Enneagram Series Part 8

enneagram is a way to look at my life differently

You take your life in your hands, and what happens?

A terrible thing: no one to blame.”

-Erica Jong

Here we are at # 8; the last in the current Enneagram Series. (For now at least.) I’ve been trying to think of a way to wrap up the Series with something ‘special’, but what seems natural is just to talk about the experience.

In case you missed it, this Enneagram Series was prompted by a Toastmasters assignment that I took on. “Post 8 blogs in a month”, it said. “A bit excessive,” I thought. But probably exactly what I needed to blast through all of my resistance.  I knew that once I committed, there would be no more wallowing in my stories about why “I can’t do this”. There’d be no way out, only forward! A hero’s journey. (Hey, it’s my story!)

Day one: I was dead in the water. I struggled with WordPress, the ‘blog launching program’, for a couple of painful hours. Then, in desperation, I called out for help; not something I do naturally. In fact, it is more accurate to say that I called out for sympathy!  As you know ‘help’, though well intended, is often not very helpful. People say…do this or that…you try it, you fail, and now you feel more depressed.

For me, starting a blog was overwhelming. So much to learn. Where do I start?

Help arrived in abundance. Friends, who are bloggers, mentored and encouraged me. But, it was Katherine Scott, a Toastmasters friend, who turned out to be my lifesaver. She took me by the hand and cheerfully, “I think you’ve had enough for today”, guided and mothered me, over the phone, through the first painful postings.

Another Toastmasters friend, Becky Beaton, showed up as my proofreader and my tactful, “this doesn’t make any sense Mike”, editor. She taught me about active voice vs passive voice, and how to use  “I, we, you” orientation in the writing. Becky was my sounding board when I needed help getting unstuck. Perhaps, best of all, she taught me to read the copy out loud several times to make sure it flows and sounds natural and conversational.

There were several practical reasons for doing this blog.  The process forced me to clarify my thinking about the Enneagram in a way I would not have done otherwise. Katherine suggested turning the Series into an ebook, to give away. Good idea. For future New Retirement Projects, it will be a great hand out and reference resource. For past and current clients, the blog is a good way to stay connected and “keep the conversation alive”. For potential clients, it is a way to connect and whet their appetite. In all cases, I hope, it’s a good way to share useful ideas.

Breaking News! I just received an email from an old friend and client, Al Cook, Facility Manager at an Ontario School Board. A note to say that he’s retiring. Al is one of a few clients over the years who became a special friend. When I was doing my Enneagram training, some years ago,  I asked Al to do the Enneagram questionnaire. It turned out that he was a ‘Helper’ in the Enneagram model. He didn’t care for that much. As an engineer and a Facility Manager, he joked that he was hoping for something a bit “more manly”. I tried to console him by telling him that Jesus was a Helper, but that didn’t ‘ help’. So he did the Enneagram again. Still a Helper! Al is also ex-military and, as it happened, he was heading to a class reunion at RMC in Kingston. “Great,” I said, “you can tell the boys that you’re a Helper. “Ya”, he said, “they’ll order me to go get them drinks”. We never talked about the Enneagram again. (Sorry Al. Couldn’t resist. Good memories.)

Closing Story: Everyday application of the Enneagram

My son PJ took me to see Neil Young last week in Vancouver. (That’s Neil in the spotlight. Honest.)  It was a birthday treat. The show was mostly a walk through fifty years of memories. He did offer some new stuff; mostly about environmental issues. ” Green is blue”, I thought was a good line. Staying relevant. Good to see.

On the ferry trip over from Gibsons, I had an experience that was a good example of an everyday application of the Enneagram teachings. A small thing that could have had big negative consequences; the sort of thing that happens to everyone almost every day.

Raymonde dropped me off at the ferry at Langdale to ‘walk on’. On the way to the waiting room, I recognized the man walking in front of me. It was John, the husband of one of Raymonde’s ‘Dragon Boating’ friends.  I noticed that all he was carrying a hardcover book. As we sat down I said “Hi John”, expecting an enthusiastic response. Instead, I got a weak smile, a nod and then he was into his book. He was right across from me.

