The Enneagram Head Triad with James P. Owens – Part 4 of 4 | FP 57

The Enneagram Head Triad with James P Owens

Are you part of the enneagram types 5, 6, or 7? How can you best work with these types in a work environment? What can you do as a private practice owner to encourage your employees to do their best work if they come from one of these types?

In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks with James P. Owens about the Enneagram head triad.

Meet James P. Owens

James P Owens is a pastor, podcaster, and self-described Bible geek. He is a graduate of Denver Seminary and Duke Divinity School and the host of Hermeneutic of Resistance, a podcast about interpreting the Bible in ways that resist oppression and open doors for human liberation.

Visit his website.

Connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to his podcast.

In This Podcast

  • Type 5
  • Type 6
  • Type 7

Type 5

Type 5 is also known as the Investigator or the Observer. They are characterized by how they do, or do not, deal with fear. They externalize their fears into the world.

Type 5s tend to:

  • Think before they act and collect knowledge, they conserve their energy. They come across as being very much in their heads.
  • Their main desires are to be capable and confident; they fear being helpless or being incapable. Therefore, this fear of being incapable is soothed by constantly seeking out knowledge.

Type 5s strengths and weaknesses lie in:

  • Being open to new ideas due to their constant pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. They are very original thinkers and good listeners.
  • Type 5s are thinking, dominant.
  • On the other hand, their weakness can be that they are not always good with emotions and feeling emotions at the moment. They also tend to withdraw. They may need to take time away to conserve and build up their energy.

If you have a type 5 in your practice:

  • Give them space to work on their projects, they are able to handle their time and energy well and do not need to be micromanaged.
  • To reward them, they do not find material gifts so important and they will appreciate being given more time or space to think about things or have more time to themselves.
  • By praising a type 5s idea is a good way to encourage them because they put a lot of time and energy into organizing and perfecting their thoughts before presenting them.

Type 6

Type 6 is also known as the Loyalist and the Skeptic, or even the Loyal Skeptic. They are internalized by an internal complexity, being loyal yet both skeptical to authority and roles of leadership. They have an ability to anticipate downfalls, they seek out things to give them security and structure. Type 6 internalizes their fears.

Type 6s desires and weaknesses are:

  • Type 6s desire security and guidance. They seek out things to give them structure and something to rely on. They seek out support in other people, they take the compliance stance and move towards being close to other people.
  • However, their basic fears are being and feeling insecure.

Some of type 6 strengths are:

  • Being good team players. They are capable of dealing with tricky situations, and they tend to be faithful in relationships and they can foresee potential problems on the horizon.
  • Therefore, on the flip side, they do tend to worry a lot. They have some self-doubt and doubt their abilities to deal in difficult circumstances.

If you are a type 6, remember the times when you do things well. Rely on your firsthand experience when you need guidance. If you have a type 6 in your practice, you can gently nudge them to try out difficult things, push them through the worry, and encourage them to try out doing tricky things.

Type 7

Type 7 is also known as the Enthusiast. They are characterized by their need to avoid pain, they are always fun-loving. In the thinking triad, they are very thinking-oriented yet they can be quite disconnected from their emotions. They use their thinking to consider the future, they spend a lot of time in their heads, planning for the future. They ignore their fears.

Type 7s basic desires and fears are:

  • They desire to be satisfied. They can quickly reframe a negative into a positive. They seek to devour life and take in pleasurable experience after pleasurable experience because their basic fear is to be stuck in unpleasant places
  • They are all about positive things, they tend to avoid or push down negative things. They constantly seek pleasurable things and therefore could be susceptible to addiction. They are tough to pin down because they are always after the next great thing. They may come across as a little disorganized although they can think quickly on the fly.

Type 7s make good leaders. They take the aggressive or assertive stance, they push through life and make a path for others to follow along with that they are doing. They do a good job of pushing people out of their comfort zones and encourage many people to try their ideas without thinking on them too much.

