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How to Start Your Enneagram Journey

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

Enneagram Journey | What Is My Enneagram Type

So you discovered this amazing tool in the Enneagram and you are excited to uncover your shadow side and reclaim your true self. Great! Now what do you do?

The Enneagram is many things but simple is not one of them, which makes your first foray into the world of instincts, wings, subtypes, and triads a bit daunting. Before you give up or get crushed under the mountain of information, read the tips below to help you gradually dip your toes into this amazing tool:

  1. Discover your Type. This may sound overly-obvious, but starting with discovering YOUR Type is the best way to navigate this world. Reading about instincts, triads, triggers, wings, and subtypes may be a fun rabbit hole to fall into, but it doesn't help you discover who you are. In fact, sometimes adding huge loads of information first can lead to huge amounts of confusion. So how to do you discover your Type? Well, that can also be tricky:

    1. Take a test. There are a lot of tests out there and frankly they are all pretty universally bad. Tests do a great job of testing for behavioral patterns that MAY indicate a Type, but the Enneagram is based on your core motivations, so unfortunately, Enneagram tests can be close to worthless. If you do want to go this route, stick to the big-name tests--Beatrice Chestnut's test, RHETI, and IEQ9. These tests have been developed by some of the greatest scholars of the Enneagram (and they are still pretty flawed in result), so they offer the best chance at a test giving you insights.

    2. Read a book on the Enneagram. Another way to find your Type is to read an Enneagram book. A primer like The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron can offer a great, brief look at all the Types and help you see what is out there before you commit. Sometimes combining taking a test with reading a primer on your highest scored Types before reading the rest can bring the best results, without the risk of narrowing in on the wrong Type before exploring the whole Typology.

    3. Use an Enneagram Coach. Enneagram coaches are specially trained in the Enneagram and can help you navigate your Type and any common mis-Types. Though they are also fallible, they can at least give you enough guidance for you to make that final Typing.

    4. Ask someone you trust. Finally, and the method to use the most prudently, ask a trusted other for their perspective on your actions, behaviors, and thinking patterns. Sometimes it can be difficult to see ourselves and our patterns, so asking a trusted other can help shed light on this. However, do not ask someone who will be overly direct with you (unless that's your thing) or may be biased in their advice (often trying to convince you NOT to be a certain Type). Parents are notoriously biased for their children, so plan to work with someone who can give you neutral feedback.

  2. Discover your core motivation. One of the most amazing parts of the Enneagram is its ability illuminate our inner motivations--the why behind our actions. Sometimes our core motivation is so obvious to us that we may not have needed the help in seeing it, but sometimes we have so effectively hidden it from view that we can't see it. In my experience, it took me 3 months of watching myself "give to get" to really own my Type as Type 2. Once I learned this about myself, it was easier to be able to find the ways to break patterns caused by this core motivation. By becoming intimately aware of the things I do to earn love, I was able to choose different patterns in my relationships and set better boundaries.

  3. Discover your hot buttons. The core motivations not only help us uncover the reason behind why we do things, but the reason behind why we explode when we do. Finding our core fear and noticing how our reactions in conflict are usually reactions to others touching this horribly sensitive part of our egos helps us untangle our reactions to others and conflict in general. Noticing this part of ourselves helps us pause in our reactions and own the stories we tell ourselves about reality--making our relationships better.

  4. Discover others' Type. I reluctantly add this section, but it should be said that once you do know the Type of significant relationships in your life, your ability to navigate conflict and discussions of what you really need increases substantially. That being said, a few cautionary tips on inviting others to explore the Enneagram:

    1. Let others decide when it is their time. The most motivating thing you could do is to work on yourself. No one wants to have to explore their inner shadow-self at gunpoint, so be respectful as to when others are willing and able to do this work.

    2. DO NOT tell others their Type without them asking. If others ask for help, great, but otherwise leave them to their SELF-discovery. They may want to explore themselves or they may not be ready, their subconscious knows where they are psychologically, so leave it to them. If you truly want to motivate others, work on being more centered and happy yourself. This is more inspiring than any other pressure you could put on them.

Enneagram  Growth Journey | Enneagram Reflections


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