The Enneagram is one of my favorite topics, and this week I’m sharing 5 ‘things’ I’ve discovered about its potential to impact your business and yourself as an entrepreneur.
We’ll cover the relationship between the Enneagram and entrepreneurship, and I’ll explain the vital difference between the Enneagram and other personality tests, like the Myers-Briggs or StrengthsFinders.
Hear the story of how I first discovered the Enneagram (or actually, how it made its way to me), and the way it helped me not only get to the essence of who I am, but also to embrace that truth so I could make the shifts I wanted without spiraling into judgment or shame (or at least WAY less than usual).
I share the story of a typical “pattern and trigger” in a business situation that almost cost one of my clients $12K, and the tale of another client who almost sabotaged her success when she got three new high-paying clients. Luckily, the lessons of the enneagram helped both of these entrepreneurs turn around their typical reaction.
The Enneagram is so much more than a personality test. It’s a lifetime path that can help you uncover and overcome patterns, reactions or fixations that block you from growing into the entrepreneur you want to be. If you’re someone who’s more about the “becoming” side of goals than the “getting” part, this is the episode for you.
Featured in this Episode
- The Enneagram & The Entrepreneur – happening Jan 20th and 21st, 2021
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- Order The Soul-Sourced™ Entrepreneur
- Where You Are, from the This Time Last Year Album – Listen to the full song on iTunes or YouTube Music
At some point you have to ask yourself, do I want to keep pretending to be someone else? Do I want to keep avoiding my patterns and just trying to get better at the game and playing that game? You know, do I want to keep operating from some persona that I’ve created striving for the goodies that are supposed to come or do I want to know what’s real?
Welcome to The Soul-Sourced™ Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative, secretly sensitive, and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host. Christine Kane. Let’s do this.
Okay. Welcome friends to episode number 28 of The Soul-Sourced™ Business Podcast, and today, I’m going to talk about the Enneagram and how specifically the Enneagram impacts your business and can really transform you as an entrepreneur and business owner. And the truth is, I am not going to cover all of this in depth. There is just no way. This is one of my favorite topics in the world to talk about. And there are books I could write on this subject alone. And there are some really great podcasts devoted to the Enneagram where each episode is just about one single minuscule facet of it. So clearly in a single episode here, there’s only so much I can cover, but I’ve been working with the Enneagram now for about 20 years and teaching it to students and clients for about 15. And I’m going to be teaching this topic all about the Enneagram and entrepreneurship in a virtual event soon. And I will tell you all about that, but for now, let’s see what we can cover here.
Okay. So who cares? I mean, who cares about the Enneagram, right? You’ve probably heard all about the Enneagram or you’ve taken one of the tests online or your sister-in-law is really into it. And maybe she’s kind of annoying because she’s constantly talking about numbers and wings and who’s what number and you secretly want to poke her eyes out. And then there’s all the other personality tests that you’ve heard about or done over the years like Myers-Briggs or Disc or Strengths Finders. And while it’s all kind of interesting, maybe you don’t really see the point and I get that. And if something feels like it’s not your jam, then that’s great. Don’t, don’t bother with it. All I want to do here is share five key points about the Enneagram speaking from my own experience, and then you can gauge for yourself whether or not you want to take this on and dive a little deeper.
So from the outside, the Enneagram looks like your typical personality typing test with a framework of nine different types. And each of those types typically has a name assigned to it as well, like the enthusiast or the individualist. But this brings me to the first point I want to make about the Enneagram and I’m going to call this, thing number one. And thing number one I want to say, is that the Enneagram, at its core is a spiritual path. And I cringe a little bit when I say the word spiritual. I don’t love that word because it has become a bit of a, Oh, like a twisted, weird ego word. And it means so many different things to so many different people, but we’re just going to use it here with all of that being said as our caveat.
All right. So in my experience, the Enneagram just goes deeper, and its intention is to take you deeper than most of the quote, unquote personality systems and tests out there. So while tools like Myers-Briggs and Disc are enlightening and can be great, especially in the workplace, the Enneagram is a lifetime path. It’s not something you just grab some bullet points about and then move on to the next thing. What the Enneagram can do is ultimately reveal to you, your essence. And I pause when I say that, because it sounds so out there, so esoteric, but it really is a path to your essential nature, who you truly are, and also a journey of release in some ways. And that’s because it shows you how complex and complicated you’ve made things by creating all kinds of coverups and patterns and fixations and avoidances. And it also shows you a way to view other people, not as massive pains in the ass, but as certain types themselves who respond and react, how they respond and react often based on patterns and fixations rather than the truth of who they are.
