The first question people invariably ask once they learn about the enneagram is; How do I find out what my type is?
There are tests you can do to give you a sense of your type but before you jump on over to test yourself, it’s vitally important that you remember this; tests generally examine behaviour.
But unlike some of the other personality typings out there, the enneagram isn’t so much about behaviour as it is about motivation. Sometimes you have to dig quite a bit deeper to uncover a motivation which makes it more difficult to test for.
That, incidentally, is why the enneagram is such a great visibility tool. When we dig deeply, we uncover what our deeper motivation is for being seen and heard in the world. We also understand quite clearly exactly why we’re hiding out, not choosing visibility even when we keep telling ourselves it’s what we want.
Here’s my recommendation around enneagram typing; spend time not just investigating but clearing out all the things you uncover that seem relevant to your life. Even if it’s not your core type, it might be a wing or one of your lines of stress or resource (also known as the lines of integration and disintegration), and clearing out all unhealthy behaviours there will be hugely beneficial in your life.
As a core seven, I personally spent about 3 years working exclusively on clearing out 8 fears and woundings and it was completely transformational. So, clearing out anything that comes up in your enneagram investigations will make a huge difference in your life.
With that warning, you’ll want to start somewhere. If you choose to study with us at the School of Visibility here’s the way we approach things;
- we start by working out way around the enneagram generally and clearing out anything that’s arising in response to each point
- then we dig a bit deeper exploring the visibility related issues for each point and again, we clear out whatever we uncover
- then we do another sweep through looking at any extreme behaviour we’re stuck in vis-a-vis the ways we hide and we clear out what we find
- finally we look at healthy expression in all the points and how that can be expressed in your business or career and woven into the planning and implementation work you’re undertaking while you’re studying with us.
So that’s the approach I recommend you also consider when you’re diving into the enneagram as a tool for personal transformation.
By taking such an approach, here’s what happens;
- you’ll feel more free, less constrained by the strategies and old patterning that has been impacting your visibility
- you’ll have stepped toward greater forms of self expression rather than adopting someone else’s form of expression
- you’ll have a much clearer sense of why you do the things you do and how to manage the more extreme aspects of visibility personality – the components that are stopping you from being visible at all, or being inconsistently visible, or presenting to your community in a confusing manner.
If you’d like to join us on that journey, you can find out more here.
Another thing to note;
- strict perfectionist
- considerate helper
- competitive achiever
- intense creative
- quiet specialist
- loyal skeptic
- enthusiastic visionary
- active controller
- adaptive peacemaker.
If you’re feeling confused about your point, reading through the qualities – strict, considerate, competitive, intense, quiet, loyal, enthusiastic, active, adaptive – can be helpful.
Let’s say you’re choosing between two points; the 6 and the 3. Here’s a question to ask yourself; ‘Am I more driven by loyalty or competition?’
Or sometimes 7s and 4s can get confused. The question then would be ‘Am I more of an enthusiastic or intense person?’ And yes 7s, we know your enthusiasm can get intense sometimes! But for 7s it’s the enthusiasm that fuels you, not the intensity toward feeling something.
Finally, sometimes 6s and 1s can get confused. The question there is; ‘Am I more motivated by strictness or loyalty?’ Again, 6s can come across as very strict at times but at the end of the day, their strictness is for a system that supports everyone, that keeps the team safe. The strictness in a 1 is a desire for the right thing to be done in the circumstances. See the difference?).
(When you enrol at the School of Visibility, I can help you with this more refined understanding and unravelling of each point.)
And if you’re keen to do an enneagram test to give you that first layer of awareness to start working with, here are a few options for you;
My recommendation is to take the classic test first before diving into the subtypes or ‘instinctual variant’ test. Understanding the subtypes is incredibly informative and essential to really understanding the enneagram. But it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the enneagram information available, so to begin, I recommend you start with the first piece of information you need and build from there.
Integrative Nine is a very comprehensive and accurate test if you want the full picture
NB: This post is part of a broader series on the enneagram. You can navigate through the whole series here. Or you can jump to part 1: Generic formulas are a waste of time here and part 2: What are they coming to you for? here.