(#13) The Enneagram

What up guys.

I wanted to supplement my recent podcast episode with a blog post regarding the Enneagram - an insanely powerful personality assessment tool. (If you let it, the Enneagram will speak to your soul).

I first heard about the Enneagram about 5 years ago, but didn’t give it much thought. I had taken various other personality assessments such as the Meyers-Briggs that were definitely interesting, but not very practical…(how does it help people when they know I’m an INFP?). Because of this, my view of personality-profilers was tainted, and I thought the Enneagram was just another one of those.

About 3 months ago however, I listened to a Carey Nieuwhof podcast with Ian Cron, who is one of the leading experts on the Enneagram. The episode had my intrigue maxed-out, and I proceeded to Alice-in-Wonderland it down the Enneagram rabbit hole. And let me tell you, that rabbit hole is deeeeeep. Like deep, deep. It’ll take you to familiar-feeling places you’ve never explored (wut?). It’ll make you feel vulnerable, inspired, and confident at the same time. It’ll help you understand your spouse, friends, co-workers, and family members like never before. The Enneagram is a game changer y’all.

In a very basic sense, the Enneagram is a set of 9 numbers, 1 through 9 (I am an Enneagram 4). Each number has very specific characteristics (i.e. fears, motivations, tendencies, habits, preferences, worries, needs, etc.). The numbers are also interconnected (for example in times of growth, I am similar to a healthy Enneagram 1 - and in times of stress, I am similar to an unhealthy Enneagram 2). There are also “wings” - which are characteristics one has that are similar to an adjacent number (for instance I am an Enneagram 4 wing 3). I told y’all it goes deep! In fact, it goes so deep that I created an “Enneagram Cheat Sheet” for myself - you can check it out here. I try and read over it a couple times a week to keep the enlightenment strongggg.

There are numerous ways to figure out which number you are. There are a bunch of online questionnaires that help direct you, but to me, the best way to “type yourself” is to go to www.EnneagramInstitute.com - click “learn” at the top - then select “type descriptions” - then read through each of the numbers. You’ll quickly eliminate numerous of them as you start reading, but a couple will hit home - those are the ones you need to focus on. Dive into those numbers and figure out which one is “you".” Perhaps have a close friend, family member, or spouse read through with you and help identify which number you are. This may take some time - I originally thought I was a 9 or 7, then realized I was a strong 4. The Enneagram Institute has a some tools to help guide you along the way (the “misidentifying with other types” links are helpful). It’s important to keep in mind that the motivations behind each number are what really matter - you may identify with the behaviors of many - but the motivations behind the behaviors are what you should focus on.

I started having my Freshman (I am a HS teacher) type themselves and put together a document about who they are. They love this project. One girl legit started crying because it was so accurate in describing her personality, true story. If you’re interested in working through the worksheet that I give them, feel free to check it out here.

I encourage you guys to dive in and see what you discover. You have nothing to lose, and a ton to gain.

Much love to you all.


Nick Carlile