What is the Enneagram?

The image below is of the enneagram (pronounced "ANY-a-gram").

Enneagram roughly translated from Greek means "nine-pointed figure". 

The enneagram is a map and useful tool to understanding the many facets of human personality and motivation. By understanding the box or type we have already put ourselves into, we can then use the enneagram to break ourselves out of that and learn different ways of being and interacting with ourselves and the world. Each of the 9 types gives us gifts as well as things to watch out for and learn from. We are going from being stuck in one or two ways to moving fluidly with the ups and downs of life. Seeking the assistance of a coach, like myself, is very helpful for when we do become stuck. 

 

There is a rich and fascinating history about the enneagram and the symbol of it. Click here if you're interested to learn more about the history through the enneagram institute. 

Each type (1-9) has their strengths and weaknesses. Different schools of thought have put various words to describe each type. For some people those words are helpful and for others it can be confusing because the words don't completely fit. That's why I will use E1, E2, E3, etc instead of words like perfectionist, helper, or achiever. The one-line description below for the types comes from "The Wisdom of the Enneagram" by Don Riso and Russ Hudson. 

E8

Can be a powerful, magnanimous leader OR control and intimidate others.

E9

Can bring people together and heal conflicts OR be held back by passivity and stubbornness

E1

Can lead through integrity and reason OR be hindered by perfectionism and resentment.

E2

Can shine with generosity and healing power OR struggle with people-pleasing and possessiveness.

E3

Can become an inspiring example of excellence and authenticity OR blindly pursue success and status

E4

Can model creativity and intuitive power OR be held back by moodiness and self-consciousness.

E5

Can demonstrate visionary intellect and inventiveness OE become increasingly eccentric and isolated.

E6

Can exemplify courage and commitment OR struggle with anxiety and rebelliousness.

E7

Can become highly accomplished and spirited OR be waylaid by impulsiveness and impatience.

Below there is an image that shows how the 9 types are grouped. The 8-9-1 is part of the body center. The 2-3-4 is part of the heart center. The 5-6-7 is part of the head center.

You might see different names for these centers from various authors. 

Body Center: Action, Hands, Instinct, Gut

Heart Center: Feeling, Emotion, Relationships, Purpose

Head Center: Thinking, Logic, Brain, Information

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