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The Enneagram Types

Since the Enneagram is a system of self-identification, there is no definitive test for Enneagram type or style. And no one else can tell you what type you are. You are the only one who truly knows what motivates you to think, feel and behave the way you do.

The following paragraphs give broad descriptions of each of the nine core personality types. Read them with an open mind and curiosity - no judgment! Highlight the words or phrases that resonate most strongly with you. Put a large X through the paragraphs that are mostly not “you.” After you finish, look over the page and notice where most of the highlighting occurs. These are the types that you identify with most strongly. For more clarity, consider who you were in your early twenties.

I am very responsible. I set very high standards for others and myself. I am often guided by an inner voice that follows me critiquing my every move. I hold myself accountable for displaying proper conduct and I excel at finding what needs correcting in my environment. Some might call me righteous but I am simply trying to make the world a better place to live. And I expect others to try as hard as I do. I avoid making mistakes and I can recall with remorse and sometimes shame, many of the mistakes I’ve made in my life. I believe that there is a right and a wrong so I have trouble seeing shades of grey. I am an excellent organizer and I am typically good at the many things I undertake. Sometimes my striving for perfection slows me down, but I believe it’s the right way to approach everything. I don’t like to show anger although I’ve been told that I am uptight and tense.

I pride myself on my heart-based intuition, which enables me to sense other peoples’ needs and do whatever I can to help them. I like to think of myself as a warmhearted and generous person. My life is filled with many people on a daily basis and good relationships are important to me. I feel gratified and fulfilled only when I am pleasing others, so much so that it is often a challenge for me to be alone. Basically, it is hard for me to resist helping others even though I may be overwhelmed or in need of help myself. I like to feel indispensable. At times I feel taken for granted or unappreciated for my efforts and then I become emotional or insistent. Usually, though, I’m not able to ask for what I want and need anyway.

Success, achievement, recognition, competence and being the best in my class are what charge me. Generally, I do well with whatever goals I set. I strongly identify with work so my image as a ‘success’ is very important to me. I believe that our value as people, is largely based on what we accomplish rather than what we are or how we feel. Because I am so busy, I often set aside feelings and self-reflection so I can get everything done. I cultivate an image of success and I am skilled at adapting myself to achieve that image in every situation. It is deeply gratifying to me to check the completed items off my to-do list at the end of every day. I get frustrated with people who do not use my time well or who do not step up to the task. My motto is “get it done or get out of the way.”

I am a sensitive person in touch with my feelings. I find richness and meaning in authentic relationships where I can connect deeply with others. I am highly attuned to aesthetics in both natural and man made forms – nature, music, art, dance and other creative outlets. I cultivate uniqueness in my life which results in needing to put my special touch on everything. I am attuned to whether other people understand me and if I sense they don’t I may react strongly with anger or sadness. I am happiest when I feel special and deeply connected. I am also willing to experience the sadder parts of life; in fact, melancholy is a familiar feeling and has a wistful quality for me. Often, I find the ordinary boring, whereas the distant or unavailable is appealing. Sometimes I feel envious of others who appear to have traits or things that I am missing. I can hold onto my emotions intensely, for long periods of time, often replaying my thoughts, feelings and sensations again and again.

I am an analytical and private person. I value knowledge, data and rational thought. I have a very active mental life that is clearly separated from my emotions. I prefer to observe situations rather than be in the middle of them, and I do not like too many demands being placed on me. Resources (including my energy) in the world are limited so I try to minimize my use of them. I live simply (even though I may have great wealth) and I am very self-sufficient. In fact, I can spend long periods of time alone without getting bored or lonely. I prefer to reflect on my experiences when I am alone so I can enjoy, understand, and relive them. My friends depend on me to be a clear thinker who doesn’t allow emotion to sway my logic. I value keeping confidences and am appalled when others don’t.

One of my greatest strengths is my sharp, incisive mind, which goes into high gear when I imagine that something is threatening my security or safety. My inquisitive mind also grants me access to keen insights or intuition. Trust is a central issue for me and I often scan my environment to determine what danger is forthcoming. I am an excellent troubleshooter because I naturally anticipate what might go wrong and prepare myself (and attempt to prepare others) for those events. I alternate between aligning with authority, and distrusting authority; or avoiding danger versus approaching it head-on, so sometimes others are confused because I send mixed messages. I can be an enigma and a contrarian. On one hand I can be charming, warm, inquisitive, witty and a great problem solver. On the other hand, I can be fearful, doubting, distrusting, cold, or questioning (I often say “What if. . . ?”, “Why?” or “It depends”). That said, I can be fiercely loyal and committed to people, groups or causes. My friends might describe me as a worrier, but I think it’s reasonable to be on high alert for what might go wrong and plan accordingly.

Without even being aware of it, I am always seeking new and stimulating people, ideas, events and experiences to keep life exciting, fun, and moving forward. I’m an optimistic happy person. My very active mind moves quickly back and forth between different ideas and plans. I don’t like to miss any new experience or adventure so I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to invitations or activities. Sometimes, though, I fly so fast from one thing to another that I either ‘miss’ the experience because my mind was planning the next fun thing, or I may show up late or not at all.

I like to get a global picture of how all these ideas and plans fit together, and I get excited when I can connect concepts that initially do not appear to be related. I like to work on things that interest me, and I have a lot of energy to devote to them. But I have a hard time sticking with unrewarding or repetitive tasks. If something gets me down, I’ll shift my attention to more pleasant things. If I don’t have options, I feel boxed in. And when I feel boxed in, I’ll find some way to do a ‘workaround’ or reframe the experience in a new way.

I value strength, justice and ACTION. I approach issues of importance in a straightforward way and I am comfortable with confrontation. To me, it’s not even confrontation; it’s just the healthy expression of opinion. I don’t understand why others see me as challenging when I am simply being direct. I like strength and directness in others and I can usually tell when someone is not telling me the truth or is being devious. It is hard for me not to display my feelings when I’m angry. I’ve been told that I can be intimidating but I see my behavior as energetic and assertive. Little do they know that my strong exterior is hiding a vulnerable interior. I can be a real marshmallow. Mostly I’m not concerned with what others think because I get things done and I get them done in a big way. I respect others who meet my forceful nature with equal force. I use my power to get things done.

When I witness an injustice I will be protective of innocent victims, yet I have little tolerance for weakness in others. If no one is taking charge in a group situation, I will step in and take control, but if someone else has everything under control, I may not feel the need to do so.

I strive to live a comfortable life and maintain harmony within myself and in relationships. I go with the flow. I am not very decisive and I can get distracted from tasks rather easily. It’s as if things float past me and I am drawn into their currents. I can easily see all sides of an issue and I do my best to either not get involved in controversy or to mediate it. Mostly my life just flows along buoyed by others’ agendas and priorities, which is fine with me because I don’t really know my own priorities anyway. I have a large capacity to help others when I’m asked but typically they approach me rather my seeking them out. “Go along to get along” is my motto. I can’t recall the last time I was angry and if I was, it didn’t last long. I can stay in situations or relationships for long, long periods of time - I just don’t like to rock the boat. My friends describe me as easygoing and likable, and I like that image of myself.


Now, call us for an interview in the Narrative Tradition and we will guide you to discovering your core type. Armed with self-knowledge of your type, you will be amazed at how this powerful system will help you understand and even predict your behaviors, thoughts and feelings. The journey of transformation begins here!

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