A poor understanding of who you are can keep you feeling stuck and confused about what to do with your life. It’s easy to confuse what is expected of you with what you want. If you want to better understand why you think and act the way you do, and why you’re currently struggling to find work that fulfils you, look no further than the Enneagram test. It’s the mother of all personality tests, so read on to discover your Enneagram type and how it can help you discover the best career for you.
What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram, also known as Enneagram of Personality, is an age-old model of the internal human state, soul or psyche. It is centred on nine different personality types. All of these personality types are said to be interconnected and can exist, to some extent, in each of us.
However, it is thought that we all have a main or core Enneagram type, which is somewhat influenced by two other types (called wings – more on that later).
The Enneagram is centred on nine different personality types. All of these personality types are said to be interconnected and can exist, to some extent, in each of us.
What does your Enneagram type tell you?
The majority of Enneagram experts agree that we are all born with a dominant (core) Enneagram type and that this core type does not change over time. However, the prominence of the other less dominant Enneagram types may fluctuate throughout your life.
But why should you care about your Enneagram type?
You shouldn’t… unless you’re someone who often feels like you aren’t living the life you want to live. Perhaps you say you’ll do one thing and catch yourself doing the opposite. Maybe you prioritise people and activities that don’t truly matter to you, or find yourself unable to make a decision and commit to it.
The benefit of finding out your Enneagram type lies in its ability to reveal the aspects of your personality that underlie the automatic behaviours that are currently making you feel stuck and confused. Once you understand yourself better, you have a greater chance of figuring out what you want in life and how to achieve it.
The nine Enneagram types
Type One – the Reformer
Type ones are principled, purposeful, self-controlled perfectionists.
Why you may struggle to find a career you love: You may find that you have very high standards and unrealistic expectations that no job can meet. You may also expect too much from yourself, leaving you feeling unsatisfied with achievements that others can only dream of.
Type Two – the Helper
Type twos are generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing and possessive people.
Why you may struggle to find a career you love You are prone to putting the needs of others above yourself. This puts you at risk of entering career fields you don’t care about simply to please others.
Type Three – the Achiever
Type threes are adaptable, excelling, driven and image-conscious people.
Why you may struggle to find a career you love: You are likely to have a desperate need for external validation. This can put you at risk of going into stressful, unfulfilling careers because they sound impressive to others and command respect. Prioritising looking good to others above your own needs can leave you feeling resentful. Being driven by external validation can also put you at risk of burnout because of your inability to prioritise your wellbeing over how others perceive you.
Type Four – the Individualist
Type fours are expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed and temperamental people.
Why you may struggle to find a career you love: Type fours are often consumed with the idea that they are very different from others and can intentionally shun traditional career paths to search for something more unique. The danger of doing this is that you may miss out on a more traditional career path that could bring you the fulfillment you seek because you refuse to do something ‘ordinary’.
Type Five – the Investigator
Type fives are perceptive, innovative, secretive and isolated people.
Why you may struggle to find a career you love: As a deep thinker, you tend to feel comfortable in intellectually stimulating roles. You may therefore struggle in repetitive jobs or in roles that do not provide you with challenging problems to solve. This could be frustrating if those around you are not also type fives because you may start to believe that there’s something wrong with you – if everyone else is happy at work, why aren’t you?
Type Six – the Loyalist
Types sixes are engaging, responsible, anxious and suspicious people.
Why you may struggle to find a career you love: As a naturally anxious person, you may be prone to fear and worry about where your career is going – even when all is going well. You are at risk of talking yourself out of a promising career by focusing on what could go wrong and trying to fix problems that don’t exist.
Type Seven – the Enthusiast
Type sevens are spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive and scattered people.
Why you may struggle to find a career you love: When all options sound great to you, you may struggle to commit to one career path for long enough to become an expert, rise up the career ladder and start making a good salary. A scattered approach to your career may feel exciting in your 20s and 30s, but by your 40s and 50s you may become consumed with regret or feeling like you are behind in life because you missed out on the things that come with taking a focused and more traditional career path.
Type Eight – the Challenger
Type eights are self-confident, decisive, willful and confrontational people.
Why you may struggle to find a career you love: Type eights do not like to be controlled and you may find that you struggle to find a company with a culture and management team you respect fully. Entrepreneurship may provide you with the level of autonomy you need to feel happy.
Type Nine – the Peacemaker
Types nines are receptive, reassuring, complacent and resigned people.
Why you may struggle to find a career you love: As a compliant person, you are at risk of not standing up for yourself and staying in jobs that you have long outgrown or that are bad for your mental health. Your resigned nature also places you at risk of settling and not achieving your full potential – which can lead to regret later in life.
It’s important to bear in mind that no Enneagram type is better or worse than another. All have their advantageous and disadvantageous traits. The point of knowing your type if not to identify and fix your flaws, but to uncover your strengths and weaknesses and use them to adjust your approach to work and life.
Most people tend to share the personality traits of one of the types that lie adjacent to their core type. This is called their wing. So, if you are a type 3, you may have a 2 wing or a 4 wing (written as 3w2 or 3w4). A type 7 may have a 6 wing (7w6) or an 8 wing (7w8).
What is the best Enneagram test
If all this talk of Enneagram types has piqued your interest, it’s likely that all you want to know now is how to work out your Enneagram type. Many Enneagram tests exist, but the most effective way of figuring out your core Enneagram type is to read the descriptions above and select the one that best describes you (as you are, not as you aspire to be). Because your core type is often influenced by other types, you can discover which other types are noticeably at play in your life at the moment by taking this free Enneagram test.
This post is a basic overview of how the Enneagram works. If you want to find out more about all aspects of your Enneagram type and the factors that influence it, visit the Enneagram Institute website for an in depth exploration of all things Enneagram.
What’s your Enneagram type and can you see how it has led you to make the career and life decisions you have made to date? Let us know in the comments below.
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