I thrive on staying busy. So much so that I regularly wish there were more hours in a day, just so I could achieve more of what I want to do. I make lists of possibilities, spend time researching subjects that pique my interest, and enjoy planning trips and social gatherings. I naturally fill my schedule, and when a gap of time opens up, I jump in to fill it with something else fun and exciting.
In my twenties, I worked full-time, went to grad school at night, and still managed to maintain a wide circle of friends, participate in the Austin social scene, and begin a new relationship. A factor that supports me in this lifestyle is that I tend to be extremely positive. I find negativity limiting and uncomfortable; I’m the master at reframing something to see the lesson learned or the potential for growth.
I've thrived on my enthusiasm, endurance, and positivity. These traits have led to many great successes, but my greatest strengths have also contributed to my downfall, resulting in disappointment and burnout. When a friend cancels on our dinner plans last minute, the momentum of my frantic life is suddenly slowed.
Without something to fill my time, I’m forced to be still, connect with my emotions, and realize that I'm exhausted. I will positively reframe something, rather than actually processing the pain and hurt. In that moment, I’m avoiding dealing with the painful feelings, which means I’m missing out on the full range of emotion.
Luckily, I found a tool that ushered wisdom, awareness, and a tremendous amount of personal growth. This tool is the Enneagram of Personality.
The Enneagram is an ancient system describing nine distinct and fundamentally different personality types. A circle with nine numbered points symbolically represents the Enneagram. The word Enneagram comes from the Greek ennea, meaning nine, and gram, meaning a figure or drawing. Once you discover your type, the Enneagram becomes a roadmap that provides insight into your growth areas and helps you become a more authentic version of yourself. It shows how you're wired, both negatively and positively, and helps you manage yourself and how you interact with the people around you. Master Enneagram teacher, Suzanne Stabile, describes it as “nine ways of seeing, nine ways of being, and nine ways of responding to what you see.”
Unlike some personality typologies, knowing your Enneagram number doesn’t box you in. Rather, it helps you understand the box you're in and gives you insight into how to get out.
The Enneagram is a dynamic personality system where the nine types are all equally valuable and no type is better than another. Some people may find only nine types to be limiting, but it is best explained like a color wheel. While there is only one color called green, there are an infinite number of variations of green, just as each person in the world is unique.
You'll find yourself within one of the types, which are fluid and adaptable, focusing on the healthy, average and unhealthy range of personality.
As humans, we're created to connect, and part of this is learning to understand one another’s worldviews. The Enneagram is another tool in your toolbox to help you understand yourself and others in relationship. It helps us connect with our friends and loved ones and become more loving and compassionate to our differences.