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Transcript #47: What’s Your Type? – Improving Relationships with Your Enneagram Personality Type with Erin Rocchio, Partner in Evolution

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Episode #47: What’s Your Type? – Improving Relationships with Your Enneagram Personality Type with Erin Rocchio, Partner in Evolution

Caneel Joyce:

Hi, this is Caneel Joyce, I’m your host. Welcome to Allowed. Today, I have with me the remarkable and beautiful Erin Rocchio. Erin is an executive coach, a partner in Evolution, and she’s certified in one of my favorite tools that you’ve heard me talk about many, many times, and it’s the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a great tool for personal development, it’s made a massive difference in my own life. It’s kind of like life was life before the Enneagram and then after the Enneagram. So I’m thrilled to have her here today to talk to us about what this tool is, how we can learn from it, what it’s for, what it’s not for. And she’s also got some great free tools that you can access, and we’ll point you to those at allowedpodcast.com. Erin, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.

Erin Rocchio:

Hi Caneel, it’s so great to be with you. Thanks for having me. What a joy.

Caneel Joyce:

Awesome to see you today on this day, we’re recording this on July 14th and Erin and I both just found out that our kids will be home from school for another semester, at least. Erin’s in San Diego, I’m in LA, so we bonded about that yesterday and I’m sure our Enneagram types will show up there just as they do in every other crisis.

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah.

Caneel Joyce:

So Erin, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your work and where the Enneagram fits in.

Erin Rocchio:

Sure. So as an executive and team coach, I spend a lot of my time doing one-on-one leadership development, at a deep personal level and with a team, with executive and leadership teams who are looking to improve performance. And of course at organizational culture level, looking at broad systems, structures that support healthy thriving culture, and ultimately sustained organizational performance, Enneagram seeps into all of it. So I have been using the Enneagram in my work for about, I would say a decade. It’s a guess as to when it exactly started. It seeped in mostly in coaching through one-on-one work. And the reason that I love it as a tool amongst many, is the Enneagram is very uniquely suited to support lifelong deep development. And you can take it in a number of directions that you want. You can take it down a spiritual path, you could take it down a path as a parent, how does this help you become a better parent? You can certainly take it into your work and your role as leader.

Erin Rocchio:

And so for me, I’ve been exploring it in a lot of different veins with my clients for a long time. And most recently I used it a ton with teams, because I think one of the things that makes this tool so powerful is it gives us access to unlocking relationship at a very deep, profound level. And I say relationship broadly. And I’m happy to really dive into that with you today, because it is such a juicy topic, but it’s really important at work because most of the suffering people feel at work comes from other people. And so what I want to help offer for folks is to understand where some of that suffering comes from, some of our own internal mechanisms and needs and preferences patterns, and then how those interact with others. It’s pretty rich, so excited to explore it.

Caneel Joyce:

It’s completely true. I mean, I feel like, especially as I, myself as I’m Enneagram Type four, I know you’re a type three, so we’re both heart types and we’re relationally oriented to begin with. And so you put me in the world and basically I imagine I’m living in relationship all of the time and that’s kind of the only lens. And I have to remind myself to go into other ways of looking at life. So certainly that’s where a lot of my own suffering has been. I know for my clients as well. So I’m really excited about this. Before we go any further, maybe you can just tell us, when you’re first describing Enneagram to somebody, how do you describe what is it?

Erin Rocchio:

So at a high level view, the Enneagram is a personality typing system. It’s been around for thousands of years, believe it or not. Yeah, it’s pretty incredible.

Caneel Joyce:

So this is not like MBTI, Myers–Briggs, or-

Erin Rocchio:

No.

Caneel Joyce:

… Any of the other tools that probably any of us have taken before, which are pretty new?

