Uncover Your Deepest Motivations with the Enneagram

"Uncover You Deepest Motivations with the Enneagram" by Always On Purpose, a coaching firm in the San Francisco Bay Area

The best life design fits how you’re designed.  One tool for revealing your design is the Enneagram.

Article by Brandy DeOrnellas, Always On Purpose Life and Career Coach

The Enneagram is a well-respected assessment that helps you uncover your deepest motivations by assigning you to one of nine types.

Any of these types look familiar?

  • ONE:  THE PERFECTIONIST – Desires to be perfect, self-controlled, principled
  • TWO:  THE HELPER – Motivated by generosity, pleasing, and taking care of others
  • THREE:  THE ACHIEVER – Driven to excel, succeed, achieve
  • FOUR:  THE INDIVIDUALIST – Desire for self-expression, uniqueness,  and individualism
  • FIVE:  THE INVESTIGATOR – Seek innovation, perceiving things that others don’t see
  • SIX:  THE LOYALIST –  Inclined loyalty, responsibility, hyper-vigilance
  • SEVEN:  THE ENTHUSIAST – Seeks fun experiences, spontaneity, and excitement
  • EIGHT:  THE CHALLENGER – Motivated to pursue what is “right” and to confront those who are “wrong”
  • NINE:  THE PEACEMAKER – Aim to be receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent

What is the value of understanding your number?

The Enneagram helps with self awareness

Self-awareness helps point us toward a life that will suit us.  One of the best ways to do that is to examine our natural inclinations and consider some of these questions: How do you spend your free time?  What do you enjoy studying?  How would your loved ones describe your role in their lives – teacher, comforter, companion, mediator?

By understanding our underlying motivation, we can structure our lives accordingly. Because, if you’re a PEACEMAKER, for example, you may want to avoid a high conflict career. Or, if you’re an INDIVIDUALIST you may want a lifestyle that supports creative expression.

The Enneagram helps us choose our response

By becoming aware of our underlying motivation, we get to choose how to respond to impulses. For example, an ENTHUSIAST may feel the constant urge to quit his job and relocate. He thinks to himself, “I shouldn’t settle.”  But playing to this pattern of pursuing the next best thing can inhibit contentment. Waking up to this pattern can empower him to better choices.

Another example is the HELPER. The HELPER tends to be on the lookout for those who need encouragement or support. Without awareness of this, however, she can’t ask the crucial question: are my actions really helping? And more importantly, Am I empowering this person or disempowering them?  This kind of awareness helps us access choice. Why? Because bringing these subconscious thoughts and impulses to the surface can take their power away.

The Enneagram helps us understand others

Sharing what you learn about yourself helps others support you.  And, you can support your friends and family by learning about their types. For example, if you’re an ACHIEVER, your family can encourage you to pause and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Or, if you’re a PERFECTIONIST, a friend can lend a less critical eye to your most recent artwork or essay. In the same way others can support you, you can support others. Imagine how you might support your best friend if you knew her number?


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