The Wings of Enneagram 3

3wings1It’s time for another wings distinction video!  I’ve been somewhat surprised by the large amount of views on these videos in particular– it seems that people really want to know more about each Enneagram type’s two main varieties!  I’m really glad to see that, honestly, as I think one of the biggest mistakes one can make with the Enneagram is to be too shallow– learning about the specific variety of a core type that you are can be very, very helpful to growth!  Especially when it comes to using our knowledge of the Enneagram to better understand and interact with others, it’s kind of big deal to get the specific nuances of our loved ones right!  Wing is a big part of that, and I’m excited to continue exploring it here.

To follow the order of my previous posts, The Achiever is up next– 3w2 vs 3w4!  Check it out, and as always let me know if you have questions or insight to share.  Final note: I realized I have been covering a lot of heart type material lately, so will be switching gears for my next Misidentification video.  You can stay tuned by following me here or on Instagram, Facebook or Youtube!

The Wings of Enneagram 3

Misidentification 2 VS 4

Aaand I’m back with a video, yay!  If you’ve ever wondered about some of the differences between the Helper and the Individualist, this is for you.  Feel free to drop me a line if you have thoughts or questions!

One thing I did want to expand a bit on, is a component that I mention in the video: 4’s Reactivity vs. 2’s Compliance.  It’s important to note that these traits are not opposites, which is why I included the graphic below in my video.


Across the Enneagram, we see three different conflict styles: Reactive (4, 6, 8), Reframing (2, 7, 9) and Competency (1, 3, 5).  In another trait triangle, we see three different ways of interacting with the world: Aggressive (3, 7, 8), Compliant (1, 2, 6) and Withdrawn (4, 5, 9). Because these traits come in groups of three, combining them can shed a lot of insight on the differences between Enneagam types!

When we look at 2, we see that it is a Reframing and Compliant type.

When we look at 4, we see that it is a Reactive and Withdrawn type.

This gives us a spectacular example, because these types are different on both fronts!  I think I’ll have to write more on this topic in another post, and how it can be an excellent tool to prevent mistyping.  For now, I hope this helps to explain my use of these terms. 🙂

Thanks friends, see you next time as I cover the wings of The Achiever!

Misidentification 2 VS 4

The Wings of Enneagram 2

Today I’m talking about the wings of the Helper and how to discern between the two, both in regards to motivation and from an experience standpoint.  Check it out, and feel free to let me know whether this rings true for you– if you are a two, or even if you have someone in your life who is!

Check back in a week or so, for my next misidentification video too!  You can also stay up to speed with my work by following on Instagram or Facebook– as always feel free to reach out at with questions or comments!

Peace + Hope, friends!

The Wings of Enneagram 2

Misidentification: 3 + 7

misid_37Enneagram 3’s and 7’s can have a similar energy about them– external, positive, fast paced and people oriented. I know a 3 who has called herself a “false 7” because it’s what many identified her as at first. At the core though, Achievers and Enthusiasts reasons for doing things could not be more different. 3’s seek love and approval, 7’s seek stimulation and distraction. If there were two Olympians that were these types, they would compete with different motivation– the 7 to see the world, and have varied experiences, and the 3 to prove their worth by winning.  One is driven, the other more happy-go-lucky.

Enneagram 3 is a heart type, and struggles with issues of identity– because they have always tried to live up to the expectations of others (donning masks to do so) they often feel that they don’t really know their true selves. It’s said that they sacrifice their heart’s desires at a young age to live up to the ideals of their culture.

Enneagram 7 is a head type, and struggles with issues of fear– specifically of their own deep or negative feelings, or those of others. Enthusiasts are the true optimists, and choose to distract themselves away from negativity by seeking constant positive stimulation. They are continually looking for things to distract them from their own thoughts and feelings. This, of course, is hard to sustain, so 7’s bounce from thing to thing, not staying focused very long on any one.

I actually often use the term bouncy to describe the physicality of Enthusiasts. There is an energizer bunny type of vibe, distracted, bright and effervescent. Conversely, 3’s lack the childlike, open nature of 7’s– coming across in a more polished, charming and salesman-like manner. Because Enthusiasts value experiences over appearance, their physical presentation is usually an afterthought– or if distinctive, adopted for the sake of novelty, or variety.  3’s on the other hand find physical presentation of the utmost importance. Achievers generally put a lot of thought into their appearance, modeling it after popular culture, or people they believe are winners— another product and manifestation of not really knowing who they are.

The sins (or passions) of 3 and 7 are also quite different from each other. The former struggling with Deceit (of self and others) and the latter with Gluttony– the overdoing of, and overindulging in all things: food, social activities, hobbies, you name it.

Clearly there are some surface level similarities between these types, but a lot of core differences.  For more information on this topic, check out the Enneagram Institute’s overview of the differences between any two types and misidentification in general (which can be very helpful when determining type).

Tune in next time for my next Misidentification pair: 4 and 9!

Misidentification: 3 + 7

Enneagram Photo Project {Part I.}

This project is ridiculously, wonderfully imperfect. It’s one of the earliest things that struck me about it, even after just the first couple interviews. From the questions asked, to photographers, interviewers and participants, weather conditions and locations, each interview involved in this project was remarkably different from the next– but in a completely natural, and unplanned way. I’ve found in hindsight, that these differences, image by image, speak to the type in question, in many cases serving as subtle symbolism. Each detail, color, word and movement (like our selves and lives) have happened without intent on my part, but with so much purpose in the end.

