Head types prefer the rational center as a way to make decisions and understand the world around them. As a result, information/knowledge/ideas are highly valued.

These types can process large amounts of information connecting the dots, synthesizing, and developing new ways of understanding the world around them. Their sense of worth comes from what they know, from the solutions they can provide for complex problems, or their analysis and insights about what could go wrong.

Because of how much these types value their concepts, ideas, and knowledge, when this is minimized by others it can feel particularly painful. Head center people tend to deal with anxiety more than the other emotions.


Heart types process life through the emotional center. These people are social even when more introverted. Relationships preoccupy this type even more than concepts or action.

They might be very action oriented but it will be motivated by how they read people in their circle. Their emotional intelligence guides them to live in response to the emotional energy they pick up on at work, home, or play. They often take on the responsibility of rescuing or fixing people.

They value the perception others have of them sometimes to a fault. They have a need for regular positive feedback. Heart center people will tend to deal with sadness more than the other emotions.





Body Types are those who process life through the gut or body center. These types tend to think of action or motion first.

It is very natural for this type to have a strong sense of knowing that comes not from their thoughts or emotions. This knowing comes across sometimes with force and energy arising from their body. Once in motion, their energy follows. They can often do a whole lot and do it well.

It is not uncommon for this type to tend towards black and white thinking even if they have the ability to understand the perspective of everyone else. This helps them make decisions, get into motion, and accomplish things. It is often very difficult for those in this center to sit still. Anger, even if repressed, is the emotion that these body types feel the most.

The Nine Enneagram Type Descriptions

1 Reformer

This type tends to notice what could be improved, what is not quite as it should be, what is imperfect and then often goes about trying to fix those things. They are hard workers, detail, and goal oriented and can often overwork in attempt to “get it right”. The result is that their work is generally impeccable. They tend toward black and white thinking which makes decision making easier. This way, they can get back to making the word a better place. They are rule followers for the most part. All emotions tend to get repressed until this no longer works and then they can end up depressed particularly when they aren’t living up to their own high standards. This type needs to give themselves grace to not be perfect.

2 Helper

This type tends to read the emotions of those around them being among the first to help. They are keenly aware of the emotional vibes around them and very responsive and adaptive to whatever people need. It is a privilege for them to be invited to help particularly if it is something important to the asker. It is even more desirable if it promises to bring them closer in relationship to the one asking. Because their attention goes out to the world around them, it is important to the type 2 that people acknowledge and affirm them for the help they give. They themselves do not like asking for help and will often become over responsible and can enable under-performers. This type needs to learn to ask for help before they become resentful. They need to get away from people to think about who they are, what they feel, and what they want.

3 Performer

This type reads the emotions of those around them and then adapts in order to appear successful as this is one of its greatest needs. Because of this, the type 3 tends to be competitive, highly goal oriented, and practical. They often move quickly and efficiently toward their goals preferring to go it alone. Achievement and affirmation is necessary for this type to stay motivated and engaged in life. While good at reading the emotions of other people, they are often denying their own in order to keep on achieving. For its own growth, the type needs to occasionally pull away from people and projects, understanding its own emotions and not just everyone else’s, be as truthful and transparent as it can.

4 Romantic

This type reads the emotions of the world around them as well as within itself. Type 4’s have a need for creativity, to make it’s unique mark on the world. They stand out even when they wish they could go unnoticed. Their attention takes them to what is missing in the world around them and in themselves and can at times lead them into melancholy. They are guided by an inner sense of beauty which when put into action makes everything around more beautiful. They will work hard and long on projects to get it just right. They may struggle with deadlines because of this internal sense that what they are working on is not complete, as good as what someone else did, or missing something. They also need the affirmation of the world around them because of how critical they can be of themselves. They naturally tend to trust those negative emotions more than the positive ones. This type also needs to occasionally pull away from people, resist the self-critical thoughts, focus on the positives, and move into action.

