• Kristin Cole

Decoding How We Approach Life Through our Enneagram Stance

Updated: Mar 15

Photo by Brett Jordan | Unsplash

I'll admit it. Daniela and I are personal development test junkies. We LOVE digging into the intricacies of our inner selves to understand why exactly we move through the world in our unique ways. We've engaged with countless systems and, in the process, continue to learn about and respect our individual selves. It's even helped our partnership to evolve and thrive.

We encourage you to start small when digging into the results, gathering bits of information that resonate, and then practically applying the findings to your life. Having a real world experience is far more valuable than actual knowledge when it comes to understanding yourself. And with it comes plenty of prototyping. This has been crucial with some of the more complex assessments like Human Design. We believe fully in living your design, and not just knowing it.

We're on a kick now with the Enneagram, a system of nine numbers that indicates more than just what you do, but more importantly, why you do it. According to Liz Carver and Josh Green, the authors of What's Your Enneatype?

"...the Enneagram invites you to grow out of how you've been operating, unlearn bad habits, and rewrite unhealthy narratives." -Liz Carver and Josh Green

Essentially, we are forced to look at our evolution over our lifetime rather than just understanding who we came into this life as. Daniela and I both find this concept fascinating.

As a 5 type (known as the Investigator, Observer, Theorist), my mental processing is dominant and differs greatly from Daniela's 4 type (the Individualist, Romantic, Artist) that takes in the world from the heart. Not to say that I don't come from a heart-filled space, but rather, my mind is my strongest asset. The Enneagram uses the categories of Heart, Mind, and Body or as depicted below: Feeling, Thinking and Acting.

Graphic from The School of Natural Health Sciences

Once you determine your Enneagram type, you may find yourself resonating with everything you read – finally, someone else gets you! It may feel so affirming to read the qualities and see yourself in them. But on the flip side, it may cause some anxiety when you realize the growth and transformational journey ahead.

For us, the 4 and 5 are quite opposite in their qualities, which explains our opposites-attract nature of our relationship. However, in digging deeper and learning about various sub-categories within the Enneagram, we realize there is much overlap as well. And a big part of our similarities have to do with how we move forward and take action. Or, in our case, feeling blocked from moving forward because we often linger in the safety of the past.

Let's look at the concept of stances, a way of categorizing how we approach life. 4, 5 and 9s are considered part of the “Withdrawing Stance” which means that they focus inwardly, meet their own needs and make decisions privately. The other two stances are called Dependent (1,2 and 6) and Aggressive (3, 7 and 8) – which one do you fall into?

For us in withdrawing stances, doing is more challenging because our ideas cannot always reach completion. We think them in our minds or feel them in our hearts, but do not always act upon them.

If we linger in the past, then nothing can be done in the future. We are left thinking about our lives, versus actually living them.

As our business is focused on helping women shift from thinking to doing, this is certainly something we are keenly aware of. This aspect of the Enneagram is neither positive nor negative, it just is. And approaching these results with neutrality can help us to understand ourselves better and to make different decisions.

For those of us in the withdrawing stance, perhaps sharing more openly and receiving affirmations from trusted individuals (engaging with the external world) could provide the confidence in our forward steps?

We like to remind ourselves to drop the expectation when it comes to trying things out. Instead, how can we learn and grow but just taking a small step?


Dear reader, what is your Enneagram type? Let us know if you also fall into the Withdrawing Stance (4, 5 or 9). We see and understand you.

xx, Kristin

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