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Enneagram and Service

This blog was inspired by Ruth Landis’ insights about Service. You can read about how each of us, based on our Enneagram style, can be in true service, which affects our capacity to be all of what we are capable of being. Whether we are a leader, coach, consultant, trainer, parent, or friend, Service is central to being fully in the world.

Service Activity by Ruth Landis, Senior Member of The Enneagram in Business Network:

When we are in service to others and the world, we are ultimately in service to ourselves since we are a part of all that is. Take an inventory of your inner and outer resources and your personal abundance. Today, consciously choose to offer up some form of service without any attachment to receiving anything in return. Since you are coming from abundance you need nothing back. If your offering is rejected, let it go. The offering itself and the “no strings attached” feeling is the gift you give yourself. If your offering of service is accepted, give it freely and thank the other for the opportunity to serve.

Service and Enneagram Styles

I’ve added the following to help us understand how our Enneagram styles can block our capacity to be in service and what we can each do to act from a place of true service.

Enneagram Style One

An obstacle to being in service: having too many items on your “to-do” lists to either have the time to engage in service or to take pleasure in the moments in which you offer service

To act from a place of true service, structure service into your life at regular intervals and when you are engaged in service, enjoy every moment of your actions rather than treating these moments as tasks to be completed.

Enneagram Style Two

An obstacle to being in service: misconstruing “giving” for true service

To act from a place of true service, take a very hard look at yourself when you are about to offer service and ask yourself: Why am I doing this? Is it to feel good about myself? What if they don’t want what I offer? Can I fully accept this without feeling bad about myself or the person who refused in any way? Can I engage in service from a place of true humility, not from a place where I feel better about myself or feel more worthy because I am doing it?

Enneagram Style Three

An obstacle to being in service: confusing the creation of an image of someone who does philanthropy with someone who offers true service without the need for recognition or status

To act from a place of true service, ask yourself: What if I offered or engaged in service and no one else knew about it? If your answer is that you would still do it and find great value for yourself, then you are on the path to true service. But if you would not feel as inclined to offer your help, then it is time to examine why you do what you do – that is, are you engaging in service primarily to gain social respect?

Enneagram Style Four

An obstacle to being in service: feeling taken advantage of when offering too much time and self in the service of something or someone

To act from a place of true service, notice and count the ways in which a voice in you arises that says this: What about me? There are two ways to understand this. One way is that you may have over-extended yourself because you do not really value your own pursuits; if so, work on setting clearer boundaries. The other way to understand this What about me? voice is that it is a deep voice in you that wants a great deal but never seems satisfied; if so, get to know that voice and what it really needs. When you feel more internally satisfied, it will be easier for you to offer true service.

Enneagram Style Five

An obstacle to being in service: maintaining a mindset of scarcity that causes you to withhold your resources

To act from a place of true service, recognize that scarcity is merely an idea; so is abundance. And when you give, give not only your money and ideas — your time, feelings, engagement, and commitment matter just as much if not more.

Enneagram Style Six

An obstacle to being in service: pursuing service in support of your own need to belong or to fight for underdog causes, rather than for the act of service itself

To act from a place of true service, realize that when you strongly identify with a group that suffers, or when you want to fight the good fight on behalf of others, you can do a great deal of good; but true service is done without these attachments: it is done purely for the act of doing without the doer receiving secondary benefits.

Enneagram Style Seven

An obstacle to being in service: being able to continue with the service you are offering when it’s no longer exciting, new, and stimulating to you

To act from a place of true service, follow your heart and keep it open, and true service will come quite naturally to you. The challenge for you is to be stable, secure, and certain in your Heart Center.

Enneagram Style Eight

An obstacle to being in service: being fueled in your service by your need for justice, control, and to feel big, rather than offering service from a place of pure equality

To act from a place of true service, practice service in small ways, including actions that might be humbling to you. Instead of thinking large and acting big, serve with humble gratitude.

Enneagram Style Nine

An obstacle to being in service: going through the motions – even if doing so with pleasure – of providing service rather than being conscious and aware at every moment when you offer service

To act from a place of true service, when you do engage in service, stay awake, alert, and fully conscious in every action, thought, and feeling. True service can be transformative.

This is the fifth of a twelve part series titled “Enneagram Insights.”

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