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
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.
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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