Why I’m Obsessed with the Enneagram

Why I'm Obsessed with the Enneagram

What is it about putting things in boxes that feels so satisfying? When I first moved to NYC, I worked with a professional organizing company and had the pleasure of helping clients create order out of chaos in their physical space. And each time I was reminded of the elation one can experience from taming all that’s unwieldy and random into clarity and order.

Maybe that’s why I can’t get enough of personality type indicators like the Meyers Briggs or my current obsession—the Enneagram. They take the vast nature of human functioning and corral our ways of being into a loose type that often feels creepy accurate like someone’s been secretly reading your diary. Or rather, they’ve been reading the thoughts you keep in your head because you were way too self-conscious to even write them down in your diary. I don’t think I’m alone in my obsession. Over the summer my Facebook feed has been blowing up with friends sharing their type and asking to hear mine (I’m a 1 wing 2 by the way…just like Hillary Clinton), and my clients often come to me asking that I help them make sense of their Enneagram type with their big life purpose. 

It gives us understanding for today and paints a picture of how to move forward into a healthier future.

If you’re looking for a tool to give you great insight into your personality, I strongly recommend discovering your Enneagram number. There are nine basic types and usually you can identify your primary type with a wing that influences how you may manifest your basic type. It can be helpful in understanding how you function and give clues as to what health might look like in your life. Within the lifeplan process, we spend a little bit of time drilling down into how you uniquely think and how you’re wired using a couple of special assessment tools. I love to combine the knowledge we gain from this lifeplan data with a client's Enneagram to help flesh out comprehensive strategies for a fulfilling and purposeful life. 

So what is the Enneagram? 

I don’t know when I first became acquainted with the Enneagram. It’s much like trying to remember when you first read a Dr. Seuss book…it just happened at some point. But I do remember when I first learned about it in school. During my training in marriage and family therapy, our class did a deep dive into the Meyers Briggs Personality Type Indicator and along with it, we explored some additional personality assessments that could be helpful in working with clients.

And while I love the MBTI, I’m a much bigger fan of the Enneagram. I love the way it accounts for the coping mechanisms we develop in our childhood to operate in the world and stay safe (I’m a therapist after all) and teaches how those coping mechanisms can continue to help and harm us into our adulthood. It gives us understanding for today and paints a picture of how to move forward into a healthier future. Ian Cron describes it this way in his latest book The Road Back to You. He says, “The purpose of the Enneagram is to develop self-knowledge and learn how to recognize and dis-identify with the parts of our personalities that limit us so we can be reunited with our truest and best selves.” Well, sign me up because I want to live my Oprah-style best life now. What about you?

Are you curious about your unique type? You can take The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator here online for about $12. (I’m not an affiliate so I get no kickback for you doing so). They just have a pretty report and it’s much more accurate than other free versions I’ve seen online. But for something quick and dirty, you can either just read the descriptions online or in a book (like Cron’s The Road Back to You or for people of faith, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr) to figure out which you are or take a free test here online: RHETI Sample.

Once you’ve found out your type, please leave a comment below and share what trait you found “so true” about your number. I would love to hear from my little community how this tool is benefiting you and helping shape your life purpose.