I have a secret.
I don’t know my enneagram, and honestly, I don’t want to. I get the basic premise of the enneagram test; it’s to help you understand yourself and your way of thinking, your perceptions, your inclinations, your triggers, and your passions. When you know your enneagram number, and you know someone else’s enneagram number, you can calculate compatibility with others, understand group dynamics more clearly, you know how to communicate better and share healthy relationships and discussions. I think we can all agree these are GOOD things. So… what’s my deal?
Twice in my life (that I can remember), I have taken these “tests” to identify my strengths and weaknesses, and both times, I didn’t get the answer I wanted. I know, I know, I know… that’s not how these tests work, but just hear me out, these kinds of tests are tricky.
I overthink the questions, I “lawyer” them if you will…”in this [blank] scenario, you would respond [blank] accordingly..” Immediately, my brain tracks to.. well it depends! Is it sunny or cold out? What side of the bed did I wake up on? What implications would this have on me, on my family, on my dogs? I know you’re supposed to go with your gut reaction, your first/immediate response. Here’s the thing: my gut doesn’t have firm opinions, and sometimes quite frankly, it’s fucking directionless. If my gut was a Girl Scout, abandoned in the woods, you’d never see me again, even if you left me with a map and a compass.
The first time I took a test, which I am considering similar to the enneagram test, I was in 10th grade. It was a Career Aptitude Test that went along with the practice ACT. I KNEW I wanted to be a doctor; had wanted to be one since I was three. It was my dream and I was bent and determined to make that dumb Career Aptitude Test reflect that very dream. I answered all the questions fully expressing my great, and what I thought to be endless, joy with helping people, working long hours, flexibility, all things science, gross liquids… everything I thought would point this test straight north – next stop: med school.
My number one recommendation: trash woman. I was shattered.
The second time I took one of these personality-style tests, it was in our leadership class in high school. I don’t remember the context; but it involved being grouped into 4-5 different color categories based on your answers. Everyone wanted to be yellow or purple. I got red.
And it might as well been a big ole bucket of scarlet red paint all over my face. Red was for domineering, loud, “natural-born” leader, sometimes argumentative, confident. I wanted to be the passionate/artsy purple or the lively/cheerful yellow; but no, I got stupid, bossy red. And I have hated the color red ever since.
Trash women have wonderful attributes and are a very, necessary (to put it in 2020 terms: essential) part of our work force. There is no shame in being a trash woman. I just didn’t want to be one (update: I still don’t). And testing the color red wasn’t supposed to be an insult, there are lots of fantastic people who have rewarding careers, where natural born leader and domineering are considered positive attributes. Hint: an attorney is one of them.
But the point is, both times, I tried to manipulate the answers to who I wanted to be and I didn’t get accurate results. To be clear, I am probably red 🙄, but the Career Aptitude Test was a fluke, and I often wonder what results I would have gotten, if I hadn’t insisted on steering my results towards what I KNEW I wanted to hear.
So, that’s my deal. I don’t trust myself to be honest with myself or the test. I think I will pick a number I want to be, shepherd my answers that way, and end up being like an 800 on the blue map, with swirls of purple and a massive streak of red.
To be fair to myself, and to you, I don’t really believe in grouping myself in one category anyways. I think knowing how your brain works and how your brain processes things is important. I think knowing how the people with whom you surround yourself with brain’s process things is important. I think it’s imperative to know your values, to have a strong moral compass, and to believe your heart to be good and sincere and kind. You don’t need a number or a color to know that.
Please understand: I have no problem with enneagram numbers and the full-hearted believers. I also know that the Career Aptitude Test and the Color-test (as I am naming it) are completely different than the Enneagram Test. I think there is true science to the Enneagram tenets; and I mostly believe it whole-heartily.
I just won’t buy in. To be honest, the test is too long anyways. The bar exam is the last test of that length that I will ever take. 😜 Of course, it is possible that this entire post gives away my exact Enneagram number. That would be the ultimate irony; poetic-justice in a way, but in the meantime…
Here I am, Ashley: Enneagram Whatever.