Each of the 9 Enneagram Personality Types possesses a unique set of challenges and coping mechanisms. While these strategies allow us to succeed in the majority of situations, there is a particular irony that accompanies each of our go-to solutions.
The irony is that the actions we want to take least are often the actions that push us forward the most efficiently.
When it comes to personal development, each Enneagram can be quick to forget that the energy we use to create a problem cannot be the same energy we use to correct it. The solutions we need very often lie in the areas we avoid the most strongly. Here’s which area it may be time for you to start exploring, based on your Enneagram type.
Enneagram 1s are deeply acquainted with their ‘inner critic’—that is, the voice in their head that measures their actions against their ideals on a seemingly never-ending basis. While most 1s assume that satisfying this critic is what will lead them to self-actualization, the opposite is often true. By applying the same mercy to themselves that they readily extend to others, Enneagram 1s move closer to—not further from—their divine nature.
To expedite your personal development as an Enneagram 1, focus less on perfecting yourself and more on radically accepting your core nature. The more you can set yourself free from judgment, the more you allow others permission to do the same. And ironically, the more compassion and grace you release into the world.
Enneagram 2s naturally seek to please others—often at their own expense. While it may feel tempting for this type to let others’ needs chart the course for the 2’s development, the most healing thing they can do for those around them is to express who they are at their core—giving others permission to do the same.
To expedite your personal development as an Enneagram 2, start thinking less about what others need from you and more about the example you can set through practicing radical authenticity. After all, what the world needs most is people who are confident enough to express themselves fully. And sometimes, the example must be you.
The Enneagram 3 is a natural leader—but they’re also a natural shapeshifter, filling whichever role they perceive to be most revered. While personal growth for the 3 might feel like hustling harder for acceptance, the opposite is actually true. The 3 sets themselves (and others) free through harnessing and leading with the truth.
To expedite your personal development as an Enneagram 3, focus less on the illusion you wish to create and more on the hard-hitting realities you’re capable of delivering. By owning your authenticity and speaking the hard truths others don’t want to face up to, you become the type of leader the world truly needs. And you grow into the most impressive version of yourself as a happy consequence.
The Enneagram 4 is strongly aware of what’s lacking in the world—all of its injustices, inequalities, and ineptitudes. And while the 4 may perceive their path to development as becoming the balm that soothes the ache, their purpose is much greater than this. This type possesses the unique potential to become the solution to the brokenness they see in the world.
To expedite your personal development as an Enneagram 4, begin embodying what it is that you see the world lacking. As a child, you craved compassionate and just leadership. And as an adult, this is precisely the leadership you finally have the opportunity to provide.
The Enneagram 5 believes in researching problems as thoroughly and extensively as possible before implementing a solution. While this type may perceive their path to development being one of learning and expanding their awareness, it is often the opposite that’s needed: the willingness to act on their understanding.
To expedite your personal development as an Enneagram 5, use your complex understanding of the world to pinpoint which changes most need to be made. And rather than defaulting to more research, set out to begin making those changes yourself. Allow your competence to serve your mission, rather than the other way around.
The Enneagram 6 naturally fixates on what’s true, reliable and trustworthy—sometimes to the point of obsession. While their path to development may feel like pursuing the truth at any cost, the actual route to growth for the 6 types lies in pursuing the truths that are useful in repairing a fragmented world.
To expedite your personal development as an Enneagram 6, focus less on your own insecurities and more on the intellectual gaps that divide the world around you. Your unique ability to discern and discover what’s trustworthy is a trait the world direly needs. And it’s a mission that will push your own intellectual growth consistently forward.
The Enneagram 7 has no shortage of energy, vitality or strength. But what they often neglect to develop is the depth to match their intellectual breadth. The path to development for the Enneagram 7 might feel like taking on another new challenge, adventure or opportunity. But in reality, the freedom this type craves can almost always be cultivated internally.
To expedite your development as an Enneagram 7, begin seeking the internal knowledge that will increase your external freedom. By going deep with your understanding, you provide yourself with infinite opportunities to share, teach and connect with others on the topics you care about. And that kind of freedom can never be taken away from you.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way” is a motto that may as well be tattooed on the soul of the Enneagram 8. However, this type struggles more with the ‘will’ than the ‘way.’ Tackling obstacle after obstacle isn’t always growth for the Enneagram 8—sometimes it’s simply a distraction from the bone-deep sense of boredom they experience when they are not adequately challenged.
The real path to self-development for this headstrong type lies in making an impact that matters not just to themselves, but to others. The 8 is at their best when they’re contributing to a cause that needs their strength and ferociousness to push it forward. To accelerate your personal development as an Enneagram 8, start holding yourself accountable to others. And watch your own growth flourish as a consequence.
The Enneagram 9 is deeply familiar with the ways in which the world is bruised and fragmented. What they’re less familiar with is the impact that they can make on that brokenness. While the path to growth for the 9 may feel like fitting themselves to what the world needs, the opposite is actually true—this type’s power lies in their ability to stand out in the ways that matter most.
To expedite your development as an Enneagram 9, begin hustling for the wholeness you want to see in the world. Call on your natural understanding of where problems lie to lead others into the solution. You see what others cannot. And consequently, you are capable of embodying solutions that others would never reach.
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