If you’ve paid ANY attention to social media, corporate leadership articles, health and wellness tips (here’s one that quotes me!), or spiritual growth reflections, you have likely heard of the “En-Nee-Ah-Gram”. I think of it as a map or compass that not only shows me what’s NOT working but what IS and CAN BE! Here at High Places we call that your PERSONAL PEAK!
The Enneagram has personally given me hard, yes-even painful, reality checks while also pointing me towards my possible potential! I have much, much, MUCH more to say about this super helpful instrument but this post is my brief introduction to my personal and professional experience.
If you don’t know your type, there are a couple of different strategies to consider. The first step is to know your type as this starting point unlocks the many other facets for exploration!
Settling into your type can start with formal objective assessment (I personally prefer the wepss.com by Dr. Jerry Wagner) as well as by the narrative tradition of the Enneagram which offers a paragraph-format description for each type. There are different theorists and approaches to the study and use of the Enneagram. But finding your type can be a process (not unlike trying on and finally finding the perfect suit… swimsuit…jacket – you see what I mean!) and even if you use a formal assessment, it’s important to thoughtfully review the report and consider whether it really matches your lived experience. Our trusted others also let us know, if we let them (!), what patterns, responses, behaviors might be shaping our interactions in healthy or hurtful ways.
The take-away: it’s important to really feel confident about your type and to take as much time as needed for this. Everything builds from this first step. Once you’ve established your type…
Now my heart goes pitter-patter with excitement (!!!)
THEN we can take the next phase of the trek, which ultimately is a life-long journey of growth marked by experiences, thinking and emotional habits, struggles, and the unfolding opportunity of each new day. And the Enneagram offers multiple angles for the unpacking and exploring via wings, instincts, centers, arrows, time orientation, subtypes and stances… these facets point to motivation, realizing what we focus on and why, parts of self that we’ve potentially ‘lost’ or ‘hidden’ to some extent and how to recover these.
With reflection, good questions, dialogue, and honest looks inside, growth and goodness for self, for life with others – in work, play, love and life. These insights can be applied in lots of ways, like informing communication, good conflicting, good teaming, decision-making, vocational next steps, resilience-building, burnout prevention – and yes- personal transformation (isn’t that the real point of all of this?!)
Just knowing your type can be fun and a cool conversation piece BUT you’re missing out if you stop there! In fact, did you know that there are actually TWENTY-SEVEN types? Many of the popular articles and summaries certainly help us with a jumping in point to consider our primary type for this endeavor of self-awareness. But in an effort to honor the DEPTH of this tool I wanted to introduce you to one aspect of the Enneagram that may explain why you might not necessarily see as much of your self in many of the basic type descriptions.
Check out the work of Dr. Beatrice Chestnut who has given much time to unpacking these nuanced descriptions.
I am a licensed psychologist, board-certified coach and certified Enneagram facilitator. Contact me to explore options for Enneagram Coaching towards