It was the sort of thing that can leave a person feeling offended. John’s behaviour could be interpreted as rude. It could leave a bad feeling. It could cause one to start thinking “ what’s up with him” or “what have I done.” Imagination making up stories.

I’m guessing that John is a Researcher; Enneagram Type 5. In any case, it was obvious that he wanted “me time”. I saw the book and I know Type 5 is a ‘head type’. They like to separate themselves. They love to be in their heads, lost in thinking. He’d probably been looking forward to this escape all morning, and then I come along all smiley and friendly and wanting to chat. ….Horrors. Go away! 

Perhaps he didn’t recognize me. I hadn’t seen him for some time. I know he sees a lot of people in his work day. In any case, I knew it wasn’t personal.  Or I should say, I chose not to make it personal. He was just being John. He needed his ‘me-time’.  

You don’t need to be an expert in the Enneagram to observe people and situations in this way. I can’t tell at a glance what a person’s Type is, but I can start gathering information by paying attention.  I can observe a person’s behaviour and I can see my emotional reactions and judgements. I can observe myself starting to take it personally. And, I can let it all go! I can allow the person to be who they are without judgement.

It is so liberating!

Notes: Future blogs will generally be within the framework of the New Retirement Project.

If you want to know your Enneagram Type, request a free copy of our self-scoring questionnaire. Once you identify your Type, I will send you a free Report along with suggestions for further exploration.

There is a cool  Enneagram app called ‘EnneaApp’. It’s three bucks. It’s a quick and handy reference resource.

Comments are welcome.

Enneagram Series Part 7


enneagram is a way to look at my life differently

The Benefits

People who “do the Enneagram” sometimes treat it like a ‘party game’. “Isn’t it fun to know my Personality Type”, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

Once they know their Type, it is quickly forgotten. Maybe they don’t know what else to do with it?

The truth is, the Enneagram has a lot to offer. You can go as deep as you want. Even basic insights can lead to a better life.

If you don’t know your personality type, and can’t see the personality types of others, you are flying blind; you are subject to constant risks and missed opportunities.

That said, after I had been certified as an Enneagram coach, I asked myself what had I gained from the experience. I remember feeling disturbed that the answer wasn’t immediate and overwhelmingly positive. I had just given a year of my life to studying this ‘thing’ and I wanted to be impressed!

So, I decided to sit down and start writing out the benefits I had experienced.

The benefits I discovered:

Renewing my direction: Once I accepted that my Type was the Helper, I realized that that was my gift! I remember asking myself, “How can I be the ‘best Helper’ I can be, now that I am retired”. Asking that question led me to discover New Retirement coaching which opened a new world of meaning and purpose helping others to find their new meaning and purpose.

Improving my marriage: When we learned each others’ Types, me a Helper and Raymonde a Reformer / Perfectionist, it created new conversations about how we could avoid conflicts, how we could help each other satisfy our needs, and how we could make better use of each others’ strengths. A whole new level of intimacy and richness thirty-five years in! Not bad.

Managing my reactive stress: The Enneagram made me aware that when I am really stressed I disengage. We all have a reactive strategy for dealing with stressful situations. Usually, it costs us! In my case, it caused me to become stuck. Having an Increased awareness of what I was doing to myself, gave me new power to make better choices; to get out of the stuck place faster with the results of less cost and a Better Life!


Concepts don’t make your life better: The Enneagram teachings are all concepts until they are applied. Concepts may be exciting in themselves. They may seem to be beneficial because they are new, but they don’t add value without application.

Benefits can be invisible. Even when I applied the ideas, the benefits would quickly become transparent. The new ways of being become part of us and the benefits can disappear from view. It’s good to stop and take stock once in a while.

It’s easy to forget.  The benefits and applications can easily be forgotten. I found this particularly true in training. I was flooded with ideas and application assignments. It was always ‘on to the next thing’. Later there is a need to keep the ideas alive through conversation and further conscious applications. Coaching others is my teacher.

