Have you ever taken a survey at work or an online test to discover who you are? Yeah, me too! In fact, I’ve taken most of them and love seeing and comparing their results. However, I’ve been learning that finding our Type or Temperament will only serve to help us find the “starting line” for a long and painful journey of Inner Work. They aren’t the destination or who we actually are. All of it is a protective barrier to hide and protect our true selves.
Growing our “true self” requires an intense and ongoing investigation of our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, defense mechanisms, motivations, fears, etc. All that stuff can be categorized as our Emotional Intelligence. And to get healthy & increase ours, it requires tremendous humility and allowing our personalities to become the daily focus of both private meditation and public feedback.
A few critical components of our emotional intelligence, as taught by Dr. Darrin Patrick:
Self-clarity = How am I wired?
Self-awareness = How am I experienced?
Self-donation = How can I contribute?
If you’re ready to grow in your understanding of these areas of your life, I’d recommend a personality typology called the Enneagram. It is as revealing as it is unsettling – you can’t “unsee” this stuff! After sharing this tool with a friend recently, they went as far to say that once they found their type, they felt humiliated. Totally exposed. They couldn’t believe how much it revealed about the places in their heart that they had tried their best to hide from everyone else.
If you are interested in starting the Enneagram journey, I’d recommend the following:
- Reading The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron (easiest book on the subject, perfect for beginners.)
- Listening to the Typology Podcast on your phone or computer (start at the beginning or it won’t make sense)
- Taking a reputable Enneagram survey to get a baseline for your profile. (There are quite a few free surveys online but very few of them are actually trustworthy. Use one that is recommended by a credible source for Enneagram information.)
- After you have taken an initial survey, cross-reference your results with its type description to see if it fits. Be sure the type description you are looking into includes an extensive overview, levels of health, primary fears and motivators. Some sites offer a short and sweet overview of the description but this can serve as a false finish line because your personality has incredible depth.
Keep in mind that it can be difficult to really find your type until you understand all nine of them – especially in the beginning of your enneagram journey, so don’t jump to conclusions or try to force a fit. Another thing you’ll want to avoid is trying to guess other people’s types or shame them for their personality. Every one of us has shortcomings and needs to grow in grace!