How the Enneagram is Helping Me Be A Better Coach’s Wife

How The Enneagram is Helping Me Be A Better Coach's Wife

Recently, one of my work clients requested to know my Enneagram number. Although I had heard a lot about other people’s numbers, I was unaware of my own. If you aren’t familiar with the Enneagram I think these two sections from The Road Back to You website highlight it well.

“The Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively.”

“By challenging us to bravely explore who we really are, the Enneagram helps us recognize and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior and to become our most authentic selves.”

I’ve taken the Strengths Finder, Love Languages test, and Spiritual Gifts tests but this one was different. “Each of the nine Enneagram personality profiles has a distinct, well-developed coping strategy for relating to self, others and the environment.”

The Enneagram for me has been about identifying patterns (both healthy and unhealthy) and understanding that they are coping mechanisms. Why has this been so helpful? Because a coping mechanism develops from a trigger. There has to be something to cope with. Being able to identify the responses that are “unhealthy” or in other words, the reactions I jump to when I’m feeling out of balance, has been key to stopping my negative actions before they occur or at the very beginning of a bad choice. For example, instead of picking a fight with my husband when I know he’s already tired, I can walk away and discuss whatever needs to be dealt with at a later, calmer time.

Several different websites offer free tests. I consistently test as a Type 2 (Helper) with a wing 3 (Achiever), and sometimes a 7 (Enthusiast) pops up.

Type 2’s Are Described:

Positively:

Twos are warm, emotional people who care a great deal about their personal relationships, devote an enormous amount of energy to them, and who expect to be appreciated for their efforts. They are practical people who thrive in the helping professions and who know how to make a home comfortable and inviting. Helping others makes Twos feel good about themselves;

Negatively:

Because Twos are generally helping others meet their needs, they can forget to take care of their own. This can lead to physical burnout, emotional exhaustion, and emotional volatility. Twos need to learn that they can only be of true service to others if they are healthy, balanced and centered in themselves.

Read More about Type 2 here

These two explanations have brought every football season, recruiting season, and off season into clear view. Every time I pushed myself to make sure the house was welcoming or made food the healthiest way possible only to be exhausted. Every time I threw a pity party and felt unappreciated by increased efforts to create a smoothly running house.  It all made sense. Even after identifying this pattern in myself years ago, I couldn’t fully understand where it came from and why I couldn’t shake myself out of it.

Until Now:

  • I know I love to help, but I have to pace myself and prioritize in order to avoid burnout. I have to say no and not feel guilty about it.
  • I am quickly and deeply affected by negative people and negative attitudes, so I need to avoid them instead of engaging with them.
  • I may view something as negative which someone else considers flippant. I need to avoid them.
  • I need to walk myself back from the woe is me when football season picks up and life becomes about picking up the slack, but I also need to ask for help because it’s ready and waiting.

Here’s What’s Keeping Me Healthy:

  • My job (which I started last November) is all about helping my clients and I’m finally working in a positive work environment.
  • I’ve surrendered a lot of the house. This summer the boys started doing their own laundry, cooking one dinner each a week and taking care of their rooms.
  • Quality time with my guy. This has always helped, but in the past, I’ve seen it as something I do for him. Now I see it’s for us, and maybe even more for me. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a chat at lunch, or a date, intentional conversation is key.
  • Guilt-free self-care: doing my nails, taking a bath, exercising for as long as I can instead of running an errand for someone else.
  • Lunches and coffee with girlfriends

The coolest part of the Enneagram is that once you know your number you are just beginning. As explained in The Road Back To You:

“Beginning with changes you can start making today, the wisdom of the Enneagram can help take you further along into who you really are―leading you into places of spiritual discovery you would never have found on your own, and paving the way to the wiser, more compassionate person you want to become.”

“By challenging us to bravely explore who we really are, the Enneagram helps us recognize and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior and to become our most authentic selves.”

So, the reality is, when I’m living my most authentic life, and overcoming self-defeating patterns I’m not only a better coach’s wife, but I’m a better mom, friend, employee, and person.

 

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