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Have you heard of the Enneagram? I hadn’t until a few years ago but was blown away by the accuracy of the results. It turns out I am a Type 2 (Helper) with a Type 3 Wing (Achiever) and reading the descriptions of the different facets of this personality type it explains a lot! 🙂
Please read below as my guest blogger of the month, Tyler Loomis explains this powerful tool…
(p.s. If you have something to share with our community, please contact me today!)
How can the Enneagram Help Me Grow This Year?
“A What-a-gram?” is a common response I hear when I ask people if they have ever taken or heard of this personality profile that I often use in my counseling practice. Simply put, the enneagram is a personality profile that identifies 9 different personality types; the name comes from the Greek words for “nine” (ennea) and “figure or something written” (gram). People I work with are often surprised by how accurately the enneagram describes who they are.
Its origin is uncertain, but we do know the enneagram is ancient (some trace it all the way back to Plato), cross-cultural (early versions of it can be found in the Middle-East, Europe, and South America), and used in a variety of settings including religious, therapeutic, educational and business.
Why do I like it and how is it useful? I’ll give you 2 brief answers:
First, It can help create compassion and promote understanding. In marriage counseling, I often see two people staring each other down and in so many words asking in amazement or disgust, “How can you think that way?!” or “Why would you do that?!” The enneagram can help us understand that people don’t always do things just to provoke someone else. Because of personality, legitimate differences, strengths and weaknesses exhibit themselves in all sorts of ways.
One is conflict avoidant; the other runs toward the tension.
One is more comfortable with the melancholy; the other is cheery and optimistic.
One is cautious about starting something new; the other is ready to take on the world.
One has a grasp on their inner world of emotions; the other prefers thoughts, concepts and solid information.
There are perfectly legitimate and different approaches to life, and the enneagram helps us see what those are.
But it’s not just compassion for others . . . compassion for self is also necessary. How often does the inner voice of condemnation rear its ugly head and proclaim, “There I go again, I’ll never get better, maybe I should give up.” The enneagram can help us form a new and more helpful message. Knowing what comes naturally and what requires extra effort or outside resources can help us take a deep breath and prepare differently for that next time around.
Second, the enneagram helps us see who we can be and not just who we are. You are probably familiar with the Myers-Briggs, the DISC or the MMPI. These tests have been insightful and interesting for people, but the focus is primarily on stating who a person is: you’re an extrovert. You’re direct. You have no feelings. You have an anger issue. The common tendency is to read the results, shrug our shoulders and say, “I guess that’s who I am.” Or, “I really wish I was more like so-and-so, she seems so put together.” The enneagram, on the other hand, not only reveals some things that are true about you, but also can give you a vision of what the best or healthiest version of you looks like.
For example, the number 1 is the “perfectionist” or “reformer”. In the words of Ian Morgan Cron, unhealthy ones are obsessed with micromanagement and control. Average ones have judging and comparing minds that naturally spot errors and imperfections. Healthy ones are balanced and responsible and able to forgive themselves and others for being imperfect.
The enneagram can help guide us so we are using our powers for good and becoming the best version of our number instead of using our efforts to try and become someone we are not intended to be.
I’m interested, where do I go???
There are a lot of great resources available to help you not only find out what number you are but help you become the best version of your number.
My favorite is from wepss.com – it’s an online profile that costs 10.00 and takes about a half hour.
A good, free test can be found by clicking here.
The Road Back to You is a great book, for
book and podcast about personal growth and the enneagram.
The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso and Hudson has been one of the more popular titles from the last 3 years.
Interested in a fun workshop for friends, family, spouse or work team? You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to talk!
Tyler is a licensed professional counselor at the Lakefront Wellness Center located in Pewaukee and Oconomowoc. He has been on the Lakefront Wellness staff for 10 years and has also been a pastor for 25 years. Marital therapy is his primary counseling focus, but will also see individuals and teenagers dealing with a variety of issues. Tyler and his wife, Kash, were married in 1996 and have 5 children; the youngest 3 were adopted though adoption agencies or foster care. He enjoys a variety of water sports, downhill skiing, reading, Tough Mudders, running, and doing projects around the house.