In research conducted by Tasha Urich, an organisational psychologist, executive coach, and a TED Talk Speaker, it was found that “while 95% of the people think that they are self-aware, it turns out that only about 10-15% of people are actually self-aware.“ This essentially means that there is a strong possibility that you might be living or working with people who lack self-awareness and are running on an auto-pilot mode.

You might ask, why is self-awareness important? Isn’t life easier when we don’t have to think about little things like getting ready in the morning and going to work? Honestly, working on autopilot does make life simpler, allowing the mind to form a map of our responses to create habits and thereby our personality.

What doesn’t work for us is when our habits become so unconscious that we no longer remember why we choose to do the things we do. Sometimes we choose responses and habits that no longer serve us, parts of our personality that were earlier supporting us but now have become a hindrance.

Personalities then become a shield that we use to engage with the world. According to psychological studies, personality forms at a very young age. While the reason for its formation, can be ascribed to both natural and environmental factors (nature versus nurture), personality usually tends to form due to an “unpleasant” childhood experience.

This is where Enneagram comes in to show us the path to self-discovery.

You must be thinking – what is Enneagram and why is it important for you to know about it? How are self-awareness and self-discovery connected to Enneagram? Is it worth the time and money to learn about Enneagram? What are the practical applications of this tool for people across all walks of life?


Hover over the numbers in the Enneagram circle
to know more about that type.

What is the Enneagram?


For those who are new to the Enneagram (any-a-gram), it can sound complex, but it comes from two Greek words ‘ennea’ meaning nine and ‘gram’ meaning a drawing. As a tool, it offers us a framework to rediscover ourselves and navigate our journey towards maximising our potential.

The Enneagram is a personality typing tool that breaks down the patterns of human behaviour into nine distinct types. As per the Enneagram framework, there are nine different, yet interconnected ways of perceiving and experiencing the world that enables us to understand some of the most important questions like –

Who am I? Why do I do what I do? How do I think, act, and feel?

Take your Enneagram assessment to find out your personality type. 

Personality to presence using the Enneagram
Structure of Enneagram

At first glance, the structure of the Enneagram looks a little complicated, but it is simple enough to understand –

  • Main Type

    There are nine points on the Enneagram circle that make up the Nine Types – one of these is your Main Type. They are further divided into a triangle and six-pointed shape. The Main type drives the way we think, feel and act. It determines how we perceive the world around us, what motivates us, how we cope with our fears, what are our talents, values and focus of attention. It includes the overall personality traits and characteristics that we tend to display.

  • Lines & Wings

    Along with the triangle and six-pointed shape are the lines that your main type can access in the direction of the arrow. They are actually usually used people are under stress and when they feel secure. On both sides, adjacent to your Main Type are two types that support and influence your main personality type. These neighbouring types act as wings to your main type.

  • Centres of Intelligence

    Our presence and balance comes when we express ourselves in all the three ways in which a human being can – body, mind and heart. By understanding the three Centres of Intelligence we become more mindful and the way we process information becomes more meaningful.

  • Centres of Expression

    All of us show up in the world in different ways –some of us may show up as action-oriented, some of us focus more on logic, information and rationale and some of us may be able to establish deeper connections with others in very efficient ways. Our Centres of Expression helps us get a glimpse of how others may perceive us, irrespective of our Enneagram Main Type.

Explore your Type

Ethical Perfectionist (Type 1)

Detail-Oriented | Rational | Idealistic | Principled | Purposeful | Self-Controlled | Perfectionist

  1. As the name suggests, Ones have a high ethical standard, a keen eye for detail; are conscientious, responsible, structured, organized; display a high level of self-control and discipline and feel they ought to improve themselves and the world around them
  2. They can also come across as critical, rigid and opinionated. They can be judgmental of others, impatient with them and express their resentment and irritation through sarcastic remarks.
  3. But at times they can also be tolerant and accepting of others and their short-comings, discerning and wise rather than judgemental and critical. They can be prudent and fair, delaying rewards for a higher purpose.
  4. They focus on what is the right thing to do and what enables them to become a good person. They put their attention to all that needs to be improved and expend a lot of energy into making it right. They avoid being wrong or being criticized, and keep themselves in check, correcting self and others too.
Enneagram Type 1
Enneagram Type 2

