The Beginner’s Guide to Enneagrams

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Photo courtesy of @benjaminsweet via Unsplash.
The Enneagram personality typing system continues to gain popularity. Get to know the basics of you enneagram number and learn more about all 9 types.

In the past few years, the enneagram has gained more attention as a tool for spirituality, self and career improvement. Despite its recent popularity, enneagram usage can be dated back to the early 1900s. Due to the complexity of the enneagram, it is hard to capture all of it at once, so here is a small guide to help get started.

What is the enneagram?

The enneagram is a personality typing system divided into nine types. Everyone is said to develop a dominant type in their childhood and most people resonate strongly with that type well into adulthood.

Unlike other personality tests, the enneagram is based on motivation, fears, virtues and goals. It’s not so much about what you do, but why you do it. This is why the enneagram is used for development, because it gets to the root of your actions.

The Nine Types

Type One (The Perfectionist)

Type ones’ life mission is to improve the world. They have a clear sense of right and wrong which leads them to follow a strict set of morals that guides all aspects of their life.

Deadly Sin: Anger

Focus: Organizing, Complying, Systemizing

Type Two (The Helper)

Type two’s have a natural way of connecting with others. They find joy in sharing and strengthening relationships whether they’re giving time, energy or resources.

Deadly Sin: Pride

Focus: Connecting, Giving, Caring

Type Three (The Performer)

Type threes have high goals and standards for themselves, always looking to tackle the next thing. Their drive leads them to a life of many accomplishments along with never-ending challenges.

Deadly Sin: Deceit

Focus: Success, Status, Charisma

Type Four (The Romantic)

Type four’s strive for authenticity in all areas of their life. They want to find their true self and bring it into the world; they aim for a sense of purpose and unique creativity.

Deadly Sin: Envy

Focus: Creating, Self-identifying, Developing

Type Five (The Investigator)

Type five’s love to learn and experience the world with an open mind. They find purpose pondering the big questions and trying to draw connections in the grand scheme of life.

Deadly Sin: Avarice

Focus: Processing, Analyzing, Solitude

Type Six (The Loyalist)

Type six’s strive for security and trust. Their skepticism and attention to detail helps them serve as problem solvers in their personal and professional lives.

Deadly Sin: Fear

Focus: Committing, Preparing, Saving

Type Seven (The Enthusiast)

Type seven’s experience life wide-eyed and ready to go. They bring positivity and adventure into every room they walk in. They enjoy experiencing and learning, attempting to live each day to the fullest.

Deadly Sin: Gluttony

Focus: Exploring, Excitement, Experiencing

Type Eight (The Challenger)

Type eight’s strive for power and autonomy which leads them to excel in anything they fix their mind on. They are goal oriented and show bravery in getting to their goals.

Deadly Sin: Lust

Focus: Leading, Strategy, Drive

Type Nine (The Peacemaker)

Type nine’s strive for wholeness and bring harmony into groups. They are often accepting of others and express gentle and encouraging language toward others.

Deadly Sin: Sloth

Focus: Harmonizing, Calming, Encouraging

Finding your type

Okay, so the information above might not be enough for you to stick with one yet. Luckily, there are many resources available for you to find your type. One resource is the book The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. This book covers a brief history of the enneagram and goes into detail about each type, displaying how they are in childhood, work and relationships.

Another book you can read to help find your type is Discovering Your Personality Type by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. This book also gives in depth views of each type, helping you read about and resonate with your own.

There are also many online quizzes available to find your type without the commitment of a book. There are multiple free versions such as Truity, which takes about ten minutes to complete by marking how highly you resonate with a certain statement. Or you can buy a test from the enneagram institute for $12 and complete their personality test.

What now?

As you find your enneagram type and learn more about it, you can now take things a little further. There are correlating stress, security and wing numbers you can read about and identify with. These are other enneagram types you may show characteristics of in different seasons of life. There are also podcasts that focus specifically on one type and a series of books you can pick up for each type to get a more focused view of the type(s) that you most resonate with. The enneagram has many pathways it can lead, with many resources to get you wherever you want to go with your own enneagram journey.

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