So all of that is just my way of saying that this level of being and operating has to be something that you value, something that you want and not everyone does. And that’s fine. At some point you have to value awareness and self-awareness above the typical business and even cultural focus, which is usually either something like succeed and achieve at all costs or make a lot of money and then make a lot more of that same money. And then do lots of exciting things with all the money you’ve made, which is fine. And quite frankly, it’s normal in our society and culture, but Enneagram typically doesn’t interest people whose drives are more geared toward the getting side of goals rather than what I call the becoming side of goals, because the Enneagram eventually takes you outside of the ego’s paradigm and all the personality stuff and the drives, which doesn’t mean that you stop succeeding or making money. It just means that you aren’t ruled by ego and old patterns and fixations in your work and relationships and business or whatever it is for you. You’re operating now, outside of the fixation and from a different paradigm.
And that brings me to the second point, which is that because the Enneagram is such a deep path and system, all the online tests out there, now, I’m not going to say that they don’t work, It’s just more that they’re often not accurate, or even necessarily revealing. Most personality systems like this, you can take a test and yes, pretty much nail your type. So for instance, you may have heard me talking on this podcast about the Colby and all of our clients here at Uplevel eventually take the Colby A Index Test, which reveals what is called your conative style, which is how you naturally function when you are striving towards something.
And obviously that’s something that matters a lot when you’re running a business or hiring a team to compliment you in your work style. But when it comes to the Enneagram, which is a much deeper framework, in my experience, the online tests are just not always accurate. So I tested as a seven the first time I took one of those tests, which if you know the Enneagram well, and you know me well, would be about as believable as my doctor diagnosing me as a Rottweiler, and until you know, the framework itself, there’s no way you can know what I mean by accurate or even why my Rottweiler joke was funny. But in the case of the Enneagram, there are subtleties and patterns in each type that might make it look to all the world like another type. And you can end up testing as that other type.
And this part is key. If that happens, you lose the real value of what the Enneagram can teach you because the deeper dive comes with seeing your type clearly and all of your patterns and fears and fixations clearly so that you can unravel them and they can teach you to see who you are not and where you’re pretending and where you’re getting all tripped up. With that said, the tests can be a great starting point, but always the path goes much, much deeper, If you’re open to that. Our third point today is that with any system or personality typing framework, whether you tested, or read about it, much of the focus is about kind of landing you there. Meaning it’s about nailing down what you are, and then you forever own that this is what you are, which isn’t ultimately very transformational. So the way I coach with the Enneagram and the way a lot of teachers and coaches, coach, it’s not just me, but it’s that you move as you move deeper with it, you slowly uncover this false self that you have developed through your past and all your conditioning, but most importantly, you discover really how to grow and move out of, or release the mechanisms of that false self, the fixations and patterns of that type, so that you can navigate the world from a more open or natural place inside a more compassionate place as well. And that takes time. And of course, no one in our quick fix obsessed world likes that part. And I get it. I don’t like it either.
I first discovered the Enneagram in the early 2000’s when I was a songwriter and a musician and I was on tour. And when I now look back at that time in my life, I would say that I was kind of just an autopilot of the feels. The whole world was filtered through my feelings and other people were just a total mystery to me. And they all seem like they had their shit way more together than I ever did. And I spent a lot of time avoiding anything that hurt and trying to fix myself and my life so it didn’t hurt. And the Enneagram kind of just found me. It was first through a conversation with someone that I had just met.
And then about three days later, I discovered a book called The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Russ Hudson and Don Riso. And that book remains one of my favorites. And once I discovered that this “self” and I say that in quotes, this, this persona that I had developed was a pattern and was not the truth. I had the same response that I see each of my clients have when they start to discover their type, there’s this total freedom and liberation on the one hand combined with this wildly unmanageable horror, like just being totally appalled, like, Oh my God, how did anyone know all this about me? And here’s where I will quote the iconic and beloved Ani DiFranco and say that “every tool is a weapon If you hold it right”. Some types can be prone to discovering their number and then spend years trying to fix themselves or hide their fixations or covered all up even more.
There was a woman at one of my early retreats when I first started teaching the Enneagram, who discovered that she was a six, but in our final circle, she shared with the whole group that she had decided instead to be a seven and that she didn’t like the six and no matter how much I tried to work with her with that, she would not bend. She was going to be a seven. And this illustrated to me, and it just shows how much some of us do not want to see ourselves clearly. And we do not want to engage in our own growth. So the Enneagram can become yet another way to bombard yourself with messages of how wrong you are or how wrong someone else is, which is what happens when it becomes a weapon. And if you have resisted the Enneagram, because someone in your life used it against you, then that’s just what they were doing with it. They had stopped or likely more accurately had never started using it as a tool of awareness, which is what it is. And they turned it into a weapon of judgment, which misses the whole point.
