“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In the space there is the power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Viktor Frankl
As I have mentioned in my introduction to my newsletter (no idea if anyone has read it), I believe we all change and evolve constantly but often not consciously and with deliberation – this is one of the reasons I love the Enneagram.
The Enneagram is still a big unknown, a well-kept secret to many people and I have been asked by several readers what it is, why, and how I work with it in my practice. I have also asked one of my former readers why he unsubscribed from my letter (I am curious after all and always keen to improve) and was rather surprised by his reply. He has an issue with the “Enneagram stuff” and considers it too much like witchcraft and wants to avoid it.
I have been called a witch now and again but never in this context. As this is a topic I am very passionate about, I had to jump on it and decided to give a little insight in the coming weeks on the Enneagram – I can assure you it is not witchcraft 🧙!
Today I would like to give you just a little overview with some more personal information on the Enneagram. In the weeks to come, there will be more insight into the nine types of the Enneagram and what that even means. I do hope you will enjoy this series as much as I enjoy working (my magic) with the Enneagram.
If you have been reading my newsletter regularly, you have most likely realised that I am an
But when I was initially introduced to the Enneagram my very first thought was; “Please, not another useless assessment”. I think I even rolled my eyes in annoyance. I really did not want to pay money for another test to tell me what I already know anyway. As I am writing a little about my journey with the Enneagramyou might have already guessed that I took the questionnaire in the end, or it would have been a very short journey.
So take it I did, got my (very extensive) report with my results and I was thrilled at first. I was an Enneagram Type 2 – CONSIDERATE HELPER. My first thought was that that is exactly what I am and now I even have a report to confirm it.
“Before the truth sets you free, it tends to make you miserable.” – Richard Rohr
This quote was exactly what happened to me. I began to read my report and after just a few pages, I was devastated. I went into denial and put the report away. As I am insatiably curious though, I went back to the report and saw the truth staring back at me and some of it was an ugly truth. I felt caught, and exposed and was encouraged to confront myself with who I am. It was like someone wiped my glasses clean and I could see so much more clearly who I really am. More than that I suddenly realised what motivated me, I understood why I behave the way I do. That is the beauty of the Enneagram, it is not just about the behaviour of a person but much more about the motivation behind this behaviour – the why! Why do we do what we do or why do we behave the way we do! It was an amazing insight but also uncovered unhealthy behavioural habits and patterns. This is what makes the Enneagram dynamic and not static like so many other assessments.
I had to painfully recognise that my behaviour was not quite as altruistic as I had wanted to believe. My wish to help was motivated mostly by wanting to be loved.
The result was that I tended to impose my help on others – always with the best of intentions but not always wanted or even asked for.
It was clear to me that I had to make a decision to change something. The more I worked on the Enneagram, on my development, the more I realised that I had found the perfect tool to help other people in a sustainable way
After some time I trained as an Enneagram Practitioner, did the work, and got my accreditation in Lisbon several years ago. This was probably one of the best decisions of my entire life.
I have also had the great pleasure to meet with some of the icons of the Enneagram at a seminar in the US and had the opportunity to learn from the best like Ian Morgan Cron and Beatrice Chestnut.
I learn every day, I learn from the Enneagram every day, and I learn from every client I have the privilege to work with every day. I have developed a passion for this tool over the years that I cannot imagine working without it anymore. The beauty is that I still work with the initial report that I received after doing the questionnaire all these years ago.
“The enneagram doesn’t put you in a box. It shows you the box you’re already in and how to get out of it.” — Ian Morgan Cron
Even if it may appear so, the Enneagram is not at all about stereotypes whatsoever! After all the years I have been working with this tool, I never dare type anyone without them taking the questionnaire. You will see in the course of the next weeks, that you will most likely be able to identify with more than one of the types. This is simply due to the fact, that we usually have a bit of every type in us and one of them is always dominant – sometimes very clearly and sometimes only by a margin – otherwise it would be much too easy if there were only nine types of people around.
The beauty of the Enneagram is that it takes you straight to the root of a person’s inner self. It paves the way to achieve amazing and quick results, always provided of course, that a person is willing and wants to change and evolve with deliberation.
The Enneagram does have the power to support people in every aspect of their life be it leadership, work, love relationships, friendships, parenting, or business. It supports them to learn more about themselves and with that get a different and better understanding of themselves, which can be truly enlightening. The Enneagram can bring people into harmony with themselves.
If you want to grow into the healthiest version of yourself, you need to know something important:
You are so much more than your personality.
For the most part, your personality is a mask you unconsciously developed to protect yourself against the threats of early childhood.
At the time, it was necessary and useful. But when we hit adulthood and the threats of early childhood have passed, rather than protect us, our personalities begin to limit and imprison us – big time.
The best way to live a meaningful, loving, and satisfying life is to discover (or re-discover) who you truly are.
Another aspect that is very important is that there are no good or bad types – just different ones. You are born into your type – it will never change – but your upbringing and nurturing define the balance or imbalance of your type! In my case, I had the most toxic environment for my type while growing up. It took some (ok a lot of) work to find balance and I still work on it constantly.
“Your type shows up when you don’t.” — Ross Hudson
Since it would probably go beyond the scope of this series, I will “only” deal with the individual Enneagram types and not with the associated subtypes or wings. It will therefore be more of a general description, but it will give a good impression of how to get started with the topic. If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact me at any time or I can also recommend relevant literature on the subject.
🎶My Song of the Week
📚My Poem of the Week
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), an English poet of the Victorian era wrote this week’s poem.
Change Upon Change
Five months ago the stream did flow,
The lilies bloomed within the sedge,
And we were lingering to and fro,
Where none will track thee in this snow,
Along the stream, beside the hedge.
Ah, Sweet, be free to love and go!
For if I do not hear thy foot,
The frozen river is as mute,
The flowers have dried down to the root:
And why, since these be changed since May,
Shouldst thou change less than they.
And slow, slow as the winter snow
The tears have drifted to mine eyes;
And my poor cheeks, five months ago
Set blushing at thy praises so,
Put paleness on for a disguise.
Ah, Sweet, be free to praise and go!
For if my face is turned too pale,
It was thine oath that first did fail, —
It was thy love proved false and frail, —
And why, since these be changed enow,
Should I change less than thou.
Definitely an Ennea 2! This was at a wonderful event with Ian Morgan Cron in the US a few years ago…
“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” — Carlos Casteneda
If I piqued your interest to find out more about the Enneagram, your type, and yourself, and how it can transform you and your life, I would be happy to take the time for a speed coaching call that you can reserve right here, go to my website or simply get in touch with me directly.
Wishing you a wonderful start to your weekend and please feel free to comment!