Here you will find descriptions of the Enneagram Types; an overview of gifts and limitations, suggestions for giving support, and suggestions for self support for each type.
- Fixated Worldview: I need to be good
- Consequence: In order not to experience my “badness,“ I need to be correct, right, ethical, proper, respectable…
- Gifts: Visionary particularly around ideals and high standards, organized, efficient, gets details right, lives up to agreements
- Challenges: Self-critical, focuses excessively on mistakes, takes suggestions as criticism, indignant, loses focus on the big picture, in being responsible doesn’t know heart’s desire
- Evolution: Moving from a righteous anger that accompanies the resentment around needing to be perfect to the serenity that accompanies surrender
Suggestions for Supporting a Perfectionist:
- Deliver, keep your promises
- Be specific
- Offer alternatives, not criticism
- Keep them focused on the big picture
- Tell them when things are good enough
Suggestions for Perfectionists to Support Themselves:
- Accept constructive criticism without personalizing it
- Be playful. Enjoy diverse ways of doing things well
- Cultivate serenity. Move from judgement to discernment through kindness
- Fixated Worldview: I need to be pleasing
- Consequence: In order not to experience my “unworthiness,” I need to be attentive to and take care of other people’s needs.
- Gifts: Supportive, caring, upbeat, solicitous, considerate, attentive
- Challenges: Seductive – can be so people-pleasing they lose their own agendas, need to be needed, appreciated, in seeking approval loses their head
- Evolution: Moving from egocentric to altruistic giving with a sense of humility
Suggestions for Supporting a Giver:
- Be aware of your own needs and don’t let them unconsciously take care of them
- Ask them what they need and honor it by not letting their dismissal or anxiety stop you from caring for them
- Be genuine and support their authenticity
Suggestions for Givers to Support Themselves:
- Give altruistically, no strings attached
- Know and state your own needs
- Maintain your own sense of identity. Trust your inner feelings
- Know you have a contribution to make independent of taking care of others needs
- Fixated Worldview: I need to be successful
- Consequence: In order not to experience my “failure,” I need to do, create, win
- Gifts: A can-do fast forward attitude, high achieving, makes things happen
- Challenges: Arrogant, intolerant of others’ agendas that conflict with their own, deny feeling in the service of doing, seeking applause at the cost of authenticity, in seeking approval loses their head
- Evolution: Moving from the need for approval for their performance to honestly doing what is required in any situation, perhaps even nothing, without regard to how it will be perceived
Suggestions for Supporting a Performer:
- Help them be more reflective by asking why
- Tell them your care and admiration for them is independent of outcome
- Introduce a new idea succinctly
Suggestions for Performers to Support Themselves:
- Integrate values with the desire to succeed
- Consider people and results in equal measure
- Recognize trial and error can lead you forward—in order to succeed you have to be able to fail
- Fixated Worldview: I need to be special
- Consequence: In order not to experience my “ordinariness,” which makes me feel defective, I need to express my authenticity through dramatic acts and intense experiences
- Gifts: Creative, inventive, empathically aligns with others’ feelings, sensitive
- Challenges: Overly sensitive, self-absorbed, dissatisfied, lost in fantasy, difficulty staying focused on task when feeling arise, above the rules, impulsive
- Evolution: Moving from a self-absorbed need for specialness which can never be satisfied to a sense that self, other and experience is fine just the way it is.
Suggestions for Supporting a Romantic:
- Ask about and acknowledge their feelings
- Acknowledge their contribution, no matter how small
- Be sensitive to their sense of overwhelm
- Recognize their difficulty dealing with the mundane
- Help them delineate how to complete tasks
Suggestions for Romantics to Support Themselves:
- Deliver on your promises. Keep going.
- Allow for good enough. It doesn’t have to be aesthetically perfect
- Remember the value of self discipline:
- Stay focused. Choose equanimity over drama.
- Don’t confuse the high of intensity with the truth of authenticity
- See the beauty and experience the high of continuity
- Fixated Worldview: I need to be self-sufficient
- Consequence: In order not to experience my “insufficiency,” I need to minimize my needs by limiting demands made of me and desires experienced by me through hoarding time, money, knowledge…
- Gifts: level-headed, analytic, scholarly, independent, stable
- Challenges: aloof, isolated, insensitive to people’s feelings, condescending, withholding
- Evolution: Moving from detachment to engagement in a non-attached way in a world which you perceive demands too much and gives too little.
