August 15 th
Inner Wisdom, Intuition and the EnneagramBy
Have you ever experienced a flash of inner wisdom so strong that you felt drawn to do something without really knowing why? Have you felt called to step into something without having a well-thought out plan? Or wondered how to explain these tugs that seem so off-the-wall to the people around you?
I have had a number of these flashes over the course of my life. I have been trusting them and acting on them more and more over the last six years. My draw to the the Enneagram was one of those leaps of faith. I was fully guided by my intuition.
I was introduced to the Enneagram system of personality as part of a women’s integral leadership program in 2006. The Enneagram is a psycho-spiritual system with ancient roots and it transformed my life. I do not say this to be dramatic. I say it because it’s true. It is not for everyone but I have noticed that it finds us when we are ready.
I had taken a handful of different career and personality assessments over the years and nothing was more profound for my own self-understanding than the Enneagram. It seemed to describe my particular mental and emotional operating system in a way no other assessment ever had.
So what is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a complex and fascinating system of personality that describes 9 core types or points-of-view, 9 fundamentally different patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. Each of these types organizes attention and focus in the world very differently.
Combining traditional wisdom with modern psychology, the Enneagram is a powerful, practical and dynamic system for understanding ourselves and the people in our lives.
The Enneagram quite literally describes the 9-pointed figure that bears its name (see the diagram above). “Ennea” is Greek for 9 and “Gram” means something written or drawn. The history of the Enneagram goes back hundreds of years.
The value of the Enneagram:
- It helps us understand ourselves and others in our lives – with surprising accuracy
- It is unique in the world of personality systems in that it’s focus is on the underlying motivation rather than solely on behavior
- It identifies the core beliefs that drive our habits of attention and patterns of behavior
- It surfaces our blind spots and illuminates the path of growth and development
- It is a dynamic system that shows us how and when we are likely to access other points in the system
The Enneagram has been called a “liberation psychology”. The value in understanding our type is that once we see the patterns, or the “box” we have put ourselves into, we are no longer limited by it.
How is the Enneagram being applied?
The Enneagram is used in counseling, coaching, business, and spiritual direction to help people learn about themselves and others in their lives. In families and in organizations, it is used in conflict exploration and team-building and supports us in giving and receiving feedback. It is also used in literary and film pursuits to assist with character development.
For helping professionals and others interested in personal and professional development, the Enneagram offers a unique framework for self-observation and self-reflection that paves the way for transformational growth and change. The Enneagram is a powerful system that may be used to sharpen the self as an instrument of change.
Getting started with the Enneagram begins with identifying your core type in the system. The process begins with typing. I think one reason I was so drawn to the Enneagram is because typing is itself a process of self-discovery. It was a journey for me to take and it was not about someone else telling me: “this is what you are.” I found it empowering and deeply satisfying. When I talk about the Enneagram I always talk about typing as a journey.
While some people land in their core type right away, most people need to do some reflection and self-observation, try on a couple of types, and be patient with the process.
Here are some ways to begin the typing process:
1. Take the 9-paragraph self-test in The Essential Enneagram (a book by David Daniels, MD & Virginia Price, PhD). Read and follow all of the instructions. It’s a short test (9 vignettes) but it enables you to identify the top three types that are most like you. Chances are good that your core type is one of your top three. This book has fantastic short descriptions of each type, a section on look-alike types, and awareness exercises in the back of the book. I highly recommend this book as a place to start.
2. The 144-question forced choice Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI version 2.5) by Don Riso & Russ Husdon is another good place to start. You can obtain their typing book or take the full version online at the Enneagram Institute’s website.
While these tests are great ways to kick off self-observation, many people cannot land in their core type from testing alone. When this is the case, Enneagram Discovery Sessions and follow-up coaching are other options. Contact me for a complimentary strategy session if you want to learn more.
I have been studying and working intensively with the Enneagram and completed a two-year practicum and certification with the Palmer/Daniels school Enneagram Worldwide: Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition. I have also completed two years of certification training and coursework with the Riso/Hudson Enneagram Institute and I am an Accredited Teacher with the International Enneagram Association.
And feel free to check out my list of recommended Enneagram resources here.
If any of this resonates, give it a whirl and let me know how it goes. The Enneagram showed up in my life at the right time. I was ripe and ready. And my intuition led me to more Enneagram training. I love this work. I love the people who are drawn to this work. And I continue to be transformed by it every day.
If you are already familiar with the Enneagram, I’d love to hear how you heard about it, what you think about it, and how you’re using it in your life. If the Enneagram is new to you, let me know how this landed and what questions you have.
I invite you to take action now. Click “like” if you like this post, share it, and leave a comment to let me know what you think about the Enneagram or share a story about how you followed your intuition.