Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Fall-ing On My Face ...

Even if you fall on your face,
you're still moving forward.

Victor Kiam

Hi Everyone! Happy Fall (almost)!

I'm usually invigorated and excited as the fall approaches but this week has been the proverbial week-from-hell, technologically speaking. I am a counter-phobic/phobic Enneagram Type Six (in Enneagram-speak). This means, among other things, that I am reliable and responsible, I like to understand things well before I act, I'm cautious, I like things to be done well and I'm usually an excellent editor and trouble-shooter. 

So, you can imagine how I felt when not only one but both of my 500-strong workshop mailings for this fall were sent with errors I couldn't control, and had to be re-sent despite all my caution and troubleshooting. Talk about feeling like I'd fallen on my face - and in public too! I immediately reverted to my Enneagram stress type, Type Three, and worried about appearances, sure that no-one would sign up for my workshops EVER again because I was inept with computer programs. Then, as I tried  (too hard and too long) to work with the new program to make corrections and still couldn't delete the old information or save the new, I flipped into Type Nine, a Six's ultra-stress type, and numbed out on cookies and TV, avoiding the computer altogether and basically "not wanting to know".

The good news is that I'm so familiar with my Type Six stress patterns after years of study and personal work that I could see exactly what was happening. And I could also see what I needed to do to calm my body, think more clearly and ask for the help I needed with the computer program.

The ancient/modern Enneagram is an amazing tool for self-knowledge, self-development and empathically understanding and appreciating others. It has made a huge difference in my life and in the lives of colleagues, family and friends to whom I've introduced it. It describes nine distinct personality types, nine different patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.  (The word, Enneagram, comes the Greek ennea, meaning "nine" and grammos, meaning "picture", so it is a picture of nine personality types.) The Enneagram provides a short-hand language for discussing deep, tender and complex subjects with laughter rather than defensiveness and while it provides explanations for less than stellar behaviour, it doesn't provide excuses.

People are sometimes worried that Enneagram typing will "put them in a box" but the truth is that it frees you from the "box" of your unexamined personality. Once you know your type, you have the freedom to change your behaviour. There is also a wide range of individual differences between people of the same type - so your Enneagram type doesn't explain everything about you. There's lots of room for your unique self.

If you're curious about this lens for looking appreciatively at yourself and others, you're welcome to join us for the next Enneagram workshop - Differences: An Enneagram Workshop for Beginners - on Saturday November 9th at the Granville Island Hotel. Brochures with registration forms are available at caregiverwellness@shaw.ca.

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