Enneagram: Berghoef & Bell Innovations

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Mindful Holiday Gift Giving

img_0110The holidays are here again this year! No matter which one of several holidays you celebrate this December, most likely you’ll be buying gifts for your family, friends, and coworkers – or all of the above! Trying to choose the right gift for everyone you care about can be one of the holiday season’s biggest sources of stress.

Your gift giving style depends on a number of factors, one of which is your Enneagram type. As we’re gearing up for the biggest shopping month of the year, remember that it’s possible to consume mindfully and get gifts that everyone enjoys. Here’s a tip to help each Enneagram type reduce holiday shopping stress:

One – Your gift to your loved one doesn’t need to be perfect. Instead of angsting over what just the right gift is for someone, get something “good enough” that comes from the heart. The special person in your life will still love and appreciate your perfectly imperfect gift!

Two – Remember, buying gifts is an expression of love, but a truly selfless gift giver gives without expecting anything in return. If you have expectations around a specific buy getting you something, return it for a gift that feels lower-stakes to you emotionally.

Three – You’re great at reading people and attuning to what they want, but remember to stay humble about the gifts you give. Give your loved ones time to enjoy unwrapping the gifts and thank you in their own way this holiday season.

Four – Keep in mind that the person you’re buying a gift for may have different taste than you. You may love patterns and find stripes distasteful, but if that’s what the person enjoys and requested, avoid self-indulgence by buying their gift of choice.

Five – ‘Tis the season for generosity! It’s important to conserve resources and buy a gift within your budget, of course, but avoid being too conservative in your choices with your nearest and dearest. A thoughtful gift will show your deep caring to your loved ones.

Six – Gift-giving is one way you express your commitment to others, and you’ll feel better if you reduce your anxiety around it. Instead of debating endlessly in your head and asking others what to get your loved ones, trust your own guidance of what they will like.

Seven – You delight in the fun of giving others gifts, but before you buy, make a habit of getting your loved one’s wish list. It can be so easy for you to see the fun in everything, that you need to keep in mind not everyone will enjoy the same types of gifts as you.

Eight – Work towards relinquishing control this holiday season. Get your family the gifts they’d enjoy, instead of imposing your will of what you think they need or should prefer. Be gentle and magnanimous in meeting everyone’s needs.

Nine – Stay proactive this holiday season by not only actively asking the people in your life what they’d like for the holidays, but challenging yourself to let them know what gifts you’d appreciate, too. That way, you can enjoy a holiday with empowered giving and receiving.

Remember, no matter what you buy or don’t buy for your loved ones this holiday season, the real meaning of the holidays is getting to spend time together with the people you care about. There’s always something to celebrate over the holidays. Relax and enjoy!


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What to Celebrate About the Enneagram Types

The holiday season is in full swing, and most of us have a full slate of celebrations planned, from work parties to family gatherings. Even the environment around us sparkles with excitement, with decorations, trees, and menorahs lighting up the houses and businesses in our communities.

While the busyness of this time of year sometimes brings special challenges, it’s also a time to celebrate, renew, and reconnect with those we care about most. This holiday season, get into the celebratory spirit by focusing on the wonderful qualities and abilities our family members, friends, and coworkers contribute to our lives – and the world around them.

Let’s take a look at the special talents each of the nine Enneagram types possess and remember to celebrate them in those we know personally.

Let’s appreciate how Enneagram Type Ones strive to make the world a better place. Whether it’s expansive, global change or a smaller task like ensuring every detail of the work holiday party is planned correctly, the intrinsic drive for improvement Ones possess ensures that we all keep trying to get better in what little ways we can.

Let’s treasure the way Enneagram Type Twos bring care and appreciation to the people around them. When part of a strategic process, or simply gathering with family, Twos ensure the human aspects of the plan are satisfied, and that people’s needs are met. Twos bring a compassionate quality that reminds all of us to love the people around us.

Let’s celebrate how Enneagram Type Threes inspire us to be the best that we can be. When Threes succeed, they teach all of us to value our own intrinsic great qualities and contribute our own unique achievements to society. Threes ensure that all of us create the best lives – and holidays – that we can for ourselves.

Let’s admire the way Enneagram Type Fours keep all of us emotionally honest. At times when the rest of us go with the flow, Fours remind us of how to stay true to ourselves in our actions and choices, whether big or small. Fours remind all of us to bring our own personal creativity to change, appreciate the beauty around us, and keep our holidays unique.

Let’s value how Enneagram Type Fives keep us open and searching for new truths. In creating and bringing change, Fives ensure that no intellectual base remains uncovered and unexplored. Fives not only discover how to make things better, but also bring an openness and curiosity to holidays, and encourage us to take time to reflect during this busy season.

Let’s respect the way Enneagram Type Sixes bring solidness and commitment to our relationships. Once committed, Sixes will ensure consensus on a project and work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure everything is executed. Sixes remind us all to honor our promises, whether on a large scale or simply following through on an RSVP.