Empathic Nurturer (Type 2)

Caring | Demonstrative | Generous | People-Pleasing | Possessive

  1. Generally, Twos can be warm, empathetic, nurturing, people-oriented, thoughtful, appreciative and tend to display a great deal of generosity and affection. They like to support, help and encourage others, give love, spread joy and can be forgiving and compassionate.
  2. At times they can also come across as people-pleasing, ingratiating, and flattering. When worried, they can appear clingy, possessive, and seductive and can even be insincere and self-deceptive.
  3. They are driven to forge good relationships which they achieve by reaching out to people or doing something for them, so as to feel a connection with them.
  4. They tend to avoid doing anything that will leave them feeling selfish or unloved thereby neglecting their own needs.

Ambitious Achiever (Type 3)

The Success-Oriented | Pragmatic | Adaptive | Excelling | Driven | Image-Conscious

  1. As the name Ambitious Achiever suggests, Threes are the achievement-oriented, competitive types that like to be seen as competent, efficient and diplomatic. Their goal orientation drives them to adapt themselves and organise their environment in a way that enables them to achieve their set goals.
  2. They are very image-conscious and can charm their way into anything. Sometimes they can be seen as self-promoting and boastful, with a desire to gain acceptance and recognition from others. They can be excessively driven, expedient and arrogant.
  3. With a desire to look successful in the eyes of others, they take on goals that have a high value in the eyes of those whom they value.
  4. They are in a constant drive to achieve one goal after the other. Failure is not an option and any situation where there’s a good chance of failure is particularly avoided.
Enneagram Type 3
Enneagram Type 4

Intense Individualist (Type 4)

The Sensitive | Compassionate | Authentic | Expressive | Introspective | Withdrawn | Dramatic

  1. The Intense Individualists are generally seen as impressionable and quirky; intuitive, imaginative, and sensitive; quiet and introspective and yet self-expressive, passionate, and romantic.
  2. They tend to be uniquely creative, inspired, and honest with themselves and others. They are emotionally strong, humane and one of the more self-aware types in the Enneagram.
  3. When not at their best, Fours can come across as self-absorbed and withholding; moody and temperamental; emotionally demanding and dramatic.
  4. In order to know and express their distinctive sense of self, they constantly end up comparing their life to what they think is the life of others, thereby seeing themselves as simply different. They tend to avoid ordinary experiences and yet may envy what others have, living their life with this constant inner conflict.

Perceptive Specialist (Type 5)

Analytical | Curious | Cerebral | Self-contained | Innovative | Secretive | Isolated

  1. The Perceptive Specialists are the types that come across as objective, focused, observant, curious and insightful, trying to make sense of the world around them. They tend to be exploratory and independent, preferring to be experts in their field of choice.
  2. People see them as being detached, unsentimental and appearing distant, preoccupied with their thoughts. Being experts in their field they appear intellectually arrogant, can be seen as impractical, unconventional and at times uncompromising, extreme, and provocative.
  3. In their desire to know more and gather more knowledge they are drawn to studying and understanding rarefied topics, seeking knowledge of the many details and intricacies to feel masterful and competent.
  4. Because knowledge is important to them, not knowing makes them feel foolish or ignorant and hence they tend to avoid any experience where they don’t understand what’s going on.
Enneagram Type 5
Enneagram Type 6

Dutiful Loyalist (Type 6)

Loyal | Committed | Security-Oriented | Warm | Engaging | Responsible | Anxious | Suspicious

  1. As the name suggests, the Dutiful Loyalists are reliable, hard-working, vigilant, dutiful. When they commit to something or trust someone, they go all the way. They are cautious and anxious hence tend to evaluate the pros and cons of everything. They can be seen as believing yet doubting, conservative yet liberal; anxious yet defensive; full of contradictions.
  2. People may tend to see them as pessimistic, defensive, negative, worrying, doubtful, reactive, suspicious, and blaming but they can also be courageous, cooperative, secure, faithful, self-expressive, funny, and affectionate.
  3. To them, safety and security are of utmost importance and hence they tend to look for something solid that gives me a sense of guidance and direction. They want to know that they have covered all the bases and hence avoid unfamiliar and unknown situations.