If you have type 7 employees:

  • Give them space to share their crazy ideas, but you may have to keep them on the right track and help them stay focused. You do not need to box them in or push them into a corner, but you will need to set some guidelines for them to follow.
  • They may need to be taught how to work with boundaries and deadlines while giving them the freedom to explore.

Take the free Enneagram Test here.

Useful Links:

Meet Whitney Owens

Photo of Christian therapist Whitney Owens. Whitney helps other christian counselors grow faith based private practices!Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.

Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.

Thanks For Listening!

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Faith in Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts that are changing the world. To hear other podcasts like Empowered and Unapologetic, Bomb Mom, Imperfect Thriving, Marketing a Practice or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[WHITNEY]:
If you’re wanting to start a faith-based practice, or maybe you’re wanting to take your faith-based practice to the next level, I want you to consider joining a mastermind group. A mastermind group is a group of like-minded individuals that are all building practices at about the same level. You can apply for that mastermind group by going over to practiceofthepractice.com/apply. I’ll be taking applications for the next few weeks. This is for those that are wanting to start a practice, wanting to grow their practice, or wanting to scale their practice, or maybe even add practitioners to your practice. The mastermind group contains meeting with me every other week for six months in a group setting so I can help you get your practice to the right place. So I want you to go on over to practiceofthepractice.com/apply.

Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host, Whitney Owens, recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner, and private practice consultant. Each week, through personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow, and scale your private practice from a faith-based perspective. I’m going to show you how to have an awesome, faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.

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[WHITNEY]:
So this is the last episode in our four-part series for the month of November on the enneagram. And so if you have not listened to the previous episodes on the enneagram, please, either stop now and go back or listen to it afterwards. They do kind of grow on each other. I absolutely love the enneagram. I have really enjoyed this series. So I have got James P. Owens back in the house with me. And that is my husband, but also I consider him an enneagram expert and he opened my eyes to the enneagram. And so now he’s here today to talk about the third triad, the head triad. How are you, James?

[JAMES]:
Doing good, glad to be back with you, Whitney. And this has been really fun to do these episodes on the enneagram. I think there’s so much depth and richness to what we can learn from this personality assessment tool that has so much to say about who we are and how we can grow as individuals. So I’m excited to talk about the head triad, five, six and seven are their enneagram types, five, six and seven. And of course, this is where I am as a type five. So I’m particularly interested to dive into that.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, well, let’s kind of tackle that first. Share what it was like for you when you heard about the enneagram and how that’s kind of impacted your life.

[JAMES]:
Yes. As I mentioned, I am a type five and five is a type that is generally a very thinking type, usually a little bit introverted, kind of tends to conserve energy and withdraw from social situations in some cases. And so I discovered the enneagram at a time when I really [unclear]. You know, I’ve heard Ian Cron – one of the enneagram authors, and definitely a well-known expert on the enneagram – I’ve heard him say that you find the enneagram when you need it, and that was certainly the case for me. As I mentioned on one of the earlier episodes, I’m a pastor, I work for a church. But before I came to the church that I’m at now, I was finishing up seminary, during an Mdiv. We were living out in Colorado, you and I, and we were at a particular church. And this church, I was kind of meeting with some folks that were part of the church, pursuing ministry, serving my calling to ministry. And at the end of that time period, they basically told me, you won’t be a good pastor, you don’t have the personality to be a pastor. Without really knowing what they were talking about, they said all these things that, you know, you don’t have the personality for this, you’re not the right fit, don’t do this, do something else with your life, save yourself the trouble.

And so that, of course, was a challenging thing to hear for me, and very difficult for us at the time. But I remember, I had heard of the enneagram before. I was at a school called Denver Seminary and the enneagram was kind of, you know, in the air there a little bit. I was never assigned anything to do with it in a class. But I worked at the library and so I saw people checking out Richard Rohr’s book, I think it’s reserved for one of the counseling courses there. And so I had heard of the enneagram before and understood just a little bit about what it was. And I remember distinctly you were meeting with one of your mentors, Whitney. And you kind of told her, well, you know, James, he’s a little bit more intellectual, he’s a little bit more thinky, he’s a little bit more introverted than a lot of pastors. But, you know, the things they said about him still didn’t seem right. And your mentor kind of thought about it for a second and she said, hmm, I wonder if he’s a five on the enneagram. I don’t know if you remember this, Whitney, or not. But that’s…

[WHITNEY]:
That’s funny. I didn’t know we were gonna go here. Um, I actually didn’t remember that specific story, but I do remember that mentor being the first person that really talked to me about the enneagram. She was actually a social worker so she knew all about it.

