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/ Dec 2, 2016

Strengths and Struggles Of The 9 Enneagram Types

Posted by Jay Hedley

 

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TYPE 1: THE REFORMER

 

Mindset and Emotions

Basic Proposition

  • Only perfect people are worthy of love and respect.

Focus of Attention:

  • What is right or wrong. Correct or incorrect.

Challenges

  • Excessive judgement of self and others
  • Overly critical, rigid, judgmental
  • Uncomfortable with emotions, seen as unreliable risks.
  • Struggle with irritation, resentment and anger
  • Guilt. Pleasure signals anxiety. After all there’s work to be done.

Strengths

  • Honest
  • Responsible
  • Improvement Oriented
  • Conviction

 

Relationships and Communication

Challenges

The ethics of a relationship are reviewed and perfection itself seems at stake. You imagine an idealized relationship. “What are our responsibilities together?  What are we learning?”

Attention goes to perfecting the flaws in a relationship. Scorched earth policy when anger is present. The situation looks either black or white – maybe we should call it off.

Strengths

Once committed and convinced, digs into a relationship with extreme loyalty and validation of the partner.

 

Performance and Productivity

Challenges

  • Perfectionism leads to procrastination
  • Holding back for fear of error
  • Self judgement creates sense of pressure and stress

Strengths

  • Thrift
  • Effort
  • Dependability

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TYPE 2: THE HELPER

 

Mindset and Emotions

Basic Proposition

  • Love and survival depend on giving to get.

Focus of attention:

  • Needs of others

Strengths

  • Helpful, Caring
  • Attuned to the emotional reality of others.
  • Relationship-oriented

Challenges

  • Intrusive
  • Overly Dependent on Approval
  • Pride
  • Emotional contamination – can get lost in other people’s emotions.

 

Relationships and Communication

Challenges

  • Losing a sense of self through empathic adaptation to be what others need.
  • Being confused about having “many selves” each adapted to the needs of different significants. “Which one is my actual self?”
  • Finding it hard to recognize own needs. Mind goes blank.
  • Feeling torn between the safety of giving and craving personal freedom.
  • Fear that love is contingent on their meeting others needs.

 

Strengths

  • Helpful, Caring
  • Relationship-oriented

Performance and Productivity

Challenges

  • Impulse to cede to others expectations and be liked can interfere with autonomy of leading.
Strengths
  • Collaborative leadership style.

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Type 3: The Motivator

 

Mindset and Emotions

Basic Proposition

  • Love and recognition are only for champions

Primary Avoidance

  • Failure

Focus of Attention

  • Tasks, Roles and Image

Strengths

  • Achievement-oriented
  • Image aware

Challenges

  • Competitive
  • Overworked and Impatient
  • Out of touch with one’s own emotions. Intolerance of darker emotions and tuning out negative feedback.
  • Image conscious

 

Relationships and Communication

Challenges

  • Wondering if you’re acceptable without something impressive to show.
  • Seeing relationship as an important performance. A task to undertake.
  • Shapeshifting into an image that impacts and persuades others.
  • Believing that status and material objects will secure a relationship.

Strengths

  • Tend to be socially aware and have adept social skills.

 

Performance and Productivity

Challenges

  • Competitive
  • Overworked and Impatient

Strengths

  • Energetic
  • Adaptable

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Type 4: The Individualist

 

Mindset and Emotions

Basic Proposition

  • Others enjoy the happiness that I have been denied.

Primary Avoidance

  • The commonplace

Focus of Attention

  • Best in what’s missing. Worst of what’s here.

Strengths

  • Creative
  • Empathic
  • Idealistic

Challenges

  • Envy
  • Moodiness
  • Self-Absorption
  • Feeling like an actor in your own life. Waiting for real life to begin.
  • Impatience with the realities of life. Preferring inner intensity.

 

Relationships and Communication

Challenges

  • Imagining future fulfillment through relationship. Not being here.
  • Alienation. Sense of being different from the people around you.

Strengths

  • Romance
  • Emotionally engaged

 

Performance and Productivity

Challenges

  • Unrealistic
  • Unpleasant emotions can ruin productivity for days at a time.

Strengths

  • Creative

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Type 5: The Investigator

 

Mindset and Emotions

Basic Proposition

  • Love and respect are gained by practicing self-sufficiency.

Primary Avoidance

  • Intrusion

Focus of Attention

  • What others expect. To blocking intrusion and detaching to observe.

Strengths

  • Scholarly
  • Analytical
  • Self-Reliant

Challenges

  • Withholding self from others
  • Emotionally detached
  • Isolated
  • Avarice

 

Relationships and Communication

Challenges

  • Sense of being separate from others, being invisible, going silent.
  • Fiercely guarding your independence. Not sharing yourself.
  • Non-involvement is the preferred state. Feeling either love or hate requires involvement.
  • Your own emotions are intrusive.
  • Sense of watching life from the viewpoint of an outside observer.

Strengths

  • Independent and self-reliant
  • Fives bring clarity to confusion. They are loyal friends, so long as the central focus is about your life.

