Using the Enneagram in All Your Relationships

5450410602_3eb1b72cfb_zLearning to type people according to the enneagram helps you to get a quick handle on where he/she is coming from. These blog posts may help you to expand your understanding of others.

1.  From Susan Piver (Susan Piver): “Meditation and the Enneagram”:

Yes, the Enneagram is a system of personality typing, but saying so, as I mentioned in a recent newsletter, is like saying John Coltrane was a sax player. Einstein was a scientist. Marilyn Monroe was a hottie. It just goes way beyond that.

“Ennea” is the Greek prefix for nine and the Enneagram defines nine basic personality types. Yes, you are one of them. I am one of them. We each are one of them and no, it doesn’t change over time.

I began studying the Enneagram about 15 years ago and since that time, I can honestly say I use it every single day. It has been an incredible gift. The Enneagram has helped me understand myself and become sensitive to those moments when I am about to be trapped, snagged, caught by what Pema Chodron calls “Shenpa,” a Tibetan word that means those moments when we get hooked and close down into fear, aggression, or numbness. Having precise signals about such moments is very illuminating.

As important, the Enneagram has helped me to understand how best to relate with other people—to understand their style and what is important to them, to know what will get their attention and what will repel it, and what little tweaks I can make to my language so that they will hear me.

For example, some time ago I had a boss who seemed repelled by my efforts to make conversation with him. When I was working on a project and ran into problems, I would try to get his attention by saying something like, “I’ve run into problems with that project we’ve been working on,” whereupon he would glaze over and make excuses to avoid me. This made me so mad!! Plus, it really hurt my feelings. I felt really, really bad about the job I was doing and I thought he was a jerk for avoiding me.

Then I realized that he was a 7 on the Enneagram. 7s are the visionaries of the Enneagram. Their minds are constantly turning toward possibilities, options, ideas. To them, problems are stupid distractions. They have to pull their gaze from the horizon to focus on them. What to do? The next time I had a problem, I said to him, “You know that project I’m working on? Well, I have an idea and I’d like your feedback.” I was able to get him to pay attention to me and, more important, open his mind to what I had to say. Then I would tell him my problem, but with a focus on the possibilities it offered, not the history of how it got that way, who was at fault, and so on.

Cutting out a whole layer of drama in your communications and relationships? Priceless.

2.  From Leslie Hershberger (Leslie Hershberger: The Blog): “On Recovery, O Magazine and Enneagram”:

Enneagram 3s, The Performer, often share their felt loss of connection to others because they are often the stars racing towards the goal of  Living Their Best Lives or if they’re not, they’re thinking they should be living a Better Best Life.  The mask they wear often invites others to mirror them…to shape shift in their presence in order to be loved so they miss that authentic connection that comes in sharing the full spectrum of who we are.

One of the most moving emails I ever received was from a 3 who told me he couldn’t be on my panel as I was filming it for an online course.  He said the impulse to be a Great Transformed Three was too strong and it would be too painful and tempting to play to the camera.  In other words, he’d share just the shiny parts of himself and all the failures would be something he learned from the distant past rather than something with which he grapples every day right now.

3.  From Dr. Gary Houchens (School Leader): “Upcoming Series: Enneagram Type Profiles for School Leaders”:

Contemplative Learning Solutions was born from our (Tom and Gary’s) work as school administrators.  As district-level leaders, we were responsible for designing and facilitating a range of professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.  Today we both work in university settings, where our primary responsibilities are the training and growth of aspiring teachers and school leaders.  Through CLS, we’ve continued to serve practicing educators with a range of supports and services.

In both professional and pre-professional settings, we’ve found that educators long for reflective practices that help them know themselves (and others) better and create more authentic, meaningful relationships, which in turn helps enhance effectiveness as teachers and school leaders.  The Enneagram personality typing system is one of the most powerful tools we’ve discovered for facilitating this process of self-discovery and professional growth.

According to the Enneagram there are nine basic personality types (“ennea” means nine), each of which is driven by a unique set of motivating fears and desires (for one of the best online resource on the Enneagram, check out the Enneagram Institute website).  Understanding your Enneatype, as it is sometimes called, helps you identify your most common positive and negative patterns of behavior, and allows you to start letting go of unhelpful habits of mind so that you can lead, love, and live from the foundation of your core strengths.

Since our work began with school leaders and continues primarily to serve educators in leadership roles, in coming weeks we’d like to offer a series of reflections on how each Enneagram personality type tends to shape an individual’s work as a school leader.  While many books and other internet resources offer profiles of the nine types, none that we know of applies this information specifically in the context of schools.

4.  From Fitness Superpowers: “Enneagram Fitness Types”:

FITNESS SUPERPOWERS links evidence based weight loss strategies with popular personality typing systems to inspire real and lasting fitness. One personality system that is highly effective is the Enneagram of Personality, which describes nine separate character types. Choose your Type and gain empowering individualized fitness insight for diet, exercise and understanding your unconscious body image messages.

The FITNESS SUPERPOWERS and their weight loss techniques waiting to assist you on your fitness journey are as follow:

• Type 1: Conscientious Types – track and monitor progress for effective weight loss

Strategy: Self-Monitoring, Uncensored Journaling, and Cognitive Restructuring

• Type 2: Empathetic Types – join fitness programs and coach others

Strategy: Social Support, Coaching, and Label Saboteurs

• Type 3: Ambitious Types – visualize, and prioritize their goals

Strategy: S.M.A.R.T. Goals, Framing, Visualizing, and Mission Statements

• Type 4: Creative Types – use rituals and control their surroundings to stay healthy

Strategy: EE: Environmental Engineering (Stimulus Control) and RRR: Routines, Rituals and Reminders

• Type 5: Intellectual Types – research and experiment to find out what works best

Strategy: Education, Teaching, Skill Mastery, and Decision Matrix

• Type 6: Vigilant Types – are dutiful and versed at meal planning and regular exercise

Strategy: Contingency Planning, Rule Setting, and Decision Making

• Type 7: Versatile Types  – use fun, spontaneity, and variety to keep themselves motivated

Strategy: Pleasure Principle, Distraction, and Rewards

• Type 8: Aggressive Types – attack issues directly and avoid procrastination

Strategy: Assertiveness, Game Theory, Self-Needs Assessment, and Locus of Control

• Type 9: Merging Types – are easily motivated by others’ fitness programs

Strategy: Realistic Expectations, Process Focus, and Contracting

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