IAN MORGAN CRON: “Any number on the Enneagram could be a great entrepreneur, and I could introduce you to nine great entrepreneurs on the Enneagram, right? So that has nothing to do with—I would say that certain types, the more aggressive, extroverted types, on the Enneagram tend to have to burn a few less calories than others to be great entrepreneurs. Ones are great. Threes, Sevens… But, you know, look, Mary Kay is a strong Two. You know what I mean? Like, a strong Two company. You could go, as I mentioned earlier, about some Fours, Fives. Bill Gates is a strong Five. Steve Jobs, probably an unhealthy Seven. I think our most-effective presidents in the last fifty years have all been Nines. So any type can be great leaders, entrepreneurs. What it depends on is how self-aware are they?”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: So, I have a little homework for you. I want you to head to your favorite podcast-listening platform; search for the podcast Success Story, hosted by Scott D. Clary; and start listening. Success Story is a new podcast obsession for me; and it features Q&A sessions with successful business leaders; keynote presentations; and conversations on sales, marketing, business, and entrepreneurship. Scott recently spoke with a guest about the importance of socially conscious entrepreneurship, and I love that conversation. This is such an important topic right now, so be sure to check out that specific episode, for sure. You can listen to Success Story wherever you get your podcasts.
Well, hey, there, friend. I hope you’re doing well. And here's my hope for today's episode: I hope that it is a breath of fresh air, no matter what you have going on in your life. So here's the thing: if you know me at all, maybe you've been a lifelong listener, or at least been listening for a while, or maybe you're a new listener—and by the way, I love you both—but you've probably heard me mention personality tests or mention how much I love them, especially one in particular, and that's the Enneagram. In the last year, I've had the pleasure of meeting someone who, in my opinion, lives, sleeps, breathes, eats the Enneagram. In fact, he's written books about it, and he's built a successful business around this assessment. And I thought he was so brilliant that I wanted to share him with all of you.
His name is Ian Morgan Cron, and he's an author, speaker, and therapist. His book, The Road Back to You is an introduction to using the Enneagram for personal and professional growth. And his new book, The Story of You, is An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self. He's also the host of a podcast specifically about the Enneagram called Typology, which I was on, and I loved our conversation. But at one point he made me cry, and then he talked about things that were embarrassing to me, so he really got into the details, but I really enjoyed talking to him.
So today Ian is walking us through what the Enneagram is, how understanding your results can significantly transform your life for the better, if the Enneagram will tell you if you are supposed to be an entrepreneur or not, and then he's also going to walk us through each Enneagram number and explain what that tells us about being a leader. And that's going to help you lean into your Enneagram number in order to enhance your leadership skills and then things to be aware of.
And here's the thing: many of you already know your Enneagram number. If you're curious, I'm a Two; Hobie’s an Eight. But if you don't know your number, don't worry. We're going to tell you in this episode how to figure out what Enneagram type you are, and then you can really dive into this episode to learn more about yourself. So stay tuned. We're going to get you hooked up.
All right. So I won't make you wait any longer. Let's bring on Ian.
Hey, there, Ian. Thank you so much for being on the show.
IAN: Amy, this is so exciting. I’ve looked forward to it.
AMY: I've been looking forward to it. So I fell in love with you when I got to go on your podcast, and we talked all about—well, let's be honest—we talked all about me. So, of course, I loved that podcast because we got to talk about me being an Enneagram Two and what came with that and all the goodness. It was a really fun episode. But when I was on that episode, I thought, first of all, this guy is so very cool. I need to have him on my podcast. And then I thought, you know so much about this topic, as you should because you have books on it, but you know so much about this topic, and my audience is always talking about the Enneagram. So first of all, thank you so much for coming on the show. We have been looking forward to this. We are going to cover a lot. Are you ready?
IAN: Let’s have at it.
AMY: Okay. So, a big shout out to Michael Hyatt because he introduced us. Now that I live in Nashville, I get to meet a lot of cool people in Tennessee. You don’t live far from me, so that’s how we met. And when I first was told all about you, Michael literally said, “He is the Enneagram guy. Like, this is the expert of all experts.” And that made me want to meet you even more. So with that, can you talk to us? Like, start us off like we are total beginners. What the heck is the Enneagram?
