114: Understanding Your Enneagram with Jenn Jett | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
Jenn Jett Barrett podcast interview on The Intentional Advantage
March 19, 2019   |   Episode #:

114: Understanding Your Enneagram with Jenn Jett

In This Episode:

In today’s episode I’m sitting down with author, speaker and entrepreneur, Jenn Jett, to talk all about knowing your Enneagram type and how it can change your life. We’re going to dive deep into this because it really is about understanding and getting to the heart of who you are in this season about new year, true you. Jenn will explain what the Enneagram test is and how knowing your number can really help you in moving forward to becoming that best version of yourself. We will also talk about how your Enneagram number affects your productivity.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Knowing your Enneagram number can help increase your productivity

Questions I Answer

  • How does my Enneagram number affect my productivity and work?

Actions to Take

  • Explore your Enneagram number, but don’t end with a test; continue to learn & refine your understanding of your true self.

Key Topics in the Show

  • How the Enneagram differs from a personality test

  • 9 ways that we may think, feel, or behave and how that is reflected in our Enneagram number

  • Becoming more compassionate through understanding the Enneagram tool

  • How your Enneagram number affects productivity

  • How our environment and learning play into our Enneagram number

  • The value of knowing the enneagram number of other

Show Transcript

  Welcome to season nine of Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton, a podcast  focused on using productivity, not just to do more, but to achieve what’s most  important to you. Join Tanya has she kicks off the New Year with a special season  titled, New Year True You.  And now here’s your host Tanya Dalton. 

Tanya: Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your  host, Tanya Dalton, and this is episode 114 and have I got a show  for you today? We are talking about knowing your enneagram and  how it can change your life. So enneagram is one of those words I  feel like I’m seeing over and over again on the web, on social media  and maybe, maybe you know what it is, maybe you don’t. But  today we’re going to dive deep into this because it really is about  understanding who you are, and in this season we’re talking about  new year, true you. I think this is really important to dive into the  heart of who you really are. And I have Jenn Jett on the show  today to help explain what enneagram is and how that really can  help you in moving forward to becoming that best version of  yourself. But first, let’s have a quick word from today’s sponsor.  

Tanya: Gusto offers easy to run payroll services and HR support for small  businesses around the country, including mine. So a little bit later  on the show, I’ll be sharing how you can get your own three month  trial by trying Gusto. But first, let’s go ahead and introduce you to  Jenn Jett. She is not only an amazing person, she also happens to  be a very close friend of mine. So Jenn is all about the big picture.  She’s an author, a speaker, an entrepreneur, and she comes alive  when she gets to sit across from you, when she gets to hear what  your dream is and what’s keeping you stuck. You might even get  taken aback when she intensely dives into your life working to dig  out the lies and distractions that are holding you back. Half of her  time is spent running her graphic and web design business. And  the other half is spent speaking, teaching and encouraging women.  

Tanya: She co-founded the Well Studio, a place where dreamers and  doers who are weary and overwhelmed can come and be  

reminded of who they were designed to be, and walk confidently  into their calling. Out of her love for gathering women she  

launched Camp Well, a four day deep rooted retreat for dreamers  ©Productivity Paradox Page 1 of 11


and doers in Colorado. Most recently she’s married her love for  defending others dreams with her knowledge of enneagram, a tool  that helps unlock our unique design and the ways that we can  grow to our healthiest versions of our true self. Jenn, I’m so excited  to have you here on the show today.  

Jenn: I’m so excited.  

Tanya: I know this is so fun because I feel like we’re always talking about  enneagram, you and I, and how it applies. And really our season on  the podcast is all about new year, true you. So it’s about  

uncovering who you are and becoming the best version of  

yourself. So when I was mapping out this season, I immediately  thought of enneagram and how powerful that type of knowledge  is. You know, especially when you’re going down this path of  discovering your true self. So I know that enneagram is one of  those big buzz words right now, that a lot of people might’ve  heard, some people might not have heard. Do you mind just doing  like answering the basic question of what is enneagram?  

