The Whole View, Season 3 Ep 17: Explore the Nine Enneagram Types with Shannon Oldenburg

Welcome Shannon Oldenburg to the Whole View! This week, Stacy and Shannon break down the Enneagram and how it can help us get better insight into who we are as human beings. Shannon gives an overview of how the nine Enneagram types work and dives deep to give an inside look into each type. Listen now for a super fun and insightful show!

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Key Takeaways


  • The Enneagram offers a unique insight into why we do what we do. Like most personality inventories, it gives a shared language to explore strengths and weaknesses. But unlike most personality inventories, it goes beyond labels and provides each person with growth tools to become the best versions of themselves. Healthier individuals mean healthier communities, workplaces, and teams. 
  • Twin Cities Enneagram uses the Enneagram and our combined experience of therapy, teaching, and management to facilitate engaging experiences that propel individuals and groups towards self-reflection and ownership over personal development. They do this through leadership development, team workshops, and customized retreats.
  • Shannon’s professional background started in literature and writing, and she shares that anytime she talks about the Enneagram. What’s at her core is being able to make meaning out of shared language or shared stories. That’s what’s at the heart of the Enneagram. It’s being able to uncover a shared language so that we can learn more about ourselves.
  • The more she dove into it, the more she realized it spilled over into how she taught and developed others. That’s what began to foster curiosity about taking it to the next level and doing it more formally. 
  • So she had a business partner and friend with whom she started collaborating. They created Twin Cities Enneagram four years ago because they wanted to be able to use Enneagram in multiple spaces and spheres.

The Nine Enneagram Types

  1. THE REFORMER: Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things but afraid of making mistakes. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best, they’re wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. They can be morally heroic.
  2. THE HELPER: Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others but can slip into doing things for others to be needed. Twos typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. 
  3. THE ACHIEVER: Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others.
  4. THE INDIVIDUALIST: Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity. At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they can renew themselves and transform their experiences.
  5. THE INVESTIGATOR: Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They can concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached yet high-strung and intense. Fives typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time and able to see the world in an entirely new way.
  6. THE LOYALIST: Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters” foresee problems and foster cooperation but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive but also reactive, defiant, and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their Best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
  7. THE ENTHUSIAST: Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, but sevens can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.
  8. THE CHALLENGER: Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self- mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.
  9. THE PEACEMAKER: Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. Nines want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they can bring people together and heal conflicts.


Topics discussed

  • Online tests are about 70% accurate. The best way to discover your type is through attending a workshop, doing your own reading and self-discovery, and/or working with a certified Enneagram coach.
  • Take the RHETI test. It isn’t free, but it is currently the most researched and developed test. When taking the test, we recommend thinking about who you were in your early 20s, at your core, since this is when most of our identity formation is at its peak. 
  • When you are assigned a type, hold it loosely. You are the only person who can honestly know why you do what you do, which is the core makeup of a type.
  • Our types don’t change; their expressions might. 
  • While the Enneagram has been used in various religious contexts, it is a tool for all people regardless of religious beliefs or orientation.

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Note: Stacy and her guests are not medical professionals. This podcast is for general educational purposes and NOT intended to diagnose, advise, or treat any physical or mental illness. We always recommend you consult a licensed service provider.

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