What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a personality typology system that divides people into nine categories, or perspectives. Enneagram (any-a-gram) means ennea = nine, and gram = drawing; referring to the enneagram symbol that shows the 9 numbers in a circle with connecting lines. The lines and order of the numbers do have specific meanings which I will talk about later.

The nine different perspectives are like nine different people looking at the world through different colored lenses. Each perspective, lens, or type, sees the same thing but in a completely different way. When you begin to truly grasp this understanding, you can know yourself and others on a whole new level.

Learning your main type or Enneagram number can be a process and take some time, but once you find your main type, you have a starting point for personal awareness and growth. Knowing and understanding your core type helps you discover your blind spots, and see patterns or ruts you may get stuck in, then you can discover paths for growth and transformation and learn how to avoid getting stuck in those ruts in the first place. The Enneagram is often referred to as a map or GPS because even having some basic knowledge of it can help you navigate the ups and downs on your life's journey.

Each of the nine different perspectives or types, have their own unique core fears (the things they are trying to avoid at all cost), core desire (the things they are striving for), core longing (main message their heart longs to hear), and core weakness (main struggle that always seems to trip them up). These core motivations are what makes each type different. You find your main type, or number, by discovering which core motivations you identify most with. We all have some of each of the nine types within us, but one type will stand out the most as we look at the why behind the why of what we do, and not just our behaviors.

Most personality typologies look at people's behaviors where the Enneagram looks deeper at the core motivations. We all could exhibit the same behavior, for example, cleaning your house or car; but we most likely would have different motives for why we did that. Type Ones may clean because they like the structure or it to look perfect. Twos want others to feel welcome and warm in their home. Threes may get more accomplished when their surroundings are neat and tidy. Fours may want to show their unique decorations or accessories. Fives just want a calm, clean place to recharge in. Sixes worry important things will get lost or out of place in a messy environment. Sevens want to show off a fun and entertaining place. Eights want a controlled environment where they know where everything is. Nines want a cozy comfortable place to relax in. So you see how the same behavior can have nine different motivations behind it. It often takes time to reflect and uncover why we do the things we do. That's why discovering your main type can take a while and it certainly is a journey!

Learning about the nine different types not only helps us know ourselves better, we can know and understand others on a deeper level as well. We can start to truly understand how differently others see their world and every situation. We can know that others communicate differently, they have other fears, desires, and motivations than we do. Then when we put the Enneagram into use, we can 'speak' different types' languages and take our relationships to a whole new level.

Learning the Enneagram not only helps us understand ourselves and others, it can be used as a map or GPS for growth and transformation. There are many different layers to the Enneagram. The lines or arrows in the Enneagram diagram show paths of stress and growth. We always remain our core number, but when we are in stress, we can take on some of the negative attributes of the other number that the line goes to. We also have a path to another number where we take on the positive attributes of that number when we are growing. There are also wings with the Enneagram. The wings are the two numbers directly next to the core type's number (so type 2 will have a 1 wing or a 3 wing). Once again, you always remain your main type- the core motivations stay the same, but you can take on some of the attributes of the wings. These are some of the reasons why people with the same type can look so differently. Wings and levels of health- or where you are in growth and stress make the same type look unique.

Overall, the Enneagram is an awesome tool for personal growth and transformation! It starts with personal awareness and a basic knowledge of the Enneagram. Discovering your main type and learning those ruts, blind spots, and weaknesses we all struggle with.Then reflecting on your behaviors and looking at the why behind the reason you behaved or thought that way can help you see what path and level of health you are on. Then you can tap into your strengths and positive attributes of your connecting numbers to get out of those ruts and grow.

One of the best and fastest ways to grow with the Enneagram is to get the help of a guide! An Enneagram Coach can help you discover your core motivations, find your main type and accelerate transformation from there! At The Motive Guide, I am here to help you. I'm passionate about helping people learn and grow. Don't hesitate to reach out and start your Enneagram journey!