How to Care for Each Enneagram Type

I untied the purple curling ribbon excitedly.⁣

I smiled and stroked the cellophane pages of the leather album, full of prints of Michael and me and our friends. My 18-year-old self laughed at the memories and hugged the album.⁣

What I didn’t do? Burst into tears.⁣

And that lack of tears lead to a fight. I mean it wasn’t our first fight, but that conflict led to important discoveries that have lasted us for nearly 30 years.⁣

In our immature selves, we assumed showing care for each other meant treating each other the way we want to be treated.⁣

Wait…


Photo by Mike Kononov on Unsplash

Three Solutions for Clarity and Accountability

Lots of clickbait articles and clamor to hold “people” accountable.

Voters try to hold elected officials accountable.

Managers try to hold workers accountable.

Parents google how to hold my child accountable.

Working with people involves accountability. From the most experienced CEO to the newest teenage intern, we make commitments to one another. The best teams, families, and workplaces are mutually accountable to one another.

The question isn’t so much “How do I hold people accountable?” It’s “How do I create a culture of commitment and mutual accountability?”

Here’s my little thought for you: Accountability begins with clarity.

People must understand…


You talk to yourself all the time. Sometimes, you a little salty, my friend.

Photo by Septian simon on Unsplash

Much of the time, we just let thoughts sail right into the truth pile without, well, a second thought.

But we can grab them.

Hold them up for a mini inspection.

And then choose to change the thought.

In my faith, we call it taking every thought captive. In science, it’s called creating new neural pathways.

Each Enneagram type has thoughts that aren’t always helpful in times of stress and conflict. And you can replace those notions with better ideas that bring peace to your life.


How to Find Your Enneagram Type Without Taking a Quiz

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I promise, there is a better way.

We all want discovering ourselves simple and easy. Answer this and Bloop. Bloop. Bloop — you’re this type!

Some fantastic personality typing works well like that. They help you find your strengths, preferences, or style. I still use Myers Brings and StrengthsFinders in some training.

They serve their purpose. But they mostly hang out on the surface. What you can see on the outside. What you do. And you can change what you do. But if you don’t understand why you’re doing it…


Living with unresolved conflict is like trying to tango with a toddler on your leg.

Two mad birds. Jenn Whitmer enneagram coach conflict resolution
Two mad birds. Jenn Whitmer enneagram coach conflict resolution
Photo by Nikola Johnny Mirkovic on Unsplash

Lights keep me awake.

I mean, sure I can take a quick nap (boy, do I love naps). I can use a sleep mask, but it’s not quite the same. The kind of sustained rest required for flourishing — who am I kidding, just plain functioning — doesn’t happen with lights on.

Unresolved conflict is like that — you can get a little bit of rest, but not lasting freedom.

And when it’s extreme, it’s like trying to tango with a toddler on your leg.


Recognizing the pitfall and strengths of nine personality types.

I help people live peaceful and whole lives by equipping them with communication and conflict resolution skills.

And right now, that work is intense.

Because justice and anti-racism work is personal AND systemic. And if you’re new to this work, it often feels completely overwhelming.

I’ve found the Enneagram a useful tool in examining my perspectives and helping my clients do the same. Enneagram work is about understanding your motivations and your way of seeing the world. The Enneagram gives us freedom to recognize we don’t all see the world the…


Photo by Xevi Casanovas on Unsplash

And it’s going to cost you.

I want to have different words for you today. Words that comfort. Words that heal. Words that mend. Words that feel like a big hug.

I just can’t get there. As I’ve written and deleted, written and deleted, written and deleted, I keep coming back to loving you with hard truths.

Truths that will comfort because they aren’t candy floss.

Truths that will heal because they don’t hide.

Truths that will mend because they prepare you.

Change always requires sacrifice.

The sacrifices may be smaller, like learning to listen before you talk.

The sacrifices may be greater, like…


Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

The rest of y’all can listen in, but I want to gather my white sisters for a bit.

I’ve been sitting at the table for a bit. Sipping, learning, fuming, raging, crying, praying, waiting, trying to decide how to set the most inviting table to a fraught and tangled conversion. Amy Cooper and all my fellow white women, I want you to come sit down with me.

We need to have a moment. I want to invite you to a truth-telling that will make us all uncomfortable. This invitation is extended in love, grace, and compassion. Love that is iron wrapped in velvet, but love nonetheless.

Many of you may welcome this invitation because you’ve been sitting at…


If you want to educate yourself on racism and its history in this country…

If you want to begin examining your own heart…

If I you want to do something…

Then do it.

Learn. Lament. Lead.

But mostly, just start.

This is a short list of books and resources that have been helpful to me in this process as a white woman learning to divest myself of whiteness.

Books

White fragility by Robin DiAngelo https://amzn.to/3c9AsJH

I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown https://amzn.to/36waGhT

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson https://amzn.to/3d16Nnr

Generous Justice https://amzn.to/3cbQX8s

Image Illustration by Jane Mount

Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby https://amzn.to/3enKkkS

So You…


Who is holding all these people accountable?

Lots of clickbait articles and clamor to hold “people” accountable. Managers are trying to hold co-workers accountable. Parents google how to hold my child accountable. You sit with a notebook and ask, “How do I hold myself accountable?”

It feels like every leadership discussion involves accountability. From the most experienced CEO to the newest teenage intern, we make commitments to one another. The best teams, families, and workplaces are mutually accountable to one another.

The question isn’t so much “How do I hold people accountable?” …

Jenn Whitmer

Jenn speaks, writes, and coaches about conflict, growth, the Enneagram, and leadership. She’s usually laughing too loudly. Come visit at jennwhitmer.com.

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