Blogging Challenge,  Life Hacks,  Therapy

Day 7: Lessons from 2018

Today’s blogging challenge is to take a look at lessons learned from 2018 through a course, book, social media, article, or website. And that’s hard. I feel like I learned so much from last year. So how can I pick one thing?

There are books and experiences galore, but one of the most impactful things I did was for a presentation in group therapy. I worked with another woman to share the enneagram, and if you’ve never heard of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI), it’s kind of like a more scientific Myers-Briggs. Tons of corporations use this tool to manage their people and projects more efficiently. On a personal level, it’s really fascinating and spooky accurate.

The two indicator tests correspond as such:

enneagram numbered with personality titles around the circle and the corresponding Myers Briggs personality types for each number
From Myers Briggs, XYZ Leadership, and Team Roles by David M. Boje, Ph.D

My Myers Briggs is an ENFJ. You only see it assigned above to the 1 and 2 personality types of the enneagram. No matter which source I’ve taken the test with, I’m an enneagram 2w1. The symmetry is eerie.

Who Are You?

Visit The Enneagram Institute to have a look at how it all works. Wanna find out what your number is? Take the Classical Enneagram Test here. (Hooked you up with a free version.)

Once you determine your enneagram type, there are so many resources out there to explore. Each number, 1 through 9, has a wing. These wings are the numbers to the right and left of the dominate number. My dominant is a 2, and so the wings for a 2 are either 1 or 3. Some people bounce back and forth. At their simplest, the wings are how your dominant number is demonstrated to the world.

The Enneagram with Riso-Hudson Type Names

I’m a 2w1, which means that 2 (The Helper) is my dominant personality type and that the 1 (The Reformer) is a complement expression of that type. The wings offer nuance to the personality types, and in some situations, the pairing can take you down contradictory paths.

For example, I’m a natural Helper (2) — to my own destruction previously — but my wing is The Reformer (1), which is also known as the Perfectionist. So you can imagine how much hell I bring into my own life “helping people my way.” Lawd. #therapygoals

When it comes to living downtown, I’ve got to be really careful with this because I don’t have the money to help the homeless folks the way I want to, which makes me feel a lot of guilt and shame. So for my own emotional health, I’ve got to set some Helper-boundaries.

Follow Your Arrow

There’s another element of the enneagram called “arrows” by most. Arrows define even more specifically the dominant personality. This is why I like the enneagram so much (and why I think successful companies are fans of it, too).

Every dominant type has two arrows that are attributed to it. One arrow leads to that type’s areas of strength, and the other arrow leads to that type’s areas of weakness. For example, here’s mine:

enneagram 2 showing stress to 8 and growth to 4 in arrows

As a 2, when I’m calm, healthy, and productive, I adopt the strengths of the 4 personality type. When I’m stressed and nervy, I’m working through nastiness of an 8.

What’s cool about this is that once you know that, you know when you’re stressing because you have tangible behaviors that act as warning signs that you’re headed over a cliff. You are able to acknowledge that you’re losing it before you do.

Even cooler than that is that you know what behaviors are healthier because you know your growth type. So you can then deliberately CHOOSE to behave in a manner that’s healthier and better for everyone involved. Neat, huh?

Why Enneagram?

Of all the lessons from 2018, I think this one is most impactful for me because it’s directly and immediately applicable. I’m a fan of taking action. I’ve learned to breathe more and think about things beforehand, but I still want to have a plan to move forward. I cannot and will not just sit around and wait for my life to happen to me. I’m going to go out and make it happen for me.

And there are people who don’t get that or appreciate the beauty of that. You’ll find people who will criticize you for it at every turn. I’ve realized that the only thing I’m actually in control of is me. And I fail at that. Ask my BFF what happens to my mouth when I get my feelings hurt. But I’m trying. I’m trying harder and harder every day, and I feel like this is a great tool to help keep me aware of my behavior.

I’m not perfect by any means, but I’m no longer a monster, either. This is helping to make sure I never become one again.

Interested in the enneagram and don’t have a fear of a little adult language? Here’s a rather humorous podcast you might enjoy!

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2 Comments

    • Jennifer Jones

      There are a few links throughout to different resources, but I think my favorite reliable source is The Enneagram Institute. This link should get you to their personality type explanations. Enjoy!!