A Wake-Up Call for Each Number on the Enneagram {Enneagram Series #27}

Get a wake-up call for each Enneagram number for when you’re spiraling downward. Also see unique gifts that each type gives the world. 

Wake-Up Call Enneagram

Know Yourself

We all have times when life is going smoothly. Maybe we’re loving generously, working successfully, keenly aware of God’s presence in our everyday activities.

But life keeps coming at us, an unexpected bill here or a health problem there, a relationship struggle or a job change.

Is it possible to use the Enneagram as a wake-up call before we fall further down the hole? What are the pitfalls and warning signs to watch for in a potential slide from healthy to unhealthy versions of ourselves?

9 Wake-Up Calls

The following is a compilation from several sources, including Riso and Hudson’s, The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and Rohr and Ebert’s, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective.

1 The Perfectionist

Wake-Up Call: You sense an intense personal obligation to fix everything yourself.

“Everyone is so lazy and irresponsible. Right is right and wrong is wrong and there are no exceptions.”

Your pitfall is to become hypersensitive.
Your temptation is to search for perfection.

Warning Signs

  • Taking rigid, inflexible positions
  • Extreme self-righteousness and judgmentalness
  • Rationalizing and justifying your own actions

2 The Helper

Wake-Up Call: You become overly supportive of others to win them over.

“I can make anyone like me. . . . Let me do that for you.”

Your pitfall is people-pleasing.
Your temptation is to make others dependent on you to make yourself feel worthy.

Warning Signs

  • Extreme tendencies toward self-deception
  • Acting with a sense of delusional entitlement
  • Episodes of manipulating and coercing others

3 The Performer

Wake-Up Call: You think your value depends on your success.

“I can do this better than anyone else. I’ve got it altogether.”

Your pitfall is superficiality.
Your temptation is efficiency.

Warning Signs

  • Physical exhaustion, burnout, inner emptiness
  • Increasingly false self-image
  • Jealousy and unrealistic expectations of success

4 The Individualist

Wake-Up Call: You are imagining things to hold on to and intensify feelings.

“No one understands me. People are insensitive to me.”

Your pitfall is depression or melancholy.
Your temptation is a frantic striving to be authentic.

Warning Signs

  • Oppressive sense of alienation from self and others
  • Extreme emotional volatility and touchiness
  • Depending on one or two others, with unstable relationships
  • Chronic, long-term depression and hopelessness

5 The Investigator

Wake-Up Call: You retreat into your mind.

“Is it safe to come out? I need more time.”

Your pitfall is emotional stinginess.
Your temptation is to know more and more.

Warning Signs

  • Increasing tendency to isolate yourself
  • Chronic physical and social neglect, letting yourself go
  • Severe insomnia, nightmares, and sleep disorders
  • Refusing help or even being hostile to it

6 The Loyalist

Wake-Up Call: You look for a sure thing (guidance and support outside yourself).

“What can I trust? I’m so mad and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Your pitfall is cowardice (if phobic 6) or recklessness (if counter-phobic 6).
Your temptation is an exaggerated need for security.

Warning Signs

  • Intense anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia
  • Acute inferiority feelings and chronic depression
  • Constant fear of losing support from others
  • Alternating dependency and impulsive displays of defiance

7 The Enthusiast

Wake-Up Call: You think something better is available elsewhere.

“I don’t want to miss out; let’s get going. I want it and I want it now!”

Your pitfall is scheming.
Your temptation is idealism.

Warning Signs

  • Impulsiveness, offensiveness, and infantile reactions
  • Debilitating addictions to escape anxiety
  • Compulsive activity and highly exalted mood
  • Periods of being out of control

8 The Challenger

Wake-Up Call: You think you must push and struggle to make things happen.

“It’s all up to me. No one tells me what to do.”

Your pitfall is revenge.
Your temptation is appointing yourself as avenger.

Warning Signs

  • Paranoid feelings of being betrayed by “my people”
  • Increasing social isolation, bitterness, and vengeance
  • Lack of conscience and empathy; callous hard-heartedness
  • Episodes of rage, violence, and physical destructiveness

9 The Peacemaker

Wake-Up Call: You outwardly go along with others.

