How to Use Words

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I talk… A lot. I don’t mean “oh he ‘talks’” as in gossip. I just generally use a lot of words each day and I talk! A lot! I bet you do too. Some of us talk more than others. I get to communicate regularly to an audience so I even get paid to talk, sometimes. When I was in college, learning to study Scripture and preach it to an audience I learned the power of words and how important they are. Words can give life or destroy life. Words can help you understand someone. That’s why it’s hard when our 6 week old daughter is crying… We don’t understand since she can’t use words yet.

How to properly use words

When you think about how often words leave your mouth, you would be wise to think more intently on how you use them right? I never thought so until some reflection.

To use words properly we need to be careful in how we choose them. I’m resonate with the Enneagram 8 = The Challenger. Most 8’s are instinctual. That’s great in “live or die” situations but for the less dramatic day to day, it’s not that great at times. Being instinctual means I will allow words to leave my mouth even before I register what I’m saying. You can imagine how colorful that can get… This is why I must be so intentional about the words I use, especially when angry.

So, to use words properly = be choosy about your word choices. Choose the right words that err on the side of life giving. Be so choosy about what you say to other people. Instead of proving your point, prove your love. Instead of convincing, show compassion. You see the difference? It’s hard for me to remember when tension arises but that’s the moment when the stakes are highest. How do you master that? Here’s what I’m learning…

Pro Tip: Speak Less, seriously

That’s my pro tip… Not that I’m a pro; far from it but I’m learning. To be more choosy about the words I use, I must choose to NOT speak right away. Those words are always going to be instinctual and life draining. But if I just choose to shut my enormous mouth for a few seconds, I can get my mind and heart around what I want to relay. Even more, I can allow logic to guide my word choice instead of instinct.

You know what else speaking less does? Speaking less makes me a better listener. Maybe it can do the same for you as well. If you want to know if you’re a good listener, just count the amount of time you talk vs the other person. Or, even better, when you walk away from any conversation try and remember what the other person discussed. If you can only recount your discussion, you talked too much. And you didn’t listen.

I can’t count the times my wife and I will be in the same conversation and she calls it back later and I have no idea what she’s talking about… She listens WAY BETTER than me. She uses WAY LESS words than me. And for that reason, she’s a better listener.

So speak less, seriously. You’re not choosing to stay silent. You’re just choosing to actually think before speaking. Or to listen before speaking. For me, who talks a LOT, this is a life giving and life altering task. And the payoff is so sweet!

Decluttering Life

Photo by todd kent on Unsplash

Hey everyone! Thanks for reading this blog post and being a part of this ambition. I enjoy blogging, and recently vlogging on life’s journey. If this is your first time reading my blog, I work as an associate minister in Indiana around the Indy area. I love what I get to do. I’m also a person who’s got a LOT of ambitions. Maybe you can relate, but sometimes I get overwhelmed at my ambitions and what to chase.

My internal wiring

Part of the reason (maybe the biggest part) is that I’m an Enneagram 8 = The Challenger. I also have a wing 7 = The Enthusiast. In a nutshell, I’m highly energetic and I like “excess.” Liking excess just might be the problem. Why? Because I can (and have) chased too much! I’ve had far too many ambitions. Now, having a lot of ambitions is great. In my opinion, it keeps people interesting. But my issue is that I want to chase all of the to the fullest extent AT THE SAME TIME. Can you relate?

AND, and this is hard to admit; I’ve found myself chasing the “wrong” ambitions. The wrong excess. Anything from “things” to ambitions that in now way play into who I am (like a singer/performer, although that sounds awesome). The goal for me is to narrow down those ambitions and find the ones that fit into what I actually want my life to be about. I don’t want to just ambitions that distract from my mission in life = to be a disciple of Jesus.

Not all excess is bad

Someone I learn a lot from when it comes to chasing excess (though I don’t think he was an Enneagram 8) is Paul, from the New Testament. That guy had some ambitions! Like, for real! But all his ambitions were in line with his life’s mission = to spread the Gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. The world was his limit. And he went for it. He must have done something right for us to still be reading his words and studying his journeys thousands of years later. I know he wanted to reach Gentiles. Maybe he also had the ambition to see a lot more of his world. Who knows… But all his ambitions aligned with what he wanted his life to be marked by.

