Doing something new always involves risk. Transforming ourselves, taking the risk to make fundamental shifts in ourselves using the Enneagram as a guide, means increasing our opportunities in life rather than regretting the paths not chosen. At the same time, taking risks just for the sake of risk taking will not increase our capacities. Here are some tips for each Enneagram type, ones that will support our risk taking, increase our opportunities, and decrease our regrets.
ENNEAGRAM ONES | Some Ones take risks more than other Ones, but because Ones are the most self-controlled of the 9 enneatypes, it can be difficult for them to “let-go” enough to take risks that arise in the moment. Longer term, calculated risks do not present Ones with the same challenge as they can use their minds and guts to determine whether they should take a risky path. However, more spontaneous risks set off their control issues, and so the answer is often NO. What helps is to relax and soften their bodies more through breathing, receptive exercise such as yoga or walking, and taking the plunge to be more spontaneous and in the NOW.
ENNEAGRAM TWOS | Most of the time, Twos play it pretty safe, even though they look more fluid and spontaneous than they really are. However, when you are an Enneagram type, such as type Two, that is beholden to the affirmative reactions of others, your freedom of movement is actually in a narrow range. And when freedom of movement is narrow, risk taking decreases and chances are not taken. What helps is to get more connected to what you feel, including your hopes and desires, and recognize when your desire is taking you in one direction, but your self-consciousness (or invisible audience) is taking you another. Remember you were born free!
ENNEAGRAM THREES | Threes live in a frame of mind that instructs them about what they should want, feel, and do, and all this puts constraints on the Threes’ ability to make contact with what they themselves really want. They move through life without ever asking themselves this question, or, at least, not very often. What helps is to get more in touch with what they truly want, what ignites, including their hopes and desires, and recognize when their desire is taking them in one direction, but their self-consciousness (or invisible audience) is taking them in another. They need to honor their desires and follow their own path.
ENNEAGRAM FOURS | While many Fours like the “push the envelope,” and this may look and feel like risk taking, it is not the same as taking chances that follow one’s heart’s desire and where the outcome is unknown. Because Fours tend to live in the past more than the future, they often lament in a sea of regret for what they didn’t do, risks they didn’t take, and outcomes that caused them pain that they never want to experience again. And when Fours focus on the future, they often live in a swirl of dreams and aspirations rather than take action. What helps is to be more in the present and to take more active and deliberate action in taking risks. This supports living a life of learning and experience rather than a life of regrets for roads not taken.
ENNEAGRAM FIVES | Fives, being a fear-based mental center Enneagram type, tend to restrict themselves to what they know and to limit their risk taking due to concerns about how much energy is required and the likelihood that they will end up feeling depleted. What helps is to engage more with experience and with other people, drawing energy from these encounters rather than having a mental model that assumes depletion is almost always an outcome of engagement. Spend time with people you really like, and who both like you and stimulate you. Engage in activities that are new and different for you rather than sticking to what you already know and can predict.
ENNEAGRAM SIXES | Sixes, also a fear-based mental center type, have a complex relationship with risk taking. They dislike situations that are highly risky – except counter-phobic Sixes who are highly attracted to extreme risk, particularly when it involves physical danger or taking on authority figures – yet like calculating risk and navigating situations to minimize the downsides. However, this is really not about moving forward and taking chances to live a life of no regrets. For Sixes, risk calculation can become an end in itself. What helps is to get more connected with your body and your heart rather than going through life using your mind as your primary resource. Get in touch with your dreams and desires, and then make a promise to act on these so in the end, your life is not one of regrets.
ENNEAGRAM SEVENS | Sevens often believe that they take risks, embrace change and change, and live a life of no regrets. This would be because they tend to push limits, boundaries, and are spontaneous, even impulsive. But when Sevens do all the above, they are still operating in a very small sphere of life, the world of excitement, pleasure, and possibility. At the same time, they are avoiding pain, depth, and, sometimes, commitment. This avoidance will eventually lead to a life of regret for not having spent sufficient time with feelings – both their own and other people’s – as well as not going deeply enough into the interior landscape of self-awareness and curiosity. What helps is to stay still, go inward, and to experience a variety, range, and depth of feelings.
ENNEAGRAM EIGHTS | Eights don’t want to think of themselves as living a life of regrets, so unless they are doing a great deal of introspection, the regrets may not come to their attention until later in life. But what is the price of needing to be in control and handle everything? What is the price of not taking the risk to feel vulnerable in relation to others in life or to admit you can’t completely handle something? What about risk taking in terms of relationships that matter but are not “under control,” so that Eights have cut these people out of their lives? What helps is to live a life of fullness rather than bigness, particularly fullness of the deepest heart and emotions. Risky? Yes! Rewarding in the end? Absolutely! What helps is to allow and embrace their deepest heart, the one where they are vulnerable, and to develop a deep heart that is both open and strong.
ENNEAGRAM NINES | Nines may perceive themselves as risk takers, as people who take chances and experiment, but this is actually not reality. In a bigger truth, Nines do not know what paths they may want to follow, finding it easier to know what they don’t want to do. Sometimes, this helps them back into what they do want, but not always. To take more risks and not to live a life of no-regrets, Nines need to be more awake, alert, and more vibrant internally. What helps is to get more physically connected to their bodies. This, in turn, helps Nines tune into their emotional states. And this, in turn, helps them to be able to know what they want, to take more risks, and to be more active in the world following their own desires.
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. firstname.lastname@example.org