It all can become a blur. The mind is boggled by too much input. In my case, asking myself, “What value did I get?”  was a good prompt to sit down and assess what I had learned.

Can a person get these benefits from The New Retirement Project?

Even in the short five-week process, I observe people experiencing all of the benefits and more.

Effectively navigating life changes, like retirement, is a primary application for the Enneagram. It helps you to see your self more accurately.

Working in a small group accelerates learning by seeing the experience of other people, with different personality types.


A cool Enneagram app is EnneaApp. It’s three bucks.

If you want to know your Enneagram Type, request a free copy of our self-scoring questionnaire. Once you identify your Type, I will send you a free Report along with suggestions for further exploration.

Enneagram Series Part 6

enneagram is a way to look at my life differently

Dealing with Life Problems


Do you have a serious problem situation?

Do you have the problem or does it have you?

What is it costing you?

What will it take to liberate yourself?


The purpose of this blog is to shed light on what happens when you commit. 

There is a school of thinking in psychology that what may appear to be an emotional problem is really a life problem. Emotional wellbeing will be restored when the life problem is resolved.

“Easy to get in. Hard to get out.”  It’s easy to get into situations and often very hard to get out. The cost can be lots of suffering. 

Story one.

A friend of mine, newly single again, decided to rent out a room in his place to help carry the load. He found someone right away on Craigslist. “Easy to get in”. Three months later she had become the tenant from hell.  Apparently, she had anger issues. This is when he realized that it would be “hard to get out”. Ever try to evict a tenant who has become a squatter?

After his situation was resolved, my friend shared some of his story with me.

“I’d tell myself …I’m going to deal with this…maybe tomorrow.” (Easy to procrastinate) He was understandably afraid of the confrontation.

Finally, he realized that the situation had to change. He committed to himself “to deal with it…today!” Once he committed the first thing that occurred to him was that he needed help. “I needed someone who didn’t mind a scrap” he explained. He found someone to help who seemed “a bit crazy”, but turned out to be “ just the right guy”. Apparently, the tenant being evicted clicked with this fellow right away.  Perhaps they were kindred spirits.

That’s how the process started.

Sparing you the details, suffice it to say, the process was not smooth. The police were involved, and it was very chaotic. My friend said that at times he didn’t know what would happen next. “But,” he said “it was as if the universe collaborated with me. I certainly wasn’t in control. All I did was commit and start the ball rolling.”

At the end of that day, the tenant loaded her truck and off she went. She even had a friendly goodbye with my friend.

The lesson seems to be that once you commit, the universe collaborates with you to get you where you want to go.

Story two:

People fall into retirement with a story that it’s going to be like a long vacation. How could that go wrong? They’ll be free to do whatever you want. Yet many get stuck. They find themselves struggling with a lack of direction.

So what the heck, might as well enrol in this program called The New Retirement Project. They say it’s about “finding new meaning and purpose”.

The Process begins week one by exploring a Wellbeing checklist and developing actions to make life better.

Next, we delve into everyone’s Enneagram personality profile to help them to “come back” to who they really are. Their “essence” as described by the name of their personality type.

As people begin to clarify what they really want, their ‘autopilot’ kicks in with a story that stops them from taking action. It usually involves personality related inner conflicts that conjure up “beasts” and stories that justify why they can’t take action to get what they want. It turns out taking care of yourself is not that easy for some.

The Process ends at week five with everyone telling a story to the group about their transformation. What we see is that breakthrough occurs when people trust themselves and are true to themselves; true to what they know will be best for them.

The pivot point in their story is their commitment; deciding what they want, what they know is best for them, and then committing to act.

A case in point. One of our participants in the last New Retirement Project had lived on a sailboat most of her life. She had aged, and so had the boat. She knew she needed to make a change, but she was understandably attached to her boat. Apparently, the New Retirement Process helped her to declare her commitment to moving. She would have to find a home for the boat and a new home for herself.

Now that she was committed, a friend showed up who was passionate about “tiny homes”.  

The rest, as they say, is history.




Enneagram Series Part 5

enneagram is a way to look at my life differently

Finding Meaning and Purpose

You feel better when you are moving toward something you care about.