So for me, at that time, I could see how the patterns of shame or self-loathing or envy were impacting my decisions and actions in my work as a musician, and also just making me hurt. And over time I became a better communicator. I became less afraid of my own clarity and of myself. And as I learned about other patterns, I also became a better leader, a better entertainer, a better partner, and a better friend. And ultimately the Enneagram became the major influence on my work as a coach and also as a business owner. And that’s primarily because business is about our relationships with people, our relationships with money and with time and with numbers and with communication because our marketing and even on, or onboarding people and all of those relationships can, and in most cases do trigger what’s called in Enneagram parlance, a pattern.
Which brings me to thing number four. And that is that the Enneagram can help you see your way out of your typical reactions and triggers, which is so key to your success in business. So let me give you an example of a pattern and a trigger in a business situation. One of my clients has a very successful financial services business, and I know that sounds sort of nebulous, but in the name of privacy, I don’t want to give any more details away here, but we’re just going to call this a financial services business. And last year, right as COVID got huge, and the world was super stressed out, she got on a call with me to tell me some very hard news. And that was that she was going to have to write a check to her client for $12,000 for a horrible mistake that she had made.
And she was mortified. And she was also terrified because again, we had so much stress going on in the world and this hadn’t happened to her before, but then she walked me through what happened, which again, I’m not gonna like go into the details of, but you would definitely see clearly what I saw, which is that the mistake was not her mistake. And I think at some level she knew this too. It was a mistake of the family, whose estate she was dealing with, they hadn’t read her instructions clearly. So there was some, you know, glitchiness that went on and on the strategy side of this coaching scenario, it would seem easy to just kind of slap this client around and tell her it wasn’t her mistake, and to get her to go deal with that situation. But when it comes to the Enneagram, if a pattern is at play, that kind of coaching does not work because it’s not just about seeing what happened and telling your client to get over it.
Before I went into my client’s next steps, my job was to help her unravel what was going on here, and that’s what I did and, and really help her see the pattern. So last year, when I did a retreat on the Enneagram and the entrepreneur, this client determined that she is a one, I’m not going to go deep into what that means, but the one is often a very harsh judge, both of others and of themselves. And the one is just simply not allowed to make mistakes. And what my client had done was, when she was lost in this pattern and already stressed out by COVID, she went blind to the truth of the situation and the mind of the type one. The worst thing she could do was make a mistake. And even though she did not make this particular mistake, she was so caught up in the pattern of the one that she saw, this number. She wrote the check, she was already to, to own this mistake. And once I helped her see that, her whole energy changed.
So from my end, it was like watching a trance get broken. She actually started laughing and she had had, the check was all written and she was already to make the call right after she got off our call. And the gift of the Enneagram here, is that it wasn’t just me telling her she was wrong. It was the framework of the Enneagram. She could see the framework, she understood a pattern that had been laid out in front of her. And that helped her see her own role in this. Now, to be honest, we had work to do in terms of communicating this error to her clients, which was a whole different thing. But first we had to get her like that, that grip, she had peeled away, where she was so convinced that she was wrong and that we had to pull it away from this belief that she had made a mistake.
So many of us entrepreneurs are running our businesses based on these autopilot reactions and patterns and triggers. And we don’t even know it. And because business is so highly charged because of the money and putting yourself out there and being seen and selling and getting opinions from others, the territory is just plain ripe for bringing up whatever your pattern is.
And so we’re going to close with point number five, and that is that business success is not a cookie cutter, set it and forget it formula. So in my book, The Soul-Sourced™ Entrepreneur, I teach something that I’ve been sharing with my clients for years, and with you on this podcast for a long time now, and that is that your business has two tracks that you are always working on. And the first is the Strategy Track. And the other is the Soul Track. And though there are tactics and techniques and systems and formulas in the strategy, track of business that all of us have to work on, It’s the Soul Track where we find our unique way of doing the Strategy Track. It’s also where we find our patterns of getting stuck in our strategy. And this is why if you have tried and tried to implement other people’s formulas or systems, and perhaps haven’t been able to quote unquote, make them work, it can really help you to look under the hood a little bit. Business is often taught as if there is a formula that just fricking works. You know, what’s key to understand, is that much business advice and many business coaching programs and books are people who are teaching from their type and what worked for them.
