What’s Your Enneagram Number?

The 9 Enneagram Types And You

The Enneagram is enjoying a resurgence of interest today. What is it about this ancient personality type system that is so helpful – and how could it serve you and those you love in the journey of self-awareness?

What’s In A Number?

The other evening my wife came to me and said, “I’m pretty sure you’re a 4. Maybe a 4 with a 5 wing. Yeah, probably. No, definitely. Definitely a 4 with a 5 wing.” At first, I wasn’t sure what psychedelic mushroom she had eaten to precipitate such mystical speech.

Then I recalled all the years my friends have been telling me their “numbers,” their “wings” – and that the Enneagram is one of the most helpful tools for self-awareness they’ve experienced. Hmmm. I was intrigued.

My reluctance to use the tool myself has had only to do with time, energy, and a general distaste for categories that confine and limit how we ourselves or others. I’m also sensitive to how the journey to self-awareness (central to healthy spirituality and formation) can easily turn toward self-absorption (staring at the mirror in an endless pursuit of self-discovery).

The journey into self-awareness starts in front of a burning bush – not a mirror.

However, after a bit of research and a few tests down the hatch, I believe the Enneagram is far superior to some other ways of understanding our inner motivations than many other tools I’ve experienced to date.

What Is The Enneagram?

Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile, authors of The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery, put this way:

“Ignorance is bliss – except in self-awareness. What you don’t know about yourself can hurt you and your relationships – and even keep you in the shallows with God. Do you want help figuring out who you are and why you’re stuck in the same ruts? The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively.”

Richard Rohr, author of The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective explains it further:

“The Enneagram is old. It has roots in several wisdom traditions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Seven of the nine Enneagram types are associated with the “capital” or “deadly” sins which originated with the Desert Fathers. But it was not until the late 1960s that Oscar Ichazo began teaching the Enneagram as we know it today. From Ichazo’s school in South America, a group of Jesuits learned the system and brought it back with them to the United States. Richard Rohr learned about the Enneagram from this group and was one of the first people to publish a book about it in English.

The Enneagram gained popularity as a tool within spiritual direction. Today it is widely taught as a way of understanding personality, addiction, relationships, and vocation. …The Enneagram is a dynamic system. It was developed primarily in an oral tradition, in the context of relationships between students and teachers. A ‘dynamic system’ is one that recognizes that humans are far too complex and nuanced to fit easily into simple categories; it supports the evolving, maturing human journey.”

How The Enneagram Can Help You

In my view, the Enneagram is one of the most helpful ways of understanding personality – and particularly what motivates us – I’ve experienced to date.

I’ve come to believe it can help anyone who is serious about growing in the kind of self-awareness it takes to live from who God designed you to be, rather than from the accumulated self-protection habits and mechanisms that shroud and confuse our purest identity as a child of God.

The Enneagram’s real strength, I found, is in telling you who you are not – the false and immature self that seeks to overtake who God has designed you to be. For that reason alone, I’d do the Enneagram in addition to the Meyers-Briggs (knowing I’m an INFP has sorted out a few marital issues with my ISTJ wife) and other tests like it.

The 9 Enneagram Types

As Ian Cron has helpfully said on The Road Back To You Podcast, that the 9 Enneagram Types listed below are more like “colors” than “categories.”

In other words, there are potentially an infinite number of types of “blue” in the world, and thus there are shades and hues that make each blue quite unique. Calling ourselves “blue” then is a starting point for understanding rather than a confining box.

Here are the 9 Enneagram Types, with the different titles associated with them.

Type 1: The Perfectionist (Cron/Stabile), The Reformer (Rohr)
The Need To Be Perfect (Rohr)

Type 2: The Helper (Cron/Stabile/Rohr)
The Need To Be Needed (Rohr)

Type 3: The Performer (Cron/Stabile), The Achiever (Rohr)
The Need To Succeed (Rohr)

Type 4: The Romantic (Cron/Stabile), The Individualist (Rohr)
The Need To Be Special (Rohr)

Type 5: The Investigator (Cron/Stabile/Rohr)
The Need To Perceive (Rohr)

Type 6: The Loyalist (Cron/Stabile/Rohr)
The Need For Security (Rohr)

Type 7: The Enthusiast (Cron/Stabile/Rohr)
The Need To Avoid Pain (Rohr)

Type 8: The Challenger (Cron/Stabile/Rohr)
The Need To Be Against (Rohr)

Type 9: The Peacemaker (Cron/Stabile/Rohr)
The Need To Avoid (Rohr)

A “wing” is an Enneagram term used to nuance the system to say that no one person is just one of the 9 types, but rather leans toward one of the adjacent types. For example, I’m most probably a 4w5, i.e. a four with a five wing, and so on.

