Enneagram: Berghoef & Bell Innovations

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What Real Love Is and What We Mistake for It

As Valentine’s Day rolls around, we are surrounded by images of love. Some of these are commercial, like sentimental cards and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. Some of them are idealized cultural expectations, such as flowers or romantic dates. The prevalence of these images reminds us of an inner truth: that we all have our own ideas of what love is. Our expectations for romance and relationships are shaped by our culture, family, and often our Enneagram type. It’s easy to seek out a relationship that matches these expectations, and in the process, we may overlook experiences of real love that manifest differently. Let’s take a look at some of the ways each Enneagram type imagines love, as well as the deeper truths of love and relationships that they might not expect.  

Type One: Ones have been known to make lists of qualities that they are looking for in a partner, and to seek out someone who ticks all the boxes! As with many areas of life, Ones, on some level, want relationships that follow a certain set of standards. However, they often find themselves falling for someone quite different from their anticipated template. The truth for Ones to discover is that love is messy, a somewhat irrational process that’s perfect in its own way.

Type Two: Of all the Enneagram types, Twos are most focused on love, which they see as something they have to earn by giving to others. They imagine that their effort will be reciprocated, and that being loved means being appreciated and cared for in the ways they want to be. What Twos can discover is that real love is unconditional. It means attuning to another’s genuine needs rather than having our efforts reciprocated in a certain desired way.

Type Three: Many Threes dream of entering relationships that will draw others’ approval. Consciously or unconsciously, they seek out partners that match values reflected to them, whether it’s their family’s standards or societally prized attributes such as wealth or good looks. Through finding desirable partners, Threes hope to enhance their own value. The lesson for Threes is that love is a matter of heart connection, in which Threes can open up and be valued for themselves.

Type Four: Fours imagine that love means being understood completely, and finding a rescuer from their hardships. They fantasize about an ideal partner who will elevate them above the humdrum and mirror their deepest desires. What Fours can learn about love is that it is primarily altruistic. Rather than being a lover-embodied solution to all their problems, it is a force that transforms and heals by refocusing energy on caring for the other person.

Type Five: When Fives imagine an ideal relationship – whereas in some cases, they imagine a life of personal space and solitude, not “needing love” – they prefer a partner who’s interested in ideas, preferably someone who shares the Five’s interests and will listen to them at length. What sometimes surprises Fives is how much love is not an intellectual exercise. Genuine love for a Five brings patience, acceptance, and continual support.

Type Six: Sixes seek a “sure thing” in love and relationships. For them, love is security. They tend to seek out partners who will be steady and committed to them. At the same time, they question their loved ones and doubt that commitment. No matter how secure a relationship seems externally, it differs from the internal steadiness that will allow Sixes to stay the course with confidence. A revolution about love for type Six is that it’s intrinsically driven, and always there.  

Type Seven: Sevens seek out liberty within their relationships. A Seven may have coined the saying “If you love somebody, set them free.” While some Sevens live up to the stereotype of having trouble with commitment, others imagine that real love means excitement and stimulation. The surprise is that love can be a powerful agent for bringing us into the present moment. Loving relationships with others are grounding, and connect us with the joy of the here and now.

Type Eight: Eights are wary of opening up, and when they love, they love fiercely. For them, love means protecting the people that matter to them. People of action, they may throw themselves into acts of service rather than letting emotion in. The key for Eights is that the more they let down their guard and open their hearts in relationship, the deeper the reward. They discover that love is more than an act of protection; it is also an energy that nurtures them.

Type Nine: Nines seek love deeply, with the unconscious belief that love means getting along with others, connecting, and dwelling in harmony. These assumptions are true up to a point. Misconceptions occur when Nines imagine that harmony is continual agreement and pleasant, affiliative energy. What surprises Nines is that genuine love requires conflict to grow. As individuals stand up and hash out opinions, relationships are strengthened and become more harmonious.

No matter what our Enneagram type or relationship status, we can benefit from reflecting on the ways we imagine love to look, and being open to the unexpected forms it often takes in practice.


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Freedom for Each Enneagram Type

20160618_053232-1-1July marks the national holidays of both our home countries, Canada Day (on July 1st) and Independence Day (on the 4th of July). Our friends and families are coming together to celebrate freedom in a flurry of fireworks and picnics. But the idea of freedom transcends national borders.

Freedom is one of the things that first drew us to the Enneagram, a personality system with the power to shed light on our habitual ways of seeing and doing things, and in illuminating them, guide us to move beyond them. Freedom was what we felt the first time we caught ourselves acting out of habit and realized that we could choose to act differently. In the wise words of Victor Frankl, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Here are some things that each Enneagram type to notice that show when your personality pattern is running the show, and tip you off to the possibility of greater freedom. Riso and Hudson call them your “wake-up call.” Notice when one of these habits arises in you, take a breath, and allow that space to free up new responses to the situation.

