I’m an author and a happiness coach. I’ve been studying success principals and personal transformation for almost 30 years. One major conclusion I’ve come to is this: awareness is the master discipline. Awareness is always the key to making powerful, positive change. There are a lot of things we need to bring into our awareness on a daily basis if we want to show up in the world as our best selves, as the best Mom we can be. As the Mom our kids NEED us to be.
The first thing I do with all my clients is help them understand the nature of their individual, unique personalities. I use a profound wisdom called the enneagram personality test, an ancient personality test. Some say it dates back 4,000 years. It’s the only personality test that I found that helps everyone clearly understand the unhealthy traits of their specific personality, the average traits, and healthy traits.
Before knowing my enneagram number, I thought I was broken. Why were some things so easy for other people and so hard for me? Why wasn’t everyone excited to travel the world and always up for a spontaneous adventure? The beauty in understanding your personality type is two-fold: First, there’s comfort in knowing that you’re not alone, and then there’s another level of grace that comes from truly embracing that not everyone is like you.
Imagine what it would be like to understand your kids’ enneagram personality test numbers. Understanding that our kids are unique and have their own individual personalities is powerful. Honoring what they need takes things to a different level. We often want our kids to be like us and do what we would do. Big mistake. When we aren’t aware of our numbers or our personality traits and how different they most likely are from our kids, we’re setting ourselves up to fail. Awareness is the key. (You’ll hear me say that a lot.)
Here are some brief descriptions of the 9 different types so you can better assess your number, your spouse’s number and your kid’s numbers.
Type 1: The Perfectionist. The Reformer. The Machine
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic Basic desire: To be right Basic fear: Of being condemned.
Ones are principled, responsible, perfectionistic—and, on the DL, kind of angry. They’re careful not to do anything before making sure it’s the right thing. When they’re healthy, their intuitive vision allows them to see a dozen steps ahead. When they’re not, they have a tendency to be judgmental of others and, worse, of themselves.
2: The Helper. The Giver. The Parent.
The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
Basic desire: To be loved. Basic fear: To be unloved.
Twos are natural givers and helpers. They like to go where they fit, and they become indispensable in that space. They’re skilled at identifying the wants and needs of others, and then satisfying those desires—often before even being asked. When they’re healthy, Twos are limitless in their ability to provide integral emotional labor and intelligence to themselves and others. When they’re not, they tend to offer their love with strings attached.
3: The Achiever. The Inspirer. The Winner.
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
Basic desire: To be admired. Basic fear: To be rejected.
Threes are the natural winners of the Enneagram, primarily because what they care about the most is winning. Like Twos, they are excellent at discerning what’s going on emotionally with others, and they know how to channel that knowledge to further their own goals. When they’re healthy, Threes are inspirational, strategic, charismatic, and hardworking. When they’re not, they can be social chameleons, showing others what they want to see and ignoring their true selves underneath.
4: The Individualist. The Creative. The Tortured Artist.
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
Basic desire: To understand the self. Basic fear: Of being defective.
Fours are passionate, creative, and emotional. They can create whole worlds, new aesthetics, and gorgeous pieces of art as effortlessly as they can breathe. Even those who have never picked up a pen or a brush are creators in their own right, whether they’re designing living spaces, experiences, or looks for the runway of life. When they’re healthy, they are pure-hearted, connected to their emotions, and able to see themselves truthfully and make things happen. When they’re not, they can be moody, self-absorbed, and operate entirely in their own fantasy worlds.
5: The Inventor. The Investigator. The Thinker. The Detective.
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
Basic desire: To understand the world. Basic fear: Being overwhelmed by the world.
Fives are thinkers and questioners. They see all of life as research, or a riddle to be solved, and hang back a bit from the stream of human experience to watch, reflect, and take notes. Fives seek to go where no mind has gone before, to test the limits of human experience and to discover everything there is to know. When they’re healthy, they’re the intellectually savvy; when they’re not, they skew withdrawn, isolated, and deeply insecure about their ability to operate in the world.
6: The Loyalist. The Skeptic. The Oracle.
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
Basic desire: To be safe and secure. Basic fear: To be abandoned.
Sixes are the best of friends; they’re warm, engaging and encouraging on the outside, despite feeling cautious, suspicious, and fearful within. They think through every possible outcome and are thus qualified to provide well-informed responses. Sixes are fixated on security and authority, and they tend to make decisions based on the fear that no one is quite trustworthy. When healthy, they are faithful, centered, and welcoming. When unhealthy, they are known to react impulsively, defensively, and are generally concerned that catastrophe is around the corner.
7: The Adventurer. The Enthusiast. The Party.
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
Basic desire: To be happy. Basic fear: To be deprived.
Sevens are true legends: magnetic, expansive, and with unparalleled energy. They want to taste and try everything. When healthy, they keep the rest of us feeling alive in the truest sense of the word, with their humor, joy, optimism. When they’re not, they’re at risk for chasing FOMO until they realize they lost track of their actual lives.
8: The Challenger. The Leader. The Dragon
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
Basic desire: To be self-reliant. Basic fear: Of submitting to others.
Eights possess so much raw, intuitive power. They are larger than life, armed with a vivacious intensity that follows them into every space. They can upset the power dynamics of a party and reset the gravitational pull of every social situation. They can be antagonistic, as they expect to be on the offensive and sometimes oppose the unknown just for the heck of it. When healthy, they are natural leaders—generous, active, and in charge. When they’re not, they can come across as intimidating and power-hungry, simply because they try to make ensure that nothing else controls them first.
9: The Peacemaker. The Wallflower
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent
Basic desire: To find union and peace. Basic fear: Of separation.
Nines are the peacekeepers. They like things to be as they are and tend to let life happen to them, rather than acting with intention. They are kind, low-key, and are often homebodies. When they’re healthy, they are able to channel their intuitive abilities to lead by example or to create a calming, restorative space for themselves and others while remaining present to their own needs. When they’re not, they can go numb, losing track of where they end and others begin.
Don’t assume you know your personality type just from these titles. Any online Enneagram personality test is only 56% accurate at best. For more details on your personality type and to discover what’s truly holding you back from your best life take my free online assessment. This awareness can be the catapult that launches you forward in life. It’s only through our awareness that we can truly reach our greatest potential. Enjoy the journey. Isn’t that ultimately why we’re here?!