What’s Your Number? The Enneagram and The Road Back to You

Grow by learning your own Enneagram number. Be more compassionate by learning others’ numbers.

See my new series in February 2020 on 20 Ways to Practice the Enneagram for Spiritual Growth.

Enneagram for Spiritual Growth

Below are the 9 Enneagram types with notes from The Road Back to You.  


When You Don’t Understand

“Once you know your type you owe it to yourself and the people you love (or don’t love, for that matter) to become a kinder, more compassionate presence in the world.

May a pox fall on anyone who reads this book and walks away with no more than something ‘interesting’ to prattle on about at a dinner party.”
Ian Morgan Cron, The Road Back to You

Some people get on our nerves. They are hard to understand. Why can’t they be more like us?

Other people seem to do everything better. They make us jealous. Why can’t we be more like them?

Our differences can complicate our relationships.

  • Why am I compulsive about scheduling my day while Jeff prefers spontaneity?
  • How can my friend be so disinterested in the Presidential debates yet I watch them with rapt attention?
  • Why do I care nothing about window treatments and room decor while my sister’s house is perfectly styled?

I want to be more patient with those different from me, to love them like Jesus would, but it’s hard when I can’t understand them.

What's Your Enneagram Number?

What’s the Solution?

One answer is to wake up more to each other. When we see others as unique gifts from God—each different—we can love them better.

The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that helps us understand each other’s personality tendencies. Knowledge is power when it leads to heart change.

While other systems like Myers-Brigg are also good in classifying types, the Enneagram differs in that it doesn’t just explain how you are now, but it also shows you how you can better move forward into the future.

Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile explain the purpose of the Enneagram in their book, The Road Back to You.

“The purpose of the Enneagram is to show us how we can release the paralyzing arthritic grip we’ve kept on old, self-defeating ways of living so we can open ourselves to experiencing more interior freedom and become our best selves.”

road-back-to-you

The more we understand our need for God’s grace, the easier we can receive his gift of grace.

And be transformed by it.

The Nine Types

Below are the basic nine personality types from The Road Back to You.

Keep in mind: no personality typing system is perfect. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Take a short quiz to begin identifying your type.

  • Type One: The Perfectionist
    Ethical, dedicated, and reliable, ones are motivated by a desire to live the right way, improve the world, and avoid fault or blame.
  • Type Two: The Helper
    Warm, caring, and giving, twos are motivated by a need to be loved and needed, and to avoid acknowledging their own needs.
  • Type Three: The Performer
    Success-oriented, image-conscious, and wired for productivity, threes are motivated by a need to be (or appear to be) successful and to avoid failure.
  • Type Four: The Romantic
    Creative, sensitive, and moody, fours are motivated by a need to be understood, experience their oversized feelings, and avoid being ordinary.
  • Type Five: The Investigator
    Analytical, detached, and private, fives are motivated by a need to gain knowledge, conserve energy, and avoid relying on others.
  • Type Six: The Loyalist
    Committed, practical, and witty, sixes are worst-case-scenario thinkers who are motivated by fear and a need for security.
  • Type Seven: The Enthusiast
    Fun, spontaneous, and adventurous, sevens are motivated by a need to be happy, to plan stimulating experiences, and to avoid pain.
  • Type Eight: The Challenger
    Commanding, intense, and confrontational, eights are motivated by a need to be strong and avoid feeling weak or vulnerable.
  • Type Nine: The Peacemaker
    Pleasant, laid back, and accommodating, nines are motivated by a need to keep the peace, merge with others, and avoid conflict.

Rewards of Knowing

Ian Cron gives us two important takeaways from this book.

  1. More compassion for ourselves and others

“The Enneagram shows us that we can’t change the way other people see, but we can try to experience the world through their eyes and help them change what they do with what they see.”

  1. More appreciation for God who made us

“Inside each number is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart. So when you are tempted to prosecute yourself for the flaws in your own character, remember that each type is at its core a signpost pointing us to travel toward and embrace an aspect of God’s character that we need.”

As we better understand ourselves and others, we more fully live out who God designed us to be. Which means, we love God more and increase our love for each other more.

The Enneagram isn’t a perfect model. But if it can move us in the right direction, I’m in.

The goal of understanding your Enneagram ‘number’ is not to replace your personality with a new one. Not only is this not possible, it would be a bad idea. You need a personality or you won’t get asked to prom.

The purpose of the Enneagram is to develop self-knowledge and learn how to recognize and dis-identify with the parts of our personalities that limit us so we can be reunited with our truest and best selves.”

* * *

What is your number? (I’m fairly certain I’m a type 5.) Please share in the comments.