The way out of the doldrums is to make something better.

The antidote to inner chaos is noble aims.

The nobler your aims, the better your life.

The purpose of this blog is to explore ways to align your personality with your purpose.

In blog #4 I said that it is useful to think of your personality Type as your new identity. Having retired from a lifetime work role, it’s normal to feel the loss of identity. Knowing your Enneagram Personality Type gives you a foundation to build your new identity.

Most people have two basic questions: “Who am I” and “Why am I here”

Knowing your Personality Type provides clues to the answer to both those questions.


Enneagram map of personality types


The Helper who is programmed to help people in some way. They are often in support roles such as teaching and healthcare. They want to feel connected and make a difference. The challenge is how to do that in retirement.

The Achiever who has been striving for goals all her life doesn’t suddenly lose that motivation when she retires. She is wired to achieve, to accomplish, to win. To make things happen. She wants to feel accomplished. That is who she is! Now the challenge is to find a meaningful way to channel that gift.

The Investigator who was a program analyst or financial analyst now focuses his gift on researching what it is going to take to sail around the world and return safely.

Pick any one of the nine Enneagram Types. The same principle applies. There’s a motivation looking for a meaningful specific aim. “The nobler your aim the better your life.”

You are not your personality

While it is useful to think of who you are in terms of your personality, it is not the whole truth. You are not your personality, you are the one who has the personality. You get into trouble when your autopilot personality has you..when it runs you. Consciousness is the key to freedom. Consciousness, the real you at your ‘best’, is what chooses a higher purpose.

You know you are not your personality because you are able to observe and direct it. Personalities are programmed with certain basic motivations and characteristics. But it is you, the conscious one behind the scenes, who can make the big decisions in terms of purpose.

The value in knowing more about your personality is you can be more effective in choosing aims that fit your personality, as opposed to activities that just show up or aims that others foist upon you. Contentment comes when you align your personality, your true nature, with your purpose.

Strategies to Find Higher Aims.

Notice your interests. They hold meaning for you. Oddly we don’t control our interests. They are just there! But we can develop and cultivate them with more self-education or training. See what that produces. Then perhaps you will get committed to a purpose related to your interest.

Focus on betterment. Ask yourself, what are three things about me that if I corrected them, life would be better for me for others around me.  Start close to home. Start small. Clean your room. Beautify your room. Make your home better. Notice how you feel. Clean someone else’s room. Notice how you feel. Start making ‘bettering’ the world your aim. Make it a daily preoccupation. Notice how you feel. (See the top)

What if you make your life purpose to create the highest good you can imagine? If you seriously ask that question of yourself what shows up? Yes, it may look like work. You’ll have to ask yourself..” Do I have something better to do”

Something unexpected may occur

When you arrive at retirement you are relatively secure. You have no job responsibilities, you are free.

It may be time to come home to your ‘self’.

It turns out that when we feel secure we can access a part of ourselves we didn’t know was there.

The Helper may initially wonder if she should do the same role she’s been doing all of her life but then she notices reluctance. Her body says “no”. The time may have come to help herself. To take care of herself like she is someone she cares about, and for whom she is responsible. That may lead to discovering a new creative part of her personality that wants to be an artist. Her new mission may be something like bringing beauty to the world by becoming an artist.

The Peacemaker who spent a lifetime trying to create peace, harmony and wellbeing for others, may see that it’s time to focus on creating peace within herself. This may lead to developing a new spiritually oriented daily regimen.

The Enthusiast who has spent a lifetime giving their energy to community projects may decide that’s it is time to apply their gift to their intimate relationship. To bring joy to the home. Their challenge may be to avoid jumping at ‘shiny objects’ that seem appealing but become a trap.

The Reformer has spent a lifetime trying to make things perfect. Then she realizes that she has access to the Enthusiast’s way of being. Her new noble aim is to “have fun”. Just to enjoy life. What a concept!

Getting What You Want:

Visualize a picture frame.  Let the frame create boundaries to contain what you want. Carefully select what you want to place within the frame for your ideal future. Say “no” to things that don’t fit within the frame. Protect it carefully. Be ruthless. Be happy.

