April 4, 2017
Our community group this year is listening to various podcasts and focusing on the meditation and reflection sparked by those podcasts. If you’d like to follow along with us, you can check out my notes here on the blog each week.
Annnnd… I guess we wouldn’t be a progressive Christian group if we didn’t devote at least one week to the Enneagram!
I can’t figure out my Enneagram number so I might as well drop out of progressive Christianity.
— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) September 6, 2016
^ She’s a 3, btw. She figured it out so we’ll keep her 🙂
This all came about sort of accidentally. I mentioned in Cgroup a few weeks ago that I’d been doing some exploration of my enneagram number (5 FTW) and what I’d been learning about myself in the process. This generated quite a few questions (ranging from what’s the enneagram to you’re a 5? I’m definitely a 2) and the topic came up in the group again because Jason had since figured out his number as well (SO MUCH 1) and more questions and interest followed. Folks were asking for information, how to figure out their number, what books did I recommend reading, etc. So much so that we decided we’d just take a week to completely geek out about it.
Figuring out your number
So, here’s what we had the group do…
- Take this assessment (it’s a not a guarantee that you are the number it gives you after you finish the assessment but it will at least give you somewhere to start. And it’s usually right).
- Listen to this (insanely long) podcast. Not an exhaustive look, by any means, but they cover every number and it’s a good overview).
- Check out these descriptions
As a group we discussed what we had discovered about ourselves, the possible pitfalls of a personality assessment, and the various ways we felt helped and/or hindered by knowing our enneagram numbers. There was a lot of laughing last night and I have a feeling the enneagram jokes will abound aplenty now that we know each other’s numbers. Ahhh Brian, such a 7.
Bear in Mind
If you are interested in figuring out your number as well, here are a few things to note…
- It’s not as much about the behaviors of each number as it is about the motivations/fears of each number. For example, I definitely have some of the behaviors of 6’s but the motivations/fears of 6’s did not resonate for me whatsoever. The motivations/fears of 5’s hit the nail on the head for me.
- Your number does not put you in a box. This is a common concern (with the enneagram and all personality typing). According to Cron & Stabile (who speak on the podcast and wrote a great book on the Enneagram), knowing your number can actually free you from the boxes you/your family/culture/church have constructed for you.
- Each number has what’s called a wing. A wing is one of the two numbers that flank your number. I’m a 5 so I can have a 4 wing or a 6 wing. Jason is a 1 so he can have a 2 wing or a 9 wing.
- Each number moves toward a certain number in stress. And toward yet another number in strength. 5’s, for example, move in the direction of healthy 8’s when they are thriving and strong. But when a 5 is stressed, they move toward the unhealthy aspects of 7’s.
- Your number doesn’t change. You have always been the number you are — your behavior changes but your number does not change.
Information is not transformation
My favorite book on the Enneagram so far is Road Back to You by Cron & Stabile. It’s short and concise, easy to understand and follow along. I laughed out loud several times when I read the chapter on Fives because it really did feel like they were reading my mind and Jason felt the same as he read the chapter on Ones.
One of the things they stress in the book is that information does not equal transformation. Simply knowing your number does not lead to transformation. It takes work and effort to be transformed. It’s hard. To that end, at the end of each chapter in Road Back to You, there is a list of 10 paths to transformation for each number. We shared these with the group and finished our discussion deciding which ones we would each work on.