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Curious about the Enneagram?

What's your immediate reaction when you hear the word "Enneagram"? Or see the interesting diagram describing it (see below)? You're probably thinking, weird, right? Depending on your worldview, there are different ways you could interpret something new. Some may dismiss it outright, while others would do a bit of research first. If you are research-prone, read on!


The Enneagram (by Beth McCord, yourenneagramcoach.com)


What is the Enneagram?

The meaning of the word, Enneagram, is a 9-pointed symbol. In the Greek language, "Ennea" means nine, and "gram", something which is written or drawn. On this diagram is super-imposed a personality system to which the word Enneagram now refers.


Where did the Enneagram come from?

The early origins of the Enneagram are shrouded in some mystery. However, quite a lot of work has been done to clarify some of this mystery for us. The most comprehensive work I have come across has been done by Tyler Zach in his course "The Real History of the Enneagram". I would not attempt to summarize the detailed information he has provided here, but I would encourage you to check out his resource: https://www.tylerzach.com/history if you are interested in a deep dive. You can also check out Beth McCord's post as well: https://www.yourenneagramcoach.com/blog/the-enneagram-and-gospel-freedom/


That said, I will state very clearly that I believe the Enneagram to be a helpful tool, one that can shed light on the human psyche, and thus I find it relevant and useful for personal growth.


The Enneagram and My Personal Growth

I first encountered the Enneagram at a point in my life where I was searching. I stumbled across a link to Beth McCord's site yourenneagramcoach.com through a newsletter I received by email. I was intrigued and delved into all the resources I could lay my hands on. It felt like I was seeing myself for the first time! As Beth would say, "The Enneagram helps us see ourselves with astonishing clarity so we can break free from self-condemnation, fear, and shame by knowing and experiencing the unconditional love, forgiveness, and freedom in Christ".


That was my experience. I came to understand why I had always stayed away from conflict, and how that fear was the hidden driver behind many of my decisions. I came to understand what "merging" looked like for me, and learned that I could develop the ability to clearly express my desires and choices. I came to understand the message my heart longed to hear, that my presence truly mattered. That I could show up to the world with all the gifts and treasures God placed inside of me. In short, I experienced true freedom and welcomed the invitation to authenticity. I'm still growing and learning every day, but it's been an amazing journey of self-discovery!


The Enneagram is a lived experience for me. I have no doubts there are many questions yet to be answered about the Enneagram, and I would encourage you to ask as many questions as you need to. But don't let this stop you from developing yourself. While the Enneagram is a comprehensive tool for personal growth, it is only one tool. There are other ways to learn about yourself and the areas you excel at while shedding light on the areas where you need to grow.


I have been a student of many personality assessments, I just find I am curious about these things. I am also a student of the Bible, and I don't hold any theories or personality assessments to have more authority over my life than the Bible. So I hold the assessment results a bit loosely, and when I find something that resonates, I take the learning and growth that is offered. I do find though that some personality assessments have a lot in common in describing the human psyche. That tells me that your personality is not given to you by an assessment you take, it is only uncovered. And in fact, some assessments can only uncover certain aspects of your personality, not all of it.


What's important though is not how many assessments you take, but what you do with the information you receive. Here are a few questions I would ask to make the best use of a personality assessment:

  • Does this information resonate with what I know about myself? Are these behaviors I have observed in myself, or received feedback about myself from others? Sometimes, personality assessments are generalized understandings of a subset of people with overwhelming similarities. So, even if a characteristic is mentioned as being a part of a certain type, it may not always resonate the same way with everyone else. You don't have to own it because you see it described. If it doesn't resonate after a very careful examination of your behavior or motivations, I would encourage you to set it aside and move on to the next point.

  • What does this information compel me to do? If there is a hint or suggestion of anything that requires you to go against your core beliefs or values, I would caution you to tread carefully. At the end of the day, you need to own your actions. So be discerning in your learning and growing.


Final thoughts

The Enneagram is a tool for self-awareness, which is essential for personal growth. I have found it to be the most comprehensive personality assessment I have come across, and it has indeed been a transformative tool for me. I use the Enneagram as a coach from a faith-based perspective, as well as through a neutral lens as I am convinced of its usefulness to help us shine a light on the areas in which we need to develop our strengths and master our weaknesses in both personal and professional endeavors.


However, it is not the only tool for self-awareness. On my website, I also offer the Maxwell Method of DISC which can empower our ability to recognize our strengths and weaknesses and improve our communication style. So feel free to make a choice that you feel comfortable with, but don't delay making a choice. Do all you can to get started on your personal growth today!


Sincerely,

M.

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