For me, I know I need to be choosy. I need to be choosy about what I pursue when it comes to my ambitions. I must make sure they line up with my true north = Jesus and the mission he has in store for me. Whether it’s competing in CrossFit, doing something big in ministry, speaking more, being a great husband/father, whatever. It all will flow out of a desire to reflect the ONE I serve, Jesus. And with the mission to share the hope I have in Him.

Offloading Process

I think there’s times in our lives, and quite often, where we need to offload something. Bob Goff, famous speaker and best-selling author, says he quits something every Thursday. And they aren’t all bad things; just things that get in the way of the best things. I don’t like the word “quit” but what if that word can become one of the most holy things we do as a disciple of Jesus? Quit something that gets in the way of the best things.

Maybe if we offload the unnecessary and even some of the good, it will clear the space needed to take on the best. Then, if we take on God’s best for our lives, we will discover and pursue our most life-giving ambitions. That’s my hope for my life. And for yours as well.

Comment below on what you need to offload. And, if you want to watch my vlog on this, head over to my channel to find it! You can find my YouTube channel HERE.

Be Lovingly Curious

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

This weekend is the “lover’s holiday.” Friday may bring a lot of joy and excitement for some. For others it could be like the Office episode where they hold an “anti-valentines” party and talk about all their horrible past relationships. Wherever you fall, this is NOT a post about Valentines Day. It just happens to go along with the theme of “love” so it fits this week’s holiday, but in a good way! Read on!

An undeniable best quality = Curiosity

An undeniable best quality in anybody, no matter where you’re at in life or what you do is = curiosity. Great leaders and great people are curious people. But curious about what, you ask? About other people! Great human beings are lovingly curious about other people.

Recently I had the privilege of leading a talk on the Enneagram to a group of small group leaders at a friend’s church. I loved that opportunity. We talked a lot about the Enneagram that night with the overarching theme being = be lovingly curious about other people! Because that’s what great human beings do. Great people are curious to discover more than just surface level of those around us; they go deeper.

Are you Curious?

Would you consider yourself a curious person? Do you love those around you by moving focus off of yourself and seeking to understand them? Do you come into a conflict or hard conversation with your main motive being an understanding of that other party’s view?

To know how self-aware you actually are, all you need to do is see how curious you are about other people. This weekend, ask a question of somebody you haven’t yet that goes beyond “how are you” and “what’s new.” Go to that 3rd question that reveals what they’re passionate about and reveals who they actually are. This sounds easy but you’ll be surprised at how hard it is to get there with people. So begin practicing today! If you liked this blog post, help me get the word out to more people by hitting the “follow” button!

Go and be a lovingly curious person of other “persons”

Lacking Motivation and/or Inspiration?

Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash

I JUST CAN’T get motivated to focus on anything! Have you ever said that to yourself? Me too! In fact, this week is one of those weeks. Sometimes it’s just so hard to get motivated. Coming off of launching a large project that consumed a lot of time I now find myself grasping for inspiration. Do you? When a project consumes time and I go a long time without dreaming and thinking of vision, I find a severe lack of motivation and inspiration.

These moments don’t happen as often anymore but when they do, there’s some very easy and intentional steps we can take to snap out of it. I’m going to share some with you that’s helped me and maybe they can help you. These are in no specific order, just a random list that might help you get motivated and find that missing inspiration again.

First, is something wrong?

You have to start with “why.” Why are you feeling this way? Is it the weather, a tough situation, a hard talk, lack of food or sleep? There’s many factors that go into identifying why we are lacking inspiration. Often they are simple reasons and the more self-aware we are, the better we can get to the bottom of it. Once you find out “why”, what next?

Make a list

But not just any list… Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Sometimes the inspiration blues can be solved by identifying what you have to be grateful for, especially if you’re feeling down. So take out some paper or your notes app and write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for right now.

Remember your ambitions

Why did you start in the first place? When you write out or remind yourself of your great ambitions, it can often pull you back to that excitement of why you started in the first place.

God is faithful!

