So, this was the week I officially became a certified practitioner in using the amazing self-assessment tool, The Enneagram.

To be awarded this status, one writes a case study on how they have used it with a client to bring about deeper self-awareness and to help lead them to a fundamental shift in the way they think, feel, and show up in the world, towards a place of authentic integration.

I have learned so much about type, subtype, motivations, fixations, vice, and virtues to name a few, of my client, but I have also learned a great deal about myself. Some of these are ‘typical’ patterns of behaviours of a type 1, a strict perfectionist, and some of it is just me. Here are just some examples….

Wanting to put the world to rights

My worldview acknowledges the imperfections of the world and how I can work towards improving it, myself, and others. I am motivated to make the world a better place always with a view on what’s right and what’s wrong. This of course leads to judgement both of me, my inner critic can be very loud, and of others. I am trying to use this in a positive way of creating change, becoming an active campaigner, and lobbying for causes I believe in.


I am supposedly a stickler for rules and standards, good and bad, correct, and incorrect and being conscientious around avoiding mistakes. Is this another fear of being judged? I am slowly but surely moving away from the language of ‘I should, I must, I ought to’.  Who knows what joy this may bring?

Fear of being criticised

This is the ‘vulnerability’ of a Type 1 – while I like to point out others’ imperfections, I’m really not that keen on someone pointing out mine. In fact, I dislike it intensely and will react defensively, possibly with anger. Reading this for the first time made me angry. Enough said.


My subtype is actually a counter-type to usual Type 1’s in that I prefer to reform others than myself. I see the potential for things to be better and reshape people around me to help make those happen. I can hold my hands up to this, yet I don’t feel I get off too lightly myself in how I want to ‘better’ me. I’m learning to stop creating unrealistic expectations both for myself and others. I’m some way away from serenity but at least it now exists in my thinking.


In my striving for perfectionism, my case study took hours, possibly days, longer than was perhaps necessary. I found it really difficult to sit and write it, even parts of it, until I was absolutely sure I knew it was going to be the best I could do. I became quite judgemental, self-critical, and pedantic, driven by a sense that it was not good enough. And then, I spent even longer deliberating on whether to send it in once complete. Here lies my keenest area for growth; accepting and challenging myself to ‘what’s good enough’ and allowing myself to embrace ambiguity and imperfection in myself and the world around me.

The above is just another stage in my learning. There is so much depth to the Enneagram, it’s hard to know where to begin (or is that just a Type 1 talking?). Beginning is the step I would highly recommend though as I remain fascinated by it 6 months on and hope to be for many years to come.

It can be misunderstood by some as ‘another box to put people into’. It’s not. It’s a way of understanding why we do what we do, what drives us, our core motivations, and what we can do to better ourselves. Everyone wants to do that right? This is the gift that keeps giving in more ways than one.