“A humble self-knowledge is a surer way to God than a search after deep thinking.” Thomas À Kempis
This week we are jumping back in to our discussion of the Enneagram using Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s book The Road Back to You. This section covers the gut triad, which includes types 8, 9 and 1. Maybe you read these chapters and found yourself emphatically raising your hand, saying, “Yep, that’s me!” Or maybe you elbowed your spouse because suddenly they made a whole lot more sense. The chance is that even if you aren’t an 8, 9 or 1, your teammate is or a sibling or someone in your community.
Here’s a quick description of each of these types from the book:
Type 8- The Challenger: Healthy 8s are great friends, exceptional leaders and champions of those who cannot fight on their own behalf. Average 8s tend to be steamrollers more than diplomats, and have little patience with people who are indecisive or who don’t pull their weight. Unhealthy 8s are preoccupied with the idea that they are going to be betrayed.
Type 9- The Peacemaker: Healthy 9s are natural mediators. They see and value the perspective of other people and can harmonize what seem to be irreconcilable points of view. Average 9s, while they come off sweet and easygoing, are stubborn and out of touch with their anger. Unhealthy 9s have trouble making decisions and become overly dependent.
Type 1- The Perfectionist: Healthy 1s are committed to a life of service and integrity. They are balanced and responsible and able to forgive themselves and others for being imperfect. Average 1s have judging and comparing minds that naturally spot errors and imperfections. Unhealthy 1s are obsessed with micromanaging what they can, and asserting control over something or someone is their only relief.
While each of these three types is very different, the commonality is that they respond to life from their gut, or with anger. 8s externalize their anger, 9s forget it, and 1s internalize it.
As I read over these chapters, I wondered if there are certain types that are more drawn to overseas work, or if our expat/worker culture values certain types. The descriptions of type 8 left me thinking, “That sounds like the ideal cross-cultural worker!” And I’m definitely not an 8, yet here I am. I know deep down that each type brings its own set of strengths and weaknesses to our line of work- and I would love to hear more about what you think those are as we discuss each week’s section. Do you think that agencies and other expats can value one type’s strengths over another?
In the Road Back to You study guide, the authors introduce a practice called SNAP. I share this with you as a resource for your journey of discovery, and a way to dig deeper into your personal experience with the Enneagram. SNAP is an acronym that stands for Stop, Notice, Ask and Pivot. Here’s how it works:
Stop: pause for 2 or 3 minutes, multiple times throughout the day, and give your full attention to the Father and what is happening in your life right then. Take some deep breaths, find a spot that is quiet, do what you need to do to give your attention to what’s happening in you and around you.
Notice: pay attention to your behaviors, daily patterns and thoughts. How are you relating to what’s going on around you? Are you caught up in the more reactive, default behaviors of your number?
Ask: the authors give four questions to ask yourself in this process. What am I believing right now? How does it make me feel? Is it true? Who would I be if I let go of that belief?
Pivot: then we have to consciously choose to throw aside the usual scripts we follow and make different choices, and continue to increase our self-awareness.
Try out SNAP this week, whether you’ve figured out your number or not. I would love to hear how it goes or if you think it might be helpful!
Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments! If you are an 8, 9 or 1, what resonated with you from these chapters? What do you wish people understood about you? If you are one of the other six types, what do you most appreciate about the people in your life who are an 8, 9 or 1? What questions do you want to ask them in order to keep seeking understanding?
You also might want to check out these Instagram accounts to keep learning more about the Enneagram!
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:
January 22- Chapters 6-8
January 29- Chapters 9-12