The Enneagram at a Glance
The Enneagram. The trendiest of personality tests. You’ve probably heard of it. The rage around the enneagram is new – but the test itself and the principals that surround are rooted in ancient history.
The enneagram is a personality test that categorizes most personality types into nine different numbers. Unlike most personality tests though, it accounts for so many details that, at least in theory, your number never changes.
At Proof, this sort of insight to ourselves and each other is extremely valuable. As a small, close-knit team, we know that understanding how other people work – as well as ourselves – is essential. We took the test ourselves and it only further reenforced what we knew about each other, and opened our eyes to new, more effective ways to work together. Here’s what you need to know about the Enneagram:
Nine Types of the Enneagram
There are 9 types on the Enneagram circle. With 9 at the top, then 1-8 around clock-wise, each type is unique, with innate strengths and weaknesses. No number is superior, but each number offers a distinct perspective. Each number has several characteristics, but what makes this personality test different from the others is the belief that your personality traits can be attributed to a core fear and core desire – which are the primary motivators for you, in your life. Let’s look at each number – as described by the Enneagram Institute’s website.
1 – THE REFORMER (Our Senior Brand Designer, Alexa is a 1)
- The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
- Core Fear: Of being corrupt/evil, defective
- Core Desire: To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced
2 – THE HELPER (Our Senior Brand Designer, Nick and our Business Development Director, Patrick are both 2s)
- The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
- Core Fear: Of being unwanted, unworthy of being loved
- Core Desire: To feel love
3 – THE ACHIEVER
- The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
- Core Fear: Of being worthless
- Core Desire: To feel valuable and worthwhile
4 – THE INDIVIDUALIST (I’m a 4)
- The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
- Core Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
- Core Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an identity)
5 – THE INVESTIGATOR
- The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
- Core Fear: To be capable and competent
- Core Desire: Being useless, helpless, or incapable
6 – THE LOYALIST
- The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
- Core Fear: Of being without support and guidance
- Core Desire: The have security and support
7 – THE ENTHUSIAST (Our Brand Designer Kristin is at 7)
- The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
- Core Fear: Of being in deprived and in pain
- Core Desire: To be satisfied and content—to have their needs fulfilled
8 – THE CHALLENGER (Our Founder, Matt and our Account Director, Amara are both 8s)
- The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
- Core Fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others
- Core Desire: To protect themselves (to be in control of their own life and destiny)
9 – THE PEACEMAKER
- The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent
- Core Fear: Of loss or separation
- Core Desire: To have inner stability “peace of mind”
By these descriptions, you may already know what type you are. But for the most part, people are a little bit of each number, which can make the “typing” process difficult. You can take the free enneagram test here.
The numbers on the circle can also be broken into 3 “centers.” These centers are called point to how each number makes decisions. Types 2, 3, and 4 are in the heart center – meaning they are more likely to make big decisions with their heart, taking emotions heavily into account. Types 5, 6, and 7 are in the thinking center. They are more likely to make decisions based on logic and fact. Types 8, 9, and 1 are in the instinct center. Their decision-making is rooted in “gut-checks” or their immediate instinct.
Using the Enneagram as a Tool
The Enneagram is not meant to box someone in, or wholly explain why someone is the way they are; but it can definitely be a tool for compassion, collaboration, and better conversations. It’s a beautiful reminder that we all approach situations differently – with different expectations, understandings, and vantage points. This can be a healthier place to begin work relationships – than relying on assumptions. A week rarely passes with us mentioning the enneagram in our office. It anchors us to better understand each other or to better approach tough conversations, as well as positive reinforcement. It’s a tool that keeps us kind and hard-working, and that’s something that’s always worth a second look.
Stay tuned for more blogs about the Enneagram and how we apply it to our day-to-day.