If you’re a person of faith, remember how God’s been faithful to you in the past. This is why keeping a journal is so important so you can go back and remember. When you remember that God’s been faithful to give you inspiration you might find yourself being inspired again.

Move small rocks

If you’re struggling getting going, it’s probably not a great day to move those massive rocks towards your goals. Maybe today, you focus on something small to get you closer to your ambitions. Write just one little blog post, do a shorter workout, read just one chapter (or three) of that book you know will be a good resource. Just move a small rock. It doesn’t’ always need to be a huge step; baby steps are good too.

Jam out, seriously

I LOVE music! All kinds (with the exception of only a few). Find something uplifting or pump up music to get your inspiration on the move. You find inspiration with a great beat. If the weather is really bad, put on that beach music and make your own weather right there in your own office!

Talk to someone

When I lack motivation, I like to find the Enneagram 7’s in my life. Seriously, they are always uplifting. If you can’t find one, just find somebody you trust who is “for” you that you can talk to. Talking about why you’re lacking motivation and inspiration can help you track down the culprit.

Finally, maybe take the day off!

If your job affords it, just take the day off. There’s sometimes you just can’t find what you’re looking for even if you try all these things and more. Maybe that’s a good indicator to just quit for the day. To do this, you have to remember that whatever you’re doing or leading doesn’t rise and fall with you. So just “chill” and take the day if you can. Go do something fun. Watch a movie, play music, take a walk, or sit at your favorite coffee shop. For me, it’s doing something small with my wife that always relaxes me and makes up for a lack of motivation.

What is your way to find motivation and inspiration when they seem scarce?

“You Might Be A Three If…”

Photo by Samuel Fyfe on Unsplash

We haven’t done this blog series in a while so I thought it was a good time to revisit. This series is called, “You Might Be A…” where we take a Type on the Enneagram and talk through what it’s like to be that Type. We mix in some humor (obviously), along with some paths for growth and help us better understand each Type

Today we are going with our beloved Three’s, or “Performers.” They reside in the Feelings/Heart Triad. Three’s have big hearts and a deep inner drive to perform and succeed. Many “high achievers” in our business-world and on the job site are Performers. So let’s talk about how you might be a Three if…

You Might Be A “Three” If…

You want to get to the top AND look good doing it.

Being at the top is fun, invigorating, and for you as a Three, it’s fulfilling. But it’s not enough to just be at the top, you have to look good doing it. And being at the “top” doesn’t just apply to our work does it? If you’re a Three, you know this. It could be vacation or how much money you can spend. If you’re wondering if you’re a Three, maybe a good guide is your Instagram account. If your photos highlight what you can “do” or “spend” or “travel” and more, you may be a Three… You want others to know your accomplishments and you want to look good when accomplishing them. This makes you a high achiever but watch out for your motives behind success. You are more than you achievements.

You Might Be A “Three” If…

You believe you are loved more when you achieve more.

While every team you are ever on will benefit from your drive for success you may have a tendency to believe that you are only accepted by what you can “do.” Many Three’s suffer from a workaholic mindset which can be devastating to their life, family, and mind. Be driven BUT remember that your success does NOT determine your worth! A freeing message for all Three’s is to know they are known and loved for more than they can produce.

You Might Be A “Three” If…

You press on when everybody else gives up.

What a great superpower to have! You have this ability to motivate others to achieve apparent “impossible” goals and dreams. That’s why people love having you on their team. Many Three’s are great speakers because they know how to motivate others. Use this in whatever team you are on: work, family, Church, kids’ events, and more. You’re the person who will continue working hard when all others are giving up. We all wish we could be a bit more like that. I know I’ll read about famous Three’s and can quickly become envious of their ability to achieve their dreams. Well done and keep it up as long as you remember that your success isn’t “who” you are.

You Might Be A “Three” If…

You actually “can” multitask.

I think all of us like to “think” we can do more than 1 thing at a time. The reality is, we can’t. But you actually can. You have the ability to think about many things at one time. You can see the big picture even while in the mundane. You can also know the next steps to take to actually see the big picture materialize. The world needs your ability to multi-task. That’s how you have such high capacity. Just be careful you don’t burn yourself out. Remember, solitude is good for you! So is rest!

Are you a Performer?

