Enneagram: Wanna know what your number means?

Enneagram: Wanna know what your number means?

article by April Leman


What is the Enneagram?

/ˈenēəˌɡram/.    noun

a nine-sided figure used in a particular system of analysis to represent the spectrum of possible personality types.

January 4, 2022 6p CST

Have you ever wondered which enneagram number describes and guides you best? Join us for a members-only live enneagram workshop with April Leman. You will get:

  • live 1:1 time with April to make sure you can identify your number 
  • an overview of how the enneagram can help you with relationships (including the relationship to self)
  • an introduction to each of the numbers
  • Q&A with April about your specific life questions 

Heart Center

Type 2: The Helper

Enneagram 2’s are known best as the helper type. (No, we didn’t skip Type 1 – it’s at the end).

They fall within the heart triad, meaning they live their life through the lens of their emotions and find belonging and security through relationships. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing.When at their best, Type 2s are unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.

Basic Fear: Of being unwanted, unworthy of being loved
Basic Desire: To feel loved
Orientation to Time: The Present

Type 2s have the superpower of always being in tune with other people’s feelings. They are the first to volunteer to run the canned food drive, they are the friend that brings you a homemade meal when you’re sick, they know everything about everyone in their life and they struggle more than the other types with setting healthy boundaries. 

Enneagram 2s are constantly ‘helping’ because they believe their worth comes through being loved and needed by others. Anne Lamott says, “Helping is the sunny side of control,” and that is true for Enneagram 2s. Their drive to experience love and appreciation from others leads them to take on too much and overextend, which ultimately leaves them feeling resentful.

SIDE BAR: Before offering to help others, do a gut check. Am I doing this so that I can have something in return (such as affirmation and appreciation)? Or am I truly doing this without any strings attached?

In Growth: Enneagram 2s move to the high side of type 4 
In Stress: Enneagram 2s move to the low side of type 8


Type 3: The Achiever 

Enneagram 3s are best known as the Achiever or Performer. 

They are hard-working and driven by success. They are also in the heart triad, which means they experience emotion while simultaneously being detached and out of touch with their own feelings. When at their best, Type 3s are self-accepting, authentic, and role models who inspire others.

Basic Fear: Of being worthless
Basic Desire: To feel valuable and worthwhile
Orientation to time: The Future 

Type 3s are successful, high achievers. They are action oriented, they are great at crossing things off a to-do list and they are goal driven. They want to appear competent and successful in all situations, which drives them to adapt constantly to their environment, presenting the exact version of themself required in order to achieve their end goal. This can take the form of code switching and people-pleasing. 

SIDE BAR: Emotions are the expression of feelings. You can have an emotion, like crying, without understanding the feeling behind the emotion. 

In Growth: Enneagram 3s move to the high side of type 6 
In Stress: Enneagram 3s move to the low side of type 9


Type 4: The Individualist 

Type 4s are best known as the Individualist or the Romantic. 

They are also in the heart triad, and live life constantly in touch with their own feelings and emotions. Type 4s are driven to be different, authentic and unique. They are typically highly creative people who are drawn to express themselves through art, fashion, music, cooking and other creative outlets. When at their best, type 4s are inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.

Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an identity)
Orientation to Time: The Past 

Type 4s feel that they are unlike other human beings, and consequently, that no one can understand them or love them adequately. They often see themselves as uniquely talented, possessing special, one-of-a-kind gifts, but also as uniquely disadvantaged or flawed. More than any other type, Fours are acutely aware of and focused on their personal differences and deficiencies.

SIDE BAR: Being in relationships with fours often involves a ‘push-pull’ dynamic. “Go away, but don’t leave me” is an unspoken need of Type 4s. They require space to exist and express themselves, but also need to know that you will not abandon them. 

In Growth: Enneagram 4s move to type 1
In Stress: Enneagram 4s move to type 2 

Head Center

Type 5: The Investigator 

Type 5s are best known as the investigator.

They are constantly pursuing insight and knowledge, because they believe that having all the facts will bring them a sense of safety and security. Type 5s have a measured amount of energy each day, leading them to have the most boundaries of any Enneagram type. When they are at their best, 5s are visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

Basic Fear: Being useless, helpless, or incapable
Basic Desire: To be capable and competent
Orientation to Time: The Past 

Type 5s want to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment. They are always searching, asking questions, and delving into things in depth. They do not accept received opinions and doctrines, feeling a strong need to test the truth of most assumptions for themselves.

SIDE BAR: When 5s have had enough, they are simply done. They will often drive themselves to a party so they can leave when they want. Their default answer to taking on new or more tasks is “no,” because they are keenly aware of what saying yes will cost them. 

In Growth: Enneagram 5s go to type 8
In Stress: Enneagram 5s go to type 7 

Type 6: The Loyalist 

Type 6s are best known as The Loyalist.

Type 6 is the  committed, security-oriented type. They are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. When at their best, they are internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.

Basic Fear: Of being without support and guidance
Basic Desire: To have security and support
Orientation to Time: The Present 

Type 6s are the primary type in the Head Center, meaning that they have the most trouble contacting their own inner guidance. As a result, they do not have confidence in their own minds and judgments.