The purpose of this blog is to explore ways to align your personality with your purpose

Coming home to ourselves may sound romantic and it certainly is an adventure. For many people, it’s like coming home to meet a stranger; there are feelings of discomfort, anxiety, and guilt associated with self-focus and self-care. Trust your heart to stay the course.

 Comments, please!


A cool Enneagram app is EnneaApp. It’s three bucks.

Request a free copy of our self-scoring questionnaire. Once you identify your Type I will send you a free Report and options for further exploration.

Enneagram Series Part 4

enneagram is a way to look at my life differently

Come Home to Who You Really Are


All of our lives we play roles at work.

We get absorbed and lost in those roles.

We think that’s who we are.

When we retire we lose those role identities.

We may feel a bit lost.

The purpose is of this blog is to share a way to clarify who you are, and create a strong foundation for reinventing yourself in retirement.
Our basic foundation is our personality. Most of us think of our personality in simple terms like introvert or extravert. Of course, it is actually more complicated than that, but not in a way that you need to be a psychologist to understand it. 

                       Enneagram Model

The Enneagram model makes understanding our personality very accessible. The model contains nine distinct personality types. Think of it as nine different software programs. Very different ways of operating, different ways thinking and being, different motivations, different needs, different world views and different ‘gifts’, ie. special talents.  
Getting a clearer picture of your basic personality is very helpful for the task of finding new aims in retirement; aims that align with your true nature.
One reason we feel a bit lost when we retire, is because our identity has been tied to our work. When we leave our work, we lose our identity.
Upon retirement, while you are in ‘vacation’ mode, it might seem okay. But, sooner or later you may start to feel that you are missing meaning and purpose in your life. Knowing your personality more deeply can be very helpful.
In New Retirement Coaching I encourage people to think of their Enneagram Personality Type as their new identity. It is not really all of ‘who you are’, but it is a useful way to think about your gifts and how to use them and express them to your advantage in your new situation.
When I first learned the Enneagram model, I discovered that I am an Enneagram Type Two, a Helper. I confess that I wasn’t thrilled with the word Helper. But I couldn’t deny that the main roles in my work life, management consulting and coaching, were helping roles.  I could also see my impulse to help people in other ways.
My challenge was to repackage my Helper in retirement. I shifted from consulting to coaching individuals. Now I am focused on New Retirement Coaching where I lead a process to help people to invent their future.
The Enneagram can help you to understand yourself more deeply by mapping out the different aspects of your personality. Two key aspects are foundational:
Your dominant personality type: one of the nine basic types that will be your home base. Your dominant Personality Type is your basic gift. Accepting and understanding how your personality is your gift is the starting point to reinventing your offer to the world.
Your creative space. Everyone has a special place they can go in the Enneagram circle when they feel secure. Often people discover a creative part of themselves they didn’t know was there before. It’s like finding a buried treasure!

Teryl Enjoying his New Retirement

When he was 60, Teryl Mullock pictured here went on a vacation to Italy. He attended a two-week workshop on self -expression through art. Two years later he closed is architecture practice and became a full-time artist. He said he “just knew it was time”.

The purpose is of this blog was to share a way to clarify who you are, and create a strong foundation for reinventing yourself in retirement. My experience is that the Enneagram opens the door to an adventure in self-discovery that can greatly enrich one’s life.
Call to Action: If this resonates, I encourage you to find out more about your Enneagram.
Request a free copy of our self-scoring questionnaire. Once you identify your Type I will send you a free Report and options for further exploration.
Comments: Please use the comments feature to let me know your thoughts. Let’s have a conversation.

Enneagram Series Part 3

enneagram is a way to look at my life differently

Nine Feeling Goals for Not Taking Action: What it Costs.  


Last time I wrote about “Nine Feeling Goals for Sending Flowers”.

This time I want to look at how people hold back speaking in order to avoid experiencing unpleasant feelings and what it costs.

Does this sound familiar?