Let’s be grateful for how Enneagram Type Sevens remind us to enjoy ourselves and have fun. Sevens bring great ideas to the world, but they also remind us that life doesn’t always need to be serious. Sevens remind us all of everything in the world that we can be grateful for- as well as the times we can let our hair down.

Let’s think highly of how Enneagram Type Eights bring strength and cohesiveness to our communities. With their energy and strong sense of personal empowerment, Eights will lead and fight for important change – and to keep groups of people together. This holiday season, appreciate the initiative the Eight in your life brings.

Let’s recognize the way that Enneagram Type Nines quietly bring solidity and calm to the world. Nines do well seeing the bigger picture in creating change and ensure we all find ways to get along while working toward it. The Nines in our lives make sure we all feel recognized and accepted, whether in large group meetings or during the holidays.

The holiday season is also a time to celebrate your own self-awareness. Make sure you take time this year to recognize the incredible qualities you bring to your workplaces and communities as you enjoy the festivities!


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Why Self-Awareness Matters

IMG_0650 - CopyIf you were a Greek citizen in the 4th century B.C., traveling to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi to listen to the Oracle’s wisdom, you’d find this inscription on the wall: “Know thyself.” In more recent years, self-awareness gets less press than flashier qualities like ambition and charisma. However, it matters just as much today as it did in ancient Greece. Here are 4 ways that self-awareness, one of the biggest results of learning the Enneagram, benefits our work and daily life.

  1. It builds business success.

A 2009 study found high self-awareness to be the top predictor of executives’ success. These self-aware executives are more likely to hire people who excel in their own areas of weakness, and to recognize when others’ ideas are better than their own. Most businesses require skills beyond what their leadership team is immediately able to provide. Self-aware leaders can recognize these gaps and make judicious choices about when to acquire these skills and when to outsource. They structure their teams intelligently and are open to learning from others. Not only does their willingness to delegate create a happier and more cohesive team; it also pays off in dollars. A 2015 study of 486 public companies’ financial performance found that the highest-earning companies had the most self-aware employees with the fewest blind spots – areas that professionals named as personal strengths but their colleagues’ feedback revealed to be personal weaknesses.

  1. It improves time management.

We all want to spend our time on things we care about. If social justice gets you moving, you’d probably be happiest contributing your time to the greater good, whether that’s volunteering in a soup kitchen on the weekends or founding an NGO. If you value the impact and experience of speaking to crowds, you might drag your feet in a career that revolves around one-on-one work or working from home. If you’re a person that needs a lot of solitude, your ideal schedule will look different than that of someone who values lots of family time. Becoming aware of what motivates you allows you to make wise choices about how to spend your time, both professionally and personally.

  1. It helps you find a niche.

Having a good sense of your strengths can tip you off to the type of work that’s best suited to you. If you’re great at building relationships with people, let that permeate your career, whether through direct client work or B2B marketing. If you’re gifted at working with your hands, see if you can use that ability even if you’re in a seemingly unrelated field. (We’ve both had colleagues who were lauded for their beautiful office decorations!) Once you have a good sense of how and where you bring the most value, let it guide the choices you make. It might just become the thing you’re known for, the catalyst of your personal success story.

  1. It strengthens relationships.

We all have tendencies that drive other people crazy. Self-awareness allows us to see them. If you find yourself criticizing or dominating (or whatever pattern you do that gets on people’s nerves), take a moment to notice what’s going on in your body. See if you can step back from your reaction and choose a different way to engage. The important people in your life will thank you! What’s more, when you’re open and attentive rather than habit-driven, other people will be more open, too. They’ll feel more appreciated and connect to you more easily. Having a daily self-observation practice, like mindfulness or yoga, is helpful in building these self-awareness skills. If you practice noticing your mind’s tricks on the mat, it will become easier to notice them among friends, colleagues, and family.

No matter what your personality type is, you’ll reap benefits from building self-awareness. Are there subtle ways you can restructure your life to play to your strengths? Are there small steps you can take to mitigate your challenges? As you learn more about yourself, what actions can you take to help you thrive?


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Understanding Your Family

goatsFamilies are some of the most powerful relationships around. They’re the first relationships we’re involved in, and the patterns of interaction that we develop in our families shape the rest of our lives. We think it’s unlikely that parents or upbringing define Enneagram type; take any set of siblings and you’ll find that their view of the same childhood moments differs radically. However, our families have a lasting impact on our well-being. Healthy families increase children’s confidence and capacity for resilience, while unhealthy families make it harder for kids to develop these skills.

We can choose our partners, but for the most part, we don’t choose parents, siblings, children, and other relatives. Sometimes we have a lot in common with family members, and their differing skills and perspectives smoothly complement our own. Other times, we find ourselves diverging from the values of other family members, or being set off by their personality tics. For better or worse, families make great laboratories for learning how to get along with different kinds of people!

