What if you had a roadmap—a “soul-map”—for understanding who you are and what makes the people around you tick? A time-tested system that integrates your whole being and can be applied to every area of your life?
And what if this map could help you tap into your essential nature, resulting in truly authentic relationships and a deep sense of living “on purpose”?
This map exists, and it’s the Enneagram… When I was Director of Nutrition at the Optimum Health Clinic in London, we used The Enneagram extensively having discovered that there were certain personality types that were more prone to chronic fatigue than others.
My then business partner Alex Howard identified traits found in type 1 (reformers/perfectionists), type 2 (givers), type 3 (achievers) and type 6 (loyalist/anxiety types) that can all contribute to fatigue issues. The findings were published in Ken Wilber’s academic Journal of Integral Theory and Practice.
I have written about adverse childhood events (ACE’s) and their impact on health over a lifetime extensively. ACEs not only impact biology, they also influence and shape our personalities, so events in childhood can lead us to become over-achievers, workaholics and over-givers for example.
Understanding your Enneagram type is a tool for exploring what makes us tick, what drives us, and can help us identify and ultimately release behaviours originating from trauma that are undermining our health and well-being.
The below descriptions are from Russ Hudson President of The Enneagram Institute.
The Nine Types and Four Key Descriptors
The Reformer: Principled, purposeful, self-controlled & perfectionistic
The Helper: Generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing & possessive
The Achiever: Adaptable, excelling, driven & image-conscious
The Individualist: Expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed & temperamental
The Investigator: Perceptive, innovative, secretive & isolated
The Loyalist: Engaging, responsible, anxious & suspicious
The Enthusiast: Spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive & scattered
The Challenger: Self-confident, decisive, willful & confrontational
The Peacemaker: Receptive, reassuring, agreeable & complacent
The Nine Types in Brief with Videos
Type One—The Reformer: The principled, idealistic type. Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.
Type Two—The Helper: The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.
Type Three—The Achiever: The adaptable, success-oriented type. Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others.
Type Four—The Individualist: The introspective, romantic type. Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity. At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.
Type Five—The Investigator: The perceptive, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way
Type Six—The Loyalist: The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their Best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
Type Seven—The Enthusiast: The busy, productive type. Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.
Type Eight—The Challenger: The powerful, aggressive type. Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self-mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.
Type Nine—The Peacemaker: The easy-going, self-effacing type. Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually grounded, supportive, and often creative, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent and emotionally distant, simplifying problems and ignoring anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.
For even longer descriptions of each type from the Enneagram Institute, and for troubleshooting click here