The Enneagram's Mood-Changing Magic

I'm a Type 8 - The Challenger/Protector.

Just writing that, I feel like I'm confessing.

In case you aren't familiar: the Enneagram is an ancient system of nine distinct personality types. Each of us goes through the world looking through our own unique "window", motivated by particular fears, drives and uncertainties. And, each of us brings unique gifts. Essentially, this is what the enneagram is all about.

When I was first presented with the possibility a few years ago, it wasn't comfortable. The words blunt, brash and assertive didn't sound all that complimentary. I didn't want to be "typed" or put "in a box." I argued. I don't like labels. 


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But as I came to understand that the core value of the 8 is truth, and that the flip side of this blunt quality is a deep loyalty, a tendency to protect others and to advocate against injustice, I began to feel a little more comfortable. That's me, and it's not all bad, I thought.

And then I met some other 8's, each expressing the core value a bit differently. But I recognized them - I knew "my people" when I saw them.

And I also began to know the motivations that drive the other eight types--for me, nothing short of magic. 

For example, my business partner and my college roommate, both of whom I was instantly drawn to, are both highly principled 1's. My mom and my sister are both "the hostess" 3w2's, and in my household? A phobic and loyal 6, a knowledge-loving 5, and a competitive high achieving 3. Rich information for reflection for sure. 



When I realized that a growth arrow for the 8 is to lean toward the 2, a place of deep compassion, helpfulness, and service, I realized I had done this (and known this, unconsciously perhaps) earlier in my life when I was working with young kids and raising my own.

Now, I'm starting to come back to that place. After a coaching session, I feel satisfied in my bones. I've made a difference! I've helped! And that doesn't hold a candle to the best EVER day at the office.

And that, my friends, is part of why I've been feeling so good lately. Being of service from a heart-centered place is DEEPLY important to me. There's nothing sentimental about saying that, because it's actually true. 

Us 8's aren't big on showing vulnerability or weakness, and we don't want to come across as sappy. We like to be described as strong, capable, and dependable. We're best when we're leading a group for an important cause, when each member of our tribe can use his or her gifts toward the good of the whole. 

Learning our type, and therefore learning more about our particular way of being in the world, can bring a greater sense of order, so we can see ourselves and those around us more clearly. This exploration can bring peace, help you to be more honest with yourself, and make you more confident in who you are as well as who you are not.

Is it sappy to say... thanks so much for being part of my tribe? I so appreciate you humoring me.