5 Observer

This type values their knowledge, research, concepts, and ideas. This type avoids small talk and prefers getting to the point as quickly as possible. Type 5’s are great resource people who will provide answers that you can count on. This type loves his/her privacy and will compartmentalize their life as part of their instinctive self-preservation mechanism. They want to be seen as competent and will at times find it difficult to make decision. They have a super strong ability at connecting different bits of information and synthesizing it all providing a new way at seeing things. For growth, this type needs to trust that his or her internal resources won’t run out so that they can be more emotionally present to those close to them, more flexible with their schedule, and not compartmentalize everything.

6 Loyal Skeptic

This type is tends to view the world as unsafe or that there are people who are out to get them. They would describe themselves as anxious, fearful, or hyper-vigilant. This causes them to be worst case scenario thinkers. They will think long and hard or research forever a particular subject in order to be prepared for the inevitable. When they come into a room they might look for exit signs and fire hydrants, for example. Others describe themselves as looking for dangerous people in a new environment. While this has it downsides, it has it’s tremendous upsides as well. They will find the potential “devil in the details” and have a contingency. Many lives have been saved, disasters averted because of these types. They are hugely compassionate particularly for the ones others tend to overlook. They are highly loyal and skeptical often testing those they love just to make sure things are safe between them. For growth, this type needs to think best case scenario as well as worst looking at both. This helps them become more objective. Deep breathing, becoming present to the beauty all around them, physical exercise are some helpful techniques for slowing down the spinning that goes on in the mind.

7 Enthusiast

This type has a need for adventure, new ideas, and fun activities. Their pace of life is nearly always fast and full of activities. Their minds are nearly always in the future. While most of them are life of the party types, even the ones who aren’t are still looking for something fun to do which almost always involves people. Their love of life is infectious. At work, they are the visionaries and problem solvers. They process information very quickly and broadly never getting stuck in details. This type usually avoids painful emotions. They resist and deny limitations as it feels depriving to them. Their growth involves staying a bit longer in what feels depriving or confining trusting that they don’t need more, they already have what they need. This helps the type become a better team player, more present to people, and complete tasks.

8 Protector

This type has a seeks to maintain tight control of anything that affects them personally. They are powerful, confrontational, black and white, and very action oriented. The make quick decisions. The don’t trust easily and generally have a sensitive B.S. detector. All of this is in order to keep the strength up and weakness in themselves down. They provoke people sometimes for fun and as a way to surface anything nefarious so as not to be betrayed or taken advantage of. Most of them have quick access to anger and have no problem expressing it. But, it is the only emotion they tend to allow themselves to feel. They will fight for the marginalized of society as they are highly justice oriented. Although, they often act as a bully they are also the first to fight for the one being bullied. Their path to self-development is for them to resist the urge to amp up the strength all the time. It is hugely beneficial for this type to allow emotion to surface when it starts to, to allow things in life to develop without having to control it all and, to lean into those things that feel vulnerable.

9 Peacemaker

This type generally avoids conflict at all costs. They see the needs, thoughts, feelings of others as more important than their own. This leads them to repress their own so as not to be the cause of conflict. They are quite good at helping resolve conflict that others are having and often find themselves in that role. People find it easy to talk to 9’s as they can listen well to what others say. They ask little and give much. The difficulty for this type is to discern and then assert their own feelings, opinions, desires as they will merge with those of the people around them who typically are more assertive. They don’t generally show much emotion. Their tendency is to repress them and yet, when they pay attention to themselves they often feel the anger that has been there all along. The anger is there because of the years of repressing their own thoughts, feelings, and desires. The growth path for this type is to finally speak up, risking conflict. They serve themselves, and those closest to them, when they take time to find out what they think and want.

What is the Enneagram?

It is an ancient body of wisdom about human behavior and motivation. The words, “Ennea” and “Gram” are the Greek words for nine and something written or drawn. This personality system stands out for a number of reasons. It addresses the motivations of each type and then how to grow into the healthier version of ourselves. It came together primarily through self-reporting which is why it is remarkably accurate. Finally, it welcomes the diversity and complexity in all of us.