IAN: The Enneagram is this beautiful, ancient personality-typing system that teaches there are nine basic personality styles in the world, one of which we gravitate toward and adopt in childhood as a way to cope, to protect ourselves, to feel safe, and to begin to work our way in the world of relationships, right? Like, just to navigate this new world of people we’re around. There are, as I mentioned, nine types. And very importantly, each of those types has an unconscious motivation that powerfully influences how that type, habitually and predictably, acts, thinks, and feels from moment to moment on a daily basis.
AMY: Okay. So a lot of people in my space, entrepreneurs, they wear their Enneagram like a badge of honor. And they're, you know, I say I’m a Two. Well, first of all, what are you?
IAN: I'm a Four.
AMY: You're a Four. And we're going to talk about what this all means in a moment.
AMY: But a lot of people know what it means or know what it's about but really don't know how to use it. And that was something that I learned when I came on your podcast, how I can use this information to be a better leader, a better person, a better spouse, in so many different areas of my life. And I also learned from you how I can use it to be very cautious of different parts of my personality that I need to be very aware of that might not be serving me well. And I loved that. And that's what I really want for people listening here today to really understand how to use it and why it's important.
But before we get there, can you tell us why did this personality quiz become—and I don't even think you would ever even call it a personality quiz—so how do you explain it when you're talking to people? But why did it become such a big part of your life?
IAN: Hmm. So I would say it's a personality-typing system, is probably the best way to put it.
IAN: How did it come into my life? You know, I was in graduate school studying to become a psychotherapist. I had just completed my first year. And, you know, in your first year, you're studying the basics, right, personality theory, personality development, psychopathology, I mean, all this stuff. And I just worked so hard. And then I was on a retreat in the mountains of Colorado, and there was a library in the retreat center, and there was a book called The Enneagram.
IAN: And I don't know. I just pulled it off the shelf, and I started reading it. And I was like, “Where the heck was this when I needed it?” because it was, like, I just spent a year studying personality and how people develop. And yes, all that stuff is super important. But I was like, wow, this is, like, such an amazing shortcut for people who don't want to go to graduate school, who just want to learn what is it that makes people tick and, you know, kind of understanding the inner terrain of the people they work with, that they love, and of course, themselves, and to learn what was best about them and also what was not best about them, right?
I mean, we have this mantra in the Enneagram world that the Enneagram shows that what's best about you is what's worst about you and what's worst about you is what's best about you. So, you know, it's, compared to things like Kolbe, Hogan, Myers-Briggs, DISC, StrengthsFinder, all of them are great. No problem. But one of the things, I think, that gives the Enneagram sort of a step up on those is that it, you know, it does reveal the shadow side, the part of you that needs work. And so for me, it's very powerful because there's no good news without having to deal with some of the bad news of your type, right? So I love that. You know, it's very comprehensive.
AMY: It is very comprehensive. It's so telling in so many areas. And I want to talk about leadership and Enneagram numbers. So if you could, could you break down—and we don’t have to get into tons of detail, because people can definitely do their own research—but can you break down each Enneagram number and share how we can use this to guide us as leaders? because the listeners of this podcast are building businesses, running businesses, running teams, and so I really do believe this could help them. And also, what are the things we should lean into, and what are some things that we should be aware of, like you said, that really don't serve us, but being aware of it can help us?
IAN: Sure. I will try to do this as quickly as I can. There are nine types, so it does take a second.
IAN: But to your point, you know, Amy, most of my work, 95 percent of my work is in the corporate space. So I work with CEOs. I work with senior-management teams. I work with team leaders or division leaders. You know, I mean, CLOs, CFOs, CIOs. You know, this is the tribe that I work with my vast majority of time. I always tell them about this study that was done at Cornell University years ago, their business school. It was a group of—researchers wanted to know what made a group of seventy-two high-performing CEOs so successful. Like, what specific trait or characteristic was it that made them, you know, achieve at such a high level? Here's a one-sentence statement from the conclusion of the study: the key predictor of success among leaders is self-awareness.
IAN: It was mind blowing because they thought it was going to be grit, determination, strategic planning, charisma, all these sort of hard-skill things, right? And they were like, nope; it's self-awareness. And there is no more powerful tool for helping people develop self-awareness than the Enneagram, hands down.