This does not mean that they do not think. On the contrary, they think—and worry–a great deal. They dread making important decisions, and while they struggle to trust their own judgement, they equally fear having anyone else make decisions for them. They want to avoid being controlled, but are also afraid of taking responsibility. 

SIDE BAR: This type can be divided into two categories: phobic and counter phobic. Phobic 6s use their fear to avoid dangerous situations. They disaster plan and are prepared for every contingency. Counter phobic 6s harness their fear into action, often coming across as aggressive and forceful. Rushing up to the edge of the cliff and staring down the steep drop is a way to process their anxiety over what *could* happen. 

In Growth: Enneagram 6s go to type 9
In Stress: Enneagram 6s go to type 3 

Type 7: The Enthusiast

Type 7s are best known as The Enthusiast.

Type 7s are an extroverted, fun and playful type. Always up for an adventure, they ride the highs of life from one day to the next. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. When at their best, type 7s focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Basic Fear: Of being deprived and in pain
Basic Desire: To be satisfied and content—to have their needs fulfilled
Orientation to Time: The Future

Enneagram 7s constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by continuously exerting this type of energy. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. 

SIDE BAR: Type 7s prefer to live on the sunny side of life. Accessing the happy, feel-good emotions comes  easily whereas facing the deeper, darker emotions do not. This drive to always live with a  ‘life is good’ attitude can cause them to re-frame situations and scenarios to fit that mold.

In Growth: Enneagram 7s go to type 5
In Stress: Enneagram 7s go to type 1

Gut Center

Type 8: The Challenger

Type 8s are best known as The Challenger.

Type 8s are self-confident, strong, and assertive. They are a straight-talking, no BS kind of type and have no trouble making decisions and leading the charge. Type 8s can also be ego-centric and domineering. This type feels they must control their environment, and sometimes people, becoming confrontational and intimidating. When at their best, they are excellent caregivers and use their strength to fight injustice. 

Basic Fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others
Basic Desire: To protect themselves
Orientation to Time: The Future

Type 8s have enormous willpower and vitality, and they feel most alive when they are exercising these capacities in the world. They use their abundant energy to effect changes in their environment. Type 8s come on strong, but are really protecting an inner child that reveals itself when they feel safe, secure and loved. Type 8s often had to grow up before their time. At an early age, Type 8s understand that life requires strength and persistence—qualities that they develop in themselves and value in others. 

SIDE BAR: Women who are Type 8s are the most misunderstood type. They often are incorrectly categorized as “bitchy” when really they are driven and authoritative. Society looks kindly on male Type 8s, but we struggle to accept female Type 8s. 

In Growth: Enneagram 8s go to type 2
In Stress: Enneagram 8s go to type 5


Type 9: The Peacemaker

Type 9s are best known as The Peacemaker.

Type 9s value their own equilibrium, harmony and inner peace. They avoid conflict (usually) at all costs. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. When at their best, Type 9s are accepting and inclusive. 

Basic Fear: Of loss and separation
Basic Desire: To have inner stability “peace of mind”

Type 9s have the superpower of seeing all sides to an argument, making them extraordinary mediators. But when it comes to making up their own minds about their preferences or desires, they struggle. Type 9s tend to ‘merge’ with other, stronger personalities around them, believing that their own feelings matter less than other people’s. Type 9s make incredible friends and companions, but often struggle with motivation and can lean toward complacency. 

SIDE BAR:  Type 9s are potentially the most grounded in the physical world and in their own bodies. Well-adjusted Type 9s are in touch with their instinctive qualities and have tremendous elemental power and personal magnetism. 

In Growth: Enneagram 9s go to type 3
In Stress: Enneagram 9s go to type 6


Type 1: The Reformer

Type 1s are best known as The Reformer.

Type 1s are the classic perfectionists. In fact, most Enneagram 1s report having an inner critic that constantly points out their own failings and ways they can improve. This is the type most likely to follow behind you and reload the dishwasher the ‘right’ way. 

Type 1s are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are fantastic advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Type 1s are well-organized and maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their best, Type 1s can be wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. 

Basic Fear: Of being corrupt/evil, defective
Basic Desire: To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced

Ones have a “sense of mission” that leads them to want to improve the world in various ways, using whatever degree of influence they have. They strive to overcome adversity—particularly moral adversity—so that the human spirit can shine through and make a difference. They strive after “higher values,” even at the cost of great personal sacrifice.

SIDE BAR:  Type 1s believe there is a right way and a wrong way to exist in the world. They may come off as critical, but understand that they are only trying to help. And any amount of criticism that’s directed at you is a minor reflection of the amount they reflect internally on themselves. 

In Growth: Enneagram 1s go to type 7
In Stress: Enneagram 1s go to type 4


 The Enneagram Institute

The Road Back to You by Suzanne Stabile and Ian Cronn

article by April Leman

Formally trained in business and marketing, April loves merging the mystical with the practical. She is particularly passionate about seeing women thrive in business. As she channels the power of the divine feminine, April champions and coaches women of all ages to discover their deservingness and self-worth. 

When she’s not in sessions, you will find April playing with her two pups, and cooking with her husband and daughter. She is an avid traveler and lives to sojourn around the globe.  

Tiffany Harelik