Erin Rocchio:

That’s right. So let me distinguish something. So there’s an Enneagram survey, which is statistically validated, the ready, on the Enneagram Institute website. And there are others now that are new, they’re modern, obviously they’re scientifically backed, they are valid predictors of personality, the ready is, love it, use it, all that’s great. But the Enneagram personality system, the theory, the thinking, the diagram, on which it’s based, that shows the nine personality types and how they interact, that system has been around for thousands of years. And it came to us in America, came out through Brazil, I believe, and it’s basically emerged its way through into Berkeley in the ’70s through some teaching there, and then has really seeped into some important fundamental teacher work with, there’s, so Claudia Noronha was the expert that brought it to Berkeley and then some offshoots have formed.

Erin Rocchio:

So you’ve got the Enneagram Institute, you’ve got the Enneagram in Business, which is who I trained with Ginger Lapid-Bogda, she’s phenomenal, runs the Enneagram in Business network, which is global. There are a lot of Enneagram teachers today, but there’s a few schools of thought that have emerged. You’ll find different perspectives, even amongst those, because all of this came up through the narrative tradition. So it’s not like it was written in stone, it’s all people’s different interpretation. So the big thing I say about Enneagram is, I caution people to attach too much to it like any other tool. It’s not the truth, it’s not perfect, but it is one of the most powerfully fundamental tools I’ve seen ever for actually building emotional intelligence. A lot of tools like the Myers-Briggs or other systems or assessments, help us become more self aware, but after we have that awareness leave us hanging. And so Enneagram provides a roadmap of development that I think is really extraordinary. It’s knowing your before-

Caneel Joyce:

So not just, now I know my type, but now that I know my type, I have something to do with it that is informed by this whole system.

Erin Rocchio:

That’s exactly right. So all that to say, it’s got deep roots, and yet it’s proliferating in culture today. You see Instagram accounts pop up with Enneagram. I mean, it’s getting popular. So that’s exciting, and also a little terrifying for those of us that do the work with it, but it’s all good, it’s all good.

Caneel Joyce:

When I first was exposed to the Enneagram, I had a girlfriend who was going through a master’s program at Northwestern. They’re learning leadership organizations program.

Erin Rocchio:

Oh, yeah, I’m a [crosstalk 00:09:30].

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, you went there. Oh, I didn’t even realize that. So the amazing Jessie Blank was there and she was asking what my Enneagram type is. And I said, “I don’t know what that is.” And she’s like, “How could you not know what that is? You study personality, you’re getting your PhD.” And then I remember looking at the cover of one of her Enneagram books and it had the diagram on it, which if you have not seen it, we have a photo of it on allowedpodcast.com for this episode. But if you have not seen it, it’s a circle with a lot of lines and arrows, crisscrossing through it in something of a, and I’m thinking to myself, this is witchcraft, and not in a respectful way. And then I started digging into what the testing process was, because coming out of Berkeley, which is a very strong psychometric, quantitative approach to analyzing and understanding personality, at least it did at that time that I was there and for a long time beforehand. So they’re kind of like the forerunners of that.

Caneel Joyce:

I’m like, this thing is baloney, but I was really encouraged to work with it just for myself, for my own coach. And that’s where I really began to appreciate the distinction between a tool that is the best we can do when we’re trying to create a tool that only describes what we can measure. And I think that’s probably one of the worst criticisms that you could say about a lot of personality tools right now, is that they’re limited by simply what we could put into a measurement tool, which is a really poor reflection of what human personality actually is. And I find it to be the most clinically useful tool, even if I can’t understand all of the science behind it, or psychometrically how to diagnose it in a perfect, perfect way, because diagnosis is a bit tricky, which I know we’re going to get into, but I’ve grown to just completely love it. And I laugh at myself sometimes of just how much you can think you’re right and then change your mind.

