I’ve been hearing about something called the Enneagram for years now. I’ve kept my distance from it mainly because I didn’t understand it. You may have heard of it before, and you likely know it’s a personality assessment. And like me, you may have already spent time analyzing yourself in a number of ways that provide you a letter (DISC Assessment), an animal (Smalley Institute), a grouping of four letters (Myers Briggs), or any other number of tests out there (honorable mention to the Harry Potter quiz). Each can be useful in different ways.
The Enneagram test assigns you a number from 1-9. It’s a bit more abstract, and even the origins of the assessment are a bit of a mysterious story. I’ve used the DISC assessment in a professional setting and seen the value. I’m not immediately sure how to use the Enneagram this way, but I’ve found that it is great for self-reflection and for learning to better understand those key people in your life (who likely have a different number than you). To dive into this more, I recently read Ian Morgan Cron’s book, The Road Back to You (see: Amazon link).
They have a test you can take for $12 to find out your number (see: Enneagram Institute), but I knew I was an eight on the chart just by reading the chapter about those affectionately known as “The Challenger.” I then confirmed this by taking the test afterward. One of my favorite parts of the explanation in the book is that they explain each number in terms of what a healthy, average, or unhealthy version of that number looks like. Our personalities, in essence, are neutral. The goal isn’t to be like someone else, but to be the healthiest version of you that you can. I feel that I’ve just begun my journey with the Enneagram, and I’m glad I entered the conversation.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
To know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks. It is to measure oneself against Truth, and not the other way around. The first product of self-knowledge is humility.
May you learn to see your self with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment.
We all have our preferred ways of circumventing God to get what we want, and unless we own and face them head-on they will one day turn our lives into nettled messes.
Learning to manage your deadly sin rather than allowing it to manage you is one of the goals of the Enneagram.
The true purpose of the Enneagram is to reveal to you your shadow side and offer spiritual counsel on how to open it to the transformative light of grace.
We can’t change the way we see, only what we do with what we see.
Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.
If we all could have nine pairs of Enneagram glasses and swap them, we could be moved to extend infinitely more grace and understanding to one another.
Click here for the source of the artwork above.