The Enneagram: What’s It All About?

I first heard about the Enneagram Personality types last year on a podcast and immediately had to learn more. Most people get freaked out by the weird pentagram-looking symbol but let me be the first to tell you there is nothing evil or weird spiritual stuff going on here. The Enneagram is about learning your personality type and using that information to grow in every area of your life. And it’s pretty darn accurate if you ask me and this ain’t the quiz you took in the back of the 17 magazine when you were 12 years old.

What is it?

The idea is that there are 9 personality types and the Enneagram is a diagram that shows how these personality types are inter connected. This theory was made popular back in the 1970’s by psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo, but the main idea goes way back to ancient times. I read the book The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile to get more information. This is a quick and easy book to help you understand the Enneagram and how to grow personally and professionally by learning more about yourself. This is a great read (here is the link to the book)! There are also some awesome podcasts on this topic from Rachel Hollis (Rise Together Podcast) and Jenna Kutcher (Goal Digger Podcast) that are worth a listen.

Find Your Type

You can usually figure out which type you are just by reading the descriptions but to be sure you don’t miss-type, I think it’s a good idea to take this free Enneagram test here. There are two types of tests on this site and I got the same results on both so I feel they are pretty accurate. I am a Type 3 with a 2 wing. So what the heck does that mean?

Here are the 9 personality types as described in The Road Back to You:

  1. Reformer/Perfectionist: Ethical, dedicated and reliable, they are motivated by a desire to live the right way, improve the world, and avoid fault and blame.
  2. Helper/Giver: Warm, caring and giving, they are motivated by a need to be loved and needed, and to avoid acknowledging their own needs.
  3. Achiever/Performer: Success-oriented, image-conscious and wired for productivity, they are motivated by a need to be (or appear to be) successful and to avoid failure.
  4. Individualist/Romantic: Creative, sensitive and moody, they are motivated by a need to be understood, experience their oversized feelings and avoid being ordinary.
  5. Investigator/Observer: Analytical, detached and private, they are motivated by a need to gain knowledge, conserve energy and avoid relying on others.
  6. Loyalist/Loyal Skeptic: Committed, practical and witty, they are worst-case-scenario thinkers who are motivated by fear and the need for security.
  7. Enthusiast/Epicure: Fun, spontaneous and adventurous, they are motivated by a need to be happy, to plan stimulating experiences and to avoid pain.
  8. Challenger/Protector: Commanding, intense and confrontational, they are motivated by a need to be strong and avoid feeling weak or vulnerable.
  9. Peacemaker/Mediator: Pleasant, laid back and accommodating, they are motivated by a need to keep the peace, merge with others and avoid conflict.

The Enneagram Diagram

Wings, Arrows and Deadly Sins

There are wings to every personality types, but not the Red Bull kind.  A wing is the personality type that that is on either side of your main personality type that you lean a little towards. For example, I’m a type 3 so I could have a wing of a type 2 or a type 4. I definitely swing more towards the type 2-Helper.

You will notice two arrows associated with your number. There is arrow starting at a number and pointing to your number. This is your Security Personality Type. This is the type that you tend to gravitate to when you feel very secure in yourself. In my case, my security type is a 6- Loyalist (more in touch with feelings and learning to be loved for who I am rather than what I’ve achieved). The arrow pointing from your main number to another number is your Stress Personality Type. So for me this means I take on a Type 9- Peacemaker personality trait when I’m stressed out (make peace and avoid confrontation at all costs).

There is a deadly sin or “passion” associated with each personality type as well. This is a weakness or temptation that drives your type. Get all the information in The Road Back to You book but I have listed each number type with their deadly sin below:

  1. Anger
  2. Pride
  3. Deceit
  4. Envy
  5. Avarice
  6. Fear
  7. Gluttony
  8. Lust
  9. Sloth

Why You Should Learn More

When I actually sat down and read more about my type 3 personality, it blew me away on how accurate it was. I made so much sense on who I was and why I do the the things I do. Most importantly, the book gives great advice on working on your weaknesses. For me, this means getting more in touch with my feelings, not burning out of work or hobbies and not finding my worth in my achievements. You can also type your friends and family. My husband is a Type 8- Challenger/Protector all the way. I read off the common characteristics common to Type 8’s as he continually nodded his head in agreement. This helps me to understand him and how he works so we can work better together relationally.

So what are you waiting for?!? Take the test, read up on your type and get to learning! Comment below on what your type is, how you found it helpful and if you working though any of your weaknesses.

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