Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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Exploring The Enneagram

IMG_8834Are you familiar with the Enneagram? I first heard about it a couple of years ago, but wasn’t given much of a compelling introduction, so I didn’t think much of it. But this year, I heard my friend Sarah’s podcast episode—and it changed everything. She interviewed the co-author of The Road Back to You, a popular book about the Enneagram, and after hearing that episode, I was hooked.

First of all, if you aren’t sure what the Enneagram is, it’s a personality typing system, but the difference between it and others like Myers-Briggs , Strengths Finder, or DISC is that it includes the spiritual component, which is really important to me. So, I was intrigued to hear how my specific personality related to aspects of my faith.

And if you didn’t know, I love personality tests! I’ve written about being an INFJ on this blog before, and have always found exploring my identity a fascinating pursuit. I now know that’s pretty common for my type as well.

The other thing I learned about about the Enneagram is that you shouldn’t take a test to determine your number type. As Suzanne Stabile describes in that podcast episode on Surviving Sarah, it’s an oral tradition. It’s a way of seeing the world. You are supposed to hear your type and recognize it. She also notes that the questions aren’t written correctly in most tests, so your results will likely come out skewed if you just try to Google a test. I found this to be the case for me. I took three tests, and only one came out with the number I’d already resonated with.

So, what’s my number?

I’m a 4. Specifically, I’m a 4 wing 3.

As with every personality type, there are pros and cons. But those who know the Enneagram well often have a slight look of sadness in their eyes when I tell them that I’m a 4. Why? It’s hard being a 4!

There are things that set it apart from everyone else, and Suzanne and some others like her believe there are also fewer 4s than any other number in the world, meaning less people can relate to you. I’ve definitely found this to be the case for me.

And did you know INFJ is the smallest percentage of the population as well? So, combine a 4 with an INFJ and…we’re a rarity. There aren’t many people who think like us and see the world the way we do. Because of that, I even put out a call on social media recently to try and find others. I wanted them (and myself) to know we aren’t alone!

I did manage to find a couple of them, and surprisingly, even found one in my social circle, which was fantastic. We had coffee the other day to discuss what it’s like being us because it ain’t easy. There aren’t many people who could survive a day in our head’s, ha!

So, what’s a 4, you ask?

It was hard to find a good, condensed breakdown of the types that I felt would immediately give you a clear picture, but TheWorldCounts.com talks about the 4 this way:

4’s are described as the Individualist or the Romantic

Dominant Traits:

  • Creative
  • Expressive
  • Sensitive
  • Emotional
  • Introspective
  • Artistic
  • Authentic

Focus of Attention: In Search of What is Missing… the Ideal… the Unattainable.

Basic Fear: To Have No Identity

Basic Desire: To Be Unique, Different

Strengths:

  • Expressive
  • Sensitive to Feelings
  • Self-Aware
  • Appreciative of Beauty
  • Empathetic
  • Compassionate

Challenges:

  • Moody
  • Temperamental
  • Prone to Melancholy
  • Self-Absorbed
  • Self-Indulgent
  • Intense
  • Unsatisfied with What Is

General Behavior of an Individualist

A Four believes that they are unique, and different from the norm. Their whole identity is attached to this belief. They perceive this difference as a gift, because Fours hate to think that they’re ordinary and common. But at the same time, their feelings of uniqueness is a curse which keeps them from enjoying the simpler things in life, the way other people do.

Fours tend to feel superior from everyone else, since they think they’re special. However, deep inside, they feel that something’s missing, and they fear that it might be caused by a flaw or defect in their own selves. Fours, as you can tell, are emotionally complex. A deep feeling of abandonment makes them feel that they will never be happy or fulfilled.

They long for deep connections in their relationships, to be understood and appreciated for who they truly are. For people to see and appreciate their uniqueness. It is easy for them to feel misjudged and misunderstood.

Fours are moody and temperamental. They are often wrapped in their thoughts, analyzing their feelings. They are very self-aware, and in tune with their emotions. This trait extends to others. Empathy and compassion are strengths of this personality type.

Ian Cron often says, “The 4’s don’t have emotions, they ARE their emotions!” And I’d have to agree. There’s a lot going on in here every minute of the day. 😉

You can read more about a 4 here, as well as a quick overview of the other types.

That’s just a little bit about me. Now, let’s talk about you.

Interested in learning more? I suggest starting with Sarah’s podcast episode because Suzanne breaks down the main points of all nine types. If that gets you more curious about the Enneagram, I definitely recommend reading The Road Back to You. It’s a really great book. Of course, I may be biased because the other author is a 4. 😉 But it’s actually a fun read. Not stuffy or super academic like you might expect a book on personalities to be.