Now, what do I mean by self-awareness? It's simply the ability to observe and monitor and regulate the way that you act, think, and feel from moment to moment. How is your personality functioning? How is it affecting other people? How is it affecting your decision making on every level? And the beautiful thing is, is that when I do corporate workshops, here's what I hear every time, “Oh, this was incredibly helpful for business, but man, it's really helped my marriage.”
IAN: Right? Because I think a key predictor of success in life is self-awareness.
IAN: Right? It's just got to know yourself, got to know others, and then you'll move more intelligently with more emotional wisdom through the world.
Okay. Let's run through the types. Are you ready?
AMY: So some people are listening that are very new to this. You're going to run through the types, and they're like, “How do I know what type I am?” So maybe I should back this ship up just a little bit.
IAN: Sure, yeah.
AMY: If somebody wants to know what type they are, before we even break it down, where do they go?
IAN: Okay. Well, there's a couple of places. One is they could go to my website, ianmorgancron, should maybe to put this in the show notes, where they can find my iEQ9 Enneagram assessment. It's a scientifically validated assessment.
AMY: I love that one, for the record. That's the one that I do and the one I recommend.
So let's just spell it out. Spell your spell for the URL so they know where to go.
IAN: Sure. It's I-A-N-M-O-R-G-A-N-C-R-O-N.com.
IAN: And the iEQ9 is there. They could read my first book, which is The Road Back to You. They could also take a course of mine called Discovering You, which is an introduction to the Enneagram. So we have it across multiple formats that people can discover their type. Okay?
AMY: Cool. Okay.
IAN: So, and then the new book, The Story of You, is sort of a further exploration of the Enneagram. And I guess we'll get to that in a second.
IAN: You ready to go?
AMY: Yep, I’m ready.
IAN: Okay. So Ones are called the improvers. We used to call them the perfectionists, which might give you a little bit of a clue into what they're like. The unconscious motivation of the One is a need to perfect themselves, others in the world, and they really want to be good because they believe the world punishes people who are bad and rewards people who are virtuous and good. Okay?
Twos are called the helpers. Wonderful folks. They're warm, supportive, generous, servant hearted. Their unconscious motivation is really to be liked. Now, all of us want to be liked. Okay? No question. Twos really want to be liked. They want to be appreciated. And they're the most interrelational number on the Enneagram, or interpersonal, I should say. When they're not doing great, though, they use helping and meeting the needs of others as a calculated way to win the appreciation and approval of others. All right?
Threes, called the performers. Threes, man, I bet you you got a lot of Threes on this part podcast, right?
AMY: A lot of Threes.
IAN: You got a lot of threes. So productivity oriented, goal oriented, driven, ambitious, competitive. I mean, the list goes on, right? Nobody gets more done on the Enneagram than a Three, right? To-do lists out the wazoo. They have memorized David Allen's book Getting Things Done, right? And these are folks, the unconscious motivation of the Three is a need to succeed, to appear successful, and to avoid failure at all costs, because, you see, Threes believe that the world only values people for what they do and accomplish versus who they are inside.
Do you notice when I describe these types, there's a shadow side to each type, right? This is what we have to face down. Who doesn't want to take StrengthsFinders?
IAN: You know, I mean, I want to—tell me all day long about my strengths, but really, I need—that's good. But I also need to really hear, where's the growing edge? What's happening underneath the surface that I don't know about that's governing my life without my awareness? Right?
Fours, I don't meet many Fours in the business world, although I've met them in graphic design, Tiffany's, Ritz-Carlton, places where esthetics and an emphasis on—oh, Herman Miller would be a great example of a Four company, right? So, Fours, these are folks who are incredibly creative, imaginative. When they're not doing great, they're melancholy. They're self-absorbed. They're very complicated folks, most-complicated number on the Enneagram. They are motivated by a need to be special and unique because the Four has this unchallenged belief that there's something wrong with them at their core. They don't know what it is. They feel like it's their fault. And it seems to them that everybody else seems to have the missing piece they most want. They have this need to be special and unique as a way to compensate for the missing piece, right?
