NOTE: If you attended the Enneagram Webinar in May, and are waiting for the promised “Enneagram for your Soul Typing Worksheet,” it’s here! Just fill out the form (name and email at the end of this post) and a link to the worksheet will be emailed to you.
If you are one of the lucky ones, you took an Enneagram assessment and instantly knew your Type. It wasn’t even a question it was so clear to you.
And then there’s the rest of us. Those of us who take multiple assessments and still struggle to determine, “Am I a One? Or a Nine? How about a Seven? I’d really like to be a Seven. Let’s choose that!”
What is it?
If you are unfamiliar with the Enneagram, here’s a quick recap:
- The Enneagram reflects nine different “personality” types.
- It is both a psychological and spiritual personal growth tool.
- Each type has a unique “Soul Gift” that they offer the world (represented by the bright blue words in the image above.)
- Each person has elements of all nine types, but we have a gift, or a preference, for one type in particular.
- Our types do not change over time; however, for most it is a journey to discover your type.
And my personal favorite description of what it is:
The Enneagram represents nine different ways that humanity has learned to cope with the loss of connection with the Divine.
And as such, the Enneagram is a beautiful road map to help us find our way back to that Divine connection. What could be more powerful than that?
Why is it so Difficult to Type Yourself on the Enneagram?
Unlike other personality tools, the Enneagram is a bit more nuanced as people try to figure out which type they most resonate with. I frequently say that typing yourself is more of an art than a science. Here are some reasons it can be challenging to find your type:
- Traits vs. Motivations: On a more technical level, most personality assessments focus on traits and behaviors that a particular type exhibits.
While the Enneagram does indeed look at traits and behaviors, the beauty of it is that it focuses on understanding the motivations behind those behaviors. For example, if you were using the Enneagram to help understand why someone was struggling with workaholism, you’d see that while there are several types who might struggle with that “trait,” you’d also see that the reason for the struggle is different for a Three vs. an Eight vs. a Seven. And knowing the reason, or motivation, is much more helpful if you are trying to change a behavior.
But in terms of typing yourself, you cannot simply say, “Which type struggles with workaholism? Then that will be me.” It’s more nuanced than that (see the next point).
- Structure: Given that the Enneagram focus is on motivations and fears (yes, each type has a unique fear!), it is a much more fluid tool, and less structured than many others. For people who like linear, “black and white” structure, this might be frustrating! Ambiguity is a part of the deal with the Enneagram. But there is both a lovely simplicity and an amazing complexity to the Enneagram, making it a rich and robust tool for personal growth.
- Interconnectedness of the Types:
If you notice the arrows on the Enneagram, you’ll see that each type is connected to two other types. The connection in the direction of the arrow is a type’s disintegration point, and the connection going the other way is a type’s integration point. These points of integration and disintegration give the Enneagram one of the most unique features of personality profilers.
The point of disintegration reflects the behaviors that might show up when that type is under stress, making the disintegration point a type of “warning system” to tell us when we are out of alignment with our Authentic Self. For example, if you look at the diagram, you’ll see that a One disintegrates to a Four. So, if a One notices themselves exhibiting the less-healthy behaviors of a Four, they need to be looking at the stress level of their life.
On the other side, the point of integration is where a type looks to in order to develop their own type more fully. For example, you can see that Type One integrates to Seven. This does NOT mean that a One is trying to become a Seven; rather, I like to say that Ones “go to the gym of Seven” to work out some muscles to make them a stronger One. They look to the more-healthy behaviors of the Seven to do this. But this fabulous interconnection can make finding your type more challenging.
Continuing the theme of connection, learning about yourself using the Enneagram has you focus not only on your primary type, but also on your wing. If you look at the diagram, you’ll see that each type has two types next to it. The types that flank the primary type are the wings. Every person has a main type, and then a wing. For example, if you are a Nine, you are either a Nine with an Eight wing (9w8) or a Nine with a One wing (9w1). Most people only have one wing – although occasionally someone will have both wings.
As you’ll soon see, wings can actually help you find your type.
- Emotions: My friends and I joke that if you are unclear about your type, simply read about them all, and the one you dislike the most? That’s you!
That’s not really how it works, but it is uncanny that many people do not like their type initially. This is in part due to the fact that the Enneagram tends to focus on the coping strategies each type has developed, which often results in a focus on the not-so-great behaviors and motivations of the types. And, when we see a truth reflected back to us that we don’t like, our first impulse is to reject it (and we will relate the the truth of our own type…whether we like it or not, whether consciously or unconsciously).
So, the degree to which we have self-knowledge and can tolerate seeing our weaknesses can impact how we make the journey to discovering our type.
How can Typing Yourself on the Enneagram Be Easier?
The “Enneagram for Your Soul Typing Worksheet” (which you can have emailed to you – see form below) can help you find your Type, or at least take you further down the road in your journey of discovery.
First, I recommend taking at least two assessments for the purpose of identifying the top three types that are most likely you. Here are some options (there is a link for these options provided in the download as well):
- Free: www.enneagramtest.net
- Free: EnneaApp (an app for your phone).
- Twelve bucks: If you are willing to drop $12 and get the most comprehensive test out there (in my opinion!), take the RHETI at enneagraminstitute.com.
After taking the assessment(s), read about and take notes about your top three types. Get to know and understand the basic elements of each one. And if it’s still not clear (as it isn’t for many people), then proceed to apply these six tips to help you discover your Enneagram Type.
- Wings: As mentioned above, looking at the wings for your “suspected” types can help to clarify. You can find information on wings in any book on the Enneagram, or many websites.
- Levels of Health: According to Riso-Hudson at the Enneagram Institute, each type has nine levels of health. Taking an honest look at your current and past behaviors can help you identify your type.
- Personal Reaction: Pay attention to the types you dislike. And to the ones you are really drawn to. And being drawn to a type – really liking it – is actually an indication it is likely not your type. (Sevens may be an exception to that!)
- Input from a Trusted Source: While I do recommend that you do the work of typing yourself on your own first, if you really get stuck after applying these tips, you can ask others for their input on your type.
- Points of Integration/Disintegration: Again, I recommend coming to this tip toward the end of your journey. These points are incredibly helpful, however if you are new to the Enneagram, it can make it more confusing.
- Curiosity and Patience: The most important part about the Enneagram typing process is an open heart, open mind, and open spirit. Let yourself be curious, non-judgmental, and patient!
The “Enneagram for Your Soul Typing Worksheet” gives you a place to write out and explore each of these six tips.
If you still aren’t sure after applying these tips, simply live your life for a few weeks and months, with the intention of observing your behaviors through the lens of the Enneagram.
Knowing your Enneagram type is the first step in a lovely journey to personal and spiritual health. Stay tuned to this blog if you want to learn more!
Until next time,
PS: Download this writable PDF, “Enneagram for Your Soul Typing Worksheet.” I created it as a gift for you!
PPS: If you are intrigued by the Enneagram and want to learn more, please let me know your questions and/or what topics you are interested in. I’ll try to tailor my content to your questions and interest!
PPPS: Finally, if you would like some support in finding your Enneagram type, I offer hour-long 1:1 coaching sessions with the express purpose of helping you find your Type. Email me if you are interested!