Enneagram: Berghoef & Bell Innovations

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Understanding the Levels of Development

levels of developmentWe all have times when we’re at our best – attentive, resilient, and able to handle whatever comes our way. We also have times when every little thing bugs us, and we find ourselves caught up in conflict at the drop of a hat.

Most Enneagram teachers, including us, believe that we each have a personality type that is probably set from an early age. Our Enneagram type gives us a core motivation and a way we desire to exist in the world. Sometimes, those of us who share an Enneagram type will also share similar ways of behaving in our environments. However, we also see a great deal of variation in how people with the same type behave, and in how we ourselves behave at different points in our life.

One of our Enneagram teachers, Don Riso (joined later by Russ Hudson), described much of this variation through the Levels of Development. Riso identified that each of the Enneagram types has nine different Levels of Health at which they can exist. All of us have days where we’re “on our game,” with an awareness and ability to respond to circumstances in a way that’s empowering. On the other hand, sometimes we have days that are more difficult, and say or do things we later regret. These Levels represent a range of attitudes and behaviors that exist in all of us, over the course of years or even in the same day! Understanding the Levels of Development helps us stay aware of how we’re doing, and catch ourselves when we dip lower than we’d like to.

Below is a brief summary of how The Enneagram Institute summarizes Healthy, Average, and Unhealthy Levels:

The Healthy Levels (Levels One, Two, and Three) – At the Healthy Levels of Development, we’re able to approach situations with awareness and compassion for ourselves and others. We have the ability to make decisions that are effective and beneficial. We embody our Enneagram type’s most positive qualities. When operating healthfully, we find ourselves acting and behaving in ways that contribute positively to our own lives and our communities around us. Most of us hope to attain the strong awareness and psychological health of Levels One-Three, and through our personal growth work and practices we can establish a baseline of functioning at these Levels.

The Average Levels (Levels Four, Five, and Six) – Average Levels of Development tend to encompass much of our everyday functioning. At these Levels, we’re often feeling good and managing our lives, but we don’t have the same degree of awareness as we do in the Healthy Levels. Riso and Hudson describe us as starting to operate on autopilot at these Levels, and our decisions are based on what we feel like we need to get our type’s motivations met. When we face challenges at Average Levels, we make decisions less mindfully, often saying and doing things to try to gain control over situations. These decisions may not be the best in the long term, and can cause strain on our relationships. The good news is, at Average Levels we still maintain some level of self-awareness, and respond to personal growth practices that help us regain healthy psychological functioning.

The Unhealthy Levels (Levels Seven, Eight, and Nine) – When we function at Unhealthy Levels, we lack self-awareness and make decisions completely on autopilot. At this point, our decisions have the potential to be destructive to ourselves and others. The good news is, most of us don’t operate here long-term. When someone stays in the Unhealthy Levels, it’s usually a reaction to severe crisis or trauma. At these Levels, we benefit from receiving support from a therapist or other trained professional.

It’s possible for all of us to learn to operate in a place that is psychologically healthy and aware! Through a combination of developing regular practices that challenge and inspire us, and finding a team of supporters in our goals, we can develop the attentiveness, functionality, and flexibility that characterize a shift up the Levels.

To learn more about how the Levels of Development work in all nine types, we recommend reading Personality Types, by Don Riso with Russ Hudson, or attending our Journey of Growth (Levels) Enneagram Institute Authorized Workshop.


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Self-Care Strategies for the Enneagram Types

IMG_1690With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many of us are thinking of the people we care about. Those who are in romantic relationships may have their eyes on special dates and gifts for their partners. Parents with school-age children are picking out paper valentines to be handed out to classmates. Love is in the air, but one frequent omission in this time of romance and connection is love for ourselves.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, it’s easy to get swept up in the demands and stimulations of the world around us. Most of us forget to take the time to care for our own needs. Even introspective types can find it challenging to care for themselves as kindly as they would for another. Yet self-care is vital for feeling and performing at our best and truly connecting with our loved ones.

