I’m a test taker.
No, not like those creepy, insane, 35-year-old professional students who irritate and annoy and try to get everyone else to drink the “teacher’s-pet” Kool-Aid. I’m talking about those fun, multiple choice personality tests that’ll tell me which celebrity I’m most compatible with or if I’m a true Leo or an authentic feminist. I’ve learned that I’m an ESFP “Performer” according to the Myers Briggs assessment, that numerology says I’m a fun-loving “3” and that I test into the category of highly sensitive, meaning that unlike 80 percent of the population, I have a nervous system wired to be extra-fine-tuned. Therefore, I’m more likely to notice subtleties and nuances in the physical world, even sensing or feeling other people’s moods. Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) also tend to study themselves, even in a fun way, and insist on understanding themselves and gaining a deeper understanding from others.
This results in endless curiosity and, yes, test-taking with the fun of personality assessments, which led me to the Enneagram, the only testing/profiling tool I can’t beat.
From the Enneagram Website: “The Enneagram can be seen as a set of nine distinct personality types, with each number on the Enneagram denoting one type. It is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself. This is your basic personality type.”
Now by “beat,” I mean being able to sense where the test questions are leading and making sure I test into the coolest category. With the Enneagram, there isn’t a cool category per se, but the typing system is so dead-on accurate that shock and awe are the only ways to describe the effect.
“I remember I had to close the book. It was so real, I thought, ‘there’s no way ANYONE can know this about me,'” says Vicki Crowe, a human resources specialist from Melbourne Australia. “That was the start of the journey.”
Vicki Crowe is an Enneagram type seven, just like me. I knew the feeling. Crowe works with global organizations within the HR, recruiting, training and executive coaching worlds. The Enneagram determines type, which helps determine what Vicki’s client’s strengths are and helps point those clients in the right direction. “In my HR business,” says Crowe, “I started to see the same styles in the same jobs, threes and sevens applying for sales jobs, one’s coming in for finance roles, etc.”
Once typing myself, I began typing my family, my friends, all the people I didn’t like (and realized why I didn’t like them). A little too involved to discuss like horoscopes at parties, the Enneagram is still a great method of bonding with other people. Even if it’s not all fun and games.
“I started profiling my children,” says Crowe, the founder and principal of Enneagram Australasia. “I was having some serious issues with my daughter. She was suffering from depression. In desperation I profiled her and she’s a four (the depressive type). She was seeing psychologists and psychiatrists. I showed it to her and it was a turning point. She was only 14 at the time and could see that there’re all these people out there who were like her. She ended up going to University for psychology. But it was the Enneagram that turned her around. I say it was a great thing that the Enneagram came into my life because it helped me save my daughter,” Crowe says.
“The Enneagram gets to the heart of what makes people tick, including myself,” says Sterlin Mosely, Co-Founder of Insightful Innovations of Norman, OK.
I spoke to Crowe and to Mosley by telephone; you wouldn’t believe how accurately they can describe someone they don’t know just using Enneagram type.
“With sevens, I look for bright eyes, a sparkle in the eyes. And in pictures sevens are almost always smiling and with people,” Mosley says. “The mouth often turns up even when not smiling. If they’re not with people there’s still a gesture-filled, mischievous, ‘Cheshire Cat’ quality,” he says.
Is he watching me? He goes on…
“When talking with a seven, you hear a lot of exclamatory phrases, like ‘wow’ or ‘fantastic.’ Any language that indicates excitement. At the ends of sentences there’re many exclamation points because they’re excited. They’re often very good at talking about almost anything with anybody. They’re good at finessing a conversation when it gets too deeply into something they don’t know a lot about, ” says Mosley. Just wow. Fantastic!
Insightful Innovations holds a six-course online seminar series on the Enneagram for $120 ($25 for an individual course). I’m considering taking one.
See for yourself. Let me know how you test. It’s just 10 minutes.