Versatile Visionary (Type 7)

Fun-loving | Optimistic | Busy | Spontaneous | Enthusiastic | Curious | Impulsive | Rebellious | Scattered

  1. Generally, Sevens are seen as excited, curious, variety-seeking, eager, outgoing people, who are future-oriented with focus on the next best option or possibility, seeking yet another adventure.
  2. They can also come across as being scattered, distracted, undisciplined, restless and impatient, wanting to experience the next thrilling adventure to escape the mundane and monotony of life. They tend to overextend themselves and can appear to the world as irresponsible, demanding, and excessive.
  3. And yet at times when they are grounded enough, they can be appreciative, bountiful, thoughtful, accomplished, versatile, receptive, grateful and quiet.
  4. With the desire to be free to do as they please, their bucket list of things they want to try keeps growing. Hence, they focus on being spontaneous and wanting to be able to respond at a moment’s notice. If something feels like a downer, then they want to be able to move on quickly, avoiding anything that could cage them in an uncomfortable or painful situation.
Enneagram Type 7
Enneagram Type 8

Charismatic Controller (Type 8)

Powerful | Dominating | Self-Confident | Decisive | Wilful | Confrontational

  1. As the name Charismatic Controller suggests, Eights are strong, assertive, and independent. They are very energetic and action-oriented, determined to achieve their goals even if it means being insistent and rubbing people the wrong way. Their ability to be direct and blunt about what they want, along with being resourceful and pragmatic allows them to get things done.
  2. At times Eights can come across as, wilful, domineering and forceful, wanting to have their way. When that doesn’t work, they can be defiant and confrontational, display rage and cynicism; and even be vengeful.
  3. At their best, however, Eights can be honourable, heroic and protective, empowering others and inspiring them. They can be gentle and generous and yet constructive and decisive.
  4. With a desire to always be in control and be seen as powerful, they want to be in charge of their circumstances and future, even if it means challenging those who would get their way. They tend to avoid anything that makes them look weak, soft, or vulnerable as they feel that their weakness could easily be used against them – a risk they aren’t willing to take at any cost.

Receptive Peacemaker (Type 9)

Pleasant | Patient | Easy-going | Reassuring | Agreeable | Complacent

  1. The Receptive Peacemakers are seen as steady, relaxed, unself-conscious, open-minded, uncomplicated. They have a way about other people that makes them appear comforting and approachable.
  2. But at times they can be emotionally unavailable and inattentive. Since they prefer to be diplomatic when pushed into doing something, they become passive-aggressive which may further lead to an angry outburst. Their stubbornness at times makes them ineffectual and unrealistic.
  3. They can also be seen as grounded and connected to their needs, dynamic, proactive and passionate; while being inclusive of others by engaging them, they can be steadfast, healing, natural, imaginative, serene and exuberant.
  4. Driven by a need to maintain a sense of peace and harmony within themselves and their interpersonal relationships, they tend to hold back their needs and accommodate those of others.
Enneagram Type 9
Enneagram Instincts

Our personality also develops based on our natural instincts for coping with the world. Each of the Enneagram types is further divided into 3 instincts – the Self-Preservation Instinct, One-on-One Instincts and Social Instincts. While we possess all the 3 instincts, we tend to use one or two more often than the third.

Self-Preservation Instinct (SP)

Enneagram Instinct

The Self Preservation Instinct refers to the instinct to survive – with a focus on physical safety and security in terms of material needs of comfort.

An individual with high Self Preservation Instinct will expend energy towards taking care of their basic life necessities and will tend to be self-sufficient and disciplined. They quickly notice what in their environment is making them uncomfortable and immediately remove such elements from the picture. It is important for them to get a general sense of well-being from their surroundings, focusing on fulfilling their basic necessities and creating a secure environment.

One-on-One Instinct (1-on-1)

Enneagram Instinct

The One-on-One Instinct refers to the instinct for deep meaningful connection (with a person or specific individuals) or an intense experience.

An individual with a high One-on-One Instinct is usually focused on the quality and the status of the relationship they have with specific individuals and even with experiences. They usually look for connections and experiences that give them a sense of bonding and intensity, seeking a general sense of wellbeing from such connections with people or experiences in terms of what’s important for a particular Enneagram type.