Fives are called the individualist, the most-analytical number on the Enneagram. They're also the most emotionally distant, if not unavailable, number on the Enneagram. They are, really, information junkies. These are people who sort of see a world that is intrusive, overly demanding, particularly in the relationship sphere. Typically introverted. These are folks that are always just cramming as much information and new knowledge into their heads as they possibly can get as a way, really, to fend off feelings of inadequacy and ineptitude.
Sixes are called the loyalists. We think there are more Sixes in the world than any other type. We think there are fewer Fours in the world than any other type. And I can tell you, we Fours love that, because what does it mean? Means we're special and unique. Okay.
So, Sixes, the loyalists, these are folks who are earthy, practical, witty, could be very funny. They have a real unconscious need for safety, security, and to feel supported. Okay? So worst-case-scenario thinkers, always scanning the horizon, looking for what could go wrong. Friend of mine who's a Six liked to say that he suffers from pre-traumatic stress disorder. We laugh, but all these types when they're healthy are really fantastic. When they're self-aware. When they're not, they're going to bang guardrail to guardrail through their companies, their businesses, their families, their friendships, right?
I tell you this: I love it when I meet a risk manager who's a Six, right? You know what I mean? Like, that gift could be really great. You don't want to Four as your risk manager. I can just tell you right now. I'm not going to be any good at that job.
AMY: Great point.
So, Sevens, the joy bombs of the Enneagram. Sevens are adventurous, very future oriented. Their mind is always in the future, very hard for them to stay in the present moment. They are probably the best entrepreneurs on the Enneagram.
IAN: Because they see overlapping patterns and systems and they go, “Wait a minute. You know if you put this together with this, holy smoke, we'll get that. And no one has seen it before.”
Now, they are people whose unconscious motivation, though, is a need to avoid painful or distressing feelings, thoughts, or situations, right? So all that future mindedness, all that fun, all that play, all that believing in a world of unlimited possibilities is really a way to stay out of difficult feelings and painful situations and circuit, you know, all that stuff.
Eights are called the challengers. You probably have a bunch of challengers on here. I bet you have a lot of Three, Sevens, and Eights, probably some Ones in your group.
IAN: [unclear 20:32] Eights are called the challengers, blunt, notoriously blunt, can be combative, larger-than-life personalities. Sometimes they are, you know, but they're definitely not afraid of a good debate.
My mother is an Eight. I have a child who's an Eight. My mom, we always say my mother could start an argument in an empty house. I mean, it's just how Eights roll, man. Their unconscious motivation is a need to assert strength and control over others in the environment in order to mask tenderness and vulnerability and weakness. Okay?
Nines, finally, the peacemakers. We call them the sweethearts of the Enneagram. My wife is a Nine. I have another child who's a Nine. And Nines are easygoing, supportive. They look like Twos, but they're actually quite different on the outside. They are the hakuna matata. Easy go, go with the flow. If Eights leave a wake like an aircraft carrier, Nines leave a wake like a canoe. You know what I mean? They're just—
AMY: I love Nines.
IAN: —just kind of easy going, you know?
Now, Nines, the unconscious motivation, though, is a need to maintain connection with other people to preserve inner and outer peace. It's a very big thing for Nines. And one of the strategies they employ to make sure that happens is to avoid conflict at all costs.
AMY: Okay. I was waiting. I was like, where’s the thing about that, about Nines? Avoid confrontation.
So, let me just finish up by saying this to help your folks figure out type, right, and maybe they could—probably a lot of your people right now are saying, “I sound like all of them,” or “I sound like every single one of those types during the day. You know, I hear traits of all of them.” Well, that's because everybody is all nine types. It's just that you are more one type than the other eight.
So, think of it like this. Think about it as a house with nine rooms, right? Nine types, but now you got nine rooms. You just moved into a new house. I just moved into a new house. Isn't it funny? All of us gravitate toward one room—
IAN: —and tend to hang out in it? And there are other rooms in the house you will probably spend virtually no time in, just an occasional visit to the room or whatever, you know. And that's sort of like the Enneagram, you know? We have all nine rooms in the house, but there's only one that we really feel at home in, that we're always drawn to. Doesn't mean we don't visit the other eight rooms; it just means, eh, just tend to spend more time in one than the other, right?
