May 25, 2022
Tania Burgess

Who Am I: 
What’s my potential?
Why do I sabotage myself?
How can I create the changes that I dream of in myself and my life?
Why do others think, feel & behave so differently and how do I relate despite our differences?

Millions of individuals are grappling with these questions, in the face of conflicting messages about who we should be, how we should behave and what’s important in life.  We know we need to grow and evolve, but often the journey takes us away from where we want to go and it’s difficult to know when to go with it, and when to take control.


What is the Enneagram?

The enneagram is an ancient tool used by coaches, therapists, and managers around the world as a model for mental, emotional & spiritual growth. It refers to nine different personality styles, each having their own worldview. 

Each archetype resonates with the way different people think, feel and act in relation to the world, others and themselves. The Enneagram is much more than a personality profile however, offering insight into personality traits, as it delves deeper into the core motivations, defence mechanisms and fears that often lay in the unconscious layers of our personality.

The enneagram offers us a map for better understanding ourself and others and how we can broaden our perspective and take another view, as well as how we can grow and evolve when dealing with challenging situations.

Below, I have explained the 9 types with the help of Integrative9 – describing their primary motivations and how they are experienced at both their fullest potential of development and their lowest levels of awareness and development. 

1. Enneagram Ones, E1’s value principles and integrity.

Driven by the motivational need to be good and right, their name comes from their striving for perfection and self-control. Integrity and quality will also be important to them. E1’s tend to be:

Principled – want to lead by example, standing for what is right and good;

Structured –naturally adept at organising, prioritising and creating order;

Conscientious – Reliable & responsible, they stick with their word diligently seeing things through to the end.

Objective: Able to see and judge details, people and situations objectively, they are good at setting aside emotion.

Quality minded – With a knack for detail, they can pay attention to quality standards applying rules and procedures. 

At their best, E1’s are tolerant, self-accepting and serene, experiencing dignity and discernment to themselves and the world around them. 

At lower levels of development, E1’s tend to be judgmental, uncompromising and pedantic, feeling righteous and controlling.  Irritation, anger and resentment are expressed in their body language.  They are driven by both internal & external criticism with an acute awareness of their own imperfections and sense of not being good enough.

2. Enneagram Twos, E2’s need to be liked and appreciated.

E2’s value relationships and as a result kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice are important to them. Twos strive to make the world a more loving place, primarily by offering support and attention to those they care about. 

E2’s tend to be:

  • Warm:  demonstrative and warm nature d, making it easy for others to connect with them.  They are generally very likeable. 
  • Giving:  caring with the capacity to anticipate the needs of others, giving generously of themselves to others. 
  • People-Centred:  focusing on building relationships impacts positively on their capacity to step into roles where client and people relationships matter.
  • Sacrificing: being there for others, E2’s will put their own needs and feelings aside.
  • Praising: making people feel very special, giving them a confidence boost.

At their best, E2’s are unconditionally supportive, able to practise self-care and offer the gift of humility to themselves and the world around them. 

At lower levels of development, E2’s may seem flattering and manipulative as they ‘give to get’, motivated by a deep belief that they are not worthy of love for who they are, only their actions to help others.

3. Enneagram Threes, E3’s value achievement and want to be the best.

As a result, efficiency, results, recognition and image are very important to them. E3’s strive for success in their chosen field and tend to be highly flexible and willing to adapt to achieve their goals. 

Gifts of E3’s include:

  • Ambition: E’s are ambitious and have the will and energy to strive to be the best at whatever they take on. They believe in their ability to succeed. 
  • Efficient: The resourceful E3 knows how to do things in a way that is efficient and productive.
  • Adaptable: Along with being willing to adapt to achieve their goals, E3’s are able to adjust to different situations, people or environments skilfully.
  • Driven: The E3’s high energy and enthusiasm for projects gets things done and pushes others to perform as well.
  • Results-Oriented: Setting goals and applying themselves to achieve these are as natural to E3’s as breathing. They are focused on the end-result.

At their best, others will experience E3’s as hard-working, principled and receptive, offering the gifts of hope and integrity to the world. 

At lower levels of development, E3’s over-expressed need for winning and achievement which may seem self-important and inconstant. This stems from a sense of self-worth born out of what they do, rather than who they are. 

4. Enneagram Fours, E4’s have the motivational need to express their uniqueness and be authentic.

Fours value individualism and as a result, feelings, self-expression and purpose will be important to them. They are quite romantic at heart and appreciate beauty and creating meaning for themselves and for others. 

The gifts of the E4 include: 

  • Self-Aware: Aware of their own emotions and those of others E4’s seek to understand these emotions, enabling  them to connect deeply.
  • Purpose Driven: Attuned to what has meaning and purpose E4’s are driven to express their personal purpose and contribution to the world. 
  • Inspired: Their creative and imaginative capacity enables E4’s to give unique expression to what matters to them. 
  • Sensitive: Able to recognise what is missing E4’s will dive into the heart of matters. Their feeling-based intuition enables them to be highly attuned to the environment.
  • Courage: E4’s don’t shy away from suffering and the more painful aspects of the emotional world, and this gives them the courage to ask difficult questions

At their best, E4’s are experienced as sensitive yet content. They offer the gift of equanimity and authenticity to themselves and the world. 

At lower levels of development, E4’s may feel misunderstood, while others experience them as melancholic and temperamental. This pattern stems from the E4’s acute awareness of their own wounds and flaws.