Type One: Something isn’t right, and it bugs you. Maybe there’s litter along the highway, or the spices are out of place on the rack. Notice when you feel that weight of obligation, and your inner voice says, “It’s my job to fix it. I’m the only one who cares.” It’s easier to respond proactively and gracefully once that tug loosens.  

Type Two: You care about someone so much that you want to develop a relationship… so you seek to win them over. Maybe you offer a gesture, a gift, or a complement. Notice when you feel that sense of leaning toward someone, and feel what’s going on with yourself. It’s easier to connect from a place where you are centered.

Type Three: Such a big world, with so many goals to strive for! People around you extoll getting promotions, shining on social media, and dressing just so… so you strive for those successes. Notice when you’re driving towards a goal, seeking a positive response from others. Can you find the freedom to pursue what matters to you deeply?  

Type Four: Speaking of shiny social media, how often do you find yourself looking at the qualities, accomplishments, and possessions of others and imagining how nice it would be to have them? Resenting them? Spinning personal stories of sorrow? Notice the feelings you’re embroidering and holding on to. Letting go brings freedom.

Type Five: You’ve figured out how to make sense of the world, or at least your area of expertise. Notice when you find yourself analyzing, using your favorite system to explain what’s going on, or theorizing and combining ideas – disconnected from reality. Reconnecting creates openness to brighter flashes of insight.  

Type Six: You feel uncertain about which path is right, until you encounter a person or system with a clear answer. When making a decision, you hear the voices of competing advisors in your head. Notice when you’re seeking guidance from something outside yourself. In allowing your inner guidance to emerge, you’ll find greater freedom.

Type Seven: You’re kayaking down the river, the sky clear above you, and all you can think about is how exciting that next trip is going to be. Tune in to the times when you’re anticipating the future, thinking of options that could be better and brighter. There’s freedom to be felt in the experience you’re having right now.

Type Eight: You sense that the world is tough, so you toughen up to deal with it. The boxing gloves come on and the energy you direct into the world amps up. Notice when you feel the need to fight to make things happen. In relaxing and trusting, your real strength can come through as you act freely.

Type Nine: You’re happiest when you feel like things are going smoothly, so it’s easy to go along with others and believe that will bring the harmony you want. Notice when you’re saying “yes” to things – is that the answer that you truly want to give, or would you prefer pizza over Chinese takeout this time?

Freedom isn’t a clear-cut thing, but you’ll know it when you feel it. There’s nothing like the awareness of when we’ve been running on autopilot, coupled with that sudden, shocking realization that now that we see our “programming” at play, we can choose to follow it or not. Options expand, and the horizon grows wider.


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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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Finding Wisdom in Your Enneagram Type

Inspiration Village at Wisdom 2.0

 

This past weekend, Kacie volunteered at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. In an era where mindfulness practices are increasingly utilized in the business and tech world, Wisdom 2.0 provides a platform for like-minded people to connect and strategize around bringing empowered conscientiousness into the workplace. This weekend offered an opportunity to share insights and witness the wisdom we all have to contribute.

We see the Enneagram as a powerful tool to bring greater wisdom into the world – whether it’s in businesses, communities, or ourselves. What the Enneagram shows us is that there are many types of understanding and insight one can have – nine, to be specific! Our own wisdom helps us take action in ways that strengthen our communities, make our workplaces more productive, and deepen our bonds with others. We have the greatest access to the wisdom our type brings to the world, but as multifaceted human beings, we can access the brilliance of all nine types.

Here are a few kinds of wisdom that each Enneagram type has to offer:

Type One brings wisdom through integrity. Healthy Ones are fair and bring justice to the world around them. They become examples of walking your talk. They teach all of us to live honest lives.

Type Two brings wisdom through compassion. Healthy Twos are caring and bring unconditional love for self and others. They become examples of lovingly meeting others’ needs. They teach us how to care for ourselves.

Type Three brings wisdom through authenticity. Healthy Threes are accomplished and bring value to the world around them. They become examples of being your best self. They teach us how to take pride in who we are.

Type Four brings wisdom through self-awareness. Healthy Fours are sensitive and bring creativity to the world. They become examples of expressing your personal truth. They teach us how to cultivate our own voice.

Type Five brings wisdom through understanding. Healthy Fives are non-judgmental and full of open-minded curiosity. They become examples of finding innovative answers. They teach us how to be still in a busy world.

Type Six brings wisdom through guidance. Healthy Sixes are grounded and oriented to a sense of purpose. They become examples of knowing just how to provide support. They teach us how to be our own best advocates.

Type Seven brings wisdom through freedom. Healthy Sevens see limitless options and engage fully in life. They become examples of bringing joy to all facets of life. They teach us how to see the best in everything.