Jenn: Yeah, so I think typically people are going to describe enneagram  the easiest, quickest way to describe it as like another personality  tests. But what I have learned is it is far beyond a personality test  or an assessment, because most personality tests, and I’m using air  

quotes, are testing you on your behavior. And the difference with  enneagram is it doesn’t test you on your behavior or what you do,  it’s revealing to you why you think, feel and behave the way you  do. And then even beyond that, it helps you identify really specific  ways based on how you respond to the world, how you think, feel  and behave. It helps you identify the specific ways you can grow.  So I think a lot of tests just kind of identify how you behave, but  enneagram is just not static like that. It’s way more dynamic and  helps you grow.  

Jenn: So there’s actually the enneagram describes that there’s nine valid  perspectives or lenses through which we process and respond to  the world. We all think differently and the enneagram is basically  nine different ways that we think, feel and behave in the world.  

Tanya: I love that. One of the things my listeners know, I say this all the  time, I say it to my kids, I love that we have different perspectives  and points of view and different ways that we think cause I think  that’s what makes the world such an amazing place. But having  this knowledge, you know, understanding your root causes for why  you think and feel and behave the way you do. I think that’s so  powerful don’t you?  

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Jenn: Well it is because I think we, and you brought up the world and our  culture, and I think when we look around, we get from … I mean,  our frustration typically comes in when someone doesn’t respond  to a situation like we do, because we think they should based on  our values or beliefs. But it goes beyond that because we just  don’t realize they actually see the world differently than we do.  They feel and respond to the world differently than we do. And I  think this is one thing that’s been the most impactful for me about  learning and understanding enneagram is, I have grown in  

compassion for people. So I’ve just, it’s just helped me be more  understanding when I’m engaging with other people because I  start to realize, “Oh my gosh, there’s not even actually one or two  other ways to be in the world.” There are nine ways to view and  respond to the world and so I just, I think it helps with being  compassionate and understanding.  

Jenn: It helps with communication. I think that’s another huge  component of enneagram because if I’m trying to communicate  with someone and I’m only communicating the one way that I  want to be communicated with, I’m missing out on a lot and I’m  probably not getting across what I want to communicate. And so  just starting to understand that other people receive information  differently, which means I should consider communicating in a  different way. So communication and compassion have been two  huge components. And not just that it’s helped me be more  confident in who I am, cause I think I would get tripped up trying  to be what I thought other people wanted me to be or what I saw  as successful. So I just started having more compassion on myself  because I start realizing, I’m wired uniquely and differently from  other people.  

Tanya: Yes. I think that’s so true. I think, I love what you touched on there  about how it helps you feel more confident. I think, you know, on  the show we talk a lot about studies. We talk a lot about how your  brain works because I think it really is very validating to know that,  oh, that’s why I react in this way, or that’s the why I think this way,  and it makes it so that you can really understand yourself so much  better. And when you understand and really begin to appreciate  yourself, that becomes really powerful to really allowing that true  you to shine I think.  

Jenn: Oh yes. Because if we’re honest, a lot of the things that hold us  back is a lack of confidence in who we are. Not feeling enough or  feeling too much, and I love how the enneagram, like you said, this  has been a tool that’s brought some validation to who I am and  how I’m wired, because I just kept comparing myself negatively to  

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the people around me that I wasn’t measuring up to how I saw  other people operating in life, or being, or accomplishing, or  thinking, or behaving. And once I learned how I’m specifically  wired as a seven, I’m an enneagram seven, it just gave me so much  more confidence and I quit comparing myself negatively as much  as I used to.  

Tanya: Yeah. I love what you said there, because I know for you that’s part  of what brought you on this journey to enneagram, right? That’s  the, you know, that looking for the validation and the confidence.  Do you want to touch on that a little bit about how that happened  for you? How did you come to love enneagram so much that now  you teach and train other people about it?  

