One of the most frustrating parts of the Enneagram is when you can't seem to nail down which type you are.
I want for you to get to experience ALL the amazing benefits of knowing and working with the Enneagram and you can't really do that if you aren't sure what your type is.
Before I get into the three reasons why you might be having trouble, I want to say that this journey is YOUR OWN. No one can type you, no one can tell you what type you are, and even certified Enneagram teachers and coaches can only guide and ask illuminating questions for YOU to work through because this journey is your own.
Ok, let's start into the first reason why you may be having trouble finding your type, and I say this with all the love in my heart: you may not know yourself as well as you think you do. It's not you, it's all of us.
The way the human psyche operates is through patterned behavior. A situation arrises, we try out a response, if that response works we try it again, and again until we don't even make a decision anymore, we just short cut to the response that has always worked and it becomes a pattern.
Many of us as adults do SO MUCH of our daily functions on autopilot or through patterned behavior, that we don't ACTUALLY know WHY we do the things we do.
The issue here is that our Enneagram type is determined not by WHAT we do but WHY we do it. Our core motivations are what determines our type and if we aren't aware of why we do the things we do it can be very tricky.
Self-awareness is JUST as important (if not more) than a deep understanding of the Enneagram. If you have struggling to find your type, it may not be the Enneagram you need to learn more about, but yourself.
I have shared about Self-Observation and some practical tips on how to do this on another coaching conversation you can watch HERE.
The second reason why you may be having trouble finding your type is because of stereotypes. Now, stereotypes are there for a reason, there are a large number of people who identify with certain manifestations of the different types. Type Nines, DO tend to be more tired and sleepy, Type Sevens can tend to take a good time too far, but not all of them and not all the time.
The problem with stereotypes is that we can easily confusing them with the core motivation and that is dangerous. It will mislead you if you don't identify with one of the stereotypes of your type into thinking that you can't be that type.
The ONLY thing that really matters when you are trying to determine your type is the Core Motivation, Basic Fear, Childhood Wound and the Message your Type needs most to hear. (If you don't know what any of those things are, I HIGHLY encourage you to sign up for my FREE Relationships and the Enneagram training where I cover each of those and have a helpful download).
Letting ourselves get distracted by the "fluff" of the Enneagram, how different types manifest, and move away from a study of the core of each type, it can create some confusion over your type.
The third reason why you may be struggling to figure out your type is because your instinctual sub type is the counter type of your type.
Ok - stay with me!! I know this is a little advanced, but important.
Back in the prehistoric days humans had three survival instincts to keep our species alive:
Self-Preservation is the instinct to get all the resources we need - food, shelter, clothing, etc.
Social is the instinct to be apart of a tribe and community. To have safety in numbers and be apart of something bigger than ourselves.
Sexual (also called one-to-one) is the instinct to be known deeply by one person and to leave a legacy.
Each of us has all three instincts within us, but there is one that is more dominant and takes more of our attention. Each instinct gives a different flavor to your Enneagram type.
A Self-preservation type three will operate a little differently than a Social type three, although both share the same core desire. For each number there is one instinctual sub type that looks almost opposite of it's type's natural actions. It's different for each number. Self-preservation type three's for example, are the counter type for the type three, because they are less likely to advertise their greatness, in an effort to make sure they are spending more of their resources and energy on themselves. They will look differently than a typical three, who tends to seek out the spotlight, but nevertheless are still motivated by succeeding.
Each type has a different subtype counter type - for type sevens it's the social instinct, and so on. I wish I had my own master class on subtypes (although I do talk about them as apart of my Enneagram for Individuals course) but there is so much information out there on other Enneagram sites, and for now I will encourage you to take a look at your subtype - figure out which of the instincts is your dominant one, and then go to the Enneagram type you think you MIGHT be and see if your subtype is the counter type of that type.
Hopefully I haven't completely lost you here, but it's an important nuance to the Enneagram that isn't often spoken about and can be REALLY helpful when you are feeling a little stuck in your search for your type.
As always, The Enneagram Workshop is here to help, if you feel like you would like to talk this over in a 1:1 typings session, you can book it here. Or, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Learning your type is the starting point to using the Enneagram to live an awesome life, and I am exited to help you not only learn your type, but use the Enneagram to make every part of your life better.