I’ve taken them all, man. I’m an INTJ. I’m “high-I.” I’m a “Learner” with the secondary as “Belief.” I could go on. Granted, I don’t put a world of stock in these self-reported personality inventories. To me, they’re a lot like reading a horoscope in that you read a lot into pre-written results. But, alas, I took the Enneagram inventory for a doctoral class I’m enrolled in.
Turns out, for those of you that have any idea what this one is about, I’m a 1 with a 9 wing, and a 4 as my 3rd trait. A “Reformer,” with a strong “Peacemaker” trait, supported by “Individualist” leanings. But in reading these descriptions, I decided to use them to sort of guide me in my goals for the year.
See, I gave up on a list of goals a few years back and sought to come up with one word that would be the north-star for that year. The most notable one was the year I wanted “clarity” and, manalive, did I get that in spades.
Anyway, there are few things I gleaned from the Enneagram results that have pointed me to my one word for 2019. Here’s a few things that those of you who know me won’t be surprised by but came directly from the test analysis results.
First, Ones are driven by a sense of mission:
This sense of mission impels Ones to rise to their highest standards, to make personal sacrifices, and to evaluate themselves regularly to see if they are falling short of their ideals. They feel that they must live a balanced, sensible life in order to have the clarity and inner resources necessary to fulfill their purpose.
Second, Ones have an outward appearance of balance, but appearances can be deceiving:
Ones appear well balanced and sure of themselves, but they can suffer from extreme self-criticism, feeling that they are never able to measure up to their Olympian standards…At such times they feel burdened by their responsibilities and by the sense that others will not do as thorough a job as they will.
Lastly, Ones tend to grow by having more “play time” in their lives:
Becoming moody, depressed, and uncommunicative because of repressed anger. Not allowing enough “play time” in the relationship—feeling that all spare time must be used for serious purposes (yard work, checking finances, reading “educational” or “meaningful” books, attending meetings or lectures, discussing political issues, etc.)…Ones also grow by playing —by finding areas of their lives that are lighter, freer, and that offer opportunities for spontaneous creativity. Most Ones have a great sense of humor, and the more they allow themselves to entertain and enjoy others, the better for everyone involved. Basically, Ones grow to the extent that they can accept reality with all of its apparent contradictions and “imperfections.” This, of course, especially applies to themselves.
So, reading this and looking ahead to 2019, here’s a few random thoughts before I give you the one word I’m going to focus on for the new year.
I’m really connected to my mission. I have 101 scholars who I teach in either an A.P. English class or a College Transitions class that I have truly come to love and enjoy. Serving them well is an unwavering commitment. I also have a side gig at DTS as a teaching assistant and I have a good thing going there, too. I’m also on the downhill side of my doctoral pursuits. Nothing changes much in this regard as 2019 shows up.
Where the problem shows up is in “appearing balanced, but burdened by responsibilities and serious purposes.” See, in order to get high school lesson plans completed, graduate level papers graded and dissertation reading/research done, I keep a pretty rigid routine.
Truth be told, when I rest…I feel guilty. When I’m out with Tracy or hanging out with friends, there’s always this voice in the back of my mind saying, “There’s a better use of your time.”
And 2019 will require a lot of “routine.” I mean, I’ve got to get my scholars ready for their A.P. exam in May. I’ve got scholars who have important decisions to make about their next four years and will need me engaged. I’ve got two master’s classes to help the students learn about ministry. Oh, yeah. I’ve got a dissertation to write…starting with 35 hours of class next week learning HOW to write one.
Frankly, it would be easy to just put the nose to the grindstone and knock it all out and sleep next Christmas break. That’s what I would normally do if I didn’t put some degree of stock in the Enneagram’s result…but I also know how that would end up: a lot of moodiness, withdrawal, and repressed anger. Nobody around me wants me to be any of those things.
So, I need more honest rest. More “play-time.” Entertaining and enjoying others. Giving myself some grace. I could easily survive 2019…but finding creative ways to do these things will let me thrive in 2019. And that’s truly what I want to do.
The word that keeps coming up this time around is “balance.” Be sensible, sure, I mean, I’ve got stuff to do. But I think I can ease up on the “Olympian standards” I place on myself. I can give myself a break and not feel guilty for doing so. I can play more and do more things that give me life, like concerts and nights on the roof with the missus watching sunsets and hanging out with good friends…and sometimes just doing nothing by intent. Oh yeah…and writing for fun (so, yes, I’ll be firing up The Diner again).
So, let’s raise a glass to 2019…and balance.
Cheers! Here’s to a great year for you & yours.