As I said when I began writing this blog, this is not a sum-up of the Enneagram, nor is it a good way to learn about the types– that’s what books like The Wisdom of the Enneagram and Character and Neurosis are for. The purpose of this project rather, is to explore the nine core Enneagram types, to give them voice about their experiences, and to allow the viewer to gain insight into the nature of each type. In truth, I also hope that this project will pique individual minds about their own inner workings, and those around them– that the darkness of our sin patterns (what the Enneagram is based on) would be brought even more into the light, so that we can begin to heal and grow towards health.

To capture a fuller picture (and rather than bombarding you with all twenty seven images at once), I’ve decided to present this project a center at a time– heart, head and gut, each group containing three Enneagram types. Today, I’ll begin (in order) with the heart types: 2, 3 and 4.

A note on seeing the images closer (to read all the quotes): click the image once, which should open a new page, and then click to see the full sized image. 🙂


The heart types have in common, themes of Identity, Shame and Worthlessness– these manifest differently for each.


Helpers place their identities in just that, self-sacrificially aiding and loving others. This often stems from feelings of shame, that tell them they must earn love, by loving others first and best. This of course often results in an entitled expectation of love from those that they “help”, resulting in resentment and anger. Internal message: you must love others to be loved.

You can check out my overview of 2 basics here.



3’s are the most unaware of their Identity themes, because they are said to “sacrifice their heart’s desires” at a young age, in order to meet cultural expectations– an Achiever’s qualms with identity are in finding one at all.  Because they are so focused on “winning”, they often adapt themselves (their identity) in order to meet the needs of a person, or situation– so at the end of the day, they are uncertain which “mask” is really them.  All of this achievement is often rooted in a belief that they must win to be loved or accepted, with only Shame to greet them if they don’t.  Internal message: You must be the best to be loved.

You can check out my overview of 3 basics here.



Individualists have a fixation with authentic Identity, and dig deeply into their own beings in order to find it. They err in believing that dark, painful things are the most real– this gives them a painfully accurate read on themselves, flaws and all, but usually leads to a disposition of shame (or feeling less). Internal message: You must be always authentic to be loved.

You can check out my overview of 4 basics here.

As always, feel free to reach out with questions or comments, and be sure to tune in for head types (5, 6 and 7) tomorrow! 🙂 I’d love for you to share this project, but please do not use the images without my express consent. Thanks!


So much thanks to all of my awesome participants, and friends who helped with interviewing! Photo credit for 1, 2, 4 and 7 goes to the lovely Jamie Gray, while 6 and 9 are the work of Tony Au. All quotes are the words of my participants, and the writing/artwork is my own. Thanks everyone, I couldn’t have pulled it off without you!

Enneagram Photo Project {Part I.}

Instincts: 4

After talking in the last post about the basics of the Individualist, let’s look at the instinctual variants and how they apply to 4 specifically. If you need a refresher on instinctual variants and what that means, check out my first post on the topic.


When talking about instincts, it’s important to realize how the same instinct can look different from core type to core type. The general descriptions of the instincts (above) are much less specific than when those instincts are applied to a specific Enneagram type.

The shame, focus on suffering and envy, and introspective nature of type 4, manifest with each instinct in a unique way.


Though different, it’s easy to see how the first (general descriptions) factor into the type specific ones.  As aforementioned, all 4’s will probably relate somewhat to all three above descriptions, but more strongly with one or two.  This brings us to the concept of Instinctual Stack, which denotes the order of an individual’s instinctual need.  For instance, Sp/So tells us that Self Preservation is preferred/needed most, So is auxiliary and Sx is the “blind spot”.  I do also think looking into the instincts of your wing (especially if it is heavy) is important to behold the whole picture.

Other great sources for more detailed reading on the instincts, are The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut, these descriptions originally from (the now inactive) Ocean Moonshine, and the work of early Enneagram scholar, Claudio Naranjo (notes on his work on the instincts).

Have any questions about instincts, Enneagram or typing? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

*Sidebar: Clearly, these descriptions are getting longer the more I do. I think I’ll have to go back and flesh out 1-3 more eventually, so they all contain equally complete descriptions– I guess I’ve just gained steam along the way! 🙂

Instincts: 4

Enneagram 4

Let’s take a brief look today at Enneagram type 4, the Individualist.  Here are the basics (feel free to click for a closer look).


The Individualist is called so because an innate belief that to be valuable, one must have an authentic identity, and to be authentic, one must be unique, different or broken. In other words, 4’s tend to relate more to darker emotions because they feel more true to them than lighter feelings. Envy, the passion of 4, manifests in a negative focus on what’s missing, or “what I don’t have”.  Enneagram 4 is often called emotionally strong, because of their familiarity and comfort with dark emotions, but also of their tendency to over-analyze their emotions– where 8 is the master of the physical world, 4 is the master of the emotional realm.

Shame is a large theme for all heart types (2, 3 and 4) but because 4’s are painfully self aware/conscious, they feel and express this more outwardly.  This can manifest in withdrawing the self from others for fear of being “too broken or insignificant”, and comes about from a repeated process of failing to convey “the true depths and complexity of the self” (Ocean Moonshine).  Because 4’s experience repeated failure to live up to their own ideals, and that of the culture, they develop a general distaste and disdain for “common” or “ordinary” things– which is part of why they associate authenticity with uniqueness.  As with many of the types, this creates a paradox: 4’s desire authenticity, but in their disdain for the normal, they can become quite elitist.

I find it important to note that while 4’s tend to be creative, this quality is found in many other types as well!  Most of the 4 mistypes I’ve seen have been at least somewhat based in this misconception.

If you have questions about Enneagram type 4, feel free to comment below.  Otherwise, look out for my post on the instincts of 4 coming soon! 🙂

Enneagram 4