Type Eight brings wisdom through confidence. Healthy Eights are protective and empower others around them. They become examples of living fully without apology. They teach us how to find our internal strength.

Type Nine brings wisdom through acceptance. Healthy Nines are receptive and fully self-possessed. They become examples of living harmoniously. They teach us how to live in a way that is connected to the world around us.

What kind of wisdom do you bring? What’s one action you can take this week to use this wisdom to improve the world around you?


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Why We Teach the Enneagram

IMG_20141011_184042Whenever we stand in front of a class and introduce the basics of personality types or communication styles, people’s expressions shift. We catch knowing looks and whispers. Someone might identify a type Eight boss, and express relief at learning how to get along with her. Another participant might connect with the Soloist communication style, and find the value in his way of thinking acknowledged for the first time in his professional life. With the Enneagram, we’ve discovered that a little understanding goes a long way.

Enneagram workshops act as a contained study space for the complexity of human beings. Participants learn ways to understand and communicate with important people in their lives without having those people singled out. They also have the opportunity to investigate their habits, desires, and defenses in the context of a time-limited workshop. Often they get a glimpse of their reactions in action. Many such glimpses build our capacity to notice when we’re getting in our own way and allow ourselves more flexibility to make different choices next time.

We teach the Enneagram because we’ve seen the power of this flexibility. Discovering our motivations has made it easier to catch ourselves acting out bad habits and think, “Wait a minute…” Knowing our loved ones’ and colleagues’ personality types has allowed us to understand where they are coming from and strengthen our relationships. When used wisely, for growth and understanding rather than self-limitation or stereotyping, the Enneagram’s psychological acuity allows for improved – and sometimes transformed – interactions.

What could our world look like if it was full of such interactions? What would it be like if people went the extra mile to understand each other? Whenever someone acted out, the people around them would look beyond the behavior to the underlying motive, which is always a deep human need, and think about how this need might be met. Imagine how job satisfaction would increase if this became a workplace policy!

Difference would be valued and commonality recognized, in both businesses and communities. Instinct, emotion, and intellect would be valued and cultivated equally; multiple intelligences, personality patterns, and cognitive profiles would be nurtured. All manifestations of the human spirit would be welcomed to take their place.

In their personal and professional lives, people would approach conflict strategically, transparently, and seeking a win-win. Time with others would be engaged, inclusive, and joyful, and time with yourself would be respected and cherished. Everyone would be supported in caring for their well-being, striving toward new frontiers, and contributing to the larger community.

The Enneagram points to these possibilities. It illuminates dynamics that usually remain hidden, and uncovers things that are lacking and needed in any given place and time. The knowledge that there’s something more going on under every action makes us think. It calls us to be just a little more open and dig just a little bit deeper every time.


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How the Enneagram Can Empower You

The Enneagram is an amazing tool for understanding ourselves and our common humanity. Don Riso and Russ Hudson write: “One of the great strengths of the Enneagram is that it steps aside from all doctrinal differences…. With the help of the Enneagram, we will discover that Sixes are like all other Sixes–and that they share the same values as others of their type. Ones who are black are much more like Ones who are white than they could have imagined, and so forth. A new level of community and compassion emerges that obliterates old ignorance and fear.” (Wisdom of the Enneagram, p. 10)

P1010765The Enneagram is accessible and empowering to anyone who wants to use it–no matter their age, race, gender, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, or life circumstances. It maps out our internal dynamics with incredible precision, pointing to the strengths we possess in spades as well as ways we can grow. Let’s look at the profound forms of power each type embodies–sources of inner strength we can all tap into.

Type One represents the power of conviction. When we see a wrong in the world, it’s the part of us with the strength to take a stand and work for positive change.

Type Two represents the power of altruism. This part of us hones in on what others and ourselves need and offers it generously.

Type Three represents the power of excellence. It’s the part of us that works to cultivate our gifts and live a life of great value and integrity.

Type Four represents the power of self-renewal. It’s the part of us that listens to and expresses our own voice, honoring our personal truth.

Type Five represents the power of clarity. It’s the part of us driven to discover new truths, that refuses to back down in the face of uncertainty.

Type Six represents the power of support. It’s the part of us that stands with others as an equal, committed to seeing things through.

Type Seven represents the power of hope. When things get difficult, this facet of us can find the joy and wonder that still exist in the world.

Type Eight represents the power of strength. It’s the part of us that won’t back down, initiating action and championing justice.

Type Nine represents the power of harmony. It’s the part of us that sees an underlying unity and brings peace to the world around us.

We’re looking forward to sharing more on self-empowerment using the Enneagram with two wonderful groups of women at the San Carlos Wise Women’s Retreat and the WOW Talks Walnut Creek. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these 9 types of power as well. Which of them come most easily to you? Which could you use more of in your life?