Many of us have gotten to know ourselves and our loved ones on a whole new level the past few months, whether we intended to or not. New couples have jumped headfirst into serious relationships, others have parted ways, and people are fast-tracking new homes and jobs, many attributing these changes to greater clarity on who they are and what they want out of life.
Even though in some ways, time has felt stagnant and we’ve all been challenged in different ways, our collective journeys toward self-discovery may have been expedited by the periods of pause or pandemonium we may have faced.
As we turn the corner into the second half of 2020, the shift in seasons reminds us that time will move forward and we will continue to evolve, no matter what the world brings. This road toward personal growth and better understanding ourselves and the people around us is the work of a lifetime. And one of our team’s favorite tools for that journey is the Enneagram.
Those of you who’ve been around awhile have probably heard us talk about the Enneagram over here before. But if you’re new to this hugely popular tool, here is a quick rundown of what it is, and the 9 personality types that make it up. Not sure which type you are yet? There are a ton of online quizzes to start, but many Enneagram practitioners would urge you to learn about each of the types first, and see which one emerges to you as your own. The beauty of the nine types is that they doesn’t place you in a box like a typical personality test might.
Instead, the Enneagram focuses on the desires and fears that motivate certain behaviors, while leaving room for the expressions and variations that make all of us unique.
Because of this, the Enneagram is a widely used tool to help people better understand the actions of themselves and others. By defining how each type behaves in health and in stress, it points you toward greater awareness and healthier living. As we dive into this next season of 2020, we want to re-focus on what makes each of us succeed. Below are some ideas for how to thrive this fall based on your Enneagram type, and help others feel their best as well.
Quick note: I’m not a trained Enneagram expert, but these tips are based on my own research and reading on the topic. If you want to dig deeper, there are tons of experts and endless resources on how the Enneagram can be applied to your life. Check out the Enneagram Institute’s site for more info, and their quick descriptions on each type excerpted below. I also gained inspiration from The Road Back to You, a popular book on the Enneagram.
Ones: The Reformers
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
With a strong moral compass and attention to detail, ones are often perfectionists with a desire to do things right. If you’re a one, watch out for your inner critic this season. Avoid comparing yourself to others and be aware when negative self-talk creeps in. Take breaks from work to relax and have fun.
Ideas for ones:
- practice writing affirmations in your journal and increase self-compassion
- embrace change and clean out your closet
- carve out time to play every day and pick up a new hobby like biking just because you love it, not because you need to do it perfectly
photo by kate lesueur
Twos: The Helpers
The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
Friendly and selfless, twos need to feel needed, and dedicate most of their time and energy to helping others. Twos have to watch out for feeling depleted, and make sure they take time for themselves, too.
Ideas for twos:
- Practice self-care by treating yourself to a nightly bath or face-mask alone.
- Bake some goodies for your friends, the alone time will be soothing while allowing you to continue serving others at the same time. Try out one of these 11 cozy recipes to kickstart fall baking.
- Know when to say no to people and opportunities.
photo by kate thompson
Threes: The Achievers
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
Busy, goal-oriented and productive, threes are wired to get things done and are motivated to appear successful. They have to watch out for busyness and over-scheduling, and try to set boundaries between work and life to avoid burnout.
Ideas for threes:
- Take a break from social media and take note of how you feel during the process.
- Set an exercise goal for yourself. During a time when career success can feel stunted, channel your competitive energy into crushing a training program or new workout series.
- Practice meditation to help you slow down and get in touch with your true self.
Fours: The Individualists
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
Emotional and creative, fours want to feel seen, motivated by a fear of being misunderstood or ordinary. If you’re a four, take note of your feelings and how they are driving your behavior, and watch out for envy, mood swings or detachment. Focus on what makes you feel grounded and make time to express yourself.
Ideas for fours:
- Start a creative project like creative writing or a watercolor painting and see it through to the finish. Taking time to express yourself will be especially important as the months get busier.
- Add more structure to your days by revamping your calendar. Instead of feeling constrained by it, you’ll find freedom in routine.
- Make it a habit to call at least one friend a week, and actively listen to what they have to say. Fight the urge to inject your own emotions into the conversation.
Fives: The Investigators
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
Independent and analytical, fives thrive in their alone time, and are motivated by a desire to acquire knowledge while avoiding help from others. Fives need to watch out for isolation and detachment, and not being too afraid to ask others for help.
Ideas for fives:
- Start a book club with your friends. This will satisfy your need to acquire knowledge, while helping you invest in your relationships at the same time.
- Take a poetry class. This will bring you into the present and allow you to experience your feelings as they happen.
- Ask someone you admire to grab coffee. Even if it makes you nervous, initiate conversations instead of avoiding them.
photo via free people
Sixes: The Loyalists
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
Loyal and future-oriented, sixes desire security and can tend to be skeptical of themselves and others. If you’re a six, watch out for self-doubt and learn how to trust yourself and others through building a healthy routine and habits.
- Practice yoga regularly to bring yourself into the present and quiet your mind. Have a friend or family member go with you to hold you accountable.
- Start a gratitude journal and keep record of all of the amazing things in your life. Tomorrow’s worries can wait.
- Set boundaries with reading the news, you might not realize how much this is reinforcing your anxieties every day.
Sevens: The Enthusiasts
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
Adventurous and optimistic, sevens are the spontaneous type that enjoys being busy and surrounded by others, often avoiding pain and deeper emotions in the process. If you’re a seven, watch out for emotional avoidance and busyness, and instead work on facing your feelings and prioritizing what’s important.
Ideas for sevens:
- Start a consistent morning routine, and try writing your goals down every day as part of it. This will help you live for today instead of tomorrow, and remember what you are ultimately pursuing.
- Take a last-minute staycation with your partner or friend to satisfy your craving for an adventure.
- Start a cravings journal to identify what you are craving and why. You might get in touch with some deeper emotions that have been suppressed, and get to the bottom of what void you are trying to fill with excess stimulation.
photo by Amy Frances
Eights: The Challengers
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
Eights can be intense, sure of themselves, and assertive, motivated by a desire to be strong and in-control. They are quick to make decisions and are direct and confrontational with others. Eights have to watch out for making quick judgements and seeing things as overly black-and-white, and shouldn’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Ideas for eights:
- Go on regular walks outside with friends and don’t be afraid to drop your guard. There’s no better time for deep conversations, and you’ll learn how to listen to others and share your own feelings too.
- Take time to rest, and have a consistent sleep routine. Remember that you’re not invincible, and everyone has to take breaks.
- Delegate something at home or at work. Even if it’s just taking out the trash, asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
photo from darling magazine
Nines: The Peacemakers
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent
Accommodating and agreeable, nines like to go-with-the-flow, motivated by a desire for peace and harmony. They can have a hard time speaking up and find comfort in routine. If you’re a nine, watch out for procrastination and know when to be vocal about your wants and needs.
Ideas for nines:
- Pick up gardening. Nines are especially soothed by being outside in nature, and don’t forget that taking time for yourself is not selfish.
- Have an organized system for your to-do’s like Evernote to help you stay on track and avoid procrastination.
- Don’t be afraid to say no when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do.