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah, absolutely. One of the big things for me and you spoke to it beautifully, Caneel, which is, for a heart type person, which I am very much heart-centered, I grew up absolutely baffled by people that didn’t lead with their heart, that weren’t completely obsessed with relationship the way I was or interested in being kind and other oriented, and lovey dovey warm and fuzzy people. I just had so much judgment around that. And that is one of the big gifts of the Enneagram, is it helped me see that not only are there nine different ways of looking at the world, but even at a simpler level, there are three fundamental centers of intelligence that say, this is how we get our wisdom. Ours is through the heart. There’s a whole group of people who get their wisdom intellectually. And then there’s a whole group of people who get it through their body sensing and their gut. And to me, that was really fascinating.

Erin Rocchio:

So it helped me step out of judgment and really build deep empathy for people, which I could not be in my job or even in my life, and truly carry that same level of judgment that I used to have, and now gives me access to a lot more real relationship, ironically enough. So I think I probably skipped over this, but the Enneagram, including those centers of intelligence, fundamentally answer some questions about what makes us tick, what drives us. And so each of us has a unique need or fear. We have a unique desire. And then we’ve got thought patterns, fixations, that then build into emotional habits. And so we get stuck in these loops. Do you ever notice Caneel, you had the same conversation or the same fight in your head or the same complaints over and over again?

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah.

Erin Rocchio:

And that’s what this exposes.

Caneel Joyce:

So before it was pointed out to me, by someone coaching me with the Enneagram, I didn’t even realize that it was the same one. And to me, they all seemed like particular and special and different and unique to only me, which is a very type four kind of a thought. But one of my patterns was certainly, I’ll never have what I want, I’ll never, and that’s the four. And then I realized, oh, it’s all the same problem. That means it’s probably not even really true.

Erin Rocchio:

Well, it’s true from the perspective of your poor little ego who is trying so hard to survive, but it’s not true in terms of the totality of who you are.

Caneel Joyce:

Could you give us some examples of this, the core fear, the core desire, and the thought patterns that lead to the emotions? Maybe pick a couple of types.

Erin Rocchio:

Sure, yeah. So I’ll start with mine. Type three is pretty common.

Caneel Joyce:

Type three is often called the achiever.

Erin Rocchio:

It’s often called the achiever, exactly, or the performer, basically we have this energy of having to be productive. And the worldview of the three is, we’re only as good as our last performance. And I used to be an athlete. I often use the analogy of, I could go hit three home runs in a row, and the next at bat, it was like I was worthless and did nothing, and I have to start from scratch, which is great from motivation on one hand, really terrible from a lot of other aspects. So for a three, the core need is to be seen, it’s to add value, adding value through productivity and through achievement is how we feel worthy. So there’s a fundamental fear of failure for type threes and of not being worthy. There’s a worthiness component.

Erin Rocchio:

So we’re constantly proving how worthy we are. Let me just do one more thing, let me make sure I’m recognized in one more way. And so there’s this insatiable need to perform, produce, achieve, and have other people see it. Which when I say it out loud to me as a three, sounds really gross. I hate that about myself, but really when I can stop and pause and go, oh yeah, there is some truth in there.

Caneel Joyce:

I mean, I think even, that’s kind of very threeish, to judge yourself in that way and say, that’s not a worthy way to be, I should really try hard to be a different way then.

Erin Rocchio:

You got me. Such a good note Caneel.

Caneel Joyce:

I know we have actually a lot of threes who listen to this show, and it’s a very common type in my experience of people who found startups and entrepreneurs. And there are a lot of things that you have going for you, especially in the early days when you’re a three. And I think over time it can become exhausting, and you really have to do yourself work for it to be sustainable to run a company because so much of the world will look like you’re failing so much of the time, no matter how successful you are. So for the threes on the show who are paying attention right now, I can imagine some of them might be thinking to themselves, well, those things are all just true, and doesn’t everybody think that way. So give us an example of a type that thinks completely differently.