The ways in which we neglect self-care vary based on our Enneagram type. Here are some ways for each personality type to care for themselves, for Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Type One: While Ones excel at doing things with care, fun often falls by the wayside. Take yourself out on a date! Find something delightful and zany that you’ve always wanted to try. Now’s the time to try it out. Grant yourself a time for exploration – a judgment-free zone to play. Allow yourself to take in the richness of the new experience, much as you’d enjoy a thrilling first date.  

Type Two: Twos can be so busy focusing on others’ needs that they overlook their own, and “me time” is a phrase that’s used by this type more often than it’s understood. It doesn’t have to mean bubble baths (though they’re great); in your case, a radical form of self-care is a break from helping. Set yourself a day during which you aren’t allowed to help others, and focus on a personal goal.

Type Three: Threes are great at achieving things, but can lose touch with their desires as they craft a public image. Take some time to yourself to reflect and connect with your heart. Creativity and journaling can help with this. When no one’s around, what do you like to do? What makes you happy? Let yourself do it, and let what you’ve learned about yourself spill over into your day-to-day life.

Type Four: Introspective Fours connect well with their emotions, but can miss out on external sources of joy. Paradoxically, connecting with the external world is one of the best ways to show self-care. Find a cause you care about or a person who needs your help. Challenge yourself to be of service beyond your usual sphere of interaction, and enjoy the sense of meaning that results.  

Type Five: Fives care for themselves through alone time, but find it challenging to take needed practical action. You know that thing you’ve thought about over and over again but haven’t started? Maybe it seems impossible, illogical, or terrifying. For self-care, take the first step in doing it. Jump in. Allow yourself to not have a plan, to not have it all worked out. Take the next step and keep going.    

Type Six: Sixes have a gift for dealing with details, but can get caught up in worry and overworking. Give yourself a break and do something relaxing. The aforementioned bubble bath is a good one for you, as are other activities you enjoy that calm mind and body. Don’t allow yourself to think or talk about work while doing this. This is relaxation time. Be in the moment and savor it.

Type Seven: Sevens excel at infusing their lives with adventure, but tend to be distractible. You have a lot on the go, so the perfect self-care step is to focus. Find something that needs to be done that you’ve been putting off or distracting yourself from. Set yourself a time where you do it until it’s complete. Bring play into the task, such as listening to fun music while cleaning.

Type Eight: Eights are great at getting results, but don’t always think to recover from the energy they expend. You’re a busy person, so an ideal self-care move is to schedule some quiet time. Meditate, sit in nature, or spend time with an interesting book. No loud music, TV shows, or “doing” allowed! Spend time taking in the quiet and rest that surrounds you. See what it feels like.     

Type Nine: Nines are gifted at creating relaxation, but find it tough to get out of their comfort zone and be seen. Give yourself an opportunity to shine in a way you’ve always wanted to. Whether it’s performing onstage, scoring goals, or cooking an outstanding meal, do something you’re good at in a setting that invites recognition. Enjoy the feeling of excelling and connecting with your gifts.

 


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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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Book Review: The Awakened Company

Awakened Company cover
Our colleague Catherine Bell (no relation to Melanie Bell) recently released a book that we’re excited about. Written in collaboration with Enneagram expert Russ Hudson and Christopher Papadopoulos, The Awakened Company is a passionate and pragmatic call for a new way of doing business. While traditional business models focus primarily on profit and efficiency, Bell calls for a big-picture approach that also takes sustainability, community, and mindfulness into account.

The Awakened Company comes at a time, post-financial crash, when “the historic notions of doing business are rapidly unraveling on nearly all levels” (p. 4). Bell describes the problems of meaningless work, a growth-based (and thus ultimately unsustainable) financial model, and the “business is business” philosophy, which “assumes that the purpose of business is to make money, and whatever it takes to do so is okay” (p. 1). She recalls the history of early businesses, rooted in family, community, and service, and calls for a way of doing business that returns to these roots and innovates beyond them. The result is the “awakened” company of the book’s title, which is attentive to global context.

Bell argues that the smallest business decisions have consequences, and that companies benefit from making sure that these decisions – from the sourcing of products to the creation of company culture – are made ethically and with deliberation. “Business is far from just ‘business’,” she concludes; “It’s deeply interwoven with the whole of life” (p. 57). In order to thrive in the modern world, corporations need to adopt a deep-rooted sense of civic responsibility and connectedness.