From there, here are a few other resources:

  • Typeology Podcast from Ian Cron
  • The Road Back to You podcast
  • Your Enneagram Coach with Beth McCord
  • Attend one of Suzanne Stabile’s events
  • There are also a number of random Enneagram people I follow on Instagram.
  • You can Google and find many, many other resources, but these are the ones I’ve looked into myself.

So, do you know your type? List it in the comments. I’d love to hear!

 

Oh, and a quick warning, exploring the Enneagram is a bit like going to therapy. You can probably tell that from the quick intro the 4 that I listed above. It’s not all pretty! While most personality tests tend to focus on your strengths, the Enneagram focuses on your motivations.

It definitely talks about your strengths and weaknesses, but it’s also meant to help you grow spiritually and as a person, and that can sometimes stir a few things up. But I highly recommend this process! Just give the podcast a listen or read an overview to see what you think before making a decision.

 

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The Impact of Planning a Personal Retreat

Personal retreat

Photos by: Valerie Denise Photos featuring The Created Co. mugs

I’ve talked several times before on this blog about my personal and business retreats. I’m actually out on another one this week, but more on that later. They are incredibly valuable to me, and I recommend them to everyone.

In fact, I even shared specific tips on how to plan one for this guest post for The Yellow Conference last week. Take a look, and let me know what you think.

A few quotes:

  • “Anxiety was growing. Stress was building. My head was swimming. And I had more questions than answers. This was December 2015 for me.”
  • “Until that time, I’d always considered retreats a luxury. Something wealthy people did. Something people who were offered sabbaticals did. I thought, a retreat wasn’t something ‘regular’ people did—but there I found myself.”
  • “It was during this intentional, introspective time that I resolved something huge—I needed to start my own business.”
  • “Of course, I didn’t leave with all the answers. But this time did, however, become a catalyst in taking my next steps.”

Read the full post: THE IMPACT OF PLANNING A PERSONAL RETREAT


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Catalyst Conference: Labs Highlights

The iconic Catalyst "C" welcomed everyone to Labs.

The iconic Catalyst “C” welcomed everyone to Labs.

Last week I was at Catalyst, one of my favorite things each year. It’s a chance for me to hear speakers I love, speakers I’ve never heard of, and get in some quality learning time. My friend, Daron, and I always start with the Labs on Wednesday, because you can never learn too much. This year, I was able to hear some people that I love, but have only admired from afar. It’s awesome when that happens!

So, here are my highlights from Labs. The theme for the conference this year was KNOWN, you’ll see a lot of identity talk both here, and when I post the main conference highlights. Good stuff, and great theme.

Dr. Henry Cloud, Author and Psychologist (Read Boundaries immediately, if you have not. It’s life-changing)

  • The brain forms who you are and what you do through the attention it gives and is given. Attention brings things to reality.
  • Grace and Truth still allow for failure, but also provide acceptance.
  • The brain runs on food, glucose and relationships.
  • You were only designed to control YOURSELF.

Jason Russell, Co-Founder of Invisible Children (I’ve admired this org for a number of years.)

  • Your life is BIGGER than your best dream for it.
  • What’s worth living for?
  • What’s worth dying for?

Jen Hatmaker, Author and Church Planter (Her book 7 was probably my favorite thing to read this year.)

  • Jesus never said to start a church. He said to make disciples.
  • Does our Jesus look like our church?
  • The Church is currently malnourished. Young adults want: community, social justice, depth, and mentorship.
  • Incarnational living is the front door to discipleship.

Ann Voskamp, Author and Devotional Blogger (Never heard of her before, but she was great.)

  • Everyone you know is fighting a daily battle, whether they show it or not.
  • Battle strategy: 2 Chronicles 20:20, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.” Give thanks in all things. Give thanks for what He’s doing in your during the battle.
  • Count the ways God loves you, and you’ll learn one thousand ways to change the world.

Eugene Cho, Church Planter and Entrepreneur (Always enjoy him, and really excited for his new book!)

  • A study in Nehemiah Chapter 1.
  • How do I take my conviction from A to B? 1) Shut up and pray. 2) Have the courage to ask the hard questions. 3) Be committed to be an expert in what you start. 4) Clarify the vision/conviction. 5) Develop a strategic plan. 6) Build on the power of social capital.
  • If you take away free choice from someone, revolution will happen at some point.

Bob Goff, Recovering Lawyer, Philanthropist and Guy You Want to Know (Read Love Does.)

  • What if we stopped just agreeing with Jesus, and started acting like Him?
  • I’m trying to become love, and that’s really hard but worth it.
  • Everyone who stands at your door and knocks ain’t Jesus. Be careful who you let in and listen to.

These are just a few of my favorite things from Labs. If you want my full notes, let me know and I’m happy to share them once they get typed up. It was an awesome day, and probably my favorite of the three.