Jenn: Yeah, so I probably was introduced to it about three and a half,  four years ago. A friend of mine had really honestly spent eight  months studying it. We were hanging out one night and she said,  “Have you heard of this?” And I hopped on the Internet and found  a test and took a test, which I can talk about the pros and cons of  testing here in a minute. But I took a test and when I tested, I  tested as a five and she encouraged me to continue reading and  doing more research. And then shortly after that I found myself  walking through just a really tough season of divorce. And when  you walk through, whether it’s suffering or a season where there  are situations and circumstances that start to threaten to define  your identity and who you are as a person, you start really fighting  to figure that out for yourself.  

Jenn: And so, I ended up being in a coaching course and my coach Joe  Saxton, I was feeling some shame around my, I’m an entrepreneur.  So I was feeling some shame around my ability to be disciplined  and focused, because I would look at the successful women  around me and the high capacity entrepreneurs and I just saw this  common, like their goal setters, they’re really disciplined, they’re  really productive, they’re really good at establishing tasks. And I  started feeling a lot of shame around how I functioned inside being  an entrepreneur. And at that point I had done a lot of research on  enneagram and actually realized I was a seven, not a five. And my  leadership coach helped me realize that as a seven my discipline  and productivity looks really different than someone that’s maybe  a three, or a one, or an eight. And, that I needed to figure out  inside of my being in enneagram seven what discipline look like for  me, what productivity looks like for me, how to plan effectively.  

Jenn: And it freed me up, because I was just feeling defective in a lot of  ways at that point, whether it was emotionally or relationally and  then from a space of being an entrepreneur. I was just feeling  

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defective. And so, understanding enneagram and my wiring as a  seven just brought to light a lot of understanding as to how I  approached work and productivity. And I just, I felt a lot of  

freedom in that and a lot more confidence and I quit trying to  change who I was but operate fully in how I was wired.  

Tanya: Oh, I love that. I love that because I have to be honest, because  obviously we know each other very well. I know you personally,  haven’t been many levels and to hear that you were feeling  

defective or that you weren’t, you know enough, it makes me so  sad because really truly too, you are a classic seven. You are such a  joy and a, you know, a burst of sunshine. For me personally, I just, I  think you’ve really hit the nail on the head there when you talk  about how it really allowed you to lean into your natural gifts and  to really become the person you truly are. I love that.  

Tanya: And I want to come back to that idea of the test because I think  that’s interesting that your first test said you were a five, but we  know that you’re a seven and I know you are definitely a seven just  as well as I know that I am definitely an eight, as you do as well. I  want to touch on what you talked about there with how it helped  you with your productivity. So how can we look at our numbers  and understand how that affects our productivity?  

Jenn: Yeah, so talking about the tests, there is a test that’s commonly  used. It’s called the RHETI, R-H-E-T-I. It’s on  

enneagraminstitute.com and a lot of people go there first, and I  just caution everyone around a few things. Those tests are only  about 75% accurate. So in my case I tested as a five but I’m  

actually a seven and that acknowledgement of being a seven came  after a lot of research and study. Also test as I mentioned earlier,  are testing your behavior. They’re not testing why you do what you  do. And so, it’s really hard in a test situation to answer based on  why you do what you do. You also usually answer questions based  on what you hope you are, or what you want to be.  

Tanya: So true, very true.  

Jenn: They can be a little skewed. And so I don’t, I don’t tell people not  to take tests, but I tell people don’t end with a test. Don’t just take  a test and then decide that’s your number. Continue to do the  reading and the understanding. And so, for me personally realizing  that I am a seven, one of the things I have to be cautious of in this  area of productivity is I am a planner, a visionary, futuristic  

dreamer. So seven’s classically are, they are, they’re very energetic,  they’re very fast paced. We think of the future, we dream big ideas,  we’re very innovative. A lot of us are entrepreneurs, but one thing  

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we have to be really careful of is not being so fast paced that we  don’t give attention to the actual tasks. We contend to be so fast  paced that we don’t care about the details. And so sometimes we  need to be really cautious of that.  