Social Instinct (SO)

Enneagram Instinct

The Social Instinct refers to the instinct to belong to and be accepted by the society or social community at large.  It involves the instinct to be liked, appreciated, be approved by others and to develop a sense of security around oneself through these connections.

An individual with high Social Instinct likes to feel involved with the society and enjoy interacting with others for a common purpose. Their own sense of purpose is drawn from being a part of something larger. They focus on interacting with others in a way that enables them to build their personal value and sense of accomplishment, seeking a sense of wellbeing by being a part of a community and focusing their sense of accomplishment on the greater good.


Since Enneagram is a circle whatever your Main Type is, you will always find some other types adjacent to it. These types that lie on each side of your type act as your wings. This means that you tend to display characteristics and traits of these other enneagram types, but they don’t change your main type. Like a pizza with two different kinds of toppings, these wings support and influence your main personality type but do not fundamentally change it.


Hover on your type to know more about your wings


Hover on your type to know more about your lines


If you look carefully you will notice some lines connect one type to another in a continuum. These interconnected lines in Enneagram allow us to balance our Main Types under conditions of stress and security. Sometimes we naturally tend to move along these to access the characteristics of the other type to relieve the stress that we might be going through or when we feel secure enough in our environment to stretch our boundaries for growth.

Centres of Intelligence

Paul Maclean, a neuroscientist, in his Triune theory of Intelligence, describes how the brain has developed over time – the first structure being the reptilian brain (consisting of the basal ganglia) followed by the limbic system and finally the neocortex.

From these structures have emerged the three human Intelligence– the Body Intelligence (the Action Centre) the Heart Intelligence (the Feeling Centre) and the Head intelligence (the Thinking Centre). Human beings function through these three main intelligence. When in balance we use all three in equal measures, but sometimes we are more inclined to use one or two intelligence more often than the other. These three bits of intelligence direct how we “perceive” (think), “express” (feel) and “experience/process” (kinaesthetically) the inputs from our environment.

This allows us to understand how we interpret the world around us and also how we come across to the people around us.

Centres of Intelligence

Enneagram respects the three-intelligence theory, and the nine Enneagram points are divided into the Thinking, Feeling and Action centres, where each centre is associated with one of the intelligence.

Our presence and balance come when we express ourselves in all the three ways in which human being can – body, mind and heart. By understanding the Centres of Intelligence we become more mindful and the way we process information becomes more meaningful. Body intelligence allows us to feel grounded; feeling intelligence helps us to be compassionate to ourselves and others and thinking intelligence allows us to have a quite spacious mind – making us more objective.

Centres of Expression

We all show up in the world in different ways – some of us may show up as action-oriented, some of us can come across as logic-oriented and some of us may be able to establish deeper connections with others in very efficient ways. Our Centres of Expression helps us get a glimpse of how others may perceive as irrespective if our core Enneagram type. While we can access all three centres, we tend to use one of the Centres as a Preferred Centre. In our developmental journey, centres of expression is also a key area for growth and development.

Enneagram Center of expression

Human beings have three intelligences – the head (thinking centre), the heart (feeling centre) and the body (action centre). Within the Enneagram the points are divided in such a way that each point is a part of at least one intelligence. (refer to the page on Centres of Intelligence). The centre of intelligence to which the main point belongs plays a dominant role in shaping our personality, but the other two intelligences also have an important role to play in how we come across to others. While all the three Enneagram types that constitute the tri-type, independently add a layer to our personality, the three points in the tri-type combine in such a way that traits that are common to the three types become stronger.

Enneagram Tri-types
Personality to Presence

Personality is what we show to the world, which may have developed over a period of time with conditioned patterns and beliefs. Self-awareness plays a very big role in understanding the various dimensions of personality. There is one dimension where awareness is low and blind spots are high and the other where awareness may be higher and blindspots are low. As part of the self-discovery journey, we invite you to move to the higher dimensions of personality with awareness, mindfulness, and connection.

Enneagram Personality to Presence

Enneagram is a framework that can be practically applied to transform the way we move

Enneagram Personality to Presence


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