By Gwen Dawkins
Learning About Enneagram Types
A few weeks ago, we featured Susan Olesek and her Enneagram Prison Project (EPP). Today, EPP Ambassador, Enneagram teacher and certified life coach Sue Lambert gives us an overview of the Enneagram Types. As EPP’s mission is to teach people ‘what’s right about you,’ Sue offers a glimpse at some of the best qualities for each of the nine types.
What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a well-established psychological tool that diagrams the chief virtues that form each individual’s essence and the typical ways our egos tend to act, cope, defend and relate to others. There are three centers of intelligence within us: body, heart and head. Each of these centers contains three subtypes. We all have a little of all nine Enneagram Types, but one of those areas acts as our “home base.” We won’t go in-depth today, but we teach the Enneagram triads in our EPP courses, which dig deeper into each Type’s predictable patterns. Once you know your Type, you’ll be amazed to know masses of other people go through life in ways strikingly similar to you.
How did you come to teach the Enneagram?
I discovered the Enneagram when I was incarcerated and found myself in a place I never thought I’d be. I am a person who has always tried to do right, but my life was spiraling down. Over the years, I’d developed multiple addictions, such as alcohol, food, shopping and gambling. But I was still working and functioning, so I thought I was OK. After several surgeries, I developed a new, costly addiction to prescription drugs for pain, sleep and anxiety. To feed these addictions, I began embezzling. I got caught, and that was my wake-up call. While incarcerated, I was bound and determined to find out what was wrong with me. I saw a promotional video for an EPP course in which tough-looking, tattooed men spoke through tears about how learning the Enneagram had changed their lives. I took the class multiple times, intending to find out what was wrong with me. I learned just the opposite: what is right with me. When I was released from prison, EPP welcomed me into the community, guided me toward becoming a certified life coach through New Ventures West, and trained me to teach and mentor others in learning the Enneagram.
What do you get out of being in this role?
Being in service is essential to me. I’m an Enneagram Type 1 (Idealist/Reformer), so “doing right” is a personal drive for me. And, like many others who have successfully transitioned from prison life back into the free world, personal redemption is deeply fulfilling. A type of rebirthing can happen when people are actively trying to transform. I’ve witnessed that many times over. Helping others in this way has brought a whole new level of compassion into my life. And I’ve learned that people are people. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in prison or on the outside. It makes no difference how much money you make or how successful you are. EPP courses explore the stories we all spin. And when you really get to know yourself and others, you’ll find that we can all genuinely relate to one another.
Let’s dive in:
Type 8: The Protector/Challenger:
They are all about aliveness, strength, and intimacy. They teach about the fullness of life in the moment. They show us how we can be in the world through mutual respect and cooperation. They are present and will bring you in. As natural, charismatic leaders, people are drawn to them.
Famous people with Enneagram Type 8 Traits: Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Sandra Bullock, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Sean Penn.
Type 9: Mediator/Peacemaker
They are all about wholeness and unity. They teach us how to be gentle and kind. They have the ability to accept people as they are with calmness and patience. They can see everybody’s side and can help bind groups together.
Famous people with Enneagram Type 9 traits: Abraham Lincoln, Grace Kelly, Barack Obama, Marie Kondo, Lisa Kudrow.
Type 1: Idealist/Reformer
They exude a natural sacredness. They come to teach us about goodness. They see how the world could be better for everybody. They are great at making plans and helping others. They are advocates for causes and trying to improve things to make the world a better place.
Famous people with Enneagram Type 1 Traits: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Nelson Mandela, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster.
Type 2: Giver/Helper
They are here to teach us about love. They have a sweetness to them and act with thoughtfulness, helpfulness and kindness. They pay attention to the needs of others, considering their likes and dislikes –– food, temperature, activities, etc. They are always thinking about and planning things for others.
Famous people with Enneagram Type 2 Traits: Dolly Parton, Desmond Tutu, Jennifer Garner, Alan Alda, Debbie Reynolds, Mia Farrow.
Type 3: Performer/Achiever
They bring value, radiance, and preciousness to the world. They seem to glow from the inside out. They are natural performers who can come into a situation, learn it quickly and be successful. They are hard workers who don’t give up and are often great leaders and business people. There are more type 3s in Silicon Valley than any other type.
Famous people with Enneagram Type 3 Traits: Oprah Winfrey, Muhammed Ali, Beyonce Knowles, Tom Cruise, Mick Jagger, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Type 4: Romantic/Individualist
Hoping to be seen as unique and different –– they want to stand out. They teach us about authenticity and what really matters. Beauty is essential to them, and they want others to see the beauty in them. They are deeply moving souls who have a story. People are drawn to them in part because people love the natural drama these individuals bring.
Famous people with Enneagram Type 4 Traits: Frida Kahlo, Johnny Depp, Taylor Swift, Cate Blanchett, Janis Joplin, Vincent Van Gough.
Type 5: The Observer/Investigator
They bring Illumination, wisdom, and information. They help us to understand the truth of things. They read books, gather knowledge, figure out complex concepts and then bring that out to the rest of us. They are fountains of knowledge who bring clarity to situations.
Famous people with Enneagram Type 5 Traits: Diane Sawyer, Mark Zuckerberg, Jane Goodall, Stephen King, Emily Dickinson, Bill Gates.
Type 6: Skeptic/Loyalist
They are about awakeness, loyalty, and commitment. They teach us how to be true to our feelings and how to meet them. They are aware of everything around them and know how to correct things. Their loyalty is unparalleled, and they will have your back regardless.
Famous people with Enneagram Type 6 Traits: Jennifer Aniston, Joe Biden, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Diane Keaton, Paul Newman.
Type 7: Epicure/ Enthusiasts
They’re the fun people to be around who bring positivity wherever they go. They teach us about joy, fun, freedom, and flexibility. They can adapt to any situation. They walk around with one foot off the ground, confident that everything is going to be fine.
Famous people with Enneagram Type 7 Traits: Stephen Colbert, Elizabeth Taylor, Robin Williams, Miley Cyrus, John F. Kennedy, Barbra Streisand.
Want to learn more about your Enneagram Type?
Sue recommends EPP’s 9PrisonsONEKey Program, a comprehensive, foundational approach to the Enneagram. 9P1K is being offered virtually to participants from around the globe. Facilitated by EPP Guides, 9P1K illuminates how we are all in a prison of our own making in how we suffer our personality and clarifies that we all hold the key to our freedom. This course is donation-based and accessible to everyone. Find out what’s right about you!