More You Can Do with the Enneagram

Here are two free tests to start identifying your Enneagram number. But don’t rely solely on test results. Keep reading descriptions to find your best match.

Watch the Enneagram Rhapsody video from Rivers Crossing. It’s fun and also enlightening to identify your number.

Enneagram Rhapsody video


See the index of “20 Ways to Practice the Enneagram for Spiritual Growth”

Plus “Your Cheat Sheet: Summary for Enneagram Types”

Summary of Enneagram Types_download_th

69 thoughts on “What’s Your Number? The Enneagram and The Road Back to You

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I have a lot of people in my life who are Twos with One qualities. I wonder if that’s a popular type! I think I’m a One with Two qualities. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Bethany.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Cool to know. I was surprised I didn’t test higher on the 5 type because I relate to a lot of those qualities too. Maybe it’s the CoC background in us? ha. It’s such an intellectual brand of Christianity.

  1. blankJean Wise

    I’m a three, a huge 3! no doubt – every time I take the test same conclusion. LOL. And you are so right, knowing this has helped me accept myself more, be more forgiving of myself yet not use it as an excuse either. Fun series, Lisa~

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Oh, it’s lovely to see others who know their number. A 3 doesn’t surprise me for you, Jean. I see you as a very together and accomplished woman. I’d still like to read Richard Rohr’s book on the Enneagram also. I’m looking forward to learning more this weekend at the conference about the Enneagram.

  2. blankTrudy

    Very interesting, Lisa. I took the second test, and 6 is highest, then 9 and 2. I love what Ian says – “Inside each number is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart.” Something good to remember when dealing with others. My heart’s desire is to always see each person through the eyes of Jesus. Blessings and hugs to you!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Interesting how the results come out. I’ve had to keep reading more to see if my type is really mine. ha. I’m fairly settled now that I am a One, but another test gave me different results. Oh well. It’s likely that we all vary a little from day to day anyway! 🙂

      My older sister also tested as a 6 like you. Some of the descriptions are spot-on for her; some not so much. But overall, I think it’s accurate for her. And yes, I do pray that the information will be helpful in loving others better, seeing them as Jesus does! Blessings to you, Trudy.

  3. blankBarbara H.

    So the test results said, “It is not clear from these test results which Enneagram type and wing you are.” Ha! I was thinking before I took it that I could see some of myself in several of them. It says I scored 7s in 5, 6, and 1 (with 5 being the highest at 7.7).

    Some years ago a former pastor preached on spiritual gifts, and though I had heard much of it before, he was the first person I ever heard bring up the idea that there might be conflicts among people with different gifts, but they balance a church out. For instance, someone with the gift of discernment and someone with the gift of mercy would look at a given situation totally differently. A church filled with mercy-gifted people would likely go bankrupt due to constantly giving out, so the discerners and administrators help keep that in balance, but the people more leaning toward mercy would help the others reach out more than they might otherwise.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Perhaps that means that you’re very well-rounded. 🙂 I totally agree that we do need all the gifts to balance out our churches and communities and families. God sure knows what he’s doing when he puts us together, both individually and collectively. It continues to make me realize that our uniqueness is something to value, not contest.

  4. blankfloyd

    (Gulp!) I would be a three with a solid dose of the worst parts of a four. Those are pretty direct descriptions and pretty hard to deny.

    I’m gonna get this book. Cron is awesome. One of my top twenty books for me in the last ten years is his book, “My Dad, The CIA, and Me… a Memoir Of Sorts”.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I loved that book, too, Floyd! I’ve put it on Jeff’s one shelf of books because I think he would like it also. But he hasn’t bitten yet. 🙂 I also liked Cron’s novel, Chasing Francis, when you’re in the market for some fiction with a spiritual edge.

  5. blankJune

    Interesting test, Lisa! My results were either 1or5 but then it said, “It is not clear from these test results which Enneagram type and wing you are.” Ha!

    After reading what 1 and 5 are, I would have to agree with those results. Oh, and my “wing” was 2 so that makes sense also 🙂

    The quotes from the book that you shared are interesting and encourage further investigation. Have a blessed day!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I’m not sure if you should feel insulted or feel complimented by no clear answers, June. ha. I came out as a 1, but I know I have lots of 5 in me, too. It’s interesting! Let me know if you look further into it and what you think.

  6. blankRebecca

    I am a two, through and through. The creativity of the four is helping me to get out of my neediness a bit. The enneagram has help my husband and I, who appear to be opposites, really find some common ground. I have been sharing the Road Back to You podcast with everyone; such an accessible entry point to learning about how the enneagram works, I can’t wait to read the book!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Exciting that the Enneagram is helping your relationship! I hope I’ll be able to use it wisely in that way, too. I’m a One and my husband is a two, and just knowing it has opened up some new insights into our relationship. I’ve enjoyed listening to the podcast, too. I’m going to download the podcast about the Ones on my husband’s phone to give him some insight into me. 🙂 And I’ll relisten to the episode on Twos now that we’ve identified that as his number.