5. Enneagram Fives, E5’s have the motivational need to know and understand.

Fives value making sense of the world around them and, as a result, objectivity and knowledge are important to them. Fives strive for independence, appreciate privacy and tend to conserve their resources to ensure future independence. 

The gifts of the Enneagram Five include:

  • Perceptive: Offering objective, in-depth and insightful observations of situations and information, E5’s are able to hold complex problems and data.
  • Curious: Their interests and intellectual ideals enable E5’s to explore and build expertise in a variety of fields, topics and theories.
  • Unsentimental: Approaching life in an unsentimental way E5’s can put emotions aside when needed.
  • Self-Sufficient: The independent E5 will protect their autonomy and privacy. They prefer to ask little of others and are able to minimise their own needs.
  • Inventive: E5’s unconventional ideas and depth of knowledge enable them to be inventive, visionary and pioneering.

At their best, others will experience E5’s as visionary and mindful. They offer the gift of non-attachment to themselves and the world. 

At their worst, others may experience E5’s as stingy, intellectually arrogant and disconnected from their heart, as they retreat into their mind to avoid being engulfed or intruded on.

6. Enneagram Sixes, E6’s value security and belonging, as this style stems from the motivational need to be safe and prepared.

As a result, loyalty and trust are important to Sixes, who strive to be responsible and prepared at all times. 

The gifts of the E6 include: 

  • Devotion: Committed to what they value, E6’s express duty and care in service of people, responsibilities and causes.
  • Courage: E6’s often courageously take a stand on behalf of the greater good, despite concerns and risks.
  • Preparedness: Being alert and risk-aware, E6’s pay attention to what is going on in their world and act to minimise risks and threats.
  • Trustworthiness: Once E6’s make a decision or commitment, they stick to it. They respect rules and authority, as long as they feel like they can trust the source or intention.
  • Team-Oriented: Enjoying the co-operation and collaboration of groups E6’s thrive in a healthy team environment.

At their best, E6’s are courageous and connected to a sense of inner knowing, offering the gift of devotion and trust to themselves and the world around them. 

At lower levels of growth and awareness, E6’s have a tendency to worry excessively, fear letting down their defences and may be experienced as anxious, suspicious or doubting.

7. Enneagram Sevens, E7’s have the motivational need to experience life to the fullest and avoid pain.

Sevens value a sense of freedom and focus on optimism, being inspired and taking opportunities as they present themselves. Sevens approach life as an adventure and appreciate being playful and spontaneous. 

The gifts of the Enneagram Seven include: 

  • Optimistic:  E7’s focus on what brings joy, happiness and pleasure to life enabling them to exude optimism.
  • Flexible: Attuned to possibilities E7’s like to keep their options open, they will be adaptable in the face of change, setbacks and challenges. 
  • Future-Oriented: By focusing on what is next, the E7’s enthusiastic and visionary qualities enable them to both anticipate and create an exciting future.
  • Practical: At their best, E7’s combine their ideas with a practical and productive focus that enables them to make things happen.
  • Adventurous: As playful, versatile and spontaneous E7’s savour their freedom and like to explore new territories and experiences.
  • At their best, others will experience E7’s as content and serene, when they are able to embrace sobriety and become present to themselves and the world around them. 

At a less healthy level, E7’s may experience as impulsive, uncommitted and unfocused as they are easily distracted by their insatiable search for fulfilment and a fear of missing out.

8. Enneagram Eights, E8 have a motivational need to be strong and avoid showing vulnerability.

They value having a sense of control and being direct and impactful. E8’s love challenges and will embody a need for justice enabling them to protect others. 

The gifts of the Enneagram Eight include: 

  • Assertive: E8’s are confident and direct, saying what they need to say and getting on with things.
  • Decisive: E8’s are quick to respond and willing to make decisions. They trust their gut instincts and will move things forward.
  • Protective: Under their toughness, E8’s are bighearted and take people under their wing. They protect the people and things they care about and will fight against injustices.
  • Independent: Self-sufficient E8’s dislike being dependent on others and maintain their autonomy.
  • Influential: E8’s have their own way of taking charge and influencing others, which includes the capacity to influence the bigger picture.

Healthy E8’s are experienced by others as strong, deeply caring and approachable. They offer the gift of innocence to themselves and the world around them when they align with the flow of reality. 

At underdeveloped stages, others will experience E8’s as domineering, aggressive and lustful, expressing themselves as larger than life in what they perceive to be a threatening world.

9. Enneagram Nines, E9’s are motivated by a need to be settled and in harmony with the world and, as a result, accommodating and accepting is important to them.

They strive for a peaceful existence and appreciate stability, preferring to avoid conflict. 

The gifts of the E9 include: 

  • Agreeable: Easy to get along with, E9’s are experienced as open, receptive and peaceful.
  • Understanding: Able to listen to differences and understand multiple perspectives, E9’s are skilled at finding commonalities across differences.
  • Patient: E9’s do things in a calm, sustainable way, trusting the the processes.
  • Supportive: Accepting people for who they are and seeing their full potential, others feel accepted, heard and understood in the presence of E9’s. 
  • Genuine: Unpretentious, others can be at ease with the E9.  What you see is what you get with an E9. 

At their best, E9’s are experienced as self-aware and vibrant. They offer the gift of right, sustainable action to themselves and the world around them. 

Unhealthy expression of the E9 may be experienced as procrastinating, stubborn and self-denying. This pattern stems from going along with others to get along and eventually discomfort that arises when they realise, they are not satisfying their own needs.

Like to discover which enneagram type you are most aligned with?  

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