I have a secret.
I have a tool (codename: E9) that’s so ridiculously useful to my Pathfinding work, it’s not an exaggeration to call it my ace in the hole.
And I’ve never written about it before today.
Why not? Because I was intimidated. I’ve only been learning about E9 for 3 years, and I still feel like a noob compared to some of the E9 experts I know. Take your own advice, Pace.
Why not? Because everyone I know who teaches about E9 teaches exclusively about E9, and I’m afraid to open Pandora’s Box. I’m afraid of becoming just another face in the crowd of E9 coaches instead of the one, the only Pathfinding Coach. Take your own advice, Pace.
Why not? Because up until this point, I’ve prided myself on learning from many schools of thought, but not belonging to any of them. It fits my image of myself as a rebel, an outsider. Maybe belonging is your edge, Pace.
I’m ready. Let’s drop the code names and pull back the curtain.
It’s the Enneagram.
Illustration by Kelly Kingman, graphic recorder
The Enneagram (pronounced ANY-a-gram) is a system for identifying which path your soul is on in its journey toward Oneness. There are 9 possible paths that a human soul can take (“ennea” is Greek for “nine”), and once you know which path you’re on, the Enneagram can point you in the right direction for your own personal and spiritual growth. These 9 paths are called “Enneagram types”, “enneatypes”, or simply “types”.
How I found the Enneagram
Back when Kyeli and I lived in Austin, Susan Piver taught a workshop on the Enneagram and she invited us to attend. Before the workshop, we met for dinner at Mother’s, our favorite vegetarian restaurant. We sat in the garden, with a nice view of the koi pond.
Susan did an impression of the communication style of each of the 9 Enneagram types. When she came to Type 3, she made bold sweeps with her arms as she said, “Here’s what I’m going to tell you. You’re going to love it. Okay, now I’ve told you, and it was totally awesome, right?”
Kyeli burst out howling with laughter, saying, “You just did a perfect, spot-on Pace impression! That was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life!”
“No way,” I harumphed, and crossed my arms. “I don’t talk like that.”
“You totally do,” said Kyeli, struggling to speak through the laughter. “Especially when you get into Pace Explains mode.”
I harumphed once more, and asked Susan to carry on to Type 4, which would be Kyeli’s opportunity to harumph.
But Kyeli was right. I do talk (and gesture) like that. And Susan hardly knew me at that point, so how could she do such an accurate impression of me?
I was hooked – and I only got more hooked from there.
I learned more by reading books.
(I have lots of copies of The Wisdom of the Enneagram because I give a copy to each of my new Pathfinding clients.)
I learned more by observing.
I began to notice patterns in myself, in Kyeli, and in others. Then I looked more deeply to see if I could discover what drove those patterns from underneath.
The Enneagram is not just about the surface-level behaviors of people, it’s about our underlying motivations. Understanding the motivations of others helps me relate to them more deeply, which helps me feel compassion instead of confusion – and it helps me make the usual error less often!
I learned more by talking about it with anyone who would sit still for more than 30 seconds.
Even though I haven’t written about the Enneagram, if you’ve had a conversation with me in person any time in the past 3 years, I bet I brought it up, didn’t I? (:
I learned more by teaching.
Last year, I taught an in-person workshop about the Enneagram and the Desire Map, and it was an amazing experience. Preparing for it and teaching it taught me a lot about the Enneagram and about myself.
I learned more by creating a tiny study group.
Kyeli and I are currently studying The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram in depth by reading it out loud to each other, discussing it, and making copious notes in the margins.
And that brings us to today.
All of this learning and practice has been happening behind the scenes, and it didn’t feel right to hide such an integral part of my life’s work.
So I worked through my resistance, and I’m sharing my story: I’m here to help you find your path, and the Enneagram is chock full of insights that empower me to do an even better job at it.
So what’s next?
A new podcast called Wild Crazy Meaningful Enneagram. There aren’t any Enneagram podcasts currently active; it’ll be a great way to deepen our study of the Enneagram and share the knowledge with you, too. We’re still in the planning phase, but we’ll let you know when we’re on the air!
What else is next?
Pace Explains the Enneagram.
What other else is next?
Enneagram Explorations! One-on-one sessions with me where we’ll explore your Enneagram type and how it can help you live a wild, crazy, meaningful life.
Could there even be a fourth thing that is next?
Yes indeedy! After studying the Enneagram for three years and not writing about it, I’ve got a lot to say that I’ve been bottling up. So you can look forward to reading more about the Enneagram, and how it can help you find your path!
p.s. After I wrote the dramatic line “And I’ve never written about it before today”, I realized that I have actually written about the Enneagram once before; I told the story of how I admitted that I am actually an Enneagram Three. Oops! And that reminds me, I still owe you the story of the second time the Enneagram changed my life!