.
Type 2: The Giver or Helper.
Twos are tuned in to other people’s needs and feelings and are exceptionally generous, helpful, supportive, and friendly, often giving tirelessly to maintain connection. The challenge for Twos is to learn to pay more attention to their own needs, practice asking for support from others, and not let relationships get too out of balance by giving too much. In making decisions, Twos should tune in to what they really want or need, rather than taking care of everyone else.
Type 3: The Achiever or Performer.
Threes are great at getting things done and creating a positive image and have a strong drive to be the best they can be. They can be even more effective (and happier) as they learn to slow down and be more present and tune in to what they really want apart from success in the eyes of others. In making decisions, Threes should take their time and pay attention to what they really want rather than how they will be perceived by others.
Type 4: The Romantic or Individualist.
Fours are very authentic, deep, creative, imaginative souls. They can hold big swings of emotion and often seek the ideal circumstance or relationship. The challenge for Fours is to see the value and beauty and ‘enough-ness’ of the here and now, rather than idealizing and longing for what they don’t have. In making decisions, Fours should take into account the value of their current circumstance before assuming something else would be better.
Type 5: The Observer or Investigator.
Fives are quite rational, objective, analytical, self-sufficient, and love to spend time alone learning new things or doing the things they love to do. Their challenge is to relax their need to protect their resources (particularly time and energy) and learn to tap into the support and abundance that is available to them. In making decisions, Fives should trust their intellect but also tune into their heart and their body for input.
Type 6: The Loyalist or Loyal Skeptic.
Sixes are very responsible, loyal, trustworthy, thoughtful, and particularly good at planning ahead and being prepared. They can learn to relax the anxiety that results from focusing on what could go wrong by intentionally focusing more on the positive side of life and trusting their own abundant courage to meet life’s challenges. In making decisions, Sixes should trust their questioning mind, but balance their skepticism with a big dose of positivity.
Type 7: The Epicure or Enthusiast.
Sevens are very upbeat, positive people who naturally excel at coming up with new and interesting ideas, plans, and possibilities and are exceptional creative problem solvers. They can learn to live a more balanced and grounded life as they intentionally face and embrace what may feel painful to them and ground themselves in the sufficiency of the present moment. In making decisions, Sevens should balance their desire to keep options open with the benefits of making a choice or commitment.
Type 8: The Protector or Challenger.
Eights are typically strong, decisive, direct, action-oriented, and passionate about protecting the innocent and correcting injustice. They can grow and have more peaceful relationships as they learn to relax their certainty, take a breath before reacting, and allow themselves to be more vulnerable with people they trust. In making decisions, Eights should pause and allow their big heart and rational thinking to balance their naturally strong gut reaction.
Type 9: The Mediator or Peacemaker.
Nines are very steady, easy-going, accommodating, authentic, and open-minded, and typically get along with most everyone. They can be even more effective as they learn to focus more on their own priorities (rather than just going along with others) and to be more decisive and speak up or take action for what they want, even if someone else may not like it. In making decisions, Nines should tune in to what serves their own agenda, then take the risk to just make a choice rather than over-thinking the options and staying stuck in indecision.”
Now that the stigma of being “stuck” with our number or our particular current perspective is removed, how will we move forward in the world? Take the test and find out. It’s an investment in self-work that we find very worthwhile.
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