AMY: Okay. I love that you said that. That makes perfect sense.
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While you were going through all of these, I was thinking, okay. So how can somebody use their Enneagram number as a way to help guide them to build their business? So everyone listening is—well, not everyone, but most people listening—they're building businesses online. So how can they use this Enneagram information, whether they have it already or they're going to go get it from your website, to be better entrepreneurs, to build better businesses, to be better leaders?
IAN: Okay. Well, as I mentioned, self-awareness is the key predictor of success. Absolutely. I really believe that.
Secondly, as you learn about your type and the types of others, I'm assuming that some of these folks have teams that work with them.
IAN: To know that—right. So to know and understand the people you work with is mission critical.
AMY: Mission critical, yes.
IAN: You know, When you know your type and the types of the people on your team, first of all, it gives you a common vocabulary, where you are able to talk about the dynamics of your relationships. And there will be laughter. There will be wisdom and insight that comes from it. I work with a Fortune 100 company in Manhattan, and when I got done, went back about six months later to do a follow up with the head of H.R. And when I went in, every single person in their division had their Enneagram number on their door to their offices.
AMY: Oh, wow. I love that.
IAN: So everybody knew, okay, right? So it’s like, oh, I’m going in to see this person. I'm going to go… and they’d all become students of these different types.
AMY: Because that's the thing, the student part, because we have a place online where everybody on my team, their Enneagram number is. But I realize I don't know enough about it that I could look and say, “Oh, Kelsey's a One. Okay. I know what that means.” And so it doesn't help me unless I really educate myself around it. I want to be a really great team leader, but just knowing their number isn't enough.
IAN: No. You need to become a student. Self-awareness involves not only knowing yourself, but understanding how other people, what the operating system is for other people, right?
One of the things I tell leaders all the time is the biggest mistake you can make is to presume that your way of seeing the world is normal.
AMY: Mm. Say that one more time.
IAN: I think one of the biggest mistakes leaders make is to presume that their way of seeing the world is normal. If the Enneagram is right, there are nine normals, nine normal ways of seeing the world. And if a leader just sort of thinks to themselves, “Oh, you know, my way of seeing the world is normal,” that means every time they meet someone of another type, they will feel free to judge them as abnormal. And you know, that doesn't end well. That ends in tears.
IAN: That ends with—you know what that ends with? No retention. That's what that ends with.
IAN: So that's an incalculable value for teams. It’s not—understanding each other, that means appreciating diversity, difference. It means being, you know, if a One—look, I'm a four, right? I'm a very feeling-oriented person, very feeling oriented. Sometimes my feelings stand in the way of my being able to make a good decision and a timely decision. Because I have self-awareness, I know that. That’s what the Enneagram gave me, one of the many things. So when I need to make a quick decision and I need it to be based on critical thinking, I go to a Five. I have two friends who are Fives, and when I’m like, “I’m just lost in feelings about this decision,” they’ll say, “Okay. Well, tell me what’s… Just give me the data. Tell me what you have to make a decision about, and I'll get back to you within an hour and tell you here's the pros; here are the cons; do that.”
AMY: Oh, I love that. So going to your friends who you know have this certain maybe strength or ability that you possibly don't. And knowing what your friends, knowing your friends’ Enneagram, that's how it becomes so valuable of who to turn to when you need support.
So, you know, for example, if—you're a Two, right?
IAN: You're a helper.
AMY: I'm a helper.
IAN: You are the most, as I mentioned earlier, you're the most interpersonal number on the Enneagram. So you get up in the morning thinking about relationships; you go to bed at night thinking about relationships. It's all about relationships, right?
Now, I would know, if I were working with you, that the last thing I want to do is put you in a position where you're not with people all day. Twos make great H.R. people. They make great event planners. They make, you know, they're just amazing at interpersonal stuff. You don't put an Eight in customer service. Do you know what I'm saying?
IAN: You just don't do that. So I just know and I have to be careful of that because, you know, types, you know, you don't want to sort of typecast people in different professional roles, but an Eight could do it if they—but they would have to burn more calories doing it. It’d be so much more natural for you.
AMY: Yeah. They probably wouldn’t gravitate toward a job like that.