Erin Rocchio:

Sure. So a type that is completely different from threes, which is about action and being your best and achieve, achieve, achieve, I would say the opposite of that is one we’re actually connected to, I’m just going to go with a type nine. So a type nine is the peacemaker, often called the harmonizer. So totally oriented around the effect of the whole team, the whole group, sensing into the needs of everybody else, not their own self and needs, beautifully calm, sometimes passive, not into action, but really important, glue for the spirit of the team and making sure everyone’s heard and included, which is the opposite of a three, the threes like me, focus, goal. And the nine says, “Wait, what? We have to do something? Let’s include everybody first, and then our action will be more productive and more effective at the end.”

Erin Rocchio:

So in some ways they are at the service level completely distinct. And when you dig underneath, there are some similarities where you can find some real partnership. In fact, some of my closest working colleagues are type nines and I’ve come to just really lean on them and love them because they balance my energy out.

Caneel Joyce:

Me too, Heather is a nine. A lot of our listeners have met Heather. Heather is my right hand woman and head of operations, and she completely balances me out. It’s amazing how non dramatic she can be. So good for me.

Erin Rocchio:

So good. So she can anchor you. We all need different versions of that balance. So nines are about harmony, peace.

Caneel Joyce:

So let’s take a type nine. What would be some of those relational patterns that might show up for some? If I found out I was a type nine, what would I then do with it, especially in relationship?

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah. Great. So nines are at the center of the body center. They actually are one of the, I want to say this without being too woo-hoo. They, from a kind of historical perspective, are the ones that embody presence the most effectively. So they are really powerful types, and yet they act like they’re very easygoing. So in relationship, people love being in relationship with nines because they are affable, they’re likable, they’re warm and easy. However, nines also like control. So the body type is all about controlling your destiny. And for nines, it’s not so much that they want overt control, but they do not want to be controlled. So there’s a passive aggressive, or unconscious push against any kind of control by other people. And so that will show up in relationship. And they’re also very good listeners, very attuned to the needs of other people. Nines need to be reminded that their perspective and opinion and needs are included too. So as a partner to a nine, you sometimes have to remind them, like, “How are you doing? What do you need?” They don’t even know. It’s so repressed sometimes. So that requires some good digging.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. And you mentioned, just as an aside, that the three and the nine are related. What do you mean by that?

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah. Great question. So one of the complexities of Enneagram, as you mentioned, is there all kinds of lines and arrows connecting the personality types. And this is another aspect that makes it different from other personality systems, is that it really shows us all the ways in which we’re connected. And when we’re under stress, we demonstrate certain characteristics that can resemble other people, other types. And then when we’re feeling really self aware and secure, we can resemble other types. So that’s one of the developmental gifts, I would say. So if you find out your type, one of the places to look is to say, where do I go under stress? Where do I go when I am feeling secure and integrated, or really self aware and conscious of myself?

Erin Rocchio:

And so the three, nine and six, form this inner triangle, it’s one of the most powerful arrow line combinations in the Enneagram. It’s really the heart of it. And so it describes, a three under stress goes to nine, a three that’s healthy resembles a six. So we stay our fundamental type, but we get to dance with each other. So when we talk about relationship, it can get super rich, because then we can really explore all the different ways that we can be with each other.

Caneel Joyce:

And I think, my husband is a three, my mom is a seven. So that’s one of the areas where we’ve sometimes gotten into like, we hardly ever have anything that even looks remotely like conflict, partly because she’s a seven, and the seven, and correct me if I’m wrong in any of this, they tend to really favor things that are high energy, high enthusiasm, very positive. They favor joy over any other emotion, but there’s a lot of fear underneath that. And so there’s this constant kind of like, we need to keep looking on the bright side because it’s dangerous not to look. So then as a four I’m always like, wait a second, there’s a dark side. And the dark side is awesome and it’s sexy. And I feel completely comfortable down here in the muck and she says, “Stop bringing me down.” It got to get you up. How can they bring you up? And I’m like, “Let me stay down, bring me up.”

Erin Rocchio:

I’m cool mom.