Maybe you resonated with some or all of these. That could mean you are a Three, but it could also mean you’re just a well-rounded person. The best thing for you to do now is take a test to determine your Type. Each Type on the Enneagram is special and unique. Each has their own challenges and quirks. That’s what makes this tool such a gift. We can better know ourselves and others.

Thanks for reading and we will see you next time!

Solitude: not all bad!

Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

Ending of the Contemplative Practices

You may remember reading the other 2 blog posts on contemplative practices and how they can help speak life into each Enneagram type. If you don’t remember, here they are:

  1. Silence Read it here
  2. Stillness Read it here
  3. Solitude (today’s post)

We have covered silence and stillness, which are some great practices for everybody. Silence is especially great for Types: 5,6,7 and Stillness is especially great for Types: 8,9,1. But what about our “head/fear triad?” What about our Types 2,3,4? What about SOLITUDE? While this is great for Types 2,3, and 4 it’s also great for all of us. Personally, I love solitude and I practice it weekly! Multiple times in fact! And, get this, it’s not all that bad! In fact, you might even look forward to it after practicing it a few times.

Solitude Defined.

Well what do we mean by “solitude?” We do NOT mean prison! It should not feel that way at all. We also do NOT mean being a “loner.” What we DO mean is finding that space and that time to be completely alone to engage with yourself, your fears, your strengths, your thoughts, and more. If you’re a follower of Jesus like myself, this is a great time to engage with Jesus. In fact, Jesus was famous for being alone multiple times to engage with God. Solitude is recharging!

Solitude is when we intentionally go out and be alone to be with our thoughts and to grow as human beings. Many find this peace in nature or on the water. I find it anywhere outside! Or in my favorite coffee shop with my journal. What is that place where you can peacefully be alone? Note the keyword: peaceful.

How to practice Solitude.

This seems kind of weird doesn’t it? “How” do I practice being alone. Seems self explanatory: go where nobody else is. But there’s more to it than just being alone. Far more! Let me lay out some helpful tips as you engage with this practice. If you’re a Type 2,3, or 4 this will seem scary at first but the payoff is incredible. Give it a chance! Here’s some helpful tips.

  • Find a place you can be alone that is peaceful to you. This could be a park, your living room as the kids sleep, your car to go for a drive, or just a walk through town. The goal is to find a place with no distraction that you can have peace as you practice solitude. For me, a great place to practice solitude is on the water in a kayak or a paddle board. Another great place is a hiking trail. Recreation is a great time to just be alone.
  • Allow the thoughts to come in that are drowned out normally when you’re surrounded by people. Don’t be afraid. And don’t think things just won’t get done, they will! Take a journal and when you are finally able to get over the fact that you’re alone, write! Write what you feel, what you think, whatever comes to mind as you are alone. For me, this is a great time to pray and remember who Jesus says that I am. ** just a tip, LEAVE YOUR PHONE BEHIND!
  • Give yourself time! Sure you can do this in just 30 minutes which could be really helpful on a normal basis for you to have just 30 minutes alone each day. BUT, I would also challenge you to go beyond that and map out some time as often as you can to spend 1-3 hours in solitude.

Why practice Solitude?

Those are some simple, helpful tips to get you started. It will look different for everyone but those tips can really help you as you try this at first. All this talk of Solitude begs the question of “why.” Why should we leave our busy lives to go and just be alone? There’s too few seconds in the day to practice solitude.

I promise you that you will not be “behind” from taking the time to care for yourself. You will even see that many of your greatest ideas come to you when you slow down and just go off alone to recharge. You will also notice that your body, your mind, and your soul just flat out FEEL BETTER! It’s great medicine. Many who practice solitude realize that they were carrying around the weight of their world and they feel lighter when they offload that weight and refuel themselves.

Another reason to practice solitude is that it’s fun! When do you have an excuse to just go and do something you love without feeling guilty? Never! But when your spiritual and emotional health depends on that time alone you can do just that. You are a better person when you are just “with” yourself and you can mine the depths of your heart instead of other people’s.

Practice Solitude.

We could spend an entire blog series on each of these amazing practices. Specific Enneagram Types (as we have outlined) benefit from each one but all of us can grow as we practice these. Solitude is by far my favorite! I am a better man, husband, pastor, and follower of Jesus as a result of my time alone.