  7. blankwiredonjava

    I was not surprised to see that I avoid conflict as a #9. And the sweetheart label was nice. I was embarrassed to learn my deadly sin was sloth and shocked to see I was in the anger group, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I’m still amazed at how much the Enneagram gets right about us. 🙂 I know it’s not totally accurate or scientific, but it really does help provide insights into each of our types. Being a #9 sounds very pleasant to me as a #5. ha.

  8. blankBev @ Walking Well With God

    Lisa,
    I love the point that you make that even if we know OUR number, we need to be open to how to appreciate those with other numbers. Same with love languages. Just because we know OUR language, we need to appreciate when others speak to us in THEIR love language. Less of me, more of Him, better appreciation of others. Great thought provoking post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, Bev. Knowing about ourselves is only part of the equation; it’s always helpful to understand our friends and family too. It really helped me years ago when I understood that Jeff and I speak different love languages. 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I love listening to Suzanne’s podcast too. I also listen to Ian Cron’s. There have been a couple of other Enneagram podcasts that I’ve tried, but these are the only two that I regularly like.

  9. blankRebecca Hastings

    It feels like everyone on the planet knows their Enneagram number except me! LOL I loved your simple explanations. I’ve taken a quiz or two before but can’t seem to get it. Maybe I’ll give the book a try. I’ve heard good things!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Ha. Knowing your Enneagram number is definitely a topic of conversation these days. I’ve taken several quizzes but none of them have ever identified me as a 5. Yet when I read the material, I definitely relate most to the 5’s. It’s obviously not an exact science, but it’s interesting. 🙂

  10. blankBeth

    My husband and I are doing a marriage workshop based off the book “Becoming Us” by Beth and Jeff McCord, Lisa. It’s written for couples from a Christian perspective and they really show how to include the gospel in knowing and living out our types. I’m a 5 and 2 with 1 being pretty close behind those. I think it’s a great tool for understanding but never judging one another, like you’ve said here. Great post and I’ll be sharing!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Oh, how fun, Beth! I wish Jeff and I could do that. He’s heard a lot about the Enneagram from me. 🙂 I get an email newsletter from Beth McCord and have heard her on a couple of podcasts. I love how she integrates the Christian perspective. Makes it more valuable to me. I watched/listened to a webinar a few weeks ago that she and her husband did. Fascinating. Keep me posted on how the workshop goes!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I understand that, Martha. I always say I *think* I am a 5 because it doesn’t match me to a T either. None of them do. But I guess it’s the closest (or a 1). It’s good food for thought anyway. 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      If you tested consistently and that resonates with you, then you might really be a 1, Dana! I love 1’s because they do things so well. 🙂

      I go back and forth between thinking I’m a 1 (because I do have some perfectionist tendencies) or a 5 (because I love to learn things all the time). There are many things that I click with on both numbers, and many things that I don’t.

  11. blankPam Ecrement

    Hmmmmm! It seems the pop rage today is the enneagram! I have an adult granddaughter who LOVES everything about this assessment. She put me through the test several times because the results were ones she didn’t think fit and each time the assessment was a bit different as to the number.

    My challenge with the current craze was when we were visiting friends out-of-town and the entire Sunday message at their church was talking about this with no scripture or Biblical message at all.

    Your post will let me re-evaluate.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      It’s definitely a hot topic right now, Pam. I’ve heard some of the hard-core Enneagram people say they wish the fad would die down because there is too much shallow talk about it instead of true understanding. 🙂

      I’ve never thought the conclusions on the quizzes I took were conclusive for me either. That’s why I reluctantly shared the quiz links here. They are a good starting point, but it’s better to see which descriptions match instead of just the quiz results.

      The video I linked to at the bottom of the post is from River Crossings, a church (somewhere) that is doing a series on the Enneagram. I’ve only listened to one so far (on Type 5); the pastor really connected it great with the gospel. So I appreciate that. Yeah, kind of odd that the message you heard didn’t connect it at all. 🙁

      One of my favorite Enneagram books that connects the dots with Christianity is “The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth” by Christopher L. Heuertz. He really stays on topic. This book here, “The Road Back to You” is written by two pastors, but they don’t focus on the spiritual aspect as much as The Sacred Enneagram does.