Now, I would know, “Oh, geez. You know, Amy seems like she's losing energy.” Well, maybe that's because you put her office in the basement with no windows. You know what I mean? Like, she needs to be in an open floor plan, visiting people all day long, talking with people on the phone. I could put a Five in the basement with no windows, and they would actually get energy from the solitude because that's their jam, is privacy.
IAN: So do you see where I'm going? Like, I get CEOs calling me all the time, you know, like, “I got this guy. He's really valuable, but he's going to lose his job,” or “Her, she's going to lose her job because of x, y, and z.” And I'm like, “Well, let's find out their type, and I can tell you how to help them.” And it's not hard.
AMY: That’s a big deal, knowing how to help somebody, especially on your team. You know, I've had many people come and go on my team. And if I look at the past and think, what could I have done differently to help them? They might have left because they weren't happy, or we let them go because we weren't happy with them. But if we understood them at a deeper level, some of that, maybe, could have been tweaked or fixed or reworked so that they could shine. And I love that, giving people a chance.
I would say if you want to incentivize a Two—I just tell people this all the time—if you got a Two on your team, you can't tell them enough how much you appreciate them. You cannot tell them how much—. You know, if you want to make a Two feel great—and this isn't manipulative. It's just understanding how humans are wired—you can't tell them enough, “I don't know what I would do without you.”
IAN: You know what I mean? Like, “I don't know how this place would run without you.” And of course, you want that to be true. I'm not saying lie.
But, now, if you want to make a—if you just sort of assume everybody’s like that, because you're a Two, let's say, don't even waste your time with a Three or an Eight doing that. That doesn't incentivize them. What a Three wants to know is, “Well, okay. What are the metrics? How do I crush it? How can I exceed your expectations? How do I win the admiration of others through performance? And what are the perks or the incentives for me to perform well?” In other words, a bonus. It could be a promotion, whatever it is. Like, Two, Threes need goals. They need something at the end of the road. That incentivizes them. Twos, yeah, but not nearly as much as Threes.
AMY: Absolutely. I’ve seen it over and over again.
IAN: So tremendously help—I could just go on forever about how helpful it is with your teams and making your business successful.
AMY: Well, I totally agree with you. And this, you know, talking to you about this makes me realize I need to learn the ins and outs even more so, so I could use it as a valuable tool and not just spew off, “Oh, I know so-and-so's a Two or so-and-so's a Three, and think I know enough.” I could be such a better leader understanding it at a deeper level. So that's definitely a gift you've given to me.
But one of the questions I had, but I think you’ve already answered it, is that your Enneagram number will not determine if you would be a good entrepreneur or not a good entrepreneur. That’s not how we’re using it.
IAN: No, absolutely not. Any number on the Enneagram could be a great entrepreneur, and I could introduce you to nine great entrepreneurs on the Enneagram, right? So that has nothing to do with—I would say that certain types, the more aggressive, extroverted types, on the Enneagram tend to have to burn a few less calories than others to be great entrepreneurs. Ones are great. Threes, Sevens… But, you know, look, Mary Kay is a strong Two. You know what I mean? Like, a strong Two company. You could go, as I mentioned earlier, about some Fours, Fives. Bill Gates is a strong Five. Steve Jobs, probably an unhealthy Seven. I think our most-effective presidents in the last fifty years have all been Nines. So any type can be great leaders, entrepreneurs. What it depends on is how self-aware are they?
IAN: Right? If you're self-aware, living in the sweet spot of your type, yeah, you can be fantastic at anything. But the less self-awareness you have, the more trouble you're going to have rising.
AMY: Yeah. I could see that 1,000,000 percent, now understanding how this works. And I was curious if you could give us some tangible ways that we can improve our lives, not just business, but improve our lives by using the Enneagram.
IAN: So the gift of the Enneagram is really to help people cultivate self-knowledge, and that, then, flips into self-awareness, which is self-knowledge acted upon, right?
Now, you know, one of the gifts of the Enneagram is increased empathy, compassion for other people. And you don’t have to—I mean, just read the studies on the importance of empathy and compassion in the workplace. It will drastically reduce conflict. In business, for example, it reduces what I call the gross inefficiencies of everyday business, right? And that could be miscommunication. It could be, you know, things taking longer because you don't understand how other people function. You know, it's like all these inefficiencies, you just eliminate so many of them.