“It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll deal with this later.”

Your pitfall is lethargy (comfort).
Your temptation is self-deprecation.

Warning Signs

  • Denial of serious health, financial, or personal problems
  • A sense of inadequacy, general neglectfulness, and dampened vitality
  • Dependency on others and allowing yourself to be exploited
  • Chronic depression and emotional flatness

Spiritual Practice #19—Use Your Gift

While each type has a particular set of temptations and weaknesses, each type also has multiple benefits. God embeds a unique set of gifts inside each person.

Read the following gifts that each mature type can offer the world. Add more from your own experiences.

1—Moral Integrity

Healthy 1s have an extraordinary ability to know how to do the right thing and make a positive difference in the world. They are willing to take a stand and make sacrifices, while being grace-driven, not guilt-driven.

2—Service

When 2s learn to give with an open hand and with humility, they can be of great service to their community and help other people thrive. They also allow others to serve them.

3—Genuineness

As 3s become more genuine, not trying to be more or less than they really are, they are available to lead others with honesty and humility as a non-competitive team, giving others the opportunity to share in the spotlight.

4—Beauty

Healthy 4s bring their emotional life into balance and become impressive personalities. They deal sensitively and passionately with real life, becoming and creating works of art as gifts to humanity.

5—Objectivity

When 5s harness their ability to detach, they are compassionate and perceptive listeners. They are able to share not only the riches of their minds, but also the depths of their hearts.

6—Courage

6s can overcome their fear in moments of crisis more easily than anyone else and become a stabilizing presence. They are inclusive and accepting of others, grounding people in reality and drawing out their emotions.

7—Joy

7s have the ability to find and spread joy in the face of and despite all the difficulties of life. At their healthiest, they are satisfied with very little, staying present in the moment, knowing there will always be enough for them and everyone else.

8—Protection

8s at their healthiest learn to trust and be good to the vulnerable child in their own soul. They are strong and have the power to inspire others to be heroic, impacting the world in important ways.

9—Healing

Mature 9s intuitively see all sides of an issue and are a comforting presence for peace in environments of conflict. They are steady, engaged, and dynamic in working for peace and healing in the world.


Do you recognize your warning signs? How can you use your gift in the world? Please share in the comments.

Enneagram for Spiritual Growth

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Previous: Improve Your Relationships with Other Numbers on the Enneagram {Series #26}

Next: Your Cheat Sheet: Summary for Enneagram Types {Series #28} (coming February 28) 

8 thoughts on “A Wake-Up Call for Each Number on the Enneagram {Enneagram Series #27}

  1. blankStacey Pardoe

    I’m really loving this series, Lisa! Bouncing back and forth between your blog and Mary’s are is a big blessing as I learn to honor God as a One and understand those around me! Thanks so much for unpacking this!

  2. blankLaurie

    Oh, yikes! Did this ever hit the nail on the head: “Your pitfall is scheming.
    Your temptation is idealism.” Thank you for this series, Lisa. Thinking about our strengths and weaknesses is a blessing. Sharing God’s love (and joy!) is easier when we understand the potential pitfalls of our personality type.

  3. blankMartha J Orlando

    I finally had Danny take the test, and he comes out as a #8 with a strong second being #6, as I had guessed. The more I read these traits, I find myself more closely identifying with #9 instead of #2. Learning so much about myself and others!
    Blessings, Lisa!

  4. blankTrudy

    This series is enlightening, Lisa. Not only in understanding ourselves and our strengths and weaknesses, but in understanding and dealing with others. I still sway back and forth, but there are three I mostly relate with – 4, 5, and 9. Almost equally some of each. I decided I shouldn’t let it bother me that I can’t pin one down like others can. 🙂 The main thing is to find my identity in Christ, as you have mentioned before. 🙂 I love that you remind us of the most important way to see ourselves. Thanks so much. Love and blessings to you!

  5. blankMary Geisen

    In order to be our healthiest selves, we need to know our strengths and weaknesses. You have put together an amazing series. Thank you for providing me with even more insight into my number and who I am.

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