  12. blankShelbee on the Edge

    I was not familiar with Enneagrams before, but after taking the test, my number is 7 which didn’t surprise me at all. I am all about introspection and knowing one’s self so we can always be alert to how to improve ourselves. I remain optimistic in the face of all sorts of life challenges. When things become too much to handle or understand, I will give it all up to my higher power to guide me in the right direction. This post was very beneficial to me right now as I am currently struggling with a specific person who just rubs me the wrong way. I keep telling myself to accept this person right where they stand, to keep my judgments in check, and limit my interactions when possible. It is challenging but it is the way that I wish to live my life and give all people the benefit of the doubt. Thank you for this wonderfully helpful message.

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      It sounds like you are moving in a wise direction with the person who is rubbing you the wrong way, Shelbee. Knowing where to draw healthy boundaries for ourselves is so important. Thanks for sharing how you are doing this! May God continue to bless you as you walk this journey.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it helps me be more patient with others when I understand where they are coming from. One of my sisters is a 6, and I lean towards 6 myself, so that one is easy for me to understand! 🙂

  13. blankJoanne Viola

    This must be the topic for discussion today as I saw the video in other places this morning 🙂 It is always interesting to see our strengths and weaknesses so that we can better serve God and others. I took the first test and am now going to take the second just to see if they come out the same. I’m very curious …

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I saw the video on Facebook myself a couple days ago so I decided to add it to my post here! 🙂 I also clicked on the series that the church there is doing on the Enneagram. The pastor did a great job tying scripture into it (at least the one I listened to on type 5). It’s been an interesting spiritual journey the past few years as I’ve learned more about personality types, including my own.

  14. blankJana

    This sounds very interesting. I keep hearing about it but have yet to read any book on the topic. You’ve convinced me to put this book on hold at my library. Thanks, Lisa!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      This book is a great primer, Jana. It explains the Enneagram plainly and with lots of good stories and examples. I enjoyed both the authors at the seminar they gave on the Enneagram and learned so much.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      You’re welcome, Lauren. Yes, it’s definitely a hot topic right now. There’s both good and bad stuff circulating around about it, so I hope everyone looks into it on their own to see how it is helpful (or not) to them individually.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Diane. We all need 4s to help make our world a beautiful place! I don’t think I have any 4s in my immediate family. I’m either a 5w6 or a 5w4. I’m still not sure yet. 🙂

  15. blankPatsy Burnette

    Lisa, I’m a 6. Insecure. Fearful. :-/ Thanks for the book suggestion. I had not heard of this one. Understanding our need for grace is a beautiful place to be.

    Shared.

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for sharing, Patsy. I have a lot of 6 in me as well so I understand where you’re coming from. I have a lot of fears. I try to push through them but sometimes they push on me harder. It helps to understand more about it and how God can work through each of our personality strengths and weaknesses. So grateful for grace!

  16. blankBettieG

    I have friends who completed training to become spiritual directors recently, and understanding the Enneagram was part of their classwork, so they have talked with me about it often. But this is the first time I’ve actually completed the quiz. The longer section listed me as a 2, which is what they have thought fit me so well, and I agree. But it’s so interesting how the Lord has taken this Chronic Illness journey to uncover some of the biggest weaknesses of that type. He is such a Dear Shepherd for us, isn’t He? He is always at work to fulfill His purposes in our lives. Thank you for this great discussion here. Blessings to you! (And I am continuing to pray for your friend to be able to find insurance approval for her treatments.)

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      That is awesome for your friends. I would appreciate having a spiritual director who understands the Enneagram.

      Chronic illnesses open the window to many things that we don’t know about ourselves otherwise. You are such an encouragement to stay strong and look for the Lord in all situations, Bettie. Thanks for your prayers for my friend. She was able to begin the more intensive treatments a few days ago, praise God!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Let me know what your type is, if you do it, Anita! I’m always curious how other people test. 🙂 Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out which type we most identify with, and reading about it often gives you greater insight than the actual test.

  17. blankJean Wise

    Hello fellow Three! We are teaching this at church right now. Fascinating insights and actually building fellowship in the group as we learn with compassion about each other.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      One of our pastors at church mentioned leading a small group on the Enneagram but she hasn’t had a chance to do it yet. I imagine it’s enlightening to do it with your fellow church members, Jean!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I’d say those are quite opposites! At least you’re both in the gut triad, for what that’s worth. 🙂 My husband and I are both in the head triad (if he’s really a 7 and I’m really a 5). 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I’m not as familiar with Myer-Briggs but I have done the test several times through the years and always come up as an ISFJ-A. 🙂 I think it’s fascinating as well. I love the different models for helping us gain more insights into our strengths and weaknesses.

  18. blankBetsy Gunderson

    Check out the podcast Enneagram for Idiots. They do “deep dives” on every type (90 min episodes). I just listened to the 4 episode and it was amazing. I think you’d appreciate the depth of the content.

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