Walt Disney may be one of the most notable dreamers of the modern day. He dreamed of stories, art, and imagination, creating a world that has captured the hearts of generations.
What few may know, however, is that is his brother Roy was his business partner. Roy was quite different from Walt. Roy focused on conserving finances and remaining levelheaded, while Walt wanted to continue taking huge risks and pursuing adventures.
As they continued developing the company, they began to design the amusement park in Florida that we are all familiar with today. Walt dreamed of the Cinderella castle and was determined to build it out of solid gold. Sensible Roy, of course, considered this a ridiculous idea.
Prior to the park’s completion, Walt was diagnosed with cancer and passed away shortly after. Roy pressed on to complete the park and named it in his brother’s honor.
To this day, the Cinderella castle’s paint contains real gold flecks.
This story illustrates our need for relationships with individuals who are different from us. Leaning into the strengths of others is a necessary part of community, but this involves understanding our own tendencies and growth areas.
Many of us can easily claim our strengths. Perhaps you are kind, generous, and considerate. Or perhaps you are strong, idealistic, and driven. Are you the sensible one, or the dreamer?
Understanding Our Strengths Allows Us to Leverage Them Fully in Relationships, The Workplace, And So On. claiming Your strengths is a part of understanding how God as uniquely created you.
The reverse, however, is also true; we have growth areas that are necessary to acknowledge as we learn to manage them. If you are kind, generous, and considerate, do you also have a tendency to manipulate in order to receive love?
If you are strong, idealistic and driven, do you occasionally dominate and overpower, struggling to trust the ideas of others?
Our sin tendencies are intimately connected to our strengths; you can rarely claim one without the other. Your strengths and growth areas are present every day, affecting those around you. In order to develop the self-awareness necessary to both leverage and manage these traits in a healthy way, it is important to identify your tendencies.
One beneficial way to begin this process is to take a personality assessment. Although many are available, one of the favorites in the counseling world is the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, fondly known as the “Enneagram”, which is an ancient classification system currently used to assess personality strengths and growth areas.
If you want to grow in self-awareness, learning more about yourself and how you interact with the world around you, The Enneagram is a great place to start. Keep reading to learn more and get started.
Taking the Assessment
The official Enneagram assessment is available online, with free versions of the test available on numerous websites. To determine your type, you can either take the assessment, or read the personality descriptions and determine which type most accurately describes you. Check out the "Future Resources" below for some suggested places to start.
Your results will reveal one primary Core Type and one primary Wing Number. Your Core Type will be a number ranging from 1 to 9, with the number corresponding to a personality type. Your Core Type is the way your personality manifests most often. The Wing Number will be a number that directly neighbors your core type. The wing influences and affects your core type at varying levels of strength. For example, your results may reveal you are a type 2w3, meaning your core type is a 2 ("The Helper") and your wing number is a 3 ("The Achiever").
Stress Point/Health Point
Each core type, when stressed, moves in the direction of a different number. For example, when a 1 ("The Reformer") is stressed, they move into the direction of a 4 ("The Individualist") and become more emotional and moody. When healthy, each core type moves in the direction of an entirely different number. To continue with the example, when a 1 is healthy, they move into the direction of a 7 ("The Enthusiast") and become more spontaneous and relaxed. This is depicted in the diagram below:
Walt and Roy were both necessary and valuable; without one, Disney may not exist as we know it today. Developing our self-awareness requires learning how to enter into community and lean into the strengths of others.
As you encounter The Enneagram, remember this: You were created by the most imaginative Creator. He uses us in the midst of our strengths and our weaknesses to bring hope and truth to the world.
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr
Download the Enneapp available on most smart phones
Bio: Debralyn Bryant was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and graduated from Moody Bible Institute with her Bachelors degree in Pre-Counseling. She is continuing her pursuit of clinical license through Moody Theological Seminary, where she plans to earn her Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling shortly. As she pursues the field of counseling, she continues to grow in her desire to walk with people as they discover their strengths, embrace their emotions, and navigate pain. You can check out her blog at debralynlaza.wordpress.com