Enneagram Roadmap: How To Find Your Enneagram Type

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ANTONIA DODGE: Hi, it’s Antonia Dodge and Joel Mark Witt with Personality Hacker and we are continuing our series with Beatrice Chestnut about the Enneagram Roadmap, the new program that Personality Hacker has published with Beatrice Chestnut. And, if you’ve been following our series, you know that we’ve talked a little bit about what the Enneagram is, the history of it. We’ve talked about some of the things that it can do for a person in personal development and growth. But, what we want to talk about in this video is how to figure out what your Enneagram type is.

Beatrice in the last video talked about how she was very fortunate to be diagnosed by somebody who was one of the first people to bring the Enneagram into popularity in the United States. And then I contrasted that with my experience of taking approximately two years to figure out my personality type. And really settle on one. So, Beatrice, had I known you when I was trying to figure out my type, what would have been some of the principles you would’ve suggested in order to land on my best fit Enneagram type?

BEATRICE: Right, well. I think it’s really an important question. How do you find your type? And I think with the Enneagram, it can be a little bit tricky. Because, the descriptions are very thorough, however, they also reflect blind spots. They also reflect things about ourselves that we may not be aware of. And, a lot of the different types can kind of look like each other, especially at the level of behavior. If you go down deeper, while two types may do the same thing, they often do them for different reasons. So, how do you find your type? I think the important thing to think about in terms of finding your Enneagram type is to look at it as the beginning of your personal growth journey. And whether it takes like 10 minutes or a year, that, it’s all gonna be part of the process of entering into the Enneagram and learning how to use it for your own development.

So, I should say that there are a lot of tests out there that you can take. Like online tests, if you Google Enneagram tests, that you will find. And so, the first thing I want to see is to be really cautious about using an Enneagram test and thinking that it’s giving you the final answer. Because, the thing about the Enneagram, is it’s really, really hard to construct a test that is accurate enough. There’s no test out there that’s a 100 percent accurate. And there are many reasons for this.

Now, first of all I want to say, it’s normal for all of us to want to be able to just take a test and have the test give us the answer of who we are. I think that’s just completely understandable. And in our culture, I think we’re used to that. It’s like,”Okay, where’s the test? I’ll take it and I’ll find out what the piece of data is that tells me what the truth is.” But with the Enneagram, I think it’s really important to see this in a different way. Because, there isn’t really a test that’s gonna give you the answer. And so, it’s really important to read different descriptions of the 9 types. And see which one really fits for you. Now, it could be a process of narrowing it down.

But, what it’s really gonna be all about is you really entering into a conscious process with saying,”What do I really do?” And in order to do that, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. When I was talking about my journey with the Enneagram in the last video, I talked about how I heard something about myself when I was first reading the description of my type. That I was manipulative, that I didn’t like. And there may be a lot of that.

So, just be aware of when you’re entering into the Enneagram, sometimes, I think the biggest hurdle that keep us from finding our type in a quick way by just reading the descriptions and seeing which one we relate to the most. Is that sometimes we think of ourselves as we would like to be, or as we would like to be seen. Or they way we want to think we are. Instead of the way we really are, so, of course, I didn’t want to think I was manipulative. And I didn’t want to think I was so dependent on what other people thought of me for my own self worth. But, that was true. And again, there are reasons for that. And part of it was learning about that, and that’s again part of the Enneagram journey of development that you take when you do find your type.

So, I would say, if you want to take a test, you can do that. But, just really take it with a grain of salt. Don’t consider that the answer will be the truth of who you are of what your type is. But, just take it as one piece of data. And, maybe you might want to take a few different tests. And there are some tests out there that are okay. There’s a book called “The Essential Enneagram” that’s a 9 paragraph test. There are other tests. And so, if you want to experiment with those, I would say go ahead. But, just remember that the accuracy level of these aren’t very high.

ANTONIA DODGE: Yeah, this is basically what we talk about with the Myers Briggs system as well. Which, of course, is what we primarily teach.

BEATRICE: Right.

ANTONIA DODGE: And, we always tell people the online tests, use it as the beginning of the journey of figuring out your type, not the end.

BEATRICE: Yeah.

ANTONIA DODGE: It’s not the conclusion, it’s the start.

JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah.

ANTONIA DODGE: And, I think the same thing applies with Enneagram, it’s a matter of awareness and watching yourself and matching it to descriptions. One thing that’s coming up for me and something we haven’t really talked about in any of these videos yet, is that your area of expertise in Enneagram, is actually in subtypes. The book “The Complete Enneagram” and “The Nine Types of Leadership” both talk about the subtypes, the 3 instinctive subtypes for each of the 9 types. Making 27 in total.

BEATRICE: Right.

ANTONIA DODGE: And, one of the things, I settled on type 3 at a certain point. I was going between 3 and 7 and 8. And I kinda saw a little bit of myself in all of those and then, eventually I realized, despite the fact that there were elements of the description of 3 that I didn’t fully resonate with. I knew I resonated with it enough. The moment that I resonated with it fully, is when I read the type 3 sexual subtype. And then instantly I went,”Yep, I am a 3.” Ha.

JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah.

BEATRICE: Right.

ANTONIA DODGE: And so, I think a part of this and what I love about the program that we’ve created is that, it’s not just a matter of understanding the 9 types. But, there’s also some flavor, some nuanced flavor, in each of these that might in just general descriptions of the types, might not be accounted for. Like when I read most 3 type descriptions, it feels to me, now that I’ve read “The Complete Enneagram” and gone through your program, it feels to me that they’re mostly describing 3 social subtypes. Which, I don’t fully resonate with. As soon as I read 3 sexual and listened to your program and really understood the sexual subtype I went,”That’s why I haven’t been fully resonating with all those descriptions.” So-

BEATRICE: Right.

ANTONIA DODGE: One of the things I definitely recommend is, if you’re thinking about this program, and in part, you’re considering it to help you diagnose your type. Beatrice goes into all of these subtypes and there are, what do you call them? Lookalike types?

BEATRICE: Yes, there are lookalike types which, is why the subtype level of description is so important. And I think you’re really right and I’m glad you said that. Because, so the subtypes are basically the 3 different versions of each of the 9 types. It’s a further level, a deeper level, of specificity. And, actually, once you get into that more nuanced level of description, like the 3 kinds of 3’s. What you find is, there are more characteristics and a sharper focus on specific versions of those types that actually really help with finding your correct type.

ANTONIA DODGE: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

BEATRICE: For instance, a lot of people may not find their type very easily but, they may be one of the subtypes that isn’t very well described when you’re just reading an account of the 9 types. And this is why I really love that in the Enneagram Roadmap, you encouraged me to really talk fully about the subtypes and that we took time for that. Because, I think it’s such an important piece. And, like for instance, there’s a type, the self preservation 4. And this is a 4 that doesn’t always look like a 4 and so a lot of people don’t find their type in the Enneagram. Because, if you take a test or if you’re just looking at a shorter version of each of the 9 types, you’re not gonna see it described there. And so, I’m really happy that we really took the time to spell out, not only all the subtypes, but also how the subtypes have unique growth paths.

ANTONIA DODGE: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah.

BEATRICE: So, even within type 4, of the 3 different type 4’s you’re gonna have different growth paths. So, I think reading in-depth about the 9 types and especially the 27 subtypes is gonna be the absolute best way to find your type. And again, it’s gonna be a process of you being really honest with yourself. Am I like this? Or am I more like this? And I will say, at the back of my book, “The Complete Enneagram”, I also have an appendix where I compare all the pairs of types together and talk about their similarities and differences. So, let’s say you’ve narrowed it down to 2. That’s a good thing to look at to see. Okay, how can I really understand what the differences and distinctions are between say, a 2 and a 6.

JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah.

BEATRICE: Or a 3 and an 8.

JOEL MARK WITT: You know I have a very similar experience to Antonia, as well. I mean, the subtype thing I can’t talk more highly of because, I knew I was an Enneagram 6, and when you were here I had some confusion on some of the subtype based on that. And we had some conversation when you were here in the studio shooting. Literally going through the program we’re creating. Here at Personality Hacker. Helped me understand more about my type, like watching the program as we’re creating it in the studio and then conversations afterward, helped me arrive at my specific type, as well. And get a lot more clarity around, not just my type, but the growth path for my type.