  • You have an impulse to express sincere gratitude to someone, but you hold back.
  • You want to compliment someone on what they’ve done, but you hold back.
  • You want to say “I love you” to someone, but you hold back.
  • You want to express your point of view in a conversation, but you hold back.

In all cases, you regret holding back. You may feel ashamed and inadequate. You know you have missed an opportunity to be real and to feel more alive.

We hold back because we want to avoid unpleasant feelings. It’s our ego autopilot kicking in, our fight-flight system trying to keep us safe in a situation it perceives as unsafe. The concerns that hold us back are often based on false assumptions. There is no real threat. It’s merely an imagined threat to our ego.

Even in the case of a conversation where you express your point of view, if you are rejected you might learn something so next time you will be wiser. You won’t grow by disengaging.

Your words are important

By holding back you miss the opportunity to create goodness. You miss the opportunity to express yourself, to grow, and to make a difference in someone’s life. And to FEEL GOOD!

Nine Feeling Reasons We Hold Back

(by Enneagram Type)

 1. People might think you are wrong. You’ll feel stupid. (Reformer/Perfectionist)

 2. You might break the connection with someone. You’ll feel unloved. (Helper)

 3. People might see you as failing. You’ll feel like a loser. (Achiever)

 4. People might think your ideas are ordinary. You won’t feel special. (Individualist)

 5. You don’t feel ready; you need to think and get more information. (Researcher)

 6. You worry that you might feel unsafe if you speak out. (Loyalist)

 7. You want to feel upbeat, not anxious or angry. (Enthusiast)

 8. You put on your armour. Pull up the draw bridge. Feel in control. (Challenger)

 9. You want to avoid feeling the discomfort of conflict. (Peacemaker)

Breaking the pattern of holding back

You can break this pattern by becoming more aware of your pattern and what it’s costing you. Start taking small risks. Build your strength. Make it your aim to ‘create goodness by speaking ‘truth’.

Have a ‘peak experience’ today.

I like to promote the possibility of ‘peak experiences’ in New Retirement. Peak experiences are experiences resulting in intense excitement or happiness. Peak experiences are free!

Have some peak experiences today!

  • Touch someone with a compliment.
  • Take the time to tell someone that you are seeing them grow.
  • Tell someone how much you appreciate what they do.
  • Acknowledge someone’s extra effort.

Enjoy making a difference in someone’s life.  Notice the difference it makes in yours.

Notice and savour your ‘peak experiences’.  


The Enneagram Series Part 2

enneagram is a way to look at my life differently

Nine ‘Feeling Goals’ for Sending Flowers

Mostly, we assume that we all do the same things for the same reasons. Like sending flowers. Looking through the lens of the Enneagram however, it turns out that there are at least nine very different reasons for doing the same thing. Each one has an underlying ‘feeling goal’ meaning, there is the obvious reason for doing something and there is often a hidden reason.

Type 1. Reformer (also called the Perfectionist): Wants to feel that they’ve done the right thing; the proper thing. And it will be seen as such.

Type 2. Helper: Wants to help the person to feel better and perhaps, gain appreciation in return.

Type 3. Achiever: Wants to share in the feeling of celebrating an accomplishment and possibly, to impress or ingratiate.

Type 4. Individualist: Wants to feel emotional connect. Feel special.

Type 5. Investigator: Wants to experience feelings of connection, instead of detachment.

Type 6. Loyalist: Wants to feel the expression of loyalty; to help the person feel safe and secure in the relationship themselves.

Type 7. Enthusiast: Wants to feel the excitement by expressing and sharing their excitement.

Type 8. Challenger: Wants to feel in control and secure in taking care of their family or friends.

Type 9. Peacemaker: Wants to feel that they are enhancing relationships and avoiding conflict.

How is this relevant to you?

On one level this is just a fun way to see the different motivations for doing the same thing; like sending flowers.

Check your ‘self’. There is always the obvious healthy reason for taking action. However, there is also the possibility of a hidden ego autopilot motivation that is less healthy. Ask yourself quietly, “Why am I doing this?” Is your motivation pristine or is there a shadow lurking. It can save you time and money. At least it will help you to be more aware and more authentic.