Example – My Own Discoveries As A 4

Before I give a few steps for starting the Enneagram process yourself, I’ll show you a few things I discovered about myself that I’m finding helpful. The nuanced ideas in The Road Back To You give far more helpful details. I’ll note a few of my encouraging revelations below.

I come out as a 4 the more we read and do tests. I’m specifically noting my motivations, and the hard heart work I must do with the Spirit to overcome my most challenging vices.

From The Road Back To You:

“Healthy Fours have a considerable emotional range, and they manage it by not speaking or acting on every feeling they have. They know they don’t have to be special to win God’s unconditional love. These Fours have found a way to live, for the most part, outside the pattern of shame and inferiority. They are deeply creative, emotionally honest and connected, and attuned to beauty.”

From Richard Rohr (Center for Action and Contemplation):

4 Role: The Individualist (or The Romantic)
Virtue: Equanimity (appreciating life just as it is)
Vice: Envy
Basic Desire: To be uniquely themselves
Further Reading: The essence of the 4 is the mystery of our true identity. It feels oceanic, deep, unfathomable, mysterious. 4s live for beauty, intimacy, and depth.

Then, following threads, I came upon a site that seemed helpful while lacking visual credibility, Personality Cafe. This site offered a very helpful listing of qualities of 4s as children. To a word, the page described my entire childhood experience.

What Enneagram Number Are You?

If you already know your Enneagram Type, let me know what it is in the comments below. I’m fascinated by what others have discovered about themselves. If you haven’t explored the Enneagram and want to use it to enter into greater self-awareness, I would encourage you to consider the following steps.

  1. STEP 1: Read The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery to familiarize yourself with the Enneagram.
  2. STEP 2: Do a basic, free online test (but it may not be exact), either here (Ian Cron) or here (a little more detailed one a friend referenced). (Or, you can do a $12 paid test at The Enneagram Institute).
  3. STEP 3: Discuss your perceived type with someone who knows you very well to help you tweak what you’ve learned so far.

You may want to consider doing a seminar or hosting one in your church. Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile do them, and they can be found here.

Also, you can receive a daily Enneagram thought for the day from The Enneagram Institute – sign up here.

I’d love to hear what Enneagram type you are, and how the test has served you as you grow in your self-awareness.

As Augustine said, “Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know Thee.”

::

Question: What Enneagram number are you, and how has the system helped you in your journey?

Recommended Resources:

The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey To Self-Discovery
Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile

This approach to the Enneagram is clear, concise, and enjoyable to read. My wife and I are using this as a personal study to help us better understand ourselves and our children.

 

Enneagram: A Christian Perspective
Richard Rohr & Andreas Ebert

This approach to the Enneagram is more psychological and academic in nature, but very interesting and helpful. My wife and I will use this to enhance our understanding of the Enneagram from a broader perspective.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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22 thoughts on “What’s Your Enneagram Number?

  1. Type: 5w6, Subtype: Soical, Tritype: 5-9-2

    I’ve been studying the Enneagram for about 6.5 years and, like you, I have found it to be profoundly helpful.

    The subtypes are really important to understand because they explain vast differences between people of the same type. The Social subtype finds identity in groups, the one-on-one (or sexual) subtype finds identity in close one-on-one relationships, and the self-preservation (or self-pres) subtype is in self-protection mode most of the time.

    Understanding that we are a primary type but also operate as a type in each of the other centers further helps us understand how we fixate and how we are trapped by personality. Finally, understanding which type we move toward when we are healthy and which type we move toward when we are unhealthy is extremely helpful in seeing if we are growing or regressing.

    I am an INTJ in the MBTI which is somewhat helpful to know but the Enneagram actually gives direction for self-awareness and overcoming the negatives involved with our type.

