Seems like everyone is talking about the Enneagram, but what is it + how can it help you?!
Maybe you've taken the test before + were overwhelmed by all of the information you received about your type, or perhaps you are just curious about what it is.
Rest assured, although the Enneagram can be a complicated personality tool, it doesn't have to be. I'll explain the features of the Enneagram you are gonna want to understand to get started.
What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a personality tool. It describes 9 basic types of personalities in the world.
Its funky symbol shows that all of the types are connected.
You may have heard terms like arrows, wings, triads, stances that confused you, but you can let all that go right now. We are just going to focus on the basics that you need to know to get unstuck.
How the Enneagram can get you unstuck
Sometimes Enneagram types are referred to as numbers (1-9) or names, such as "the helper." Today, we are going to focus on calling them by number, to keep it simple + because different teachers give the types different names (cause THATS NOT CONFUSING AT ALL, lol.)
Each type has its own specific issue that triggers them more than any other problem they face. You might resonate with all of the trigger issues on this list, but one of them will be more prominent for you.
As you look through these triggers, you will begin to understand how becoming more aware of your own hot-button issues will help you grow and get unstuck in life.
TYPE 1: feels triggered when they aren't perfect, don't measure up to their own high standards, feel like they aren't "good enough."
TYPE 2: feels triggered when they aren't loved and appreciated, and think they need to be helpful and loving in order to earn love + support + need to know they are appreciated.
TYPE 3: wants to be the best, wants to be acknowledged and appreciated for their hard work and success--can go overboard in their efforts. Not being successful or receiving that positive feedback can be triggering.
TYPE 4: wants to be seen as a special individual. They tend to have a low self concept, and can be triggered by feedback that makes them feel that they are not unique and do not have value as a person.
TYPE 5: needs to have complete understanding to get started. They will be triggered by not having the information that they think they need to feel competent + get moving on their task/goal.
TYPE 6: struggles with feeling safe and secure in the world. When stressed, they will have more + more questions + will feel triggered by having their questions belittled or not getting the answers they need.
TYPE 7: wants to have a good time and experience all the amazingness of life. They don't want to have to deal with negative emotions or situations that make them uncomfortable, so when these come up, it can be challenging for a 7 to stay in the moment without escaping to a more fun experience.
TYPE 8: wants to be in control of themselves and their surroundings and does not want to show their vulnerability. Not being able to maintain a strong image, or not being in control of their situation can be triggering for them.
TYPE 9: wants everyone (including themselves) to be happy and content. So when situations come up that cause tension + stress within themselves or others, 9's get triggered.
2. Become aware of your patterns
While many coaches have a therapy background (like me!), therapy mainly focuses on processing your emotions + coping with things that have happened as well as discovering new ways of thinking and responding to situations.
As you dive into the Enneagram, you'll notice that each Enneagram type has certain patterns of behavior that occur as a response to their triggers (see above).
Understanding your Enneagram patterns will help you see them happen in real time, so you can begin to prevent them from happening, and escape the pattern once it's triggered.
3. Understand your conflict style
There are 3 main Enneagram conflict styles and understanding your style (and the style of your partner!) can help you understand why conflict situations can be so sticky for you:
COMPETENT OUTLOOK, TYPES, 1, 3, 5-- They tend to focus more on the facts, seeing the "right" solution, and excluding emotional data. They will try to pinpoint what went wrong + attempt to correct it.
POSITIVE OUTLOOK, TYPES 2, 7, 9-- Are more likely to see a bright side during a conflict or have the ability to spin a situation into something positive. They can be guilty of denying a problem even exists or find it hard to talk about a problem.
REACTIVE OUTLOOK, TYPES 4, 6, 8-- Can have strong reactions when faced with conflict, disapointment + upsetting situations. They tend to have a quick, emotional response, possibly oversized to the situation.
4. learn how you relate to others
We also find 3 groupings that explain how your type relates to others. This is important to note, as it might help explain some of the struggles you experience in your relationships. As you can see, the three styles are very different from one another:
ASSERTIVE, TYPES 3, 7, 8-- These types are interested in asserting their power and influence into any situation or conversation they are a part of. They can be direct + clearly communicate their wants + needs, at times dominating others or neglecting emotions that might "get in the way" of getting what they want.
DUTIFUL, TYPES 1, 2, 6-- These types are more likely to desire to be of service, to move toward others and go along with what they perceive as the needs and wants of other people. They might feel more obligated to attend to what needs to be done before doing what they want to do.
WITHDRAWN, TYPES 4, 5, 9-- These types tend to use the technique of avoiding or withdrawing from situations that cause stress. They might disappear emotionally, or physically (leaving a room) and others get a sense that they have pulled back from a situation or relationship.
5. maximize your strengths
As you may have noticed, the Enneagram is quick to point out our weaknesses, which we can use to fuel growth. But don't fear, its not all bad news. The Enneagram also shows us where we shine + how we can make a difference in the world. Here are some examples by type:
1: Good at seeing what needs to be done + doing it. A hard worker.
2: Loves to help, love and encourage others. Lift people up when needed.
3. Great at making a plan and executing it successfully. An asset to teams.
4. Brings creativity, authenticity + empathy to their sphere of influence.
5. Has a detailed understanding of the areas of their expertise + uses this knowledge skillfully.
6. They are trustworthy + reliable, a great friend and worker to have in your corner.
7. Amazing at seeing new possibilities and getting everyone excited and on board for them.
8. Takes charge + leads the way, willing to step up + do the hard stuff others are afraid to do.
9. Able to keep the peace and mediate between sides to keep everyone happy.
how to get started
Clearly, there are several aspects of the Enneagram you can use to grow + get unstuck without getting bogged down in all of the details of your type + the whole system.
Your first step, if you haven't done so already, is to take an Enneagram test to determine your type. Here is a free test you can use.
Finally, if you could use extra help applying the info + getting unstuck from the pattern's of your type, lets do some coaching! Learn more about Enneagram Coaching HERE
lets talk soon!
Alison Speerbrecker is a Minnesota native desperately happy to have moved away from the frozen north + into the lovely Virginia Beach area. She's a mom of 5 vibrant (nice way of saying CHALLENGING) kiddos, has a dog that sheds too much + is encroaching on her 20 year wedding anniversary. She got married as a baby, folks 😉
Alison combines her Enneagram Certification, Life Coach Training, Clinical Social Work background + life experience to work with women + help them get unstuck + change their lives. Which is the best. Learn more about Alison here.
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