Also, it will help you understand why others may take a different action than you.

We all look through the lens of our personality type. We see situations differently and have different motivations of action or no action.

The Enneagram Series Part 1

enneagram is a way to look at my life differently

“When you align your personality with your purpose no one can touch you .” – Gary Zukof

The Enneagram, pronounced ‘any a gram’, is a personality profile that identifies a person’s personality type. The Enneagram model contains nine distinct personality types.

In the context of a major change like retirement, the Enneagram us a practical method for rediscovering our true nature; our core motivation, our gifts and how we sometimes get in our own way. Knowing these things helps us to develop and accomplish new aims in alignment with our personality.

This series of blogs will address a few ways you can use the Enneagram to improve the quality of your life. At the bottom of the blog, you will find instructions telling how you can do the Enneagram questionnaire and get a report for free.

Later if you want to go deeper you might consider a personal coaching session. I find the biggest value I bring as a coach is helping people to sort out the puzzle of creating a purpose that aligns with their personality.

What is the Enneagram?

Enneagram map of personality types“The Enneagram identifies nine personality types. Each one possesses its own set of characteristics and its own way of looking at the world. It is as if each personality type has its own pair of lenses with their own special colour. Under those circumstances, and without noticing that they wear those filters, most people go through life fighting with one another to try to establish “who’s right.”

This is similar to the situation of a fish in water. If the fish could answer the question, “What is life like in the water?” it would respond, “What water?”

That’s how we perceive the world when we are on autopilot, completely taken over by our type, without even knowing that it exists.

The Enneagram can help us to discover it, identify it, understand it and consciously take control over it .”

Source: Madanes School of Enneagram Coaching

How Is It Relevant to You?

Self-observation is the most powerful tool my wife and I learned in our Enneagram training. She is a Reformer and I am a Helper. We quickly learned to see our respective autopilot egos in reaction and how we would get triggered by the need be right and to win.


Maybe you can see this in your own life. Can you see how it creates resentment that results in a lasting mood of resentment that destroys intimacy in your relationships?

Having a shared understanding of the Enneagram gives us a language to see what we could not see before and to avoid the hurtful trap of resentment build up. It’s not perfect but it a lot better. We both remain vigilant.

Try this for a week and then, the rest of your life:

Observe your conversations and notice when you get hooked on wanting to be right. You may be right from looking through your lens. But the other person thinks they are right too. Where is that taking you? Maybe you will win, but at what cost?

Perhaps you can smile to yourself as you see “ here I go” needing to be right. That can open many options. You can gently back off, or you can let of the conversation go altogether. You might ask some questions to understand the other person’s point of view. “Tell me more” is a tool you might try.

Note: If you would like to learn your Enneagram Type and get a free report, contact me and refer to this blog. I will send you the questionnaire to complete and subsequently a report.

How is the Enneagram going to improve my life?

You might ask…“How is the Enneagram going to improve my life?”

Our short answer is… by giving you deeper self understanding, better relationships and increased effectiveness.  The Enneagram enriches people’s lives by enabling them to see and appreciate things they couldn’t see and appreciate before.

There are nine Enneagram “types”. That’s like nine different human operating programs. Potentially nine different reasons for buying someone flowers, for example, nine different perspectives on the meaning of life, nine  different core motivations and nine different ways of thinking and being in the world.

Let’s compare two types: Type One: The Reformer, sometimes called the Perfectionist. Reformer as the name implies are motivated to improve things.  They can frustrate themselves and others by unconsciously holding themselves and others to unrealistic standards. Awareness of their Enneagram style gives them the ability to adjust their standards and reduce stress for all concerned. 

Type Two: The Helper, wants to feel connected to people. Their strategy for making it in the world is being sensitive to people’s needs and helping where they can. Helpers tend to find careers in the helping professions. The potential downside for Helpers is burnout from over helping and resentment because of lack of appreciation from those they are helping.

Note: If you are interested is finding out your Enneagram Type and having a free 30 minute sample coaching session go to How to Get Started – click here

contact us