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How to Know You’ve Found the Right Career, Based on Your Enneagram Type

How to Know You’ve Found the Right Career, Based on Your Enneagram Type
Your joy may come from boundless exploration, but your fulfillment comes from integrated understanding. And that understanding is what wakes up the world. Image from Unsplash
Heidi Priebe profile
Heidi Priebe September 30, 2019

Turns out, your ideal career might not be about a specific field or industry, but by asking yourself, "What do I care about most?"

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The Enneagram of personality describes the core motivations and fears that drive human behavior across a wide range of situations. From our relationships to our learning styles and the work we contribute, our personality types lie at the center of how we approach the world.

The Enneagram does not dictate what work we'll do. It doesn't even suggest whether we'll be successful or truly catastrophic in a particular role. But it does show us where our deepest, most immovable strengths lie. The more we harness those strengths, the more we change the world for the better.

Here's exactly where you're capable of doing so, based on your Enneagram type.

Enneagram 1: A Search for Truth

If there's a single quote that perfectly encapsulates the Enneagram One type, it's the biblical assertion that "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free."

Whether you come from a religious background or not, as an Enneagram One, you are on a relentless search for truth and justice. You strive to live in alignment with your values and to convey those values to others by example.

Whether you write books, help progress healthcare policy, or champion the underrepresented in your community, what you have to give back to the world will always be the same: A deep understanding of the virtues that bring people closer to freedom. The diligence and precision you bring to any place of work will always set the standard for what it means to attend to tasks with intention. And that standard is precisely what the world needs to thrive.

Enneagram 2: Open-Hearted Honesty

Your natural inclination as a Two is to focus on other's needs relentlessly. By taking yourself out of the equation, you believe you are best serving others. But what the world ironically benefits most from is the moments in which you show up as your most authentic self.

When you share what it means to be a giver and to feel the pain of others as your own, you are sharing something crucial with the world. Whether you're helping others overcome trauma, creating social change, or tending to the critically ill and injured, the attentiveness you bring to others will always be your natural talent. Your superpower, however, is the honesty you bring to those around you.

When you allow yourself to be seen and understood to the core, you step out of the "caretaker" stereotype and give the world a more in-depth look at what it means to connect passionately to the human experience. And that is a perspective the world is so direly missing.

Enneagram 3: Relentless Drive

As a Three, you're always striving for something—whether it's your big break, the next "first place" medal, or the ongoing admiration of the people you love. You hustle harder than anyone you know, but the hustle itself isn't your gift to the world. The progress you encourage in others is.

The collective energy and determination of Enneagram Three might be the very thing that keeps the world turning on its axis. Through apathetic, desperate, and seemingly hopeless at times, you never stop striving for a better tomorrow. The real gift of this type lies not in their achievements but their tireless effort. It doesn't matter whether you're educating children or trading stocks. Your drive and determination give the world the gift of hope that it so desperately needs.

Enneagram 4: Awareness of Suffering

As a Four, you're used to being deeply attuned to the pain and suffering of vulnerable people. What you're less aware of is the power you hold in being able to pinpoint precisely where change needs to happen. This is the gift you give without trying.

Just as the mind signals where pain exists in the body, the Four holds their finger on the pulse of the collective psyche and feels precisely where its illnesses lie. In a world that is numbed, distracted, and unwilling to face what's gone wrong, you are awake. And you are listening.

Whether you're encouraging students to get in touch with their expressive side as an art teacher, helping athletes heal, or gathering data to monitor the trajectory of a hurricane, you are continually alerting those around you to the places where improvement needs to happen. Your intuition serves as a barometer for the health of humanity, and for that, the world cannot thank you enough.

Enneagram 5: Justified Challenge

As a Five, others are used to you sitting down to listen. What they are not familiar with is seeing you stand up to fight. And the moments in which you do are the moments that make the world pay attention.

Contrary to popular belief, the Five does not play small to minimize their power. The Five withdraws to strategize and maximize it. Whether environmental researcher fighting to save earth's natural resources, mastering a brand's communication as a social media manager, or helping people faced with behavioral challenges, you operate from a place of deep curiosity and openness. The insights you arrive to offer profound lessons about the changes that need to happen in the world and the routes that must be mapped out to make them.

The Five withdraws not to dissociate but to associate—deeply and intuitively—with exactly where you need to challenge the world.

Enneagram 6: Critical Concentration

You're known for your tendency to play devil's advocate and consider the worst-case scenario. What you're not known for is your end goal—to bring the world peace and integration.

The Enneagram Six pokes and prods the world endlessly, to find where its inconsistencies lie. You must explore every route, consider every perspective, and fight every battle if you are ever to arrive at a cohesive expression of the truth. Whether you're working as an operations researcher predicting traffic outcomes for a city government, leading a school district, or providing primary care to families, you will always strive to understand precisely which realities can be trusted.

It may grow tiring to navigate the depths of human uncertainty. But the longer you go on doing so, the more evident humanity's intricacies become to others. And for that, the world will always be indebted to the Six.

Enneagram 7: Enthusiastic Depth

Your joy may come from boundless exploration, but your fulfillment comes from integrated understanding. And that understanding is what wakes up the world.

In an increasingly complex society, it is easy to fall peril to the mundane and to grow lazy in the process of learning. What humanity needs more than ever is a thorough infusion of energy in the realm of knowledge, self-discovery, and growth. And this is where you shine.

Whether you're working as a personal fitness trainer, coaching teachers on how they can inspire students' love of STEM, or writing and testing code, the energy you bring to your areas of interest revolutionize the way others learn. You show the world a better way to engage with itself—wholly, enthusiastically, and without fear. The Seven exists to go deep with a tremendous sense of joy.

Enneagram 8: Fearless Values

As an Eight, you are known for seeking a challenge. What you're lesser known for is the intention that you bring to each task. You are not arguing aimlessly, but fighting battles that are bigger than yourself. And those battles serve to shake others awake.

In a world that is increasingly passive, tired, and interested in self-victimization, you see the potential for change that still exists. Whether your work includes advocating for inclusive classrooms, answering big medical questions, or founding a company to create positive social change, you put your vision of a better way forward at the core of everything you do. You make no space for excuses or injustices. And this is what the world needs to get over itself and start to step into its potential.

Enneagram 9: Unified Understanding

Before the world is capable of healing, its rampant fragmentation must end. And if anyone has a picture of what a more integrated world would look like, it's you.

The Nine shapeshifts and adapts with little effort. When two points of view need merging, you see both. When conflicting ideologies present themselves, you practice compassion. When conflict and outrage rear their head, you neglect to participate. Not because you're scared, but because you know that no good can come from pitting the world against itself.

Whether you're helping people overcome physical challenges, bringing theatre to unexpected places, or on the tenure track as a scholar, the value you bring to the world will always arrive in your pursuit of unbiased understanding. In a world that cries outrage, you cry peace. And that peace will never cease to be needed.

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