 

Performance and Productivity

Challenges

  • Useless specialization
  • Over emphasis on thinking, rather than doing.

Strengths

  • Systemic and well thought out

 

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Type 6: The Loyalist

 

Mindset and Emotions

Basic Proposition

  • Love and protection are gained by vigilance and endurance.

Primary Avoidance

  • Uncertainty

Focus of Attention

  • Hazard

Strengths

  • Bonded
  • Attentive
  • Perceptive

Challenges

  • Procrastinating
  • Reactive
  • Doubtful
  • Fear

 

Relationships and Communication

Challenges

  • Sixes can attribute their own feelings to others. You can seem to be angry or withholding if your Six feels that way.

Strengths

  • Sixes identify the problem areas of a relationship.
  • Enduring loyalty and support.

 

Performance and Productivity

Challenges

  • Anxiety peaks near the point of success, which will make you a target.

Strengths

  • Strong under adversity.
  • Asks the hard questions to eliminate skepticism and doubt.

 

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Type 7: The Enthusiast

 

Mindset and Emotions

Basic Proposition

  • Frustration can be avoided by attending to positive options.

Primary Avoidance

  • Discomfort and Pain

Focus of Attention

  • Positive possibilities in all things

Strengths

  • Optimistic
  • Fun-loving
  • Positive Visioning

Challenges

  • Scattered
  • Impulsive
  • Self-Referencing
  • Gluttony
  • Charm and Disarm to avoid discomfort. Talk, plans and imagination as distractions from self-reflection.
  • Feelings of “boredom” or “limitation” as a mask for emotional confusion.

 

Relationships and Communication

Challenges

  • Self-referencing “I’m OK.” Assumption that others enjoy the Seven’s agenda. Not in touch with other people’s pain.
  • Superior/Inferior dichotomy. Feels either entitled or less than.
  • Expect to feel either adored or ignored. Sevens like relationships that mirror their own high self-esteem. They tend to dismiss or ridicule limits.
  • Acutely sensitive to criticism. State the good news before what’s difficult

Strengths

  • Life of the party, enthusiastic
  • Fun and adventurous

 

Performance and Productivity

Challenges

  • Scattered thinking “the grass always looks greener on the other side”
  • Struggle with specialization
  • Terrible at finishing long term projects.

Strengths

  • Jack of all trades – Strong Generalist.
  • Great at starting new projects.

 

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Type 8: The Challenger


Mindset and Emotions

Basic Proposition

  • Love and respect are gained by being strong and just.

Primary Avoidance

  • Vulnerability

Focus of Attention

  • Power and control

Strengths

  • Bold
  • Assertive
  • Action-oriented
  • Can be a rallying point, a tower of strength under pressure.

Challenges

  • Domineering
  • Excessive
  • Controlling
  • Confuses own version of truth with objective truth and justice.
  • An all or nothing style of attention with a focus on extremes. You’re either fair or not fair. Either a warrior or a wimp. No middle ground
  • Anger flares quickly, is easily expressed, and just as easily forgotten.

 

Relationships and Communication

Challenges

  • Initial rejection of other viewpoints masks a fear of being disadvantaged.
  • Compromise can feel like surrender
  • Boundary issues – sees others as controlling and acts in self-defense
  • Anger may be a request for deeper connection. Anger clarifies a confused relationship by surfacing authentic emotions. The truth comes out in a fight.
  • Eights can retreat into an all or nothing world. Your ambivalence feels threatening.
  • Low tolerance for ambiguity or misinformation turns your small oversights into major betrayals.
  • Expect periods of strict control followed by disobedience bouts. Eights make the rules and they get to break them.

Strengths

  • Protective and concerned with ensuring providing for the group.

 

Performance and Productivity

Challenges

  • Can fall prey to “My way or the highway approach”

Strengths

  • Strong focus on “getting it done”
  • Great at pushing through obstacles and finding ways around barriers.
  • Strong leadership

 

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Type 9: The Peacemaker

 

Mindset and Emotions

Basic Proposition

  • Love and belonging are earned by blending in with other people’s agendas.

Primary Avoidance

  • Conflict

Focus of attention

  • Environmental distractions. Primary distraction is other people’s wants & needs

Strengths

  • Accepting
  • Calming
  • Steady
  • Bonded

Challenges

  • Ambivalent
  • Forgets own agenda
  • Self-deprecating
  • Passive-aggressive
  • Sloth

 

Relationships and Communication

Challenges

  • Conflict avoidance. Going along to keep the peace. Retreating from signs of an argument
  • Hard to say “No”. Hard to be the one to go. Wait it out.

Strengths

  • Diplomatic and considerate

 

Performance and Productivity

Challenges

  • Wanting to spend “a few minutes” on inessentials leads to loss of focus on priorities.
  • Ambivalence invades choice. “Do I agree or disagree?” Why set a priority? Does it matter?

Strengths

  • Imaginative


    With thanks and acknowledgement to Helen Palmer for her enormous contribution to this field, from which this 'brain dump' has been so positively much influenced.

 

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