Saturday, December 29, 2007

Enneagram Prescriptions For The New Year

A few years back, my friend (and one of my favorite Threes), Susan Page, was writing an article about me and the Enneagram. Since the New Year was nearly upon us, she asked me if I could come up with a simple prescription for each of the types to help folks loosen the hold of their Enneagram habits. I chanced to find these prescriptions recently and offer them to all of us as a way of attempting to be “Easy In Our Harness” as Tom Condon is fond of saying. (Visit Tom’s website for info on his books, tapes, and classes at

Here are the types and their prescriptions - let me know if you find them helpful, and please share your own ideas and suggestions for helping us liberate ourselves from type.

Type One, the Perfectionist, is run by a demanding inner critic and a desire to be the best they can be. "Ones" are responsible, dependable reformers, but also may be critical, inflexible, and judgmental.
Prescription: Take frequent mini vacations away from responsibility. Play actually makes you a better person.

Type Two, the Giver, fulfills others' needs often to be important to them. Altruistic and caring, “Twos” can also be manipulative and aggressive, believing they know best what others need.
Prescription: Nurture yourself as you would a small child or one in great need. When you fill yourself up, it won't drain you to give to others.

Type Three, the Performer, needs to appear successful to others and is the master of image. "Threes" are charismatic, charming, prodigious ‘do-ers’, but may be also workaholic and self promoting.
Prescription: Do nothing! Spend time alone, listening to your inner voice rather than focusing on achievement, or recognition.

Type Four, the Romantic, searching for an elusive yet essential missing element, longs to find someone who will match his/her emotional intensity. “Fours” are sensitive and authentic, but can be dramatic, moody, and dissatisfied.
Prescription: Focus on the here and now and make a gratitude list of gifts already in your life.

Type Five, the Observer, searching for knowledge and understanding, has a strong need for privacy. "Fives" are cogent thinkers and synthesize information, but may be detached, withholding time, information, even themselves.
Prescription: Practice involvement by giving up some private time and take the first step towards others.

Six , the Loyal Skeptic, plans for the worst case in situations and
peoples’ motives for safety’s sake. "Sixes" are loyal, excellent troubleshooters, but can be doubtful, over-analyzing pessimists. Prescription: Assume other people's hidden motives have your best interests at heart, then notice if relationships change.

Seven, the Optimist, is the fun and adventure seeker. Believing in
unlimited possibility, they sample everything good in life but avoid the difficult or painful. "Sevens" are fun-loving visionaries, but can be uncommitted dilettantes who can’t be counted on in the hard times.
Prescription: Spend one weekend day a month in quiet reflection with no plans or options.

Eight, the Straight Shooter, lives by the laws of the jungle: only the strong survive. "Eights" are decisive, straightforward, protect others, and give 150%, but can be blunt, impulsive, and steam roll others.
Prescription: Ask co-workers, family, and friends for honest feedback about your impact on them. Resist arguing your side.

Nine, the Mediator, wanting to keep the peace, takes on the priorities of others. Often unaware of their own desires, "Nines" are accepting, go-with-the-flow types who mediate successfully, but can be passive, procrastinating, fence-sitters.
Prescription: Act on your own behalf. Make a to-do list, checking daily what was finished.

As we enter 2008, let’s all try using the Enneagram to discover, “Who am I, who might I become, and what is my unique contribution?”

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