The Enneagram of Personality, or simply the Enneagram (from the Greek words ἐννέα [ennéa, meaning “nine”] and γράμμα [grámma, meaning something “written” or “drawn”]), is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.
The Enneagram can tell you what your core fears and desires are. It can also help you to explore the childhood struggles you faced and how you learned to cope with them in ways that show up in your adult life.
While typology systems like Myers-Briggs® can tell you how your mind is wired and what information you prioritize, the Enneagram can show you more about your traumas, coping mechanisms, and unconscious fears and desires. Understanding your type (and the types of your loved ones) can help you to grasp the underlying reasons why you’ve made very crucial decisions in life.
Figuring out your type can be shocking, unsettling, and refreshing all at once. When you discover your true type, there’s often a sense of vulnerability. While many other typologies focus on the best of someone’s personality, the Enneagram really digs deep. It can show all of us things about ourselves that we’re ashamed of – as well as things we secretly admire. If you’d like to take an enneagram questionnaire for yourself, you can check ours out here.
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The Perfectionist (Enneagram 1) is a tireless advocate for fairness and justice. Ones envision a better future which benefits and betters everyone, as they believe their overarching mission is to provoke change in the world. Extremely driven by an inner idealism and a sense of what’s possible, Ones prefer to break free from others’ expectations on what to do. They are typically organized, proactive, and independently-driven.
Hard work comes naturally to Ones—and they often find themselves wondering why others are “lazy” or unmotivated. When they relax, they regularly ponder about the consequences of their actions (and if they’ve lived in accordance with their convictions). As people of passion, Ones will do whatever they can to stay true to their set-in-stone principles—even if it means resisting their instincts, particularly anger.
Pragmatic and often very good with money, Perfectionists seek closure and structure in their lifestyles and plans. They take pride in following their schedules to a tee, and organize each day with a sense of purpose. As lovers of planners and all things tidy, Perfectionists go great lengths to create a functional and seamlessly organized life, whether that be in the form of automated money management or a meticulous morning and nighttime routine.
The Helper (Enneagram 2 Type) is a selfless and caring mentor figure in the lives of many. They’re ready to jump in and lend a helping hand whenever it’s needed, and actively search for ways to improve the lives of others. Underneath the surface, Twos feel that they must give, help, empathize, or self-sacrifice to “win” love and acceptance from others. They may expect others to reciprocate their efforts and are deeply hurt when it doesn’t happen.
Generous and emotionally aware, Twos seek out opportunities to make a positive difference and touch the hearts of others. They can sometimes overextend themselves to acquire (and sustain) affection from others, which may eventually lead to burnout or other psychosomatic conditions. Because of this, it’s important for Twos to face and combat their underlying fear of worthlessness.
At the core of their being, Twos strive to use genuine affection and connection to leave the people of their community in a better place than it was yesterday. Although they sometimes push themselves too much and deny their own needs, Twos eventually learn how to consciously think and feel for themselves, which is the pinnacle of their self-development.
The Achiever (Enneagram Type Three) is an energetic, goal-oriented “Type A” personality with a lifelong dream to continuously improve on every aspect of their life. Threes are energized by new plans, activities, and meetings to get things done and make things happen. Most at ease in the spotlight, they actively search for opportunities to push their name, talents, and credibility out into the world.
Sophisticated and image-conscious, high-flying Threes know exactly how to work hard and play hard. In the workplace, field, house, or air (for all the astronauts and pilots), they give each challenge their blood, sweat, and tears to successfully break through—with new heights and high scores. If this drive is paired with a healthy growth mindset, Threes can truly become a force to be reckoned with.
Throughout their life, Threes feel the need to keep improving and hustling (it’s arguable that the new-age #hustle culture has been single-handedly founded by Threes). They work extra hard to garner followers, credentials, and awards—while looking effortlessly stylish on top of it all. Underneath the surface, however, they may struggle with feeling like an imposter, along with intense self-esteem issues.
The Individualist (Enneagram 4) is an intense and creative artist, who works with tangible objects or intangible ideas to find meaning and discovery in themselves and in nature. Fours believe in creation over consumption, and will put up a fight against anyone who tries to convince them otherwise. They experiment with different ideologies, philosophies, and modalities to form a meaningful mélange of living.
Whimsical and free-spirited, Fours march to the beat of their own drums and passionately follow their deeply-held inner values. They believe in writing their own life stories and trekking down paths alone. While this is easier said than done, Fours typically put up with a lot of fear instilled from teachers, peers, or authority figures from a young age—who tell them to take the “safe” route and squash their dreams.
