Talking about the Enneagram Personality test, and how it has helped my family
Hi Friends! I hope you’re all well! 🙂 I’ve enjoyed a little break from blogging for the past couple of weeks, during which time I:
1. Watched Luke surf his way to 2nd place in the Hawaii State Surf Championship! (Woot woot!)
2. Enjoyed a long weekend with my childhood BFF and her family in town (which means 6 boys were in my home for 3 straight days! So. Much. Fun!)
3. Turned in my Boy Mom Book Manuscript (hooray!!!)
But…here’s the funny/maybe not funny thing: The day I turned in my book manuscript…the day that all writers dream of and look forward to, and most often celebrate with a bottle of champagne and a few solid weeks away from writing altogether…well on that day I sent an email to my book agent essentially saying “So, when can I turn in my next book proposal? I’m so excited to start working on it!” To which he wrote back to tell me that he’s never had an author email him about their next book on the same day they turned in their first manuscript.
Which proves I am a little crazy. OR…
That I’m a #3 on the Enneagram!
Yes. We’re here! FINALLY. Today we get to talk about the Enneagram Personality Profile. One of my very favorite things to talk about!
You might remember way back in my 2017 New Years Post when I shared my love of the Enneagram and suggested that perhaps I would write a post about it sometime. I had a huge response from people saying “YES PLEASE!”
I have a bunch to cover here, but first — I should explain what it is for those of you who are not familiar.
The Enneagram is an ancient personality profile which has become more popular in the last few decades. The Enneagram suggests there are nine core personality types, and labels them simply with a number, 1 through 9. There are online tests you can take to figure out your typing (I’ll link to some at the bottom) but most people can figure out their type just by reading the basic descriptions (also below.) Along with your core Enneagram number, you will discover your “wing” (or secondary) personality, as well as which numbers you are likely to migrate towards in times of stress or health. It’s a simple profile to learn and once you take the time to understand it, you are likely to become hooked. Soon you’ll find yourself analyzing every member of your family, co-workers, friends and neighbors. (Should I tell my mail lady that I know her Enneagram type?)
For what it’s worth, I’ve never been a big personality-test person. I’ve taken a few, but I didn’t feel like they offered me much to work with; I felt like they put people in a box, and that didn’t offer help with growth or development. What I think makes the Enneagram different is that it looks at both the strengths and weaknesses of each personality type, and allows for more fluidity of personality under different circumstances. Instead of placing us in a box, the Enneagram suggests we have a lot of control over how we manifest our God-given personalities.
Now a quick disclaimer: I am not an expert on the Enneagram. I’m just sharing my personal experience and appreciation for it. I also want to note that I only use the Enneagram at its most basic level–as a personality typing which offers a bit of insight into myself and others. I do not use it for spiritual direction, and I would never suggest anyone do that.
With that said, the Enneagram has definitely helped me understand myself: both my strengths and weaknesses. I am an Enneagram 3, and I have a 2-wing, which means I am an achiever that loves to help others. If you’ve followed my blog for long, this probably makes sense; I love to work hard and then I want to help others with what I have learned. I also recognize areas I should be cautious of, like working too much (I still have 3 kids to care for and homeschool!) or being focused on image (hello, social media.) Most of all though, I think that understanding my personality has helped me appreciate things about myself that used to seem plain weird or wrong. (Like wanting to write another book the minute I finish the last one.) I feel like the Enneagram has liberated me to be more fully me. And that’s pretty cool.
When you discover the Enneagram types of your family members (and you can’t help but do that) you might gain more insight into what makes them tick…Why one of your kids always has to have the first and last word, and another will do anything to keep the peace. You will appreciate the friend (or co-worker or mother-in-law) who always wants to help people, and has hurt feelings when she doesn’t feel appreciated.
And…you might have more appreciation for your husband, who can only take so much social stimulation before he looks like his head might explode, and then lays awake for hours reading an article on his iPhone about ancient Greek Civilizations (or World War II, or hockey, or tractor engines or _______-fill in the blank) because HE’S A FIVE AND FIVES MUST KNOW ALL OF THE THINGS.
(I love my husband.)(Can you imagine all of the information stored up in that head of his?….I just can’t.)
If you are lucky enough to be married to a five (because they are pretty great) then you will have super fun date nights talking about the Enneagram, because though Fives don’t usually talk a lot, they love talking about the Enneagram. After all — the Enneagram is a bunch of information, and, of course, information is life.
I could talk all day about all of my family members and how much I’ve learned about them…Like how I now understand why on a hard day, Luke (an Enneagram 7) wants to drown himself in Oreos or will escape to Google earth where I’ll find him planning his dream vacation because 7’s LIVE FOR FUN AND PLEASURE and feel a survival-like need to avoid pain and hard days at all cost. This also explains why Luke and my mom have always been kindred spirits. For years these two have exchanged the phrase “You know me….” so when we discovered they were both Enneagram 7’s — everything made sense.
My oldest son is a solid 9 (Peacemaker, God bless him) who is best friends (and shares a bedroom) with his brother, an 8 (a Challenger.) It’s no wonder they get along so well, although we have learned that even NINES have their limits…
We aren’t sure about our seven year old, Levi. He is convinced the the is a 7, mostly because he idolizes Luke who is a 7. And with that I’m almost sure he is actually a 6 (Loyalist.)
Of course my boys have also learned to speak “Enneagram,” which is both helpful and hilarious. It has helped them develop greater self-awareness (which I find super important for teenagers!) as they recognize their own weaknesses and appreciate their strengths. I also think the Enneagram has helped them treat each other with more compassion and less frustration.
See, I could talk about this all day, but I’ll cut myself off now, and instead I will share a list of the NINE TYPES, with just a few words about each. You can click on each type to find a complete description of it over at the Enneagram Institute site.
The Nine Enneagram Type Descriptions
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent. Peacemaker.
Motivated by: The Need to Avoid
WANT TO LEARN MORE?…
The Road Back to You podcast is ALL about the Enneagram.
Donald Miller’s Storybrand podcast talks about the Enneagram in the workplace– but it’s good for anyone. (and I just love all of his podcasts.)
From the Enneagram Institute: This is the one I took. It offers a lot of helpful information. (I think it costs $10…)
A quick and free test. (Probably all you need.)
Two more which are free (and these will also show you your “wing” personality.)
Though there are a lot of books available about the Enneagram, (I have a bunch of them) this is my favorite: The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery. (affiliate link.)
This book does a great job of making the Enneagram understandable and useful. It is written from a Christian perspective (though again– I encourage you to line everything you read up with the truth of the Bible.) This book gave me the clearest explanation of each personality type, with strengths and weaknesses, and practical help for becoming the best version of you.
Want to to win a copy?!
I want to give a copy of this book away to one of you! To enter to win, please leave a comment below, and you’ll be entered to win. If you know your Enneagram type, I hope you’ll share it! If you have a different favorite personality test, I want to hear that too! If you don’t know your type yet, that is ok– leave a comment anyways! I’ll choose a commenter at random on Tuesday, May 8th, and email the winner (as well as announce it back here.) As usual, my blog subscribers get double entries, so let me know if you’re a subscriber! **ALSO, if you share this post/giveaway on social media, let me know and I’ll add another entry as well!
I can’t wait to hear from you!
I’m looking forward to a fun conversation!