[JAMES]:
Yeah, absolutely. And I had, like said, I had heard of the enneagram and even looked into it a little bit myself. But that moment in particular was important because I was like, okay, maybe I need to go back and look at this enneagram thing, maybe it can help me. And so I got a little bit into it at that time, and kind of started to dive into it a little, and did indeed confirm that I am, in fact, dominant in type five. And that seemed like a really good fit for me. But we sort of went on, we kind of moved on a little bit. And I was, despite what these people at this one church said about me, I was so soldiering on, pursuing my calling to ministry, worked in different things for a little while. But eventually, wound up at the church that I’m at now. So we moved back to Georgia and I, you know, got on staff at a church and started working in ministry. Of course, discovered that I did indeed have the gifts and calling to ministry.

But I also thought, well, you know what, this enneagram thing kind of keeps coming up in my mind, I really want to delve more into it, I really want to go deeper in it. So I started reading, started researching it. And let me tell you, so many of the things I learned about myself as a type five have been so important and necessary for me to survive and thrive in the ministry that I’m in now. I don’t think I would be quite where I am today, especially in terms of my self-understanding, you know, understanding what energizes me in ministry, what I’m good at, what I’m not good at. What drains me in ministry, what is difficult for me. And also just in the ways that I can grow, if I didn’t understand the enneagram. So definitely a success story, just so you know. I mean, I’m here where I am today [unclear] the way that I’ve grown by looking at things through the lens of the enneagram.

[WHITNEY]:
So this just proves that sometimes spouses don’t talk about everything. I didn’t know that it was during that time in Denver when those people were not nice to you, that that was when the enneagram really hit you. So, that’s cool.

[JAMES]:
Well, I think it was an important moment. Obviously, you know, it was more recently that I really got more into it after being here.

[WHITNEY]:
But I love that, like, it was in this moment where people were saying, you’re not who you think you are. And you were like, yes, I am. And so the enneagram allowed you to find yourself more because, yeah, you don’t have the personality of a three, or a seven, or these people that often are pastors – or maybe nines are pastors – but you know, some of these other personalities that become pastors, you were different. And the five has so much still to offer because that’s always what I really admire about you as a pastor, is your knowledge base. And when you preach, you got a lot of knowledge to give. And so yeah, you kind of took those strengths as a five and understanding it and put those in practice. So I love it. Cool.

[JAMES]:
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s one of the cool things about the enneagram is that it does not hold you down to any one particular job or style of work or style of being in the world. It doesn’t, as we’ve said before, put you in a box. It’s not as though a five can’t be a pastor or a five can’t be a counselor. You know, some other personality tests, they kind of say, well, you know, you might want to look at these kinds of jobs. The enneagram doesn’t really do that. There’s no, like, type that can’t do a certain job. Discovering your enneagram type, and getting into it more deeply, will only help you in whatever work it is that you feel called and led to do.

[WHITNEY]:
Mmhmm. Totally. Great. Do you want to kind of go ahead and talk about each of the head triad numbers?