Jenn: I think another thing for us is we don’t like anything that’s  restricting. We also don’t like to be bored and so we can dream  these amazing things up, but really those dreams require us to  maintain them and manage them. And that’s where seven’s can  get a little bored and want to move on to the next thing. So that’s  every number has a high side, strength side and then every  

number has a shadow side. And that is one of the great revealing  things about enneagram. It helps you, yes, identify the high side  qualities of your personality type, but it also recognizes and points  out those places that you just need to be aware of- the things that  are going to hold you back or become paralyzing. And so, that’s  the one thing I learned for myself as a seven was just I can move a  little too fast and a little too forward and I don’t like the mundane  monotony, but that’s what’s required to be productive in a healthy  way. We need to manage those tasks.  

Tanya: Yeah, I really liked that because it does, I like how it does show our  strengths and our shadows and honestly to me it is, you know, it’s  good to know our strengths, but I think it is so incredibly helpful to  know our weaknesses too because it’s okay to acknowledge that  we’re not perfect. No one is perfect. And so, to really acknowledge  those things that were not as good at, when I talk about  

productivity, it really is about leaning on strengths and  

weaknesses. If something is a weakness for you, we don’t pretend  it doesn’t exist, we need to lean into that a little bit more and make  sure that we create systems that play to those weaknesses. Right?  

Tanya: So I’d love for you to touch on, so that was a seven. Could you  touch on a couple other numbers and I will say to my listeners,  Jenn is an amazing wealth of information and has so generously  offered to give me some information on how the different numbers  work with productivity. So we actually will have a download and  with a lot of this information on it, but it’s a lot to go through since  there’s nine types obviously. But I would love for you to touch on a  couple other types if possible.  

Jenn: Yeah, so threes, if anyone knows about threes, they’re actually  known as the achievers. So one might think, “Gosh, they have no  problem being productive.” I actually joke as a seven, I need more  threes in my life to get things done. So they are naturally achievers.  They excel at productivity. But threes need to be careful because  this can lead to overwork and exhaustion where they don’t pause  

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long enough to rest, because there’s so goal oriented in  

accomplishing tasks. And they also need to be cautious not to run  over people in the process, so they can be so task oriented that  relationships take a back seat. So that’s where you see the high  side and the shadow side of someone. Fives, another great  

example, they are known as the investigators. They are really good  at preparing and collecting all necessary information to get a job  done. They’re really good at that.  

Jenn: Research and development is great place for fives, but they have  such a need to gather information that makes them feel more  secure and competent. They have such a need to gather  

information that it can actually prevent them from taking action, so  they can become paralyzed in this place of not having enough  information that they just don’t take action. And then I would say  another one for instance is eights. Eights, man, they’re known as  the challengers. You know this, like this is why you are a product  heavy expert. Like you are, you are perfect for this role as a  

productivity expert. I mean, this makes so much sense to me.  Eights are not held back by fear of failure. They make things  happen, they get things done, but where eights need to heed  caution is just being too intense. They have a love for intensity and  sometimes they can be too intense and allow space to be creative.  

Tanya: What? What do you think about? Oh my gosh, it’s so funny. I think  whenever I read about something with eights or I talk to you  about, I’m like, yep, that’s me. I mean, that’s what I love about  enneagram is I feel like it just really gets to the heart of who you  are and it does allow you to really say, “Okay, this is something I’m  not so good at, so I need to work a little harder at it or I need to  approach things a different way.” I think it’s really so, so valid, you  know, and validating really at the heart of it. I love that. And as I  mentioned, Jenn has so graciously given us so much information  that we are going to be creating a download to go along with this  episode, so that you can look and see a little bit more about your  strength and your weaknesses with productivity.  

Tanya: You’ll be able to grab that in the show notes for today’s show. So  you’ll just go to inkwellpress.com/podcast and it will be under  episode 114. And I want to talk more with Jenn about enneagram in  just a minute. But first let’s do a quick word from our sponsor.  

Tanya: Gusto is a great payroll, benefits and HR tool for small business  owners just like me. You can sign, store and organize employee  documents all online. And Gusto automatically files and pays all  state, local and federal payroll taxes. So that’s one less stress for  you to worry about. Expert HR support is also just a phone call  

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away and they are there to help answer any and all of your  

questions. And trust me, I’ve been on the phone with them several  times, they’re incredibly helpful. And they have very generously  offered three months free trial for all of my listeners, just go to  gusto.com/paradox, it’s as easy as that.  