Also, you’re able to use it very quickly. I don't know about you. Did you ever take Myers-Briggs?
IAN: Do you remember hardly anything about it?
AMY: Absolutely not.
IAN: Yeah, me neither. I went to graduate school. I studied it in grad school. I still don’t—I don’t know, the Myers-Briggs. The Enneagram is so quick and accessible. It's pretty fast, just to get a cursory knowledge of it, a helpful knowledge of it.
I think you have to become a student of yourself all through life. You need to be a student of yourself. Research shows that people believe they know themselves far better than they actually do. And so, really, we have to understand, what are some of the blind spots, the unconscious motivations, and drivers that are playing in the background of my life, governing how I think, feel, and act on a daily basis? You know, it's like I’ve got to figure this stuff out if I want to move through the world more intelligently. You know, so becoming a student of your type, developing self-knowledge, and then applying it so that it becomes self-awareness.
I think it's, also, the ability to learn how, in the moment, to pick up cues and to very consciously, like, be able to say, “All right. Here's what's happening in this moment. Here’s how my way of being in the world is influencing this moment. How do I make it the optimal moment? What do I need to pull back? What do I need to move forward?” You know, the way I talk to an Eight in the business world is a lot different than the way I speak to a Five. I've just eliminated a lot of time that I would normally take me to figure stuff out. And I got to tell you, honestly, it works. It really works.
AMY: Absolutely. And tell me this: is there ever a situation where maybe I was a Two, and then I take the test three, four years later, and I'm something different? Do people change?
IAN: Well, no.
IAN: You know, at least according to the Enneagram, people's unconscious motivation remains with them throughout life. That said, you can evolve within your type.
AMY: Got it.
IAN: I hope at forty, you as a Two looks a lot different than you at twenty-five as a Two. And I'm sure it does.
Now, I mean, I've met some very immature people, people who, for whatever reason, just don't seem to have grown up much. And that actually is usually pretty tragic, as you know. But yeah, we're basically pretty wired for life. But that doesn't mean the journey toward becoming your best self within the type.
And I’d also say, you know, when you talk about personality, you're talking about probabilities, not certainties, right? So for you as a Two, I might be able to say, “Well, you know, I think in this situation, Amy probably will respond to it this way.” Now, people surprise us all the time. They do things that we're like, “Well, that was out of character,” or “That's not typical of them.” So, again, you have to sort of look at the Enneagram with humility, with a realistic eye, and say, “This is a low-resolution picture of the interior world of this kind of person.” It's not exact. But if you even get 10 or 15 percent more clarity about your way of being in the world and other people, that's a gigantic leap forward.
IAN: Just 15%.
AMY: I think it just makes us not only better people in terms of how we treat ourselves, because I'm more forgiving of myself when I understand myself more, so I think it helps me be more forgiving and loving of myself, but of course, of other people as well. So I see this tool as, it actually can really make the world a better place if more and more people would embrace it.
IAN: Yeah. I mean, I absolutely agree. It's why I wrote The Road Back to You. It's why I've written this brand-new book, The Story of You, which the subtitle is An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self.
AMY: So tell me about that. You have this new book out, and what's it about?
IAN: I am so stoked about this book, I have to tell you, because it really is a story of how, some ways of my own journey of using the Enneagram for personal transformation. You know, I'm a therapist, and I'm always on the hunt, looking for new ways to help people find meaningful change in their lives. And what I realized after years of studying the Enneagram is that these aren't just personality types. These are also the stories that people tell about themselves to other people and how they think about who they are and how they think the world works. Because all of us, as little people, craft a story, a narrative to help us make sense of the world, right? And that narrative is based on internalized messages that we pick up, real or perceived, from parents; it could be from traumatic situations; it could just be from the rough and tumble of life, right? And unfortunately, those stories tend to be broken stories. And when we unconsciously bring those stories into adulthood, they really can make a mess of our lives. We feel like, man, I am stuck with the wrong script here, right?