ANTONIA DODGE: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

BEATRICE: Right.

JOEL MARK WITT: Which, I’m just hugely grateful for.

BEATRICE: Right.

JOEL MARK WITT: Even if the program, if no-one ever invests in this program, right?

BEATRICE: (laughs).

ANTONIA DODGE: (laughs).

JOEL MARK WITT: I got such a personal benefit from it.

BEATRICE: Yeah, yeah.

JOEL MARK WITT: It’s amazing. I was so happy to have you here and to be able to work through that because, it was really impactful for my life and my personal growth journey. In myself too.

BEATRICE: Yes, and I really enjoyed getting to know you guys. And Joel, one of the things I liked about our conversations and me asking you questions and helping you find your way to your subtype. Is, I think it shed so much light on what you’re really good at. And why you’ve been a success and why the work you’re doing in the world has been so impactful. Because, I think, being a social 6, there are specific gifts that you have that are not the same as even the other 6’s. And I think it really helped me appreciate you in a way, even though I was just getting to know you.

JOEL MARK WITT: Awesome.

ANTONIA DODGE: So, I think one of the big questions that people have about the Enneagram or actually, any typology system. This is a question that we get or maybe even a statement that we get a lot which is that these typology systems … We experience them as opening our worlds up and increasing our awareness and helping us understand elements of ourselves that maybe we were otherwise blind to. But, when you first get introduced to any typology system, you’re at the very, very tippy top of the iceberg. And, there’s a lot of gross over generalizations that live there. And so, one of the biggest objections that we end up getting is, that we’re putting people in boxes. That, in typology systems, we’re actually trying to shoehorn people into these characteristics, as opposed to helping people match up to what’s going on for them.

So, just to complete this video, just remember that when you’re looking for your type, number 1, if you take an online test, it’s the beginning of the journey, not the end. Awareness is key. Observing yourself and being willing to accept elements that might be blind spots that might feel icky if you read them, at first. And then it maybe takes it over time to get to a point where you actually integrate that, yeah that could be part of who you are. Looking at the subtypes is incredibly powerful. ‘Cause you might be identifying with some elements of a type but, the descriptions of them have a bias towards one of the subtypes. And that might not be your subtype.

So, look at the subtypes if you’re really trying to diagnose which Enneagram type you are. And then also remember that it’s not a matter of shoehorning yourself into a box. It’s actually a matter of matching up. Like it should fit like a glove. It shouldn’t be something that you’re forcing yourself into. But, what I would like to do in the next video is maybe, unless you have more to say Beatrice on that, on the diagnosing your type and elements, more principles.

JOEL MARK WITT: Do you feel complete on that or is there anything else?

BEATRICE: I think the one last thing I want to say is that. So, I grew up in the narrative traditions school which, advocated talking to people who knew their type, as a way of finding your type. So, we would learn types through panels. So seeing like 5 5’s or 5 7’s or 4 8’s talk about what it’s like to be. People who really knew their type and had been self-observing for a while. Talking about what it was like to be that type. First of all, it’s just fascinating to hear people tell their stories. But also, you really started to see how these different people started to tell the same stories.

So, I just want to also say that, I think that’s one of the best ways. Now, it’s hard to find … You may not be in a place where there’s a lot of Enneagram going on. But, one of the things I want to do is start to even put some of those online. Because, I think that could be a really effective way of,”Wow! I’m like those people.” I have 6 friend who came to a panel that we did once of 6’s. And at the end of it he’s like,”These are my people.” Because, he could really hear his own story in theirs.

ANTONIA DODGE: Absolutely, so if you’re looking for a best fit type, the tests are the beginning. Awareness is key, including blind spots. Deep dive into the subtypes. And, don’t try to shoehorn yourself. And, look for people who know their type and hear their stories and see what resonates with you. What I want to do though, in the next video, is I’d like to talk about some of the objections like Enneagram puts people in boxes.

JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah.

ANTONIA DODGE: And maybe some of the other objections that people oftentimes come up with.

BEATRICE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ANTONIA DODGE: And see if this program maybe addresses some of those objections and just kind of have a little conversation around what the Enneagram is. And what it isn’t.

JOEL MARK WITT: Yeah.

ANTONIA DODGE: So, we will see you on the next video.