[JAMES]:
Yeah, absolutely. So we’ll start with type five, since that’s kind of where we’re already at. Just to review real quick, there are three triads in the enneagram. Of course, there’s nine types, and we divide them up sometimes into three triads. Eight, nine and one, the gut or anger triad. Two, three and four, the heart or feelings triad, and you can go back and listen to our previous episodes to get a little more in depth on both of those. And then finally, today we’ve arrived at the head triad. Five, six and seven, types that are kind of in their heads. They relate to the world through thinking, more so than feeling or, kind of, through their gut. These types are also characterized by how they deal with or don’t deal with their fear. Fives externalize their fear, they put it out to the world and say, well, if I can observe the world, investigate the world, learn, know everything I need to know then I won’t have to be afraid. Sixes internalize their fear. Sixes are the types that do tend to worry, and so they have fears sometimes not the most rational. Sevens, on the other hand, ignore their fears. Oh fear, what fear? I don’t have any fear. I’m going to just do whatever seems fun and happy at the time. So that’s five, six and seven.

So yeah, type five, we can go a little more in depth on. This type is called the Investigator, or the Observer. And you know, as a type five, initially, when I discovered that this is what I was, I resonated a lot more with the term ‘Investigator’. I saw, oh, yeah, that’s really neat. I really like to get to the bottom of things. I really like to research. I really like academic pursuits, and all kinds of stuff like that. But as I grow a little more, I can see the appropriateness of the ‘Observer’ title as well. I do think that fives are observant. Not all fives are intellectual. If you’re a five and you’re like, well, that’s not really me. I’m not really a big reader. I don’t think of myself as super intellectual. You probably are more observant than most people. And I never really realized that this was true for me until more recently, and I just kind of realized, you know, so often when somebody asked me a question, hey, did you notice this? Like, well, yeah, I noticed that. Or just kind of realizing that how much more easily I noticed things than other people do. Even to the point where sometimes I’m offended if people think I didn’t notice something, like, yeah, of course I noticed that, you know, who do you think I am?

So that’s just kind of one of those [unclear], realizing, having that self-awareness to know how we’re different than other people. But fives do like to collect knowledge, tend to conserve energy, think before acting, definitely very thinky types. Fives come across as being very much in their heads. Our basic desire as fives is to be capable and competent, we really fear being helpless. To be left helpless, or to be incapable, is the worst possible thing for a five. And so we try to develop that competency through the acquisition of knowledge in many cases. For this reason, some of the strengths of fives are being open to new ideas, being good listeners, you know, wanting to take in all that information. Fives can be very original thinkers.

Now, on the other hand, fives do tend to come across as not being very emotional. Fives often are actually comfortable with emotions, but we are generally not emotionally demonstrative. We don’t really connect well with our own feelings, we have to kind of think down to get to our feelings. We don’t feel things very well in the moment. Maybe sometimes later on, we can go back and oh, yeah, I was feeling dah, dah, dah, you know, if I have time to think about it. But we’re not not very emotionally demonstrative. But that can be a positive as well, fives do come across as being pretty stable, not ruled by their feelings, not not prone to, you know, big mood swings or back and forths with feelings. Another struggle is that fives do tend to withdraw, do tend to be a little more introverted. So in certain careers, in certain social situations, that can be a struggle as well.

[WHITNEY]:
Great. Yeah, I actually think those are all good characteristics of you. So I love that fives are solid in their emotions, because then it doesn’t make them all over the place. So then when I have an emotion to share, you can listen to it.

[JAMES]:
Sure. And fives do often tend to be really good listeners, you know, you might not think a five is a type that would be attracted to a field, like say counseling, for example, you know, a lot of your listeners are running counseling practices, or are counselors themselves. And so you might not think of type five as a type that’s attracted to that kind of field. But I bet you’ll find more fives in counseling than you might realize, because fives are very good listeners, can really sit and take in, you know, kind of non judgmentally in many cases. And so I think there probably are a lot of fives counselors. So if you have a five that works for you, or you are a five, realize that’s a real gift for yourself or for the person that works for you. But also just know that you need that space, you need to take that space away from people. You might come across as being a little cold or aloof to people, so be aware of how you come across, that your natural way of being is to come across as a little detached, a little removed from the situation. So really be intentional and step forward and engage with people and with social situations when you need to. And of course, take the time away, take the chill time to relax too because you need that as well.