So a coach or an author is often or always is one particular type, and they know that how they are gets them the really great results. And the tendency in our world is to tell other entrepreneurs, or even in, self-help tell other people, Hey, be this way it works. And you can look at the titles of business books to see how much this is reflected in the title alone, you know, titles like Crush It, or First Break All the Rules or Never Split the Difference, or Think Big Act Small or Never Eat Alone. And you might be someone who thinks to yourself, something like never eat alone? If I wrote that book, it’d be called, Leave Me Alone, I’m Eating, which is what happened inside of one of my team members when she saw that book on my shelf. The point being that when it comes to business success, we’ve been told to avoid our natural tendencies, to almost revile ourselves in our patterns and to try to cover it all up by taking on someone else’s fixations or patterns. And because that seems to work for them and they seem to have all the goodies.
And while there is plenty of good stuff and great stuff even, to be found in those books, because obviously I have them all on my shelf because I’m reading off their titles. What I often experience when I work with my clients is that they are stuffing down a whole lot of shame and self-worth issues because they have spent years trying to be who they are not. And that very thing tends to bring up more and more patterns. For instance, just as a quick example, one of my clients just had a major victory in her startup and she got three high paying clients all in the same week, and in our typical business world, we would say she should be dancing around. She should be high-fiving. She should be celebrating.
What happened was she actually kind of shut down, and without even realizing what was happening at first, this series of victories was almost too much joy for her type, which is a nine. Doesn’t matter if you know what that means or not. But she, as nines will often do, was tempted to numb out because she couldn’t handle the big high of it. And once she could spot that and then laugh at it and see what was going on, she could turn it around and she took the steps to onboard the clients. But in the past, she started to see, this was how she would collapse into the pattern and then go on to judging herself ’cause she wasn’t like all the other business people told her she should be. And she wasn’t doing what other people would do in this situation. And in a typical business, strategists mind, even describing this one client, it would sound like, who is that ridiculous?
And maybe like this client of mine should just give up on business if this is how she responds, but this is why uncovering a pattern matters so much in your business, because at some point you have to ask yourself, do I want to keep pretending to be someone else? Do I want to keep avoiding my patterns and just trying to get better at the game and playing that game? You know, do I want to keep operating from some persona that I’ve created striving for the goodies that are supposed to come, or do I want to know what’s real? Do I want to discover the truth of who I am and build my work and business around that? Neither of these is right. In fact, I will say it might be the typical game of our world to go on and keep playing the game. That’s what business is a lot, and a lot of people call that a game.
So neither is right. Neither is wrong. But what I will say is that if you think it might be valuable to understand the Enneagram, I am going to be hosting my Enneagram and The Entrepreneur retreat over two days. I’m doing it virtually. And over the course of the two days, I will be walking you through the nine types and their subtypes. I’m going to teach them through the lens of business ownership. And whereas I’m not going to be teaching you what your type is, you will get a pretty robust view of each of the patterns and types, and you’re probably going to discover your type during those two days. And again, it’s all through the filter of having a business. So it’s very, very specific how I teach this and why it’s so important for you as an entrepreneur.
So this is all going to be happening on Wednesday and Thursday. That is January 20th and 21st. And if you can’t be there for one of the sessions, I am going to be recording the whole thing and you will get access to it. Plus since I mentioned the Colby’s here, I am going to be adding in a bonus training. That will be a whole separate thing, a recording for you on the Colby A Index, and specifically how I use that along with the Enneagram to help people succeed in their businesses. And this whole thing is just $97. And you can go to, if you want to, if you want to grab a space to it, go to YourBusinessType.com. I made that really easy. I didn’t, I didn’t give it an Enneagram name, YourBusinessType.Com, grab your space there. And you can read about it a little bit more, see if it’s something that feels right for you. And as per my usual trainings, there’s going to be all kinds of cool tools and handouts and some pretty in-depth insights to guide you as you’re growing your business more authentically and getting out of your own way.
So a million thank yous for listening today. I was honestly very, very scared to take on this topic because it is so huge and I will touch more on the Enneagram and speak more to it. But, um, it’s, it’s just a big one and it’s something I am so passionate about, and it is such a game changer for people with business. So thank you for listening. And also you guys just a quick special note of thanks for all the kind reviews that you’ve left on Amazon and Audible for my book, The Soul-Sourced™ Entrepreneur, it really means the world to me, and I, I want to let you know how grateful I am and so humbled too, like it stuns me. I really love that this book is helping so many people in their businesses and work in the world. I think part of it is because the times have become so intense and there is not a better way to operate than really start to source from yourself, from your soul, from a deeper place than all the usual, you know, slap it on advice out there. So I love hearing from you and seeing how this has helped you. I just think it’s high time for a new model for all of us.
So the book is called The Soul-Sourced™ Entrepreneur and it’s on Amazon and the upcoming Enneagram virtual workshop is called the Enneagram and The Entrepreneur, and you can read more about that at YourBusinessType.com. And you guys, thanks for listening. I will see you next week.