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Enneagram Styles and Involvement


Gayle Hardie, a transformative business consultant from Australia and Senior Member of the Enneagram in Business Network, has written this month’s Insight Activity on Involvement.

Involvement is being engaged in the moment and experiencing what can be achieved – no matter the significance. When our involvement is aligned with what we are passionate about, there is no greater opportunity to make a difference. And the amazing thing is that with involvement and passion aligned, it all seems to happen without any effort.

It is important to recognize the different ways that we can be involved – and it is not just in the “doing,” which many of us find so easy. Being part of the team, sharing your aspirations about what is possible, encouraging others to become engaged and assisting them in realizing their goals, identifying the unique talents others bring, sharing your knowledge and understanding, identifying potential risks to achieving success, and finding creative and unusual ways to involve everyone are all just as important.

The rest of this blog focuses on how this insight has particular significance for individuals of each Enneagram style. What are the challenges that each of us, depending on our Enneagram type, encounter in our movement toward involvement? One way to think about this is to imagine a world in which everyone were truly, deeply, and consistently involved. What might that be like and what would each person, depending on their Enneagram type, need to be fully conscious of in the process?

Enneagram Ones
Ones can be deeply passionate and engaged, propelled by a values-driven momentum that few others can match. But here are some questions for Ones to ask themselves about their true involvement:
* Can you be fully involved when someone else is in control of the situation or when there is a high degree of uncertainty?
* What if being fully involved requires you to be absolutely in the moment and simultaneously fully aware and spontaneous?
* Can you be fully involved when the quality standards may not live up to yours?

Enneagram Twos
Twos can appear highly involved and engaged, encouraging others’ aspirations and helping others accomplish their goals. But here are some questions for Twos to ask themselves about their true involvement:
* Are you involved because it’s something you really want to do or are you engaged primarily on behalf of others?
* While you are helping others manifest their intentions and talents, what about yours? Are you also manifesting your deepest dreams that go beyond supporting those of other people?
* Can you (or anyone) be fully involved when you are not focused on yourself as much as you are focused on others?

Enneagram Threes
Threes are highly driven and focused and, thus, experience a high level of involvement with their projects and activities. But here are some questions for Threes to ask themselves about their true involvement:
* Are you involved with activities, tasks, and projects but not so much with people and relationships?
* Have you considered that you might be “doing” involvement and engagement rather than “being” when you are involved?
* What would be the answer if, each time you got involved, you asked yourself this: “Is this something I really want or am I doing it because it is expected of me?”

Enneagram Fours
Fours can get passionately and intensely involved with activities that align with their values or with people to whom they feel deeply connected. But here are some questions for Fours to ask themselves about their true involvement:
* Is there a difference between intensity/passion and involvement? Is it possible you get overly-involved?
* Can you get fully involved if you don’t relate completely to all aspects of the joint effort and feel listened to and understood by other people?
* Can you focus just as much on the aspirations of others as you do on your own needs and drives?

Enneagram Fives
Fives become quite passionate and sometimes extremely involved with ideas, concepts, and higher ideals. But here are some questions for Fives to ask themselves about their true involvement:
* Is it possible to be fully involved using only the mind?
* What would involvement of the heart look like, feel like, be like?
* How can you have your involvement also include full engagement with other people?

Enneagram Sixes
Sixes – the phobic, counter-phobic, and those with some of both – can become highly involved with fighting for underdogs, pursuing ideas they feel passionate about, and working in support of other people, particularly members of teams to which they belong. But here are some questions for Sixes to ask themselves about their true involvement:
* What is driving my involvement; is it fear and reactivity or conscious choice?
* Do I believe in myself as much as I want to believe or have faith in others?
* In addition to easily identifying the risks involved, can you also articulate the potential with equal gusto?

Enneagram Sevens
Sevens can easily be described as highly engaged, particularly with ideas, activities, individuals, and groups that stimulate them. But here are some questions for Sevens to ask themselves about their true involvement:
* Do I know the difference between stimulation/engagement versus true involvement?
* What happens when you are involved and then get bored?
* Are you focused on the desires, intentions, and motivations of others as much as you are on your own need for excitement?

Enneagram Eights
Eights are intense about most everything, and involvement with causes, projects, strategic action, and people are no exception. But here are some questions for Eights to ask themselves about their true involvement:
* What is driving your intense involvement, and is this true and pure involvement?
* Can you maintain your involvement when you are not in charge or in control?
* Deep down inside, are you truly committed to the aspirations and achievements of others, even when you don’t respect or when you feel competitive with them?

Enneagram Nines
Nines can get highly involved with activities that matter to them, loved ones, teams in which they are members, and even people they hardly know but find pleasant. But here are some questions for Nines to ask themselves about their true involvement:
* Deep down inside, what propels you to engage with others as much as you do?
* Can you tell the difference between fusing/blending/merging and true involvement?
* What would happen if you disengaged from all your involvements for just one day – and this includes TV, computers, gardening, extensive reading – and just asked yourself what really matters enough for you to warrant your full engagement?

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