This site has been the diary of my journey to simplify my life and live it ON PURPOSE. I’ve shared my insights, my fails, my successes, my recommendations and all my tips to help you on your own journey too.
BUT, I can’t talk about living my life on purpose without talking about the Enneagram. Because it has changed my life and I think it has the potential to offer insight and transformation to anyone who takes the time to learn their type.
I first heard about it from a podcast called Confront Your Junk (now inactive), it featured Leigh Kramer talking about a personality profiling called Enneagram and thought, ‘oh cute! who doesn’t like a fun personality test?’
Except this ‘personality test’ drop-kicked me in the kitchen, made me do 80 burpees, then ran me a warm bath and braided my hair in front of the fire.
So, it was harsh and freeing at the same time.
What is the Enneagram?
An ancient personality typing that looks like an ole hippie drew it up in the back of her used bookstore alongside her homemade chai tea and patchouli of the world collection.
But if you ask me, this is legit and has changed my life.
What is different about the Enneagram?
The Enneagram doesn’t slot you into a box or colour. Sure you get a number but the personality typing looks deeper. It is based on your motives, fears, and desires – all which are demonstrated by various behaviours depending on how ‘healthy/secure’ you are.
A brief overview of the nine types
Type One – The Perfectionist/The Reformer
Motivated by the desire to ‘be good’, the need to live life ‘the right way’
Healthy: ethical, reliable, productive
Unhealthy: judgemental, dogmatic, unrealistic expectations
Type Two – The Helper
Motivated by the need to be needed, need to feel they are lovable and valuable
Healthy: loving, generous, enthusiastic
Unhealthy: martyr, over-accommodating, indirect
Type Three – The Achiever/The Performer
Motivated by the need to be successful, believe that their value lies in their achievements
Healthy: optimist, practical, efficient
Unhealthy: narcissistic, workaholic, deceptive
Type Four – The Individualist/The Romantic/The Creative
Motivated by the need to be themselves (unique), to understand their feelings and be understood
Healthy: warm, compassionate, introspective
Unhealthy: depressed, self-conscious, guilt-ridden
Type Five – The Observer/The Investigator
Motivated by the need to be capable, self-sufficient, to know everything
Healthy: analytical, wise, objective
Unhealthy: arrogant, distant, critical
Type Six – The Questioner/The Skeptic/The Loyalist
Motivated by the need to have support, need security
Healthy: loyal, responsible, caring
Unhealthy: paranoid, controlling, rigid
Type Seven – The Enthusiast/The Adventurer
Motivated by the need to be content, be happy, avoid suffering
Healthy: fun, spontaneous, confident
Unhealthy: rebellious, impulsive, self-destructive
Type Eight – The Asserter/The Challenger/The Maverick
Motivated by the need to protect themselves, be self-reliant, strong and independent
Healthy: direct, earthy, loyal, advocate for others
Unhealthy: controlling, skeptical, domineering, rebellious
Type Nine – The Peacemaker
Motivated by the need to keep the peace and avoid conflict
Healthy: diplomatic, open, calming
Unhealthy: stubborn, apathetic, judgmental
How we take on traits of other Types
We all have a basic personality type (our number) but we also have personality components of the types beside us (called our wings). Sometimes leaning more to one side than the other.
So if you are a Type 2 (the helper) you also have traits of either a Type 1 (the perfectionist) or 3 (the achiever).
Then there are the lines that connect each type to two others.
WHEN YOU ARE SECURE (feeling emotionally healthy):
One line is your ‘Direction of Integration’. When you are healthy and undergoing positive growth you will pick up the positive traits of this other type. So when a Type 2 is healthy they take on healthy qualities of Type 4 (the creative).
WHEN YOU ARE INSECURE (feeling emotionally stress and unhealthy):
The opposite is called ‘Direction of Disintegration’. When you are experiencing stress you will pick up the negative traits of this type. For instance, the Type 6 (the loyalist) will pick up unhealthy traits of the Type 3 (the achiever).
How do you find your type?
You can take some tests to help you narrow it down. There are a few free ones online, but if you borrow/buy a book (see recommendations at the end) they often have tests in them to help you determine your type.
- Here is a link to the sorting test I prefer to use, as a way to narrow down what type you might be.
All in all, the best way to find out is to take your time to read through the nine types and see what resonates with you. They say that when you find your type you will feel kind of exposed, for me I felt a little humiliated, but also, I felt seen.
I know the Enneagram it’s not for everyone, but I’ve found it so valuable.
How the Enneagram has changed my life
As I learned more about being a nine. I started to reflect on the persona I had built as a facade in response to my struggles.
It was like I woke up to who I really was. Things I brushed off as ‘just a habit’ or feelings, patterns and thoughts I try to conceal and bury were brought into the light.
I had to own them. This was a humbling but freeing experience.
It was mortifying. I could see my unhealthy habits seep into my parenting, my marriage, and my past.
It was revealing because it was explaining so much about my motives, about why I’ve made life decisions in the way I have.
It was also empowering because I could see what my strengths were too. I had spent too much of my life compensating for or denying my weaknesses, and now I can focus on being who I really am by working in the area of my strengths.
It was freeing because I could see the range of who I am and almost feel acceptance over the wholeness of who I am, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’.
I am able to catch myself when I’m acting unhealthily. I am able to stop at the moment and realize why I am reacting to stress in the way I am.
I know I’m not perfect, I have blind spots like everyone else but I feel like I am able to be a work in progress because now I better see most of the work I need to do. I have language around what is happening for me, I have more self-awareness around it.
It has also helped my marriage. Knowing my husband’s type and him knowing mine has helped us to see another layer of one another. The important layer: the one underneath our words and action, the one motivating us.
I have found value in getting closer to my friends too. We all encourage one another to step up in the things that make us stronger and healthier – likewise, we can counsel and support one another when we see each other falling into insecure stress cycles.
A very freeing part of the Enneagram has been my appreciation for all the types in my world. Once I could see that we are all scrambling to meet our needs and our motives can all be a little different – it has allowed me so much more acceptance for all types of people and all their ways of being in the world and in my life.
It is even a tool I have brought into my life coaching with me. I help women find their type, I help them see their blind spots, I help them move forward in shifting out of their stress cycles, I help them step into the unique and capable woman that they are.
How to find your Enneagram type
There are lots of free and paid tests to find your type. (I like this quick sorting test by Quest.)
They say the best way to find your type is ultimately to do some reading through the types and see what is hitting a note with you (book recommendations below). When you find your type you will feel almost exposed, maybe embarrassed, and probably a lot of ‘aha’ moments.
Books recommended here may include referral links to Amazon. If you click through and take action I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I love or feel would benefit your simple, on purpose life.
The Road Back to You | the book |
Typology the podcast
This PDF from Safe Harbor