Getting to Know Yourself: The Nine Types of the Enneagram
Have you ever thought to yourself that you have no idea who you are? What you’re good at? Or even why you do the things you do? Maybe it’s just me, but there are just times I’ve struggled to be aware of how I see the world, how I interact with my people, and even why I struggle with certain issues when others do not. And if you raised you hand for any of those questions, you’re not alone. I see you, sister.
But you may be asking, how do I even begin the process. And whatever the process is, if you’re anything like me, you’d like to speed it up. We’re so often in a hurry to get to where we understand it all.
My Own Journey
My own journey may be similar to yours. There are times where I know exactly what I’m good at, where to find my identity, and how to walk confidently in my God-given purpose. There are other days (sometimes days right in a row) where I start to doubt. Have I really heard God correctly? Am I really good at this? Is this even the right road that I’m standing on now?
The ups and downs of getting to know myself and using that information to step with purpose and address the things that are holding me back was a long and winding journey.
Enter the Enneagram. I discovered the Enneagram through a podcast episode and was hooked. The podcaster and her guest launched into talking about nine types and the power of knowing our inner motivations and the lens through which we see the world. In knowing the why we do what we do, we can begin to understand the things that might be holding us back and how to apply the Gospel to change the things that are no longer serving us as we get to know our true selves- the people God created us to be.
Understanding the Enneagram
Once I learned more about the Enneagram, I knew that knowing ourselves through our types and the unique pathway for personal growth could help all of us. And whether you’re new to the Enneagram or already know your type, the tool of the Enneagram can help you grow and become the leader, friend, spouse, and person that God created you to be.
Before we can understand ourself and pinpoint our specific type, it’s helpful to understand the nine different types (or lenses) through which we see the world. Ready for an overview of the types?
The Nine Types
Type 1: The Reformer (Doing the right thing is the right thing). Types ones focus their attention on doing things right and ethically. They value structure, high standard of quality, and have a gut instinct that tells them how good and right something feels. Type 1s tend to be logical, results oriented, respectful of rules, and detail-oriented.
Type 2. The Helper. (The power of helping people). Type 2s want to appear helpful and likable. Type 2s are wired to want to b service-oriented and their attention immediately goes to the needs of people around them. They tend to be warm, personal, and amiable. They also tend to be empathetic, and sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
Type 3. The Achiever. (Getting to the goal and looking good doing it). Type 3s want to do the best job possible. They are about creating an image of success through being efficient, competent, and accomplishing goals. They are strongly motivated to be the best at what they do because they believe that makes them valuable and admirable. They tend to speak in a direct and focused manner, getting to the point quickly and efficiently.
Type 4. The Individualist. (The power of authentic self-expression). Type 4s desire to be seen as unique and special in the things they do and the way they relate to others. Fours focus on connection with others, what is missing in their life, authenticity, and comparisons with others. Sensitive to their inner world and their outer surroundings, they focus on authentic self-expression, and creativity.
Type 5. The Investigator. (The Knowledgeable Observer.). Type 5s focus on information and data and feel most comfortable connecting with others on an intellectual level. They will examine human interactions from a distance, maintain boundaries, and tend to be introverted. Type 5s tend to focus on conserving their personal energy and other key resources like time and space.
Type 6. The Loyalist. (The Skeptical, Vigilant Troubleshooter). Type 6s can focus their attention on reading people and situations to determine how trustworthy they are. They tend to forecast potential problems so they can be ready to meet challenges that might occur. They tend to be attuned to assessing risks, solving problems, and analyzing what is happening.
Type 7. The Enthusiast. (The innovative, optimistic visionary). Type 7s want to stay happy, experience pleasure, and imagine all the creative possibilities ahead. They charm others with their fast-paced thinking and their focus on what’s fun. They continually search for the best options and the freedom to pursue anything and everything.
Type 8. The Challenger. (The powerful, decisive, activator). Type 8s think big and makes things happen. They easily take on leadership roles and tend to focus on the big picture. Motivated by the need to take action with strength, they tend to be assertive while being protective and generous.
Type 9. The Peacemaker. (The Consensus Building Mediator). Type 9s focus on others, seek to create harmony, and avoid conflict. They adapt to others to ensure everything is heard and included. They tend to support others by drawing attention away from themselves. They typically don’t like being the center of attention and may have a hard time saying no.
The Enneagram is an invitation to a journey. Discovering your type and understanding yourself is not a one time activity. If you’re interested in the nine types, I alway recommend a little reading and learning. A great place to start is with The Road Back To You.
After that, stay curious. Keep learning. Reflect on who you are, and your natural motivations and behaviors. Remember that you are not your number. You are a masterpiece created by God - uniquely whole. But your number can help you lay down what’s getting in your way and step into who God created you to be.
Getting to know yourself for self-awareness and personal growth takes courage. It’s not always easy facing where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. Settling on your type can take a while. Be okay with being unsettled. And if you’d like a little help discovering your type, you can learn more about my Enneagram typing sessions.