IAN: And so for you as a Two, maybe you picked up messages and experiences, and the way you made sense out of it was to say, “Oh, wait a minute. In order for me to win love, I have to meet the needs of other people. And I have to be there for everybody. And I have to say yes to everybody. And I have to… You know, because that's the—you know, it's a give-to-get world. That's what I've been taught unconsciously. That's what I picked up.” Now, helped you as a little kid. Be grateful. But man, if you bring that set of beliefs and practices into adulthood, it's going to make your life a codependent mess, right?
And so The Story of You, this book is all about, how do I rewrite my story so that it's an adult story, not a children's story anymore? You have the freedom and the power. You are the narrator of your own story. So write it. And I think that's the exciting thing for me is here are these nine stories. People tend to be really attracted to some version of one of them. How do I rewrite that story and then become the healthiest version of me, the freest version of me to really shine in the world?
AMY: Ah, that is beautiful. This book is going to change lives. I mean, I didn’t realize the focus was around this idea of transformation and this ability to do so.
IAN: Yeah. You know, the first book was really sort of a description of the system, right? And I described types and, you know, all that stuff. But this book is really more about, all right, so now that I know this about myself—I'm a Two. I’m a Four. I’m a One—how do I really become the highest, the best version of that type in the world, and the unique expression of it that I am?
So, again, I've just been so influenced by this whole idea of story and, you know, this whole idea of how powerful story is in a person's life. By the way, do you know who actually partly inspired me to write this book was Don Miller?
AMY: Ah, I love Don Miller.
IAN: I know. He's a good friend. And it was after a bunch of conversations he and I had that I was like, you know, I have to do, sort of what I call, a narrative-based approach to the Enneagram, because as one guy, I talk about him in the book, he says, a therapist, he's actually a professor at Northwestern, he says, “All transformation in life is story transformation. You have to change your story and become the author of it. Don't just believe in the story someone handed to you at five.”
AMY: Right. Becoming the author of it, that’s powerful.
IAN: Become the author of your own story. You, I think you not only have the ability and the freedom to do it, I think you have an obligation to do it. If you really love other people, if you really love yourself, if you want to become the best in business and your home, if you want to become happy, for crying out loud, then it’s all about change the story, man, because that’s where the biggest element of change can be found.
AMY: Mm, amen to that.
I am so very glad that I got to have you on my podcast. I think that this episode is going to spark so much interest and people learning more about themselves and those that they work with. So tell everybody, Ian, where can they go to just learn more about you and the work you do and your books and your courses and take the assessment? Tell everyone where they should go.
IAN: Sure. Well, obviously, the first thing that I'm excited about is for everybody to go and check out The Story of You: An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self. And that is available, just dropped last—well, on December 28. Not sure when this show is going live—but you know, that's on Amazon. You can find it in a gagillion, Barnes and Noble. You can also go to storyofyoubook.com and see all the different ways that you can get your hands on it. Again, they can go to ianmorgancron—I-A-N-M-O-R-G-A-N-C-R-O-N—.com, and they can learn about the iEQ9 assessment; my courses, particularly Discovering You would be a great course for people. It’s an eight-hour course about the Enneagram and all the different types. And then, obviously, my first book on the Enneagram. What the heck was that book? The Road Back to You. And that's more of a primer. And on social media, @ianmorgancron across the board.
Well, thank you so very much for being on the show. We so appreciate you, and I can't wait to connect again soon.
IAN: Thanks. Amy, this was a blast.
AMY: Don't you just love him? He was such a wealth of knowledge, and every time I have a conversation with him, I learn so much. And I hope you learned a lot about yourself and maybe your team members throughout this episode.
So my biggest takeaway was that I need to understand Enneagram more. I mean, you can bet that I understand Enneagram Two, which is me, and Enneagram Eight, which is Hobie. But at the same time, my team members, I've got people in every single type of the Enneagram on my team, and I want them to feel seen and heard and loved and appreciated and respected. And I believe if I understand them more through their Enneagram type, I can be a better leader to them. So that's my biggest takeaway today.
As always, I’ll link all the information about Ian, his books, and his programs in the show notes. So be sure to head over to the show notes to get all the details.
And if you'd be so kind to share this episode with a friend, I would be so appreciative. I have big things coming up on this podcast this year that I want to share with all of you, and I hope I can impact more lives all across the world. So I would so appreciate it if you would share it.
All right, my friend. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.