Disclaimer: I am no way, shape or form an Enneagram expert or teacher. I love to learn about it and I am still learning lots of new things about it every day. This article is meant to be a brief introduction into what the Enneagram is and no way an in depth teaching tool.
The Enneagram. Maybe you have heard this word thrown about a lot lately but have no idea what it is. Or maybe you have yet to hear about this personality test. If you have not heard of the Enneagram of Personality Types referred to as the Enneagram, you probably will soon.
Different parts of Enneagram date back all the way back to the 4th century. The founder of the Enneagram as we have it today was put together by Oscar Ichazo who was born in Bolivia and then started teaching it in the late 1960’s.
The goal of the Enneagram is to make you more self-aware and discover what motivates you. The Enneagram is made up 9 distinct personality types. Usually people just refer to their type by saying their number. For example, I am a number 2. The numbers each have a corresponding name which describes the number the most.
The Enneagram Numbers
- The Perfectionist
- The Helper
- The Achiever
- The Individualist
- The Investigator
- The Loyalist
- The Enthusiast
- The Challenger
- The Peacemaker
You will also see the Enneagram symbol representing each number some too. The symbol looks like this and the location of the number and the lines they are connected too never changes.
Learning about the Enneagram
The best way to discover your own number is by researching, reading and listening to each number and seeing which motivations most describe you. This can take some time to do. While there are test and quizzes you can take that help narrow down your number, I find them not to be very accurate and most Enneagram teachers do not recommend them.
You might also hear people referring to their “wings” when talking about the Enneagram. This refers to a personality number that they have a lot of the characteristic in common with but is not their primary number.
For example I am a 2 (Helper) with a wing 3 (the performer). So I say I’m a 2 wing 3 or a 2w3. Most of the Enneagram teachers believe that your wing has to be a number on either side of your primary number. (So I could not be a 2 wing 5.)
Each number also has a number they act like in stress or a number they act like when they are in growth. Meaning you take on the bad characteristic of that number or the good characteristic. Plus each number has different levels of healthy, unhealthy or average.
For example a healthy 2 and an unhealthy two would look completely different. The goal is to become the healthiest versions of ourselves and find blind spots that we can address.
Every number also has a deadly sin that can give them the most trouble. Plus, a virtue that makes them unique.
Enneagram Deadly Sins and Virtues by Type
- Type 1: Deadly Sin – Anger, Virtue – Perfection
- Type 2: Deadly Sin – Pride, Virtue – Help
- Type 3: Deadly Sin – Deceit, Virtue – Efficiency
- Type 4: Deadly Sin – Envy, Virtue – Creativity
- Type 5: Deadly Sin – Avarice, Virtue – Knowledge
- Type 6: Deadly Sin – Fear, Virtue – Courage
- Type 7: Deadly Sin – Gluttony, Virtue – Joy
- Type 8: Deadly Sin – Lust, Virtue – Strength
- Type 9: Deadly Sin – Sloth, Virtue – Peace
Learning about my deadly sin is where I learned to love the Enneagram. I never realized that I as a 2 struggle with pride but once I thought about it really did struggle with that. Since then I have been actively working on this. This process has opened up my eyes!
In learning about the other numbers is has also made me so much more empathetic to people who think differently than me. It has made me realize that everyone has different motivations and that doesn’t make one person better then the next. We all have our own things we are working on.
Once you have mastered the basics of the Enneagram, then you dive into the different triads and subtypes. I won’t discuss those here because I am still learning how to best apply them in my life.
In your goal to find your number here are some of the best books and podcast to read especially if you are new to the Enneagram.
(This post includes affiliate links meaning purchases made through included links may result in Splendry earning a small commission at no cost to you.)
- The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron
- The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationship by Suzanne Stabile
- The Enneagram Collection by Beth McCord (she has a book that goes over every number)
- The Heart of the Enneagram Podcast
- The Art of Growth: Enneagram Panels Podcast
- Typology Podcast
Hopefully this very brief overview has answered some of your questions about this path to self-growth and discovery. It really has made me so much more self-aware and understanding of those around me. I hope you enjoy learning about the it as much as I have!