I hope you have the courage to practice solitude. At best, you will come back brand new and re-fueled with probably your best ideas you’ve had in a long time. At worst, you got to spend time doing something relaxing and fun to you. Win win!

Shhhh! Embracing Silence.

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Silence is something we don’t come by on a regular basis in 2019. Even right now I have my AirPods in my ears listening to music as I write this. Noise is everywhere. Noise comes in many different forms too: music, tv, social media, crowds, talking, etc. So many forms noise that it’s hard to get a moment where we can truly embrace silence. And silence might just be a missing link on your journey towards self-discovery.

Silence defined.

When we say “silence” we don’t just mean the absence of external noise, although that’s very helpful. We mean silencing the white noise that’s all around you. A lot of the white noise comes from busying yourself with social media, tv, emails, and more. To be silent is to actually be engaging with your heart and your emotions.

Enneagram Types 5,6,7 will greatly benefit from silence. In fact, that’s the contemplative practice they are told to embrace that will help lead them towards better growth and moving through life in a much healthier state.

How to reach silence.

If you’re an Enneagram 5,6, or 7 you may benefit from the following in your attempt to reach silence. Anybody can benefit from the practice of silence no matter what Type you are, but they will benefit the most. Here’s some actions for you to do to embrace silence. Just give the ones that you know are going to be hard a try, you won’t regret it!

  • Limit social media (and absolutely zero social media as soon as you wake up or before you go to bed). Social media dulls the world around you and allows the noise to be so loud internally that you will not spend time thinking critically or even thinking at all.
  • Turn off the tv. Much like social media, this constant distraction is there to avoid delving into our minds and being able to really engage with emotions. You know this is a practice you need to try if you binge watch often. Pick up a journal instead and just write.
  • Silence the inner voice. Sometimes we are so caught up in our minds that we can’t reach silence to just simply “be present” with ourselves and others. There is such a thing as thinking too much.

Why practice silence.

But why go after silence? Well one reason you won’t want to try this is because you’re actually afraid of your thoughts. You’re afraid of what you could uncover if you engage with yourself. But beyond that fear is the reality that this could really lead you to a better life. Just the simple practice of silence.

Another reason is because often the white noise gets in the way of what’s really important. We grow healthier when we are able to think critically, engage with conflict, and move through emotions without distraction. Social media is a great tool, but we hurt ourselves anytime we use anything to dull engaging with your emotions.

Practice silence.

Hopefully this gives you some encouragement to try silence. 5,6,7’s will really grow from this but so will everyone else. It’s simple in theory but you may find yourself pretty uncomfortable at first. But stick with it, it’s worth it!

Conflict of Interest

Photo by Richard Lee on Unsplash

This is a topic that many of us don’t like to discuss, are in denial of, or just flat out run from = CONFLICT. The funny thing about conflict is that both parties typically think they’re right. Don’t you get frustrated when you feel so strongly about something and the other person just doesn’t “get it?” We have all been there. Have you ever wondered why two people can view the same situation differently? Me too.

Conflict of Interest

One of the many, many things I enjoy about the Enneagram is the layers of discovery it provides the more you study it and the more you interact with other people once you’re made aware of it. Imagine if we could actually endure conflict and come out even better than when we went in… It can happen.

The reason we can get so frustrated at another person who is simply not getting it is because there’s a conflict of interest. And, it’s created by the fact that we both differ in how we are wired. Each Type on the Enneagram views the world differently. Even the exact same Type can view the world through different lenses even though they are so similar. And, knowing how your significant other views conflict can really help move through it!

An Example: an “8” and a “6”

Let’s take an Eight: The Challenger and a Six: The Loyalist as an example. The Eight is much more instinctual and the Six much more analytical and thought out. That alone is a conflict of interest that just being aware of can be beneficial. An 8’s basic fear is being controlled or subject to injustice. So when they are in conflict things can get really heated when they feel an injustice was done to them or the person they love. A Six fears conflict because they are afraid of the ramifications of upsetting the other person. They tend to withdraw and “hide.”