If you find yourself wondering why your mother has to go on about her health so much, or what possessed your teenager to get that tattoo, the Enneagram can help. By understanding what motivates our family members, we’re better able to connect with them. Instead of hoping to make them more like us, we can show up with attention, compassion, and hold space for family members to be the best versions of exactly who they are.

Here are some ways you can hold space for your family members of all Enneagram types:

Type One: The family Perfectionists, Ones are upstanding and lead the family by example, but can get critical when you diverge from their rules. Connect with the Ones in your family by encouraging them to have fun, and letting them know that you value them just as they are.

Type Two: Two Helpers seek to meet family members’ unstated needs through acts of service, caring, and sometimes intrusion. Connect with the Twos in your family by acknowledging the importance of their needs and showing them love no matter what they do.

Type Three: Three Achievers inspire their families. They often squelch their own desires by picking up on their family’s dreams and striving to become the family success story. Connect with the Threes in your family by guiding them to follow their own interests and desires.

Type Four: Four Individualists add soul to the family, and also bring shadows into the open – making sure families can’t forget things they don’t want to acknowledge. Connect with the Fours in your family by taking responsibility for the past, and holding emotional steadiness.

Type Five: Five Investigators bring rich expertise to their families, but may be difficult to engage otherwise. Connect with the Fives in your family by allowing them the space they need, while nurturing them in developing emotional connections with others.

Type Six: Six Loyalists show steadfast commitment to family, but may test family members for loyalty, and sometimes rebel. Connect with the Sixes in your family by showing them that you’re trustworthy and devoted, while being steady and clear with your boundaries.

Type Seven: Seven Enthusiasts stir up excitement and make family gatherings fun, but may act out when they get bored and frustrated. Connect with the Sevens in your family by savoring joy together – especially mindful, everyday joy – and supporting them during the hard times.

Type Eight: Eight Challengers are protective of family members but sometimes also push to exert control over the family. Connect with the Eights in your family by showing strength and solidity, but also allowing them to be vulnerable and lean on you when they need to.

Type Nine: Nine Peacemakers create a harmonious, cohesive family environment, which sometimes means they sweep problems under the rug. Connect with the Nines in your family by sharing pleasant times, while encouraging them to speak up and assert their needs.


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Managing Holiday Stress

2014-11-18 22.12.33The late calendar year hums with holiday magic. Families gather to feast. Gifts are exchanged, and lights festoon the windows. The holidays bring great joy to the world! They allow us to take time off work, celebrate with friends and colleagues at special events, and spend quality time with our loved ones.

This busy time of year also brings special challenges. Many of us find ourselves in a flurry of parties, seeing distant relatives, and travel. Our routines get disrupted, and we spend more money looking for the perfect gifts for everyone. Old conflicts with family can resurface. Some of us end up feeling lonely because we feel we don’t have enough events to attend or people to spend the holidays with.

Self-care is of particular importance during the holiday season, and what we need varies based on our Enneagram type. We’ve put together a list of tips for managing stressors and getting the most out of the holiday season, based on your social and communication style. You can learn more about the three communication styles and identify yours by reading our blog post Crafting Successful Communication.

Soloists (Enneagram Types 4, 5, and 9) – As a Soloist, you offer a spirit of creativity and reflection during the holidays. You’re also at risk for being overwhelmed by the additional socialization, travel, and activities. Staying grounded and aware of your body is particularly important. Make sure to take the time to recharge your batteries if your holiday season is busy. Step outside and take a breather during holiday events, and look for individual roles you can take in the events, such as preparing the food or playing the holiday music. If your social circle is smaller and your holidays tend to be solitary, get out of your comfort zone and attend an event! Local nonprofits are always looking for volunteers on holidays, and Meetup.com groups often have holiday celebrations.

Initiators (Enneagram Types 3, 7, and 8) – If you’re an Initiator, you bring natural energy and enthusiasm to this festive season. You likely have a busy schedule all the time, and the holidays get even busier! You may find yourself running from place to place on little sleep. It may be necessary for you to prioritize events and skip some to maintain your self-care practices. Stay present in your heart center at the gatherings you go to by letting yourself be emotionally affected by the people around you. Take the extra effort to appreciate friends and loved ones through verbal acknowledgement, a thoughtful card, or a carefully chosen gift. This is also a great time to prioritize helping the less fortunate, through your time or financially.

Cooperators (Enneagram Types 1, 2, and 6) – As a Cooperator style, your generosity and commitment shine during the holidays. You may feel a strong sense of duty to your family, charity, or religion, and it can be easy for you to get overcommitted trying to support everyone in your life. Take some time to individually reflect on your own values, and make sure to take on only those responsibilities that align with them. Saying “No” to that extra commitment is important sometimes; take care of yourself by scheduling in some time to rest. And have fun at the events you do attend! Supporting others during the holidays can be richly meaningful, but letting your hair down and enjoying yourself is important too.

No matter what type you are, maintaining your daily practice throughout the holidays will help you stay mindful and centered. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season this year!