Many people say they don’t like the idea of being “typed,” and as hardcore individualists, we certainly get that. On the other hand, we’ve both found this ancient personality-exploration system — The Enneagram — enormously helpful. So here, we share just a little of what makes it useful (and fascinating) in relationships, at work, and anywhere that humans show up and get complicated. Dig in, then discover YOUR type.

This week we’re talking about the Enneagram — a personal wisdom tool that has been transforming lives and relationships for thousands of years.

The Enneagram is generally thought of as a personality typing system, and it does sort people into 9 primary types, but it’s different from other personality typing systems in a variety of important ways.

The central aim of the Enneagram is to help people understand their own and others’ deepest motivations. It helps us develop and better leverage our central strengths while also helping us recognize and work around our most challenging and potentially self-destructive tendencies.

One thing both Dallas and Pilar like about the Enneagram is that it is an incredibly rich body of knowledge, one that you can use to keep learning about yourself and others for the rest of your life.

So in this episode, we share an overview of our experiences with the Enneagram, and how we’ve benefited from them.

We offer some very basic information about the nature and origins of the system, and how it helps people evolve toward their highest and healthiest potential.

Finally, we offer you some experiments to help you discover more about your own Enneagram Type and put its wisdom to work in your own life.

“Enneagram” Episode Highlights

  • The murky ancient origins of the Enneagram and its modern applications, from conflict-mediation corporate team-building
  • How the Enneagram differs from other personality typing systems, like the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • The healthy-to-unhealthy spectrum of the Enneagram types
  • A quick rundown of the nine primary Enneagram types
    • #1: The Perfectionist, Reformer or Idealist (Pilar’s type)
    • #2: The Helper or Giver
    • #3: The Achiever or Performer
    • #4: The Individualist, Romantic or Artist
    • #5: The Investigator or Observer
    • #6: The Loyal Skeptic
    • #7: The Optimist, Enthusiast or Epicure
    • #8: The Leader, Protector or Challenger (Dallas’s type)
    • #9: The Peacemaker or Mediator
  • The benefits of noticing your type’s tendencies when under stress
  • Using your and others’ types to better understand how differently we all view the world, and to create more compassionate relationships
  • Taking a quiz or reading a description to discover your type: The pros and cons of each

1. Take the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) test from The Enneagram Institute, and then read about your type in their Type Description pages.

2. Bonus experiment: To better understand the dynamics between you and a loved one or co-worker, have them take the same Enneagram test and then read about how your types relate in the Type Description pages (you have to pay a membership fee to view this info). Does the description match how you experience each other? Without using the description to judge and point fingers, how can understanding your Enneagram types help you better understand past areas of friction or misunderstanding?

Check out The Enneagram Institute’s website. Read through the nine type descriptions and see if you can find one or more that resonates with you (see below to links to type pages). If you’re interested, consider reading more deeply, or even taking a course on the topic.

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