Suggestions for Supporting an Observer:
- While acknowledging their need for time and space to reflect, invite them to respond in a timely manner
- Share with them the emotional impact they are having on you
- Acknowledge their discomfort in reaching out and sharing feelings
- Ask them how they are feeling anyway
Suggestions for Observers to Support Themselves:
- Reach out emotionally to others even if it feels counter-intuitive
- Recognize that others have something to contribute.
- Incorporate the human factor and feeling with your capacity to process information.
- Notice when you know enough.
- Be generous with your ideas, time and care for others
- Fixated Worldview: I need to be a somebody
- Consequence: In order not to experience “being a nobody,” making me susceptible to annihilation, I need to be certain by anticipating all the bad things that can happen and being prepared.
- Gifts: loyal, intuitive, dutiful, prepared, sees below the surface
- Challenges: suspicious, anti-authoritarian, negative, procrastinating, paralyzing doubt
- Evolution: Moving from accusing the world of being out to get you to courage and faith in the face of uncertainty.
Suggestions for Supporting a Loyal Skeptic:
- Be consistent
- Don’t exaggerate
- Be genuine
- Honor their concerns
- Explain your inner process
- Invite them to reality check
Suggestions for Loyal Skeptics to Support Themselves:
- Use your gift of seeing what could go wrong constructively
- Solve problems versus lay blame
- Feel the fear and do it anyway
- Recognize that you are valuable
- Consciously move from a yes/but to a yes/and stance
- Fixated Worldview: I need to be fulfilled
- Consequence: In order not to experience my unfulfillability, I need to avoid feeling pain and being trapped by planning multiple pleasant, fulfilling options without having to commit to any of them.
- Gifts: Nimble-minded, entrepreneurial, synthetic thinker, fun, reframes problems as opportunities
- Challenges: Has difficulty with commitment, sly, rationalizer, superficial
- Evolution: Moving from a place of escaping unfulfillability to finding something to commit to and doing whatever it takes to responsibly fulfill the commitment.
Suggestions for Supporting an Epicure:
- Ask them to stop be present and listen, not charm you
- While acknowledging their difficulty in being with painful experiences and feelings, ask them not to try to fix you
- Help them see that unpleasant tasks may be part of a bigger picture that can have a desirable result.
- Give them freedom if it doesn’t affect outcome
Suggestions for Epicures to Support Themselves:
- Cultivate self discipline and focus
- Follow through
- Make commitments and keep them
- Listen deeply. Stay in the present moment.
- Be willing to be with pain and not just try to fix it.
- Stay with people and ideas long enough to discover their gifts.
- Fixated Worldview: I need to be in control
- Consequence: In order not to experience my “impotence,” I need to deny pain and try to control my external environment by intimidation and rule making and breaking, and when that doesn’t work, by withdrawing.
- Gifts: protective, powerful, honest, direct, pragmatic, energetic, justice-oriented, decisive
- Challenges: explosive anger, insensitive, impulsive, territorial, punitive, vindictive, black and white thinking
- Evolution: Moving from always taking charge and judging and dismissing others as incompetent to lead to a participative stance where all viewpoints are honored.
Suggestions for Supporting an Protector:
- Be honest and direct
- Deliver what you agree to
- Tell them the impact they are having on you without reactivity
- Acknowledge their softness and care
- Acknowledge their directness as innocence
Suggestions for Protectors to Support Themselves:
- Temper the need for control and power with sensitivity.
- Realize the power of your impact on people.
- Modulate your behavior
- Recognize genuine vulnerability as a strength not a weakness
- Use your power with humility.
- Fixated Worldview: I need to be comfortable
- Consequence: In order not to experience the “discomfort” of not knowing who I am, what I feel and what I want, I merge with and become “you,” ensuring this by keeping the peace and living life vicariously through you, your way.
- Gifts: Peaceful, accepting, understanding, generous, willing to do whatever is needed, kind, egoless
- Challenges: Passive aggressive, stubborn, indecisive, spaces out, lacks passion and initiative
- Evolution: Moving from symbiotically merging with other to developing a more independent sense of self to true interdependence.
Suggestions for Supporting an Mediator:
- Help them find and expand their passion
- Support them in finding and speaking their own truth
- Get their opinion before you give your own
- Invite them to prioritize, work on, and complete what is most important
- Minimize conflict. Present differences in non-threatening manner.
Suggestions for Mediators to Support Themselves:
- Know what you believe. Speak and act upon it without qualification.
- Finish your own projects, now
- Learn to say no. Tolerate your own and others’ discomfort.
- Engage in conflict when necessary. Remember that conflict does not equal agression/fighting.
- Cultivate a willingness to stand out. Value accomplishing your goals.