Ok, now do you see how that alone can cause some pretty significant conflict? The interest of the Eight is instinctual and justice. The interest of the Six is logical and safety. Talk about a conflict of interest!

Another Example: two “1’s” with different wings

I mentioned before that even the same Type can have conflict of interest. Especially if they have opposite dominant “wings.” A 1w2 is the Perfectionist/Helper and the 1w9 is the Perfectionist/Peacemaker. The 1w2 is going to be much more outspoken while the 1w9 is probably more introverted. The 1w2 can be a lot more critical and can sometimes be pushy while a 1w9 can be irritable and less likely to speak up. This could lead to a lot of tension and work to come to a good resolution of conflict. Both will need to work to understand the other more and be patient.

Do you see the potential for a conflict of interest? Even within the same Type they are coming at things from different interests. They are both trying to reach perfection but in different ways.

Where do we go from here?

This is why I enjoy the Enneagram. Just this self and social awareness can create a path towards growth in your most intimate relationships. When you work to understand your own wiring and also that of the persons you love, you can move through conflict. Not away from it or around it, but through it. We have to work to understand the conflict of interest and then address that conflict to move through it in a productive way.

What are your thoughts on how the different Types view conflict?

3 Essentials to Growth

Photo by Tony Hand on Unsplash

The Enneagram journey is so much more in depth than I originally thought. When I was first introduced, I thought “great another good personality profiling system that I can learn some stuff about myself.” But oh how naive I was! It’s so much deeper than that. In fact, knowing the “quirks” of your Type on the Enneagram or the basics of all the other Types is only the tip of the iceberg. It can go so much deeper if you’re willing to explore. Within just knowing some things about yourself you can also reveal your path to your True Self which is really what most of us are searching for in the first place.

3 Contemplative Practices

Within each of the “triads” (gut, head, heart) one can uncover a specific contemplative practice that can help you on the journey towards growth. A contemplative practice is a specific posture you can take that will help you gain clarity, connect with others, and focus the way your Type needs to. If you’re a Christian, contemplative practices are like a shot of espresso as you connect with God. And, there’s three. I’ll list them here and then we can dive into each briefly. I’ll also show you which of the Types/Triads each practice benefits the most.

  1. Silence
  2. Solitude
  3. Stillness

It’s not a complicated list; just three simple things that can help you in tremendous ways. But that’s with a lot of things that impact our lives, they are typically pretty simple.

Silence.

Practice one is silence. Shhhhh! Just kidding. Silence is something that the Head Triad (5,6,7) will benefit from the most. They are typically the ones who are in their own head space the most with tons of things rattling around. Silence is a great practice to embrace. When we are silent, the white noise drowns out and we begin to recognize the important noise, which is typically a whisper. If you fall in the Head Triad, practice some silence! This could mean putting the phone down, shutting off the TV, relaxing your mind, stop asking “what if” and more. Just be silent.

Solitude.

Practice two is solitude. This is something the Heart Triad (2,3,4) must learn to embrace. This is a scary thing for them at first because the Heart Triad moves towards others and here we are telling them to practice solitude??? Yes! Because the Heart Triad often tries to find their own identity in others when they must learn that they actually do matter themselves. I enjoy solitude because it gives me time to catch up on thinking and be contemplative. This could be going on a solo hike, a drive by yourself, or simply sitting at a coffee shop with some smooth music for a few hours. Read, write, and just be alone to explore yourself more. It will take practice and it’s so worth it.

Stillness.

Practice three is stillness. The Gut Triad (8,9,1) really need to learn to be still. This is the hardest practice for me but that’s no surprise as an 8. I HATE being still! Nothing gets done, or at least that’s what I’ll tell myself. A common mistake of the Gut Triad is to think that they are the only ones that can get anything done. To be still means you aren’t the one leading the charge. This could be simply choosing to sit and not pace around the house. It could mean not filling empty space with more tasks. It could mean literally doing nothing. Just learn to be still.

Which one for you?

So which one of these should you practice? Which one could make a difference in your life? Which Triad do you find yourself in? This is another layer deep into the Enneagram journey and one that will pay dividends for you as you journey through life. Your leadership will be better, your relationships will be better, your mind will be better, and your heart will be better. Identify your contemplative practice and begin today.