  2. I struggled with identifying my type. Josh and I took a test about 4’years ago and it came back as a 3. Which made sense to me. I often work hard, get things done. Like the applause of ofthers. But then I realized my family’s culture is a 3 and a lot of these hard working things I did were to Live up to my family’s culture. my key motivations don’t typically line up with 3s.

    Upon reading and investing in this season I most line up with a 7. My young adult self is almost entirely a seven. Optimistic, Funny, fun, often biting off more than I could chew and always planning to gather my friends and party hard. Sometimes overwhelming people with my desire to always get together for our next adventure.

    But that 7w7 in me has been tamed a bit in parenting. I honestly feel like a 7 under constant stress in this phase of life and it’s really difficult. But even the realization of this is freeing. Knowing that the pessimistic side that has come out lately is mostly likely just because of the stress of parenting 3 small children. Now when I recognize myself going down the path of pessimism and critical thinking I can breath and ask God to help me slow down and give thanks. and I have been able to refocus my attitude much faster as of late.

    Anyway! That was a novel. Sorry! Just really into the enneagram lately and loving what that tool and the Lord are teaching me through the self discovery. Peace!

  3. I am a One wing 2. My husband is an 8 wing awesome. 😉

    I think the most helpful thing about understanding this One-ness that I have is that it has let me get ‘out’ of myself and look at me from there. One’s have a constant inner critic, and in my case my One drive for perfection has been directed at myself for the most part, probably because in my case I also struggle with shame. So self improvement for me isn’t just interesting, it is a must; except for grace and the unconditional, always accepting, love of Jesus. So, getting outside of myself to consider all these aspects of me in a more objective and far less critical voice than my own has been a gift. The enneagram allows me to learn about who I am without that harsh critical tone to it that I have lived with my whole life…but rather with a very dispassionate, unbiased and factual tone that is freeing for me. And validating. I can accept that I have weaknesses not because I have done things wrong or because I have failed, but because of who I am. And you do too, just different things. Learning about One’s has also brought balance, because I have also been able to learn what is good about who I am, what I should celebrate, and even what I should maximize, as my contribution to my world.

    With regards to others, the Enneagram has opened my eyes to how different things hurt different numbers (and often those are things that don’t bother me at all!). I hope that has made me a little more supportive and understanding. And I love that The Enneagram sees the gifts of an 8! Since I am married to an awesome, strong 8. I feel proud when I read about 8’s. (I am already familiar with the challenges of 8’s, after 30 years with one.) In marriage, the Enneagram gives me grace and understanding for both of us, and inspires me to want to get better at helping each of us shiner brighter and bring ourselves to our world.

  4. I’ve refused to take any of these personality tests for the reasons you described above, ESPECIALLY the love languages one. But, you sure are making it sound like a great opportunity to grow by studying and taking the Enneagram test. My result will be a 1w2 if the numbers are supposed to be close to each other; otherwise a 1wAnything with 2 still being the likely second. We’ll see ?

  5. I find the Enneagram really helpful both personally and in bringing more health and understanding to our teams. For example, since I’m a 3, when I made some embarrassing mistake leading worship or presenting something in front of others, it’s hard for me to shake. When others on my pastoral team understand that, they are better equipped to help me chill out. I’m intrigued by 4s. From what I know about you, I can see some of the 5. It sounds like your wife concurs. There are so many different shades of each type!

  6. I’m a 1 wing 9. Two of the most helpful discoveries of my “oneness” has been that I have a strong NEED (and therefore I must make it a priority) to be in nature and, second, that I have an innate desire to make everything better. That last one created such a sense of well-being and understanding within that I more fully embraced my number. Instead of seeing it as my responsibility to change everything, I can now just notice what can be better and not be burdened with the need to take responsibility for it. A small, but significant shift. I was otherwise taking responsibility for everything that needed to be better which created much overwhelm.

  7. Our training company has conducted Enneagram seminars for years and found it to be an incredible communication tool from large corporations, small businesses and even in marriage counseling. A wonderful way to self reflect and keep communication open with respect and safety. It’s a wonderful interactive method for anyone who has to communicate…that means everyone. Great article.

  8. I’m a 4 with a 5 wing.

    I’ve read from Rohr’s book and the Riso/Hudson book, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types. The first time I read about childhood for 4s I felt vindicated and understood, and was able to extend grace and care to myself. It meant so much! Envy is the vice for 4s, but not something I understood until one of the books expanded on the idea, using the word comparison instead. Comparison I understood. It made me realize that reading different resources could be helpful.