Much of the book discusses the importance of building greater awareness in the business sphere. Bell introduces the qualities of “presence,” a state of being grounded, attentive, and open, and their positive effects on the workplace. Cultivating presence in leaders and teams fosters adaptability, harmony, and work relationships that feel meaningful. The book argues that the functioning of any company is improved when a leader or small team cultivates a climate of mindful awareness that spreads throughout the organization. Bell also makes a convincing case for the importance of growing aspects of company culture that are often overlooked, such as reflection and aesthetics (and the Enneagram is in there, subtly).

The Awakened Company takes a macro approach, and covers a lot of ground. The book is peppered with brief case examples, allowing readers to better understand how the book’s organizational principles are implemented on the ground. Hopefully a future publication will cover such examples in more detail. The book often uses spiritual language, but The Awakened Company’s suggestions are well researched and eminently practical. This book is ideal for leaders seeking a thorough and well-thought-out guide to principles of sustainable company-building. Happily, the approaches laid out by The Awakened Company are increasingly common in today’s business landscape. With Bell’s book reaching a broader audience, their reach may continue to grow.


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How Each Enneagram Type Can Boost Their EQ

10370417_10152774707326551_5582957100565360571_nEmotional intelligence is a key concept in many of today’s workplaces, and has been named one of the decade’s most influential business ideas by the Harvard Business Review. But what exactly does it mean, and why is it important?

Daniel Goleman, who popularized the concept of emotional intelligence or “EQ” (as opposed to IQ), defines it as a set of competencies that encompasses empathy, social skills, self-motivation, and understanding and management of emotions. Emotional intelligence involves skillfully handling your own emotions, as well as navigating the emotional dynamics of the interpersonal world. These “soft skills” are equally crucial for leadership, both for building rapport and for dealing with problems as they arise. As executive coach and Enneagram teacher Mario Sikora writes, “Emotions are often one part of our brain’s attempt to tell another part of our brain to pay attention to something that could be important.”

All of us have the capacity to hone our emotional intelligence, helping us become more skilled and flexible leaders. Here are some tips for each personality type to build more EQ muscle.

Type One: Ones excel at motivating others with a vision of excellence, but run into their EQ blind spot when their critiques don’t take others’ feelings into account. Ones can work on considering the perspectives of others and bringing compassionate levity into their interactions.

Type Two: Twos are skilled at empathizing with others, but awareness of their own emotional needs can be a blind spot. Twos can benefit from deliberately setting aside alone time to reflect and connect with themselves, and acting on the insights they discover.

Type Three: Threes adapt well to varied emotional climates. Like Twos, they can lose touch with their own emotions. A bit of reframing may be helpful here: instead of setting feelings aside to get the job done, consider them important information to take action on.

Type Four: Attentive to their own emotional landscape, Fours may become self-absorbed and neglect important relationships. They benefit from making a deliberate effort to reach out and stay connected, supporting others and listening to their points of view.

Type Five: Fives tend to be even-keeled and nonjudgmental, but have a blind spot around connecting interpersonally with others. Fives can work on staying open to people in their relationships and interactions, and considering the impact they have on others.

Type Six: Sixes do well at building rapport with others, but may put people off by being pessimistic. To up their EQ, Sixes benefit from working on morale-boosting: try adding encouragement to conversations and anticipating what could go right.

Type Seven: Sevens excel at creating a positive and exciting emotional climate. Their blind spot is acknowledging challenges. Rather than reframing difficulties or moving on to the next big thing, Sevens might try building their capacity to stay with the rough patches.

Type Eight: Eights are honest and know how to make an impression, but are not always aware of how strongly they can come off. To boost EQ, Eights might try softening their approach and extending generosity and kindness to other people.

Type Nine: Nines are proficient at creating harmony and putting others at ease, but their own needs can get overlooked as they do so. Nines can grow EQ by making a conscious effort to speak up about their wishes and feelings.

These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot to learn about emotional intelligence, but bringing more attention to your own emotional states and the emotional dynamics present in your relationships is a good starting place for sharpening your leadership skills and boosting your capacity to successfully navigate life’s challenges.


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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?