Tanya: Okay, so Jenn, I want to dive back into talking about enneagram  and as you mentioned, we all have these strengths and these  weaknesses, right? So what else would you say influences how we  experience the world besides our type? Like for me, as we’ve  mentioned, I’m clearly an eight but I’m also influenced by the fact  that I’m a middle child, which means I do have, you know,  

peacemaker kind of tendencies. I like to make sure everybody’s  happy. That’s really important to me. And my love language is  words of affirmation and these, you know, having different  

influences in my life obviously affects who I am as an eight. So I’m  curious, you know, it’s good to know who we are and why we  react. What other things do you think influence how we experience  the world?  

Jenn: So here’s a question I get asked a lot, and are you born with your  enneagram number? And then, can it change? I get those two  questions a lot. So based on what I’ve understood and studied is  you’re born your number. So Tanya was born in eight and her  childhood, so your family of origin, your childhood, how you grew  up, your birth order, how you responded to all those things is  based on your number. So, you coped inside your childhood as an  eight, you responded to your childhood as an eight. All the  

strengths and weaknesses of you being an eight is how you  responded to your childhood. Now as you’re an adult, those coping  mechanisms and habits that you learned as a child are now kind of  messy habits as an adult is typically what’s happened. And so,  understanding enneagram brings light to all those things, like you  said, the high side and the shadow side, our strengths, and our  weaknesses.  

Jenn: And then I would say another thing that influences how we live in  the world. When you start learning enneagram, you brought up a  very, a very profound point. So you said that as a middle child you  are a peacemaker. And what’s interesting is on the enneagram  diagram, if anyone’s seen it, it’s a circle. So the numbers go around  in a circle and not one number is higher than another. This is why  they’re in a circle format is they’re all equal in value and worth. And  some of you’ve heard the term wings, that on the enneagram  there’s a number to the left and to the right of your numbers. So as  an eight you have a seven to one side and a nine to another side.  

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Then these are the two numbers that you resource in different  situations. So as a child growing up, you probably resourced you’re  nine wing to cope in your childhood situation.  

Jenn: Nines are peacemakers, and so that’s where that comes from is  there are wings that we access as we operate inside our  

enneagram number. So it’s really fascinating that I go back to  saying the enneagram is such a dynamic assessment and  

understanding of our personality. It’s not just your number, it’s  what you access in different situations. As a seven when I am  leading, when I’m in leadership roles, I access my eight wing. So I  am more of a challenger, assertive as a leader. But I would say in  relationship I access my six wing, so I’m more loyal and can  

actually be a little bit more fearful and dealing with conflict inside  relationships. So that’s again, an example of how dynamic the  enneagram is and what influences our number.  

Tanya: Yes, I love that. And actually I do with my nine wing, I lean on that  a lot, and I married a nine. So, John is a nine and it’s, to me that  was really so helpful for me when I was figuring out not just what  my number was, but also what his number was because I felt like  that helped us when we’re having maybe some conflict or an  argument, and he’s handling things one way, and I’m handling  them a different way. And you know, obviously his way is wrong,  but I can appreciate that, okay, he needs time away. He needs to  figure this out. He needs, this is why he acts the way he does and it  makes it so that I’m really able to, I feel, deepen my relationship  with him because I feel like I do understand him better. And I know  you are married to a one, right?  

Jenn: Yes, yes.  

Tanya: So let’s touch on that just real quickly, because obviously this  season is really about uncovering the true you, but relationships  are always a big part of who we are. So how does that help us  knowing other people’s numbers?  

Jenn: Well, I love how you pointed out relationships are so much a part  of who we are and if we’re not careful, we will allow relationships  to define who we are. So if we establish an enneagram, again is just  a tool. If we get more confident in who we are and how we’re  wired, we are less likely to be influenced to change based on what  other people want us to be. So I love that you’ve talked about this  inside your marriage, in my marriage, one way that this has been  so enlightening and helpful is ones are the perfectionist. They see  the world in what is right and wrong. They can pick out anything  that is wrong in the world. And that’s just how they see the world.  