Sensitive and attuned to peak experiences, Fours can feel like aimless wanderers, searching for the meaning behind their existence, especially during adolescence. They find great joy when they’re able to tap into their “flow” state—when time melts away and hours feel like minutes. By late adulthood, Fours typically gain a more holistic sense of their true identity and are able to find their place in (or out of) society.
The Investigator (Enneagram 5 Type) is an independent and curious maverick on an intellectual mission to absorb as much knowledge as their active minds can acquire. Fives seek to understand, through reading and thinking, the laws and principles governing the world. They can wholeheartedly attest to Socrate’s famous saying, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
Autonomous and inquisitive, Fives carve out as much time as possible to let their thoughts run wild. They thrive when they can devise hypotheses and theories and add to their ongoing informational archives. Through careful inspection and analysis, a seemingly random set of data or facts can spark extraordinary insights and transform into a leeway for scientific breakthrough.
In order to achieve a sense of balance, Fives reduce or eliminate tasks which can be delegated to others or avoided altogether. It’s common for Fives to live a very minimalist lifestyle: out in the woods, in a van, free from mortgages, and multi-layered credit card debt. Many have broader life goals to live sustainably and consciously.
The Loyalist (Enneagram 6) is a cautious and skeptical type who aims to be prepared for whatever life might throw at them. Sixes are detail-oriented and carry a whole library of guides for every possible scenario: from losing their phones to surviving doomsday. Their single-handed and greatest asset? Emotional intelligence. Typically associated with the warm parental figure Two or harmony-seeking Nine, Sixes actually possess strong people skills, understanding deeply how others may feel inadequate or left out.
Sixes can be either Phobic or Counter-Phobic. Phobic Sixes make it very apparent to others about their worries and anxieties and are eager to find security in people, communities, or belief systems. Note: Phobic Sixes don’t necessarily have phobias, rather an overarching fear of every possible way a situation could go haywire.
Counter-Phobic Sixes, in comparison, refuse to demonstrate (or even admit to) fear altogether; a fear of fear itself. They can appear robotic or emotionally detached on the surface; highly independent and collected. With their pseudo-fearless attitude and willpower to prove themselves, Counter-Phobic Sixes do very often mistype as Eights.
The Enthusiast (Enneagram 7) is a multi-talented and cheerful individual who loves to be on the go with an impressive array of projects and ideas. At any given time, they have a wide range of hobbies and friends in their lives and an ongoing list of plans (i.e., a super snazzy bucket list!) for the future. Their future-oriented, curious nature leads them down many diverse paths in life.
Sticking to a single career path, major, life partner, hobby, or place of residence can prove to be a massive challenge—if not an impossible feat—for Sevens. They’re constantly exploring new possibilities in an effort to find happiness and surprise in all of their endeavors.
Open-minded and endlessly energetic, Sevens feel most “at home” (paradoxically) when they’ve figured out a rough sketch of how their life can pan out over time. This process can stretch into mid-life, and take years of quiet self-reflection before unfolding from the metamorphosis.
The Challenger (Enneagram 8 Type) is a powerful and headstrong fighter and advocate for those who are disadvantaged or lack a voice in society. They believe, with vigor and pride, that the future is malleable and within their control to wield. Eights are bold, daring, and willing to break down walls themselves.
When life throws Eights lemons, they leap on the opportunity, make the best-tasting lemonade, and execute a downright effective game plan to turn the incident into one which gives them an upper hand. Yes, Eights will turn failures into success—by simply reframing and anchoring their mindsets toward growth. They are often drawn towards leadership roles because they crave independence and struggle with authorities being in control over them.
As Eights mature and learn to acknowledge their softer and more vulnerable sides, their relationships grow in depth and improve drastically. They become less aggressive about plowing the field and more keen on nurturing their (real and metaphorical) houseplants. Loved ones will notice their gradual shift in behavior, and let them know.
The Peacemaker (Enneagram Type Nine) is a relaxed and easygoing master of chill who finds purpose in maintaining a mind-body balance. Nines are gentle giants—wise beyond their years—influencing others through genuine kindness. As a result, they can mesh well with almost any group or individual, making them fantastic collaborators.
With high interpersonal intelligence, Nines are sticklers for peace and harmony. They work diligently behind the scenes (usually unbeknownst to others) to keep relationships nourished and well-attended to. Interpersonal conflicts and misunderstandings are Nines’ area of expertise; one they handle with finesse and care. Their love for peace and harmony makes them a comforting source of strength for their friends.
Procrastination is next to family for Nines. For some, it’s the only friend they’ve ever known. Nines accumulate a great deal of potential energy (by staying relatively inert most of the time) to feel at ease and prepared for the future. Under stress, they become hyper-vigilant of potential sources of threats and can question almost every decision they make.