Which Point of View: Head, Heart, or Body?

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

This post will be simple and to the point. We talk a lot around here of the Enneagram. Often when someone is introducing you to the Enneagram, they have you take a test or something to discover your type. The next step they take you on is dissecting your type. While it’s important to know and understand your True Self, perhaps a better method is to begin with how your “Type” views the world. All of us view the world through a certain point of view. Each type on the Enneagram falls into one of three of what are known as the “triads.” These are also known as “The Intelligence Centers.” This is where we find our natural discernment. Let’s dive in a little further.

The Whole Self, made up of THREE Centers

Within the teachings of Plato you will discover that he also realized there were THREE distinct “centers” in which human beings view the world and gather discernment. Discernment is: this inner knowledge we all possess of how to react to that which we perceive. It’s the ability to judge what is good, true, and appealing. Our friend, Plato is quoted in his teachings in which he identifies the THREE centers:

“Human behavior flows from three sources: desire (body), emotion (heart), and knowledge (head).”

Plato

If you follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, He also recognized THREE ways in which we love God. His teaching is echoed from God’s command to Ancient Israel from Deuteronomy 6:5. Check it out:

“Love the Most High God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind.”

Jesus in Matthew 22:37

There is no doubt we must understand that there are THREE centers that make up the WHOLE SELF. One of the major gifts of the Enneagram is that it will show you which of these THREE Centers you discern the world through. Each of us will gravitate towards one of the THREE Centers which is revealed to us through discovering our “Type” on the Enneagram. It’s an incredible realization that helps us understand so much of life.

Center #1: Instinctive, Gut, Anger

This Center is where our 8’s (Challengers), 9’s (Peacemakers), and 1’s (Perfectionists) reside. These Types experience life through their instincts. They engage the world through activity and attempt to maintain control through what they can “do.” These people are instinctive and more impassioned than those in the other 2 triads. A great word for these types can be intensity. Eights want to dominate, Nines want to negotiate, Ones want to correct. Gut people want to harness energy and enact it through action to build a better world. A pitfall is they can also seem like they are annoyed or angry at everything when they are stressed and not very self-aware.

Center #2: Feelings, Heart, Shame

This Center is where our 2’s (Helpers), 3’s (Performers), and 4’s (Individualists) reside. These types experience life through their Emotional Intelligence, more so than the other 2 triads. They desire connection with others and suffer from comparison of themselves to others. It’s a constant teeter-totter. These people are way more in touch with emotions than most. Twos want to be loved for who they are, Threes want to be admired, Fours want to be set apart and loved as special. These Types become a great source of love for the world and do good things that bring great balance. A pitfall with these Types is they can lose themselves in comparison and thus never feel “good enough.”

Center #3: Thinking, Head, Fear

This Center is where our 5’s (Investigators), 6’s (Loyalists), and 7’s (Enthusiasts) reside. These types experience life through intellect and possess highly developed mental faculties. They can assess and address everything, especially the things in life perceived as a threat. They think if they can master their environment, they can secure their own self-preservation. Fives analyze everything, Sixes constantly plan, and Sevens crave experience. The fear of these Types is mainly their own pain and they will seek to avoid it at all costs. They must work to quiet their inner distress to achieve peace. They provide the world with a great source of wisdom and courage when they master their fears! A pitfall with these Types is they can seem disconnected and unemotional.

3 Centers make up ONE beautiful picture

You know what I love about the Enneagram? It shows how we all need one another. All of us working together makes up the THREE Centers of the Whole Self! Unity can paint a beautiful picture of this thing called life. Wherever you reside on the Enneagram, know that you are absolutely essential to making a difference in this world.

Another gift of the Enneagram triads is that you gain a much better understanding of how you view the world. Your motives for why you do what you do become clearer and you can gain a great emotional awareness (an essential of raising your Emotional Intelligence) of yourself and can move through life with much more clarity.

Once you discover your “Type” on the Enneagram, your first step should be to understand the triad you are a part of. Is your main point of view of the world accessed from the Head, Heart, or Gut? This is an important and enlightening step you must take in your Ennea-Journey!

Which Triad/Center do you reside?