[WHITNEY]:
It seems like I’ve noticed that fives work really well when they have a task, but when they can kind of go away and do it on their own in the way that they want to do it, and they can think through it themselves without someone giving them, like, here’s the step by step plan, or, hey, I’m gonna look over your shoulder. They just need to have that space to do the project and then you’ll be amazed at what they come back with.

[JAMES]:
Yeah, I mean, the biggest thing for managing a five is, just like you said, to give them space. Fives do work very well independently. Give them that space. And generally, if you want to reward a five, fives don’t want the typical rewards. Fives don’t generally care too much about material possessions, they don’t really care too much about status in many cases, or the corner office, or the bonus, or whatever. Give them more autonomy, give them more freedom, give them more space. That’s what fives are really after. And also, if you are talking to a five, you know, say you’re the boss, and you’re managing a five, give them time to think about it. Give us time to think about our answer. You may be a three, or an eight, or a seven, and you’re going a hundred million miles an hour. Well, your five employee needs a minute to think about it. And they will think about it and they will come back with something that is in many cases very creative, very original, very well thought out, if you just give them a minute to think about it.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, yeah. And as far as how you encourage them, like, verbally, saying, wow, that’s so creative, or that’s so intelligent, or you really put a lot of time into that, and just really affirming the work they did, really is how they feel successful.

[JAMES]:
Yeah, absolutely. That’s very true. You know, we talk about the stances as well. So, you know, fives are thinking dominant, we’re in that withdrawn stance. So we’re moving away from people, generally, we’re dominant in thinking. And so we have feelings. Fives don’t seem very emotional but we have feelings about the things we’re thinking. So if you praise the things we’re thinking, if you praise our thoughts, and you say, oh, that was a really good thought, that was a really good idea, that’s a really great way to encourage and reward a five.

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[WHITNEY]:
The Faith in Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network. A network of podcasts seeking to help you start, grow, and scale your practice. To hear other episodes like the Imperfect Thriving podcast, Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

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[WHITNEY]:
All right, anything else on five?

[JAMES]:
I think we can move on to type six right now. So type six is called the Loyalists or the Skeptic, or the Loyal Skeptic sometimes. Six is one of the more complex types, I think, even though there are a lot of [unclear] that are sixes – very common, or so we’ve been taught in the enneagram community. But I think that type sixes are characterized by that sort of internal complexity, that they are loyal to authorities, loyal to systems, loyal to structures, but at the same time, very skeptical of them. The way this works often is that you’ll see sixes in roles where they have to be committed to a particular institution, you see a lot of sixes in policing, firefighting, school systems, hospital, church. Sixes generally tend to be attracted to, and committed to these systems of authority. But at the same time, sixes have this ability to anticipate and to kind of find the problems with things, find the potential pitfalls really well. And so they tend to be very skeptical of that very same authority. So there’s this kind of push and pull, this kind of back and forth within sixes of being very much seeking out something to give them security, seeking out something to give them structure, but also being a little bit skeptical of it at the same time.

Sixes’ basic desire, you won’t be surprised to hear after that, is to have support and guidance; sixes are seeking out support and guidance. So they will seek that out in other people. Sixes are part of the… Sixes take the compliance stance, which means they move towards other people. So sixes are seeking out teamwork, they’re seeking out to build a structure, a team to work together on something, seek that security and guidance from other people, to work together with others. Their basic fear goes right along with that. Sixes have this feeling of insecurity. Often, some of the strengths of type sixes you’ll find are that they’re good team players. As children, sixes are the type of kids that coaches love to have on their teams because they follow the rules, they follow what the coach says and do what they’re supposed to do. Sixes tend to be faithful in all types of relationships. They have a real strong ability, as I mentioned before, to foresee potential problems. To kind of look out over the horizon, say okay, here’s what can go wrong with this.

For that reason, on the flip side, sixes struggle with expecting the worst, or with worrying too much about things that may not happen. And I think for a lot of sixes, they have a lot of self-doubt. This is very common with folks that are dominant in type six. They doubt themselves, they say, well, you know, this bad thing could happen, I’m not going to do well at this, they tend to forget their past successes, and only focus on the future failure. So if you’re a type six, and you’re a practice owner, counselor, remember your past successes, think about when you did something and it went really well. Remember that because you do tend to forget them.

But one of the cool things about sixes is that they do anticipate the worst, they anticipate, you know, something bad happening, oh, you know, I worry this could happen, I worry that could happen. But generally speaking, when something bad does happen, a six is the kind of person you want on your side, because they can actually handle it really well. So I think for sixes, remember that as well. For all your worry, for all your anticipation of bad things happening, well, when they do happen, you know what, you’re actually very capable of dealing with it, and tend to do so very well.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, you know, I do see sixes as owners of businesses and things like that. So we can definitely talk about that, too. I had seen a study, because, you know, a lot of sixes kind of get a bad rap for worrying too much. But actually, I have heard that that is who you want on your team because they’re going to see those pitfalls, you know, things that you need to be aware of, but a study I had heard about, it was like, I think it was apes – you might correct me on this, if you’ve heard of it – but there were all these apes. And I guess they found that some of them seemed to be ones that worried more, I don’t know how they figured that out but they were in this community, and they worried. And so they took them out of the community, and the community died off quickly. And so the idea about six is, even though they worry, they see a lot of things we don’t, and so you’re gonna thrive a lot more having them around instead of dying off.

[JAMES]:
Well, I was not familiar with that study but that is super interesting, and I think shows us a lot about the need for type sixes in all of our institutions. You know, just like you said, if you’re a three or a seven and you get all jazzed about some new idea you’ve got and you’re gonna go, you know, full bore into it, the type six might be the person saying, hey, wait a minute. Have you ever thought about X, Y, and Z? Or did you stop to consider how this could go wrong with A, B, and C? And that may not feel fun at the time, especially if you’re like a three or seven, but you need that. You need your type six to keep you grounded. And to, like I said, anticipate those potential problems so that you work together and mitigate them. And yeah, I think that the analogy with the apes is really great, that without those people, it falls apart. It’s been said that sixes often are the glue of society. And so without them, our societies would fall apart. I’m sure there’s lots of sixes that are keeping our school systems running, that are keeping our fire departments and hospitals and churches, even as well, running

[WHITNEY]:
That’s so true. Yeah. And I haven’t really encountered sixes too much in my actual practice, like, with my employees, but I have encountered them in consulting, as business owners. And I have found that I have to really challenge them a lot because they will come up with a reason not to start a practice, or not to add a clinician, or not to invest this money, like, in every single thing that pops up. So I don’t want to negate their concern because their concern is important, and let’s talk through it. But at the end of the day, usually I have to help them see you can’t let your worries keep you from moving forward, and to really push sixes to challenge those worries, not only with rationality but also with action. Well, hey, let’s just try this and let’s see what happens. And that’s really hard for them. But it’s really cool to see when they actually do step out and do it, how neat it is when it works.

[JAMES]:
Yeah, that’s awesome. And another thing that if you’re a manager and you’re working with six employees who do have that kind of fearfulness about things, is to remind them of their past successes. That’s really a big thing. Because no doubt the type six folks that we know have a lot of really great things that they bring to the table and have had a lot of successes in the past, but their tendency is to… kind of helping them with hey, you know, when you did this, it went really well. Don’t you think you can do this now?

[WHITNEY]:
Mm hmm. For sure. Anything else on six?

[JAMES]:
I think that’s good. I think we can go into type seven. We all love type sevens, the Enthusiasts or the Epicurer. Type seven is a joyous, fun-loving type, characterized by the need to avoid pain or to avoid negativity. Type sevens are in the thinking triad, do tend to be very thinking oriented. They’re not touchy, feely kind of people. In fact, I think that sevens at times are actually the most disconnected from their emotions. They have no natural move on the enneagram into that feelings triad, so they do tend to be a little disconnected from their emotions. They use their thinking, though, to think about the future and to think about all the really great and fun things that they can do in the future. Sevens are in their heads, planning for the future, planning for the best outcomes, planning for all the awesome things they’re going to do next. They’re adventurous, they seek pleasure, tend to be quick-witted and funny in many cases. Sevens almost always can make us smile and laugh.

Their basic desire is to be satisfied. So sevens are kind of seeking to devour life, to take in pleasurable experience after pleasurable experience because their basic fear is to be trapped, is to be stuck, to be stuck in pain or stuck in negativity, or stuck in some kind of bad situation. So if you know a seven, you probably can say, oh, yeah, this guy that I know is seven, and he’s this way. They’re very easy to spot sometimes. Sevens tend to radiate joy and often [unclear]. Their gifts are that they’re fun to be around, they’re very quick-thinking, can think on their feet, can respond to difficult situations very quickly and kind of reframe a negative into a positive very quickly, which can be a struggle at times, but can also be very positive, especially if you’re a leader. As leaders, sevens tend to be pretty inspiring. They’re the kind of people that you want to follow you, they can cast a very compelling vision.

We’ve talked about stances. And I have mentioned the compliance stance and the withdrawn stance already in this one. Sevens take the aggressive or assertive stance, meaning they move independently. So they’re kind of out there saying, hey, I’m doing this fun thing, I’m doing this awesome thing, y’all get on board if you want to. They’re probably still going to do it, whether you do or not. But people generally do want to get on board and follow along with what sevens do. Some of the negative sides of that tend to be that because they’re all about positivity and avoiding pain, sevens have a bad tendency to suppress negative feelings, and emotions. They really have trouble sitting with anything that doesn’t feel good, or feels negative. Sevens are always looking for some kind of new stimulation. For this reason, they are prone to addiction. All types, of course, can be prone to addiction. But sevens perhaps more than any others, do struggle with this idea of addiction because they are seeking pleasurable experience after pleasurable experience. Also, another kind of problem with sevens is that they’re tough to pin down. Sevens do tend to avoid commitment. So if you’re trying to get a seven, hey, give me a firm answer. Are you coming to this thing or not? Are you doing this or not? That can be a little tough with a type seven, because they’re always after the next great thing and they don’t want to be tied down or stuck in any kind of thing that you’re trying to get them to do.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah. Sevens do a really good job of stretching you out of your comfort zones, like, because they’re excited, and they want to do adventurous things, they’re saying, hey, come join me in this thing I’m doing. And so people just kind of follow them and they’re more likely to have fun with them. So I definitely try to find sevens to be friends with, also to do business around because they’re going to make me come up with really fun ideas that are inspiring and push the practice forward.

[JAMES]:
Yeah, so absolutely, type sevens really do have that ability to be inspiring leaders. Yeah, I think, if I’m not mistaken, Rob Bell is a seven. Pastor Rob Bell, the preacher, well-known speaker, author, and he’s this kind of leader where he really just gets up there and gives you the big picture of oh, this is how awesome this is. And if we all got on board with this, this would be so great. And so I think that if you’re a seven as a practice owner, as a business owner, that’s probably a real strength of yours, kind of that storytelling.

[WHITNEY]:
Definitely. Yeah, Rob Bell is a seven. I love his podcast.

[JAMES]:
Yeah. And so, likewise, realize that you have some limitations as well. If you are a seven, you probably come across to people as not being very organized. Even if it’s all organized in your own mind, even if that’s just fine for you, realize other people sometimes need a little more organization than you do. Other people don’t think on the fly as well as you if you’re a seven, and so they might need a little more help with that. And so, get yourself organized, find people in your life that can help you with that, get your ones and sixes that are around you to kind of help you to get reined in, get organized, get focused on one thing. As a seven, you tend to jump from thing to thing, you get jazzed about one thing, you come to another one, you jump to another one, you got lots of irons in the fire, probably, if you’re a type seven. So lean on other folks that can help you, hey, settle down, focus on this one thing. Let’s get it done and then you can do your other thing.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, sevens are really fun people. Anything else on seven?

