Of all the tests and tools I’ve used for self-discovery, being a number 5 on the enneagram comes very close to being me. The five (from the Enneagram Institute) is “The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated”. That’s me. I wish I had known it 30-40 years ago. I should have been a researcher instead of a teacher and counselor. I have very low people energy but I love, love, love books and learning. So, today, I will add sample posts from others about the enneagram.
1. From Dr. Alex Tang (Random Musings from a Doctor’s Chair): “Enneagram and Spiritual Direction”:
The enneagram is a psycho-spiritual tool for determining personality types for the purpose of spiritual and psychological growth. Its origin remains unknown though there are claims that it link back to Evagrius, one of the Desert Fathers. However there are also claims that it has its origins with the ancient Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras. There are also claims that it draws from Kabbalistic teachings, and Sufism. The modern enneagram has been popularised by George Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, Helen Palmer, and Richard Rohr. An interesting overview of the traditional enneagram may be found here from the Enneagram Institute.
The followings links from the International Enneagram Association (IEA) website gives a brief overview of the enneagram system:
2. From Ryan Niemiec (as reported on the blog, Heal & Grow for ACOAs): “What is Character: Part 2”:
Character is not made up of just one or two traits, but is multi-dimensional & must be measured in ways that do justice to its breadth and complexity. People are not simply kind and humble, brave and hopeful, or wise and fair. People’s character is a unique profile of strengths, with many variations. • ALSO, to be healthy means to be balanced. We’re not looking to only have ‘positive’ traits according to some societal norm. Each person has a unique combination, which needs to be identified & appreciated. Thus – the Myers-Briggs Questionnaire, the MMPI, The Enneagram, & many other measures.
3. From Siewfan Wong (Galleryhelios.com): “The World of the Enneagram”:
Dear Siew Fan,
I am pleased to share with you my experience of learning the enneagram… Eager to understand more about others for the purpose of connecting better to achieve better results has pushed me to pick up my first book about enneagram.
After entering into the world of the enneagram, I realized that it is more beneficial to have better self understanding, self awareness and to work on myself. It is possible to overcome my limitations to be a better person. After we shape up, we will be in a better position to inspire and influence others to achieve better results together.
I realized that after resolving my hidden childhood issues, I am now able to appreciate and better face my fears. I feel that I have permission to be important and to belong. I am able to see things from different perspectives given the same situation. This improved version of me will be more ready to see more opportunities, overcome limitations and have a better outlook in life.
Best Regards, Soo Ying
4. From Michael McKinney (Leading Blog): “InsideOut Enneagram”:
Wendy Appel has tackled the Enneagram’s subtleties and complexities in InsideOut Enneagram. Her book makes practical the Enneagram system by use of clear explanations of each Type, case studies and a structured journaling process. There is a section on Type and team interactions that examines predictable points of tension, reactive patterns, and synergies between all of the possible Enneagram Type pairs. Her goal is to help you to see and think differently about your strengths, your weaknesses, and mostly the subterranean habits of mind and motivations that drive you and others. It’s a journey of self-mastery.
Appel observes that “most of us focus our attention outward and neglect our inner life. We think that change is out there. Instead of tuning in to the language of our head, heart, and gut, we are busy looking outside, ahead, and down.”
Understanding who we are, uncovering our blind spots, and creating a game plan to master our thinking and behavior, is vital to developing our leadership potential and to better understand those we lead.
The subconscious mind, where our habits, patterns, and beliefs reside, directs the course of our lives, and most of us are unaware that this is happening. To transform as leaders and to transform our organizations require that we examine our core beliefs—both individual and collective. If not, we simply make iterative changes, and that won’t be enough to succeed in today’s globalized economy.
The Enneagram gives you the possibility to transform the way you show up as a leader. Inner change leads to outer change—when your inner world transforms, an opening is created for extraordinary shifts to occur in your outer world. When you lead from the InsideOut, you have the ability to be responsive and flexible enough to act in the moment. Your words and actions are aligned. You take responsibility for creating your life and for leading with integrity and passion.
Appel says she often gets asked “about the difference between the MBTI and the Enneagram, or whether MBTI Type preferences neatly fit into the Ennegram Types. The most simplistic way to understand how the systems complement each other is that the MBTI describes preferences for how we do things (get our energy, make decisions, gather information, and so on); the Enneagram describes why and how we behave as we do (beliefs, fears, desires, focus of attention), and how we go about getting our perceived needs met.”