    My favorite podcast on the Enneagram types is this one: http://www.theliturgists.com/podcast/2016/8/23/the-enneagram-episode-37. I thought Cron and Stabile were at their best (and Gungor’s music/songs for each type are well worth the listen!)

    The tool that has been the most helpful is the daily Enneathought (sign up here: https://subscriptions.enneagraminstitute.com/subscribers/create). My husband and I both receive our own and each other’s thought for the day. I don’t think I can talk about that without using more words than are appropriate in a blog comment, so suffice to say it’s been a gift *to* both of us *for* each other. It has helped me calibrate for the day and on more than one occasion has been timely for a specific issue I’m dealing with. One friend referred to it as the meanieagram, but the difficult issues in me are the ones I’m desperate to grow in/out of, so I’ve welcomed the gut-punching thoughts and it’s made the uplifting comments that much sweeter.

    I am grateful for the Enneagram!

  9. I am a 4 wing 5. I kept testing as a 2, which sounded terrible, especially when compared to being a 4 – that sounds amazing to me! I resonate with the depth, love of beauty, and “the ability to sit with someone in the middle of their pain and not have to fix it.” YES. I can see several factors contributing to the type 2 false test results: Spouse – turns out Jay is a 2! And I tend to meld into his stronger personality. Season- moms of young ones are immersed in a 2 life (and 2 is a 4s stressor!). Culture- growing up in a traditional southern religious setting, the message to girls and women was “you can be as 2 as you want to be (but that’s about it).” Internally – reframing the sin of envy. The online tests ask if you find it hard to be happy for your friends who do well. My close friends? Super happy for them. Everyone else? That’s another story. I am just now realizing how much of my internal dialogue revolves around envy. The Enneagram is challenging me to work through this on a much deeper level. Not to mention the insights into our marriage, even after 13 years, which we are just beginning to unpack. So good!

  10. It sounds like the Enneagram is providing a gift to everyone here and on Facebook. Cheers to self-awareness, and the fruit of living from your true self!

  11. Dan,
    Sometimes I love being a one but most of the time I hate it. I feel like I see things that others don’t see and they think I’m being overly critical. Most things don’t ever feel “complete”, which is really hard for me. I feel like it’s my duty to complete them yet I’m painfully aware of my own limitations and insecurities. I’m not like most ones in the sense that I often don’t voice my thoughts unless I feel I have some equity or relationship with someone. And even then a lot of times they don’t “get it” or “get me”. If I can think of one thing that I like about being a one, though, it’s my ability to be completely present in a beautiful moment because I experience its wholeness. Does that make sense?

  12. 6w5 – Before the enneagram I had done so many different personality tests that, most of the time, would leave me feeling dissatisfied. I would remain perplexed by the craziness of my brain/inner-self/emotional train wreckage I, so often, felt. When I did the enneagram test I was a mixture of three numbers 2-9-6. But upon reading the below paragraph, under the description of a 6, it was someone turned on the high beams on a dark country road.

    “Until they can get in touch with their own inner guidance, Sixes are like a ping-pong ball that is constantly shuttling back and forth between whatever influence is hitting the hardest in any given moment. Because of this reactivity, no matter what we say about Sixes, the opposite is often also as true. They are both strong and weak, fearful and courageous, trusting and distrusting, defenders and provokers, sweet and sour, aggressive and passive, bullies and weaklings, on the defensive and on the offensive, thinkers and doers, group people and soloists, believers and doubters, cooperative and obstructionistic, tender and mean, generous and petty—and on and on. It is the contradictory picture that is the characteristic “fingerprint” of Sixes, the fact that they are a bundle of opposites.” (The Enneagram Institute)

    I was given a gift of clarity and a path towards understanding that I could follow. I, instantly, felt sane and relieved – nothing was actually wrong with me! It was and has been a life changing way to explore myself in a way that has felt more meaningful, truth bearing and safe. There’s so much more to learn, however, and your post has inspired me to take some time to dig deeper. I haven’t spent a lot of time learning about my 5 wing and I’m sure there’s much to become aware of in that area. Thank you ?

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  14. I am a 3 with a 2 wing… a little 4 thrown in there. My husband is a 9 with an 8 wing.