The Enneagram is a powerful and dynamic personality system that describes nine distinct and fundamentally different patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.
The word “ennea” is Greek for nine and “gram” means model or figure. Hence, the Enneagram is a diagram or star with nine points representing the nine personality patterns. Each of these nine patterns is based on an explicit set of perceptual filters that determine our worldview. Underneath each of the nine patterns is a basic proposition or belief about what you need in life for survival and satisfaction.
As you discover your personality type and the underlying basic proposition, you also will discover what motivates you, your coping strategy and keys to personal development. Read the brief descriptions of the nine types that follow, then click on any of the numbers on the Enneagram diagram below to start the tour of the nine Enneagram types.
Brief descriptions of the nine types
Type One: The Perfectionist believes you must be good and right to be worthy. Consequently, Perfectionists are conscientious, responsible, improvement-oriented and self-controlled, but also can be critical, resentful and self-judging.
Type Two: The Giver believes you must give fully to others to be loved. Consequently, Givers are caring, helpful, supportive and relationship-oriented, but also can be prideful, overly intrusive and demanding.
Type Three: The Performer believes you must accomplish and succeed to be loved. Consequently, Performers are industrious, fast-paced, goal-focused and efficiency-oriented, but also can be inattentive to feelings, impatient and image-driven.
Type Four: The Romantic believes you must obtain the longed for ideal relationship or situation to be loved. Consequently, Romantics are idealistic, deeply feeling, empathetic and authentic to self, but also dramatic, moody and sometimes self-absorbed.
Type Five: The Observer believes you must protect yourself from a world that demands too much and gives too little to assure life. Consequently, Observers seek self-sufficiency and are non-demanding, analytic/thoughtful and unobtrusive, but also can be withholding, detached and overly private.
Type Six: The Loyal Skeptic believes you must gain protection and security in a hazardous world you just can’t trust. Consequently, Loyal Skeptics are themselves trustworthy, inquisitive, good friends and questioning, but also can be overly doubtful, accusatory and fearful.
Type Seven: The Epicure believes you must keep life up and open to assure a good life. Consequently, Epicures seek pleasure and possibilities, and are optimistic, upbeat and adventurous, but also can avoid pain and be uncommitted and self-serving.
Type Eight: The Protector believes you must be strong and powerful to assure protection and regard in a tough world. Consequently, Protectors seek justice and are direct, strong and action-oriented, but also overly impactful, excessive and sometimes impulsive.
Type Nine: The Mediator believes that to be loved and valued you must blend in and go along to get along. Consequently, Mediators seek harmony and are self-forgetting, comfortable and steady, but also avoid conflicts and can be stubborn.
The above excerpt is from our favorite Enneagram site, Enneagram Worldwide.
My type and my favorite free test (The Road Back to You)–It is 100 questions so take your time.
Following is a reprint about my type-5–
Most people first hear about the Enneagram from a friend who encourages them to take an online test or—God forbid—from a five question “Enneagram personality quiz” they found while thumbing through a magazine in their dentist’s waiting room. What most of these tests conveniently forget to mention is that the accuracy of personality tests depends heavily on the test takers’ level of self-awareness, and the degree to which they’re willing to answer truthfully. But wait— didn’t we take the test in part because we know we need to be more self-aware and honest with ourselves?
You get my point.
All to say, Enneagram tests can be helpful first steps so long as you don’t rely on them to always be 100% accurate. You alone are the only person who can determine your Enneagram number, and that involves more than taking a test. Take advantage of our resources to help you on your journey toward becoming your best, and truest self.
You can also pay $12.00 for the riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator at the Enneagram Institute.
“My friend and coworker introduced me to the Enneagram a few years ago when we worked at the same startup (thanks, Isabella). It spread quickly around the company and gave us a set of shortcuts for how people might react and why they’re behaving in certain ways. Andy would be talking about politics again because he’s a 1, Ingrid would disappear into her designs for hours because she’s a 9, and Gina would want to organize spur-of-the moment excursions because she’s a 7.”
“Since I’ve moved onto venture capital I still use the Enneagram almost every day, although now it’s more to assess cofounder teams. Many of our decisions in early-stage investing center on the people: are they founding this company because they truly care about solving a problem, or because of the money? (Note that the former is the only correct answer). Are they rigid and perfectionistic, and thus may not react well to the ups and downs of startup life? Do they motivate through fear, inspiration, or friendship? All of these tendencies are reflected in the Enneagram.”