Caneel Joyce:

So that’s been one of our relationship tensions, which is really, really interesting. And I’m sure there’s dynamics all over. And I know that you’re creating a guide for us to help us with this relationship piece.

Erin Rocchio:

Yes, that’s right. That’s right. I want to be really intentional about offering you all. And I’m excited to share with you something to explore at different levels, how these types work together in relationship. And part of my use and fundamental passion around why the Enneagram is so cool and why we even look at it, is that I really want to help people live and lead in a sustainable way. As a three, I know about the ups and downs and the burnout cycle and all the ways in which we work, at least in the States is not workable. So I look at the Enneagram and the way we are in relationship according to Enneagram, and in relationship to ourselves, by the way, in this topic of sustainable leadership and resilience, and so lots of resources to come about that. And I’m excited to share with your listeners about them.

Caneel Joyce:

Thank you so much. That’s such a gift, and we’re going to link to all of that for you.

Erin Rocchio:

So you said something that was so compelling about you being a four and your mom being a seven, and in relationship why those two can get into conflict. And I think this is where the Enneagram can give us such self-awareness and such appreciation for other people, because at first glance, the four who’s fundamentally wired to see what’s missing and what’s deep and dark and loves melancholy, loves all the underbelly of emotions. And then you’ve got the seven who lives in possibility and lightness and craves freedom. The seven is oriented to the future, terrified of being present, because that feels constraining. For the four, they love the present. In fact, they want to go deep and rich, under the surface of the present, like, let’s explore the crevices of this cave.

Caneel Joyce:

Everything that’s here, yeah.

Erin Rocchio:

And the seven is like, get me out of this effing cave, this is too defining and terrifying. Let’s look to the sky. And so that’s where I can imagine, like seven is constantly saying, “Oh, it’s not that bad. Let me reframe that for you. Let’s think about what’s positive.” And for a four, that can be really hard to hear because it feels like somebody is fundamentally invalidating, feel super important to you.

Caneel Joyce:

And you also feel like you’re being torn out of the present, constantly, which is like you keep trying to get back there, being torn out. But I think that a big wake up call for me, well, there’s been so many around this one, is recognizing it’s not just that I would like to be allowed to stay here in whatever the melancholy is of the present, it’s also recognizing that, no, when I’m kind of being nonproductive with my own personality, I actually don’t want to admit it, but I actually do want you to come join me down here. I want you to be in it with me, and I get so caught up in my own internal drama and making myself feel invalidated because you don’t want to be in this mode, that I then start demanding, in passive aggressive ways that you come down here and hang out in the muck with me.

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah. And in ways that probably then make them less interested in coming down.

Caneel Joyce:

Completely. Stay away.

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah, at a certain level, we all do these self sabotage behaviors, which contradicts the very thing that we’re craving. It goes against. So if I want to be seen, I’ll do these things that will then have me be seen as invisible, or I’ll feel invisible. I keep spinning. I think that’s one of the things that’s so interesting for all of your listeners. It’s like, if you can pause for a second and think, where do I find myself spinning? And this need that’s insatiable, it’s never met, we all have one.

Caneel Joyce:

Can we rattle all the way around the Enneagram types, so we can just see the variety of that?

Erin Rocchio:

Okay. So let’s start with the type one. Type ones have a fundamental need to be good and right. Twos have a fundamental need to be in relationship and of service connected.

Caneel Joyce:

To help.

Erin Rocchio:

To help.

Caneel Joyce:

To be needed.

Erin Rocchio:

To be needed. Threes need to be seen as valuable. I’m fairly confident this whole term value added came from a three. That’s exactly how we think. Where can I add value? How about now? Am I adding value now? Incessant. Type fours have a fundamental need to feel deeply, to feel special and unique. I don’t want to speak for you. Is that true?

Caneel Joyce:

That’s exactly true. And it didn’t help that my name was Caneel because I already was born feeling special, unique and misunderstood, which pretty much summarizes four.