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It’s not that they are critical all the time, but it can come across as  criticism. They love to fix things. They want to reform things, they  want to make things right. Sevens, we are very highly sensitive  when people are critical, because we feel like are just ruining the  fun. And so 

Tanya: That sounds like a typical seven, right?  

Jenn: Yes. So inside our marriage we have had to, he has been so, we talk  about growth in inside enneagram and we talk about being  

healthy. So you grow in health. So, one thing he has learned is he  has to be really careful when we are like in a discussion about  something or I come to the table with a problem. He becomes  really cautious about trying to fix it. He knows that that can come  across as critical to me. And he just needs to, and I know this is  typically the case in most marriages, but his desire to fix and make  things right can come across as critical me. And so, we’ve learned  how to communicate through those things in a way that I don’t  feel like he’s robbing the joy of a moment and he can still feel  helpful. That’s one way that we’ve really worked at communicating.  And so just seeing how he sees the world, I don’t take it personally  anymore, so he just wants to make things right. And that is so  good.  

Tanya: It really is. It is so good. I don’t think you could say that any better  because it really is to me understanding how other people think,  understanding and being able to relate with them on the terms  and you know, in the way that’s meaningful and that they can  receive it, I think is incredibly powerful. It’s very powerful for  ourselves to be able to truly build that relationship within  

ourselves. And as we’re closing out, I have one or two more  

questions for you. You know, as I mentioned our podcast is in his  new year, true you. What advice do you have for listeners on  finding their true self?  

Jenn: I mean, obviously I love teaching any enneagram.  Tanya: Right?  

Jenn: I would say if this is something of interest, if you’re new to  enneagram, I would encourage you to go on this journey. There’s  some amazing tools out there. One is so just to speak into a really  good intro book, easy read is The Road Back To You and then you  touched on relationships. There’s a second book called The Path To  Us by Suzanne Stabile. Both books were written by Suzanne  Stabile, the first, The Road Back To You is also written by Ian Cron.  Those two are really good intro books. I would also encourage you  

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to not stop at just reading a book or just taking a test. It really is a  journey, there’s so much good learning enneagram and learning  how to grow. It talks about where we go in stress, where we go in  security, when we’re becoming unhealthy, how to recognize  unhealthy patterns that maybe we didn’t recognize before.  

Jenn: And I have said before, I think we have this comparison thing  wrong actually. The definition of comparison in the dictionary is  establishing similarities and dissimilarities between two things. And  that is a neutral definition. It’s not negative. And I think if we would  start learning our similarities and dissimilarities between other  people, we actually could grow in confidence and joy in life, which I  know is countered to this message that comparison is the thief of  joy. I actually think when we do it well and right, we become more  competent people seeing our value and worth and where we can  grow as individuals.  

Tanya: I love that. I love that. So very much. We’re closing on that because  that is such a solid, solid statement I think. I was going to ask you  for resources, I felt like you already, you already did a great job of  that. Both those books you mentioned I love, and I will have links  to those in the show notes. And as I mentioned earlier Jenn has so  generously offered her resources to us through this download that  you’ll be able to access. Just go to inkwellpress.com/podcast and  I’ll have the information about the download there. Just look under  episode 114. Jenn, thank you so much for joining us. I can’t tell you  what a joy it is for me to be able to share you with my listeners.  

Jenn: Well, it’s been an honor. Love it.  

Tanya: Didn’t I tell you that Jenn was amazing? I just feel her passion and  excitement for enneagram and just her deep knowledge of how it  all works really inspires me. I feel like every time Jenn and I get  together, I feel like I learned something new about myself, and I  think that is so powerful on this journey to becoming our very best  versions of us. So I really hope you enjoy listening to Jenn. I do  want to encourage you to grab that free download, because I think  you’ll see a little bit about yourself that you might be surprised  about, so be sure to check that out. All right, until next time, have a  beautiful and productive week.  

Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. To get free access to Tanya’s valuable  checklist, five minutes to peak productivity, simply go to