What box are you trying to think outside of? Enneagram Guest Post

I am a sucker for anything “personality.”

So when a trusted podcaster recommended
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, my ears perked up. I immediately ordered the book on Amazon
not knowing my life was about to take a turn…FOREVER.

Just to clarify, both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are in Psychology, so I was not a stranger to psychometrics. But everything I had come across up to this point focused the analysis on characteristics and outward traits.

The Enneagram, on the other hand, is a typology of nine interconnected “architectures” or personality types whose foundation comes from the Eastern practice of self-observation and is based on one’s motivation.



Anne Bogel, author of Reading People, says,

“These motivations can be so much a part of us that we don’t even think about them or realize they’re driving our behaviors. This is why it’s difficult to type someone else on the Enneagram; our type is based not on external traits but on underlying motivations. The external traits are only partial giveaways.”


What are the nine motivations?

I’m glad you asked!

Adapted from Daniels and Price, in their book The Essential Enneagram,

they are, in very simplified terms, as follows:


Getting things right, improving things around them;

avoiding mistakes


Sensing the emotional needs of others and doing what pleases them;

avoiding being useless and dispensable


Getting things done quickly and efficiently;

avoiding failure


Finding love and meaning and what’s missing;

avoiding abandonment


Retracting in order to observe;

avoiding intrusive or demanding people or circumstances


Gaining safety and security;

avoiding not being in control in the face of danger and harm


Enjoying and experiencing life to its fullest;

avoiding frustrations, limitations, and painful situations


Controlling one’s space and the people and things in it;

avoiding being weak, uncertain, or dependent


Being sensitive to others and trying to please them instead of oneself;

avoiding conflict, confrontation, and feeling uncomfortable


Intriguing, right?

For me, that’s where it all began. Fast forward almost a year, 37 books
(and counting), and countless podcasts later, and the Enneagram has pushed me out of
any comfort zone in which I may have lived and into a world of compassion and self-
growth. What I have learned has improved every relationship in my life. It has given me
and my very large family a whole new language with which to communicate. It not only has us thinking out of the box but trying to get out of our boxes as well.

Want to learn more?

Follow me on Instagram at @sallysenneagramstop.