Erin Rocchio:

You got it. You got it.

Caneel Joyce:

All right, and five?

Erin Rocchio:

Fives have a fundamental need to know things deeply. So while a four wants to feel deeply, a five wants to know in their head, everything there is to know about a particular topic, sacrificing relationship if they have to. Sixes need security. So they look to the future and they go, “Oh my God, it’s scary out there. How do I shore up all this uncertainty?” They need safety and security. Sevens crave and need contestability, they need freedom, feeling unconstrained, anybody who speaks about human potential has some seven in them. That’s the essence of the seven, is human potential.

Caneel Joyce:

And I was thinking of sevens too as being life of the party. It can always be bigger and more exciting than [inaudible 00:28:21].

Erin Rocchio:

Most of them. Now, interestingly, I have met some introverted type sevens. And this is where some of the nuance with Enneagram comes in. Every seven can look different. Every four can have different variations to it. So they do exist. You don’t have to be the life of the party to be a seven, but that is one aspect of the seven, it’s the Energizer. And it’s very alluring, they want to lure you in, come be with me, come follow my possibility. Great leaders, visionaries. Type eights also very common, they have a fundamental need for control. They want to have power. Ultimately they don’t want to be vulnerable. They want to be strong. And then type nines need harmony. They need inclusivity and oneness, that’s the nine.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, beautiful. Maybe, let’s see, first steps first, for those who aren’t confident in their type, maybe they took a test somewhere, they were told a number, they don’t know if it’s true or not, where do we begin to really make sure, because I know that it’s important to start with the right type.

Erin Rocchio:

That’s right.

Caneel Joyce:

Where do we begin?

Erin Rocchio:

So typing is the most important piece of this, and yet it’s almost the least important. So for an individual who says, I’m curious about this, I’ve heard about it, I want to know more. I would get a verified test. So go to the Enneagram Institute, take the test. Now, this test that they have is one of the very best out there, it’s the most widely used around the globe, as far as I’m aware, it’s statistically validated and yet it’s not perfect as you mentioned earlier. So the most accurate way to type yourself is to do it yourself, and potentially with a coach or someone who knows it and can help guide you. But if you’re doing it yourself, I would recommend a couple of books, and I would recommend a couple of websites, and there’s even a really amazing app.

Erin Rocchio:

So if you go to theenneagraminbusiness.com, and that website has thousands of resources and tools, and they also have an app called know your type, and it’s really fun because you get to play a little game and discover what makes each of these types distinct. And then really the true test is checking in with yourself and saying, what resonates most deeply with me? How I know I am at a core level, not who I have learned to be or who I’ve been trained I should be, or what’s acceptable or not acceptable in my family. It’s like underneath all of that, what drives me? What motivates me? Et cetera. There’s a lot of self awareness that needs to, and does come through that self exploration process. And then from there, I do recommend working with a coach, I also recommend, there are now more and more Enneagram books and resources out there than ever before.

Erin Rocchio:

My favorites are from the Enneagram in Business, and the Enneagram Institute has wonderful books as well. And there’s some other really cool podcasts and popular things on Instagram and Enneagram and Coffee is a great Instagram account I love. But I would stick with the teachers that are really true and deeply immersiveness. My other all time favorite Enneagram book is called The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut. And it’s so rich because it goes into the subtypes.

Caneel Joyce:

Her work is awesome, yeah. So we’ve put together a whole collection of resources for you, podcasts, some videos that I love, and I also have my kind of the instruction manual that I give my own clients when I’m having them walk through this process, using the ready, which isn’t, it’s not my favorite tool, well, it is, it is my favorite tool, but it’s not-

Erin Rocchio:

It’s imperfect.

Caneel Joyce:

Not my favorite. It’s a little bit time consuming. And I do think at the end of the day, you’re going to get some scores, you’re still going to need to do the work, