Inviting Us Inward: Community Leaders Explore Their Enneagram

February 2021 | article & photo by holly netz

The “Personality Test”: Originally derived around WWI to predict which soldiers would suffer from “shell shock.” Derivatives of personality assessments are still used as screening devices for occupations, leadership potential, and even by therapists. Some will argue the validity or usefulness of these tests, yet, at the very least; they are fun, enlightening, and another tool for self-development. 

Last month we ran the article Enneagram 101providing a crash course in Enneagram personality tests. This month, we asked five community leaders to take the Enneagram test and their feedback on what the assessment meant to them.  

Jeremiah Young, Creative Director of Kibler & Kirch and known for design both locally and nationally, as well as being a driver of the local art community.  

THREE -The Achiever 

Had you previously taken the Enneagram? 

This is new to me. Even though I’ve seen them, I've never taken this test. I'll probably have my whole staff do it now. 

What was your initial reaction?  

I had a kind of 4-way race. I am pretty even across 8, 1, 3, and 4–with 3 edging them all out a bit. The ideal is all things in balance, I'm sure, so it appears that I have some "blind spots" and things to work on. I think it is accurate, but I'm way more interested in what the test tells me I can be better at than telling me my strengths. We are all on a journey, and maybe this will help my team figure out what traits and behavior to encourage in each other. 

What do you feel your greatest strength is based on your type?  

I think it's my high standards and my drive to do whatever—everything really—as well as it can be done. I also dream big.  

Did the assessment give you any insight for self-improvement? 

I need not to be so driven or focused that I become detached from my own feelings—only having work and success on my mind. It's kind of hard to read what you are doing wrong. That's the real value of this test, though, and I found the descriptions really insightful. Hard to believe that these tests can peg someone so clearly with just a handful of questions... 

There’s a world full of people who will flatter you and tell you that you are amazing, but it’s way more difficult to find someone who will tell you where you can improve. This test is like a true friend—one trying to help you be your best self. 

Any takeaways? 

I think it would be wonderful if everyone gave each other a little slack. We're all flawed. Yet, we all have something to give. Particularly for teams and groups, tests like these are certain to produce more empathy toward one another. Empathy is sorely needed these days. 

Greg McCall, owner and visionary of McCall Homes & Development and a strong community partner in the long-term vision of our community. 

TWO: The Helper 

Had you previously taken the Enneagram? 

Yes, last year I took the assessment, and I was so intrigued I immediately read the book, The Road Back to You, by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile. 

What was your initial reaction?  

My first thought was, "Well, that about sums it up." It really nailed it for me. I was smack dab lined up as a 2. Even all my friends, who also took the assessment, said that I was a dead ringer for a 2. 

What do you feel your greatest strength is based on your type?  

I’ve read how other 2s comment that they like that they are a 2, and I feel the same way. I enjoy being needed or being able to help others. So much so that I guided our company towards a mission of Empowering People and Building Community. The mission of the work I get to do is wrapped up in serving my community. I want to build better homes and neighborhoods to bring people together and reinforce the strength found in true community. 

Did the assessment give you any insight for self-improvement? 

I definitely find myself needing to work on healthy boundaries. I know that I struggle with overcommitting sometimes. I can also become resentful when I feel like I’m the only one helping with a particular thing or project.  

Any takeaways? 

The Enneagram has helped give me insight into some of my closest relationships. My wife is a 7. She is fun and energetic. She is always coming up with the next fun thing to do, vacation to go on, adventure to be had. I have a 6 and an 8 for two of my closest friends. I’ve been a very close friend with the 6 for over 20 years. He is a Loyalist; I know I can count on him for anything. My friend, who is an 8, is a hard-driving, smart, well-spoken, strong leader.    

Lisa Oppegard is the Owner of Onyx Wellness Studio, focused on holistic wellness. 

ONE- The Reformer 

Had you previously taken the Enneagram? 

 No 

What was your initial reaction? Did you feel it was accurate?  

My first reaction was yes; this totally makes sense that I am a "1." I have always been a bit of a perfectionist and try to put out my personal best (like the 1 says). I have always looked for reasons and research why things are the way they are (investigator).  

What do you feel your greatest strength is based on your type?  

I have a huge desire to help and teach others and always have. I taught dance for 11 years and loved working with and mentoring kids and teens. Now, shifting gears to Onyx Wellness, I have the opportunity to provide unique forms of natural healing to our community of all ages. 

Did the assessment give you any insight for self-improvement? 

Being a perfectionist definitely comes with a large amount of self-criticism, stress, and anxiety. Especially when things don't go as planned. Life is full of the unexpected, which is why meditation, daily gratitude and affirmations, and of course, the infrared sauna has been huge game-changers for me. I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking, so taking conscious breaths throughout the day helps bring me back into the moment and out of my head. 

Any takeaways? 

Contrary to what my description sounds like, I really do like to have fun. Lol! I actually find it fun continuing to learn and grow. I love learning about people, from people, and with people. This world is such an interesting and magical place, and I am working to make the best of it for myself and all those around me. 

Dan Carter, Public & Government Affairs for ExxonMobil Billings, the head of Yellowstone STEM and active in a plethora of community groups. 

NINE- The Peacemaker 

Had you previously taken the Enneagram? 

No 

What was your initial reaction?  

I am a 9 based on the score (98% match), with 4 and 5 coming in second place with 88% match. In reality, I see myself as a solid three-legged stool where I am an individualist that has a concern for my family and my community and likes to understand how people and the world work.   

Pre-pandemic, I probably would have been ranked higher in other areas. But if there's anything the last nine months have shown everyone, it's that uncertainties are everywhere and that human relationships are both tenuous and special. We need to take a fresh look at our relationships; nurture those that are important, and build new ones that resemble our core values. 

What do you feel your greatest strength is based on your type?  

I guess I feel that I am strong, like a turtle. I have the ability to focus and persist. 

Did the assessment give you any insight for self-improvement? 

As Yoda would admonish… “Seek balance, you must.”  

Any takeaways? 

While these assessments are fun to do, and the results are fun to analyze and understand, my key takeaway is that people are not easily classified. They are unique individuals with hopes, dreams, and challenges that may never be revealed. My hope is we approach everyone the same way in which we wish to be approached. That’s how a city becomes a community. 

Jenna Jones, Owner and Marketing Director of Salt + Sage Web Studio 

THREE- The Achiever 

Had you previously taken the Enneagram? 

Yes. I first took it one or two years ago. 

What was your initial reaction?  

I identify much more strongly with the 3 wing 2 than just a 3. When I read the description of the 3 alone, it makes me a little cringy. I'm actually not super competitive, and I don't feel super driven for success alone. I feel very fueled by passion and vision, and I love to put energy and drive behind ideas that inspire me. I do relate to that; I feel great when I get something accomplished, and someone appreciates it. 

What do you feel your greatest strength is based on your type?  

I think my biggest strength is when there are huge projects with a blank slate, and the questions are: What do we do? How do we start? What are all the things that are going to be involved? That's where I think I really thrive and feel I'm gifted in taking nothing and getting it started…That's when I feel happy and alive, like I'm doing what I'm uniquely created to do. 

Did the assessment give you any insight for self-improvement? 

I think having limits. I really want to say yes to everything, so I have to allow myself to know that I cannot do everything I want to do. It’s really important for me to prioritize. 

What do you feel your greatest strength is based on your type?  

This makes my job a joy for me. My work is where I can most unapologetically be myself. I get to show up with my full energy. I get to partner with people who are out there doing big, impactful things and help add movement and give them a push forward.  

Any takeaways? 

I love to jump in with ideas, lead a team or projects, and push things forward. People love that about me at work, and I have to be careful to temper that in my personal relationships. I naturally want to jump in and say, "let's make a plan!" Awesome if we're talking about your business or idea, not awesome if it's your personal life.  

Originally printed in the February 2021 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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