If you’d like to gain perspective on your strengths and challenges, try the Enneagram.
The Enneagram is a personality system and learning tool that helps us understand how we view reality and why we do what we do by highlighting nine distinct ways that people think, behave, and filter information.
Once you identify your type, you gain a deeper understanding of your intrinsic drivers and motivations, teaching you to lead with the ones that strengthen you and modify the ones that derail you.
Here is a snapshot of the common drivers and worldviews for each of the nine types:
- 1s are driven by doing the right thing and improving themselves and their environments.
- 2s thrive on connecting and often define themselves through service to others.
- 3s are driven to achieve, measuring their value by what they are able to accomplish.
- 4s thrive on meaning and purpose and feel most alive when they authentically express their personal experiences and feelings.
- 5s thirst for knowledge and seek to conserve their energy, time, and resources.
- 6s seek security, driven to anticipate worst-case scenarios so they feel prepared for whatever might come their way.
- 7s thrive on the stimulation of new ideas, people and places, seeing a world full of possibilities — compelled to keep their options open.
- 8s seek power, action and truth, striving to keep things under control while minimizing their weaknesses.
- 9s seek harmony and peace, avoid conflict, ease tension, and promote positive mutual regard.
The easiest way to understand these worldviews is to see them in action.
For example, let’s explore how each of the types might select a book from the library about developing communication skills.
An Enneagram type 1 is motivated to perfect themselves and their environment, so they would look for a book about “rules of thumb” and standards from credible and validated sources of information.
Because a type 2 is driven to connect with others, they might look for a book that explores the interpersonal dynamics of communication and how to bring out the best in others. They’d also want to find resources they can give to their peers to help them improve their communication.
A type 3 would have a goal before even stepping foot in the library. They would have researched several different approaches to improving communication and select a book that can help them achieve their goals as efficiently as possible. They may have already made sure the book is in stock and reserved it so they can get in and get out of the library and start digging in.
A type 4 will look for innovative approaches to improving communication that stand out from all the others. Because 4’s are driven for meaning and purpose, they’ll look for books that have depth in content and possibly personal narratives that showcase how the author has improved their own communication skills.
A 5 will search for experts with a great depth of understanding, who provide the theory behind communication development, based in logic and rational thinking. As ardent fact finders, they may want several books so they can become an expert in their own quest for understanding.
A 6 will search for authors who are trustworthy and make sure there are no hidden agendas, such as books aimed to get the reader to buy expensive communication development tools. They might read what others have written about the book to validate credibility and authenticity of the author’s work. 6s will also want the author to explore different scenarios to apply communication approaches so they understand the full range of application and outcomes.
A 7 will enter the library and likely pick out several books on different topics that may be unrelated to communication, knowing they have the ability to connect the dots and come up with creative approaches that will inspire others to improve their communication skills.
An 8 will gravitate to authors who write with authority and provide the big picture. 8s want to find resources that help them get a better handle on communicating so they can maintain their powerful presence.
A 9 will select books that provide communication skills and exercises that are easy to relate to and appeal to many different perspectives. They’d be attracted to authors who are fair-minded and have every intention of fostering community and connection through improving communication.
Although the task is the same, the motivations behind each person’s quest differ depending on their worldview and the way they filter information.
At this point, you may be resonating with one of the types and finding all this information intriguing, but be wondering: what is the practical application?
I firmly believe that the more you understand why you do what you do and how you best contribute, the better you are able to communicate this to others and seek ways to align what you to do to your strengths and what lights you up.
The Enneagram helps you develop a greater awareness of who you are, so you can make strategic choices that lead to greater satisfaction.
To learn more about discovering your Enneagram type, click here.
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