The Enneagram Journey
Who would have thought that a casual conversation with a friend at the NCCA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship Meet would have motivated me to join the ranks of those pursuing the life journey of the Enneagram? Then again, I’ve never believed in coincidence, instead carrying a firm faith that our seemingly simple dialogues, unplanned circumstances, and surprise encounters are divine appointments orchestrated from above to place us exactly where we need to be on our journey called life. Let’s just say that my interest was piqued enough that I made a healthy contribution to an online shopping destination by purchasing four books on the ancient Enneagram. As I dove into my research, a spark was ignited that has not occurred when exploring other personality models. My daughter says I’m obsessed, and she’s intrigued, which ironically fits our presumed types quite well.
One major caveat before I embark on a brief overview to whet your appetite to pursue this journey… this ancient personality guide doesn’t have all the answers; it won’t solve all your problems, and it shouldn’t be lifted to a pedestal ignoring all other models. However, treat it as one tool that will provide guidance in understanding yourself and others better and assistance to moving towards a healthier version of your type (1-9).
Enneagram comes from the Greek words ennea (meaning nine) and gram (figure or drawing). Nine specific personality types are distinguished and analyzed. Each type determines what you do and why you do it (behaviors and more importantly the motivation behind those actions), lays out the healthy and unhealthy side of your specific personality, and the needs and deadly sin correlated with each type. In addition, there are triads, wings, and stress/security numbers that contribute to helping each of us discover more insight into what makes us tick. The goal is not to identify your type and then conveniently say, “Well, too bad, I’m a _____________ so that’s my excuse to be this way.” The challenge presented is to begin to address the unhealthy thinking/behavior/perceptions of your type and seek specific growth in these areas.
As we gain insight into how we perceive and interact with the world, we naturally become inquisitive to how other types might see things a bit differently. We receive insight on how our type interacts with others and the nuances associated with other types. This knowledge is powerful for relationships in friendships, marriage, parenting, work, etc. After I was introduced to this, I turned to my husband and said. “If we had known this when we married, we would have had quite an advantage in understanding each other.” Likewise, if we had known this information when our children were younger, many of the big, bold question marks of the reason behind their actions would have been discovered. And how much better would working environments be with this enlightenment?
The Enneagram is a gift to help us better understand ourselves and the lens through which others see. Think going to an eye doctor…He switches out lenses quicker than a wet pig slipping through our hands. He does it with such expertise and quickly determines which lens will best suit our eyes. None of the lenses are wrong or defective just because they don’t fit our eyesight needs. We are all distinctly unique; even within each personality type. But just like the optometrist’s lenses… there are no wrong lenses… just unique and specifically suited for each of us.
The purpose is never to pigeon hole ourselves or those we love but gain insight and understanding to the motivations, passions, and behaviors all around us. This is one way to bridge the gap between misunderstandings, conflicts, and polar opposite ways of thinking. This path of exploration has the ability to open our eyes not only to self- awareness, but compassion for one another as we see people as they are. Understanding others perspective through their specific lens, frees us to not take people’s idiosyncrasies so personal and to recognize the strengths and weaknesses within each type. And the beauty is each type has something unique and essential to offer the world around them.
Thanks Anne Dobbs (www.annedobbs.com) for that poolside chat that has led me on this path of personal transformation!
Have I created enough interest for you to desire to learn more? If yes, here are just a few ways to begin this journey:
Check out these books: The Sacred Enneagram (Christopher L. Heuertz), The Road Back to You (Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile), and The Path Between Us (Suzanne Stabile)
Check out You Tube series by Sandals Church (Enneagram)
Take the test to begin the discovery of your type at www.enneagraminstitute.com; take the RHETI test
If you live locally (Indianapolis area), contact me to join my small group to explore this topic together
Contact me to speak to your business, group, organization on this topic