[JAMES]:
Yes. If you have seven employees, you know, give them space to have that vision, dream those dreams, to think about those things. Let them share their crazy ideas, the things they want to do, and kind of give them that space and affirm them when they do. And then just keep them on the right track, I guess would be the big thing, I’d say, if you’re managing seven employees, is you give them that space. Don’t make them feel like they’re boxed in but let them kind of have some space to feel and grow and discover the things they want to do.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah, so basically, don’t let them feel boxed in but, kind of, box them in.

[JAMES]:
Yeah, I think it’s a tough balance, you know, you don’t want to box a seven in or push them into a corner. But you do if you’re a manager, you do need to get the most out of your employees. And you do want to kind of get them organized. So really showing them the value of the organizational systems that you have and talking through the expectations very clearly, as well as giving them freedom in some areas. Maybe there’s kind of a compromise you can arrive at. If you got a seven employee, you say okay, well, you know, work with me on these organizational systems, do these things, and I’ll give you freedom in X, Y, and Z.

[WHITNEY]:
Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s great. Well, James, this has been lots of fun and, I think, super informative.

[JAMES]:
All right, thanks. I was really happy to do it. I encourage anyone out there to go deeper in the enneagram. It’s a really great tool for self-understanding, for understanding others. And in all things, as I’ve always said, all that this should do is make us more compassionate and caring towards other people. This isn’t about in any way judging, or putting other people in a box. This opens the door for us to be compassionate with ourselves and with others. So I encourage you all, if you liked what you heard on this, to dive into the enneagram more deeply. Check out some of the books that we’ve mentioned – The Road Back to You by Ian Cron, or The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr – those are great places to start, as well as Ian Cron’s podcast. And if there is anyone out there who is into biblical exegesis, and social justice and things like that, you can check out my podcast, Hermeneutic of Resistance. You can search for ‘hermeneutic of resistance’ in Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts, or search for my name, James P. Owens, and you can find that. It’s a podcast about interpreting the Bible in ways that resist oppression and open doors for human liberation. So if you’re a Bible geek like me, you probably would find that stuff very interesting. Thanks.

[WHITNEY]:
Yeah. Thank you for sharing all that information, and all that’ll be in the show notes of all the episodes so that people can get in touch with you. So I want to ask the question that I ask everybody at the end of the podcast, now that we’ve completed four episodes – what do you believe every Christian counselor needs to know?

[JAMES]:
Well, I think you did ask me at the beginning at the end of the very first episode we did.

[WHITNEY]:
I did, okay. Let’s do it again.

[JAMES]:
But I’ll try to give a different answer this time. I don’t remember exactly what I said, way back on the first one. But I think every Christian counselor should use the enneagram as a tool. Not to force something on someone who doesn’t want it, but I think the insights that you can learn from the enneagram, both with yourself, with other people, with people you see as a counselor, as well as with any kind of team you manage, are invaluable. It can really take you deep very quickly, like, you know, it takes years to get to know someone, well, the enneagram can help you get to know people really fast. And so, if you’re working with clients, if you’re doing marriage counseling, couples counseling, if you’re managing a team, the enneagram is an extremely valuable tool.

[WHITNEY]:
Totally, and I use it with not only my employees, but my clients and my consultees, and of course, on myself. Well, thank you, James, for taking the time to be on all these episodes, and we can’t thank you enough.

[JAMES]:
All right, thanks.

________________________________________

[WHITNEY]:
If you’ve enjoyed this podcast series on the enneagram, please take the time to rate and review the show. We want more people to know about the work that we’re doing as faith-based practitioners. And in particular, if you found this series helpful, let us know that you loved hearing about the enneagram; let us know what your questions are, if you would like us to continue to talk about it. We just touched the surface on using the enneagram in our practices and we could go into a lot more but we need to hear from you, what you liked about it and what you want to hear about. So please go rate and review the podcast. Or you can send me a personal email, whitney@practiceofthepractice.com, so that I can hear what you liked and didn’t like about the enneagram episodes and how we can help improve this podcast. Thanks for listening.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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