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My husband walked into the living room and handed me a book. “I think you would really like reading this” he said, as I took it from him.
I glanced down at the book that was now in my hand and smiled. A good book is one of my favorite things in the world and he knows that. I read the title as he strolled away back across the room towards the kitchen.
It read, The Road Back to You. Looking up at him I asked, “what’s it about?”
“A personality framework called the Enneagram. You like those kinds of things and this one is different. I think you’d get a lot out of it.” he replied.
I promised to read it soon and I kept that promise…
Fast forward to present day me and let’s just say he wasn’t wrong and I haven’t ever looked back. That book changed my life starting that day and it continues to change my life. I use aspects of this framework in almost every area of my life on a daily basis.
The Road Back to You is all about the Enneagram and if you haven’t heard of this framework yet, then I hope this post changes your life the same way that book did mine a few years ago.
The Enneagram is a personality typing framework that has nine core types. Originally, the idea that there are only 9 personality types sounded absurd to me but when you dive further into the framework, it starts to make more sense.
We each have a core number but then additional layers of this framework show how we can pull from other numbers for many different reasons. Some of those reasons include stress or feelings of security, tapping into our mind/heart/gut, or being emotionally healthy vs. unhealthy.
When we shift across the framework or pull from other types, our actions can appear different than someone else who has the same core type as us.
The thing that makes this personality framework different from most out there is that it is based on internal motivation, desires, and need rather than external actions. Two people can have the same action with different motivations.
One of the reasons I love this framework is because it can be used as a great tool for identifying personal growth paths. Plus, it’s also the most amazing tool for self discovery and you know how much I love a good self discovery dive!
THE NINE ENNEAGRAM TYPES
Below I’ve outlined a brief overview of the nine core types and I really do mean brief. There is so much to learn and be said about each type but for the sake of brevity (and I’m not a certified Enneagram coach) I’ll keep this short…
Type 1 - The Reformer
This type is principled, perfectionistic, and has a high moral compass. They have a deep desire to be seen as being “good” and avoid being “bad” at all costs.
Type 2 - The Helper
This type is caring, generous, and generally positive. They have a deep desire to be loved unconditionally.
Type 3 - The Achiever
This type is high energy, extremely productive, and image conscious. They have a deep desire to be admired and seen as successful.
Type 4 - The Romantic
This type is creative, emotionally deep, and temperamental. They have a deep desire to be unique and authentically themselves.
Type 5 - The Investigator
This type is intelligent, perspective, and deeply observant. They have a deep desire to be knowledgeable.
Type 6 - The Loyalist
This type is committed, responsible, and suspicious. They have a deep desire to be secure in life.
Type 7 - The Enthusiast
This type is positive, excitable, and scattered. They have a deep desire to be happy.
Type 8 - The Challenger
This type is Intense, big hearted, and confrontational. They have a deep desire to protect themselves and their inner circle.
Type 9 - The Peacemaker
This type is steady, accommodating, and resigned. They have a deep desire to have internal peace.
3 WAYS I USE IT IN MY LIFE EVERYDAY
I most definitely use the Enneagram every day in my life. Learning about this framework has changed everything I do and how I interact with people. Let’s talk about the 3 biggest ways it’s empowered me in my daily life.
1) I understand myself better
I’ve officially lost count of the number of “ah-ha” moments I’ve had while learning about the Enneagram and my core type. I used to say “why do I do that???” a million times a year to myself (okay so that’s an exaggeration, however, I did wonder that on a pretty regular basis) but since diving into the Enneagram, I’ve come to understand myself so much better.
Now, instead of getting frustrated with myself, I know how to step into the direction of growth. I use those moments as a compass for guiding myself into a new direction or pivoting my path. Not only do I understand my actions better but I see the connection between my actions and my deep internal motivations and desires of life.
Here’s an example, I am a type 5 – the Investigator. Type fives are deeply internal people. We have lower emotional energy than any other number and we often feel the need to be alone to reset. I used to feel like something was wrong with me when I couldn’t keep up with the high energy people in my life. As if I was broken, emotionally weak, or socially inept in comparison to other people.
When I discovered that types 5 naturally have less emotional energy than literally any other number, I was able to own that and make mindset shifts and lifestyle adjustments. Now, I live in alignment with who I am and it feels so freeing.
I like to say this, “when you know who you are, you can have grace for who you are not.”
2) My Relationships Are Better
Even more than I used to wonder why I did certain things, I wondered why other people did the things they did. Often, other people’s actions, thought processes, and motivations made no sense to me. Someone would react a certain way and I would think they were being ridiculous or vice versa. Sadly, I’ve had relationships ruined this way before I understood the Enneagram.
Learning about the Enneagram and understanding the other core type desires and motivations has helped me see where people are coming from in a way I never did before.
It’s empowered me to build up more empathy and simultaneously create better boundaries. Some of my relationships have become deeper while I have been intentional about distancing others as I see unhealthy traits.
The relationship that has benefitted from understanding the Enneagram the most has definitely been my marriage. My husband and I think completely and totally differently and using this framework, we’ve been able to put into words things we never could before.
3) I Create My Most Authentic Life
Because I have a deeper understanding and am able to put into words who I am, my motivations, and desires in life, I am able to be more intentional about creating a lifestyle I feel really good about.
In the chaos of life, it’s easy to become numb to our soul. Numbing mitigates the pain of confusion, feeling lost, or empty. Before I started my personal growth and self discovery journey, I had no idea who I was. I kept myself as busy as possible so I wouldn’t have to face the painful scary things within me.
When I finally had the courage to open myself up, I realized that the thing that feels so hard is seeing something that is uncomfortable and not being able to put a name to it. When we struggle and don’t know why, it makes us feel powerless. However, when we see something hard and can put into words what we’re feeling, it empowers us to make a change.
That’s what learning about the Enneagram did for me. It empowered me to put a name to the unhealthy things and choose growth. In doing so, I’m also empowered to just be me. I get to create my most authentic, happiest, and best life.
Well, there you have it – a brief overview of the Enneagram and how I use it daily to help me create a life I feel good about. There’s so much to learn about the Enneagram and it’s many layers that I could devote a year’s worth of blog posts to it and probably still have not shared everything.
It’s an in-depth and incredible tool that I truly believe can change your life if you so desire. If you’re still super new to the Enneagram, I suggest starting with a book about it.
My top three have been The Road Back to You, The Path Between Us, and Becoming Us. These three have changed me and my relationships the most. There’s also countless podcasts and Instagram influencers that talk about it that a quick search on either platform would pull up.
The topic has become more popular as more people learn about it. Just the other day, I was in the checkout line at Trader Joes, and I heard two employees talking about it. I couldn’t help but jump into the conversation for a moment as I waited for my groceries to be rung up.
Even amongst strangers, it’s a fun and powerful tool for connection.
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ABOUT ALLISON SUE
I’m a personal growth blogger, a nerd when it comes to books, and a lover of all things journals. When I’m not with you online, you’ll find me with my family, traveling somewhere, or watching Chinese shows on Netflix with my husband. Empowering you with tools to navigate to a life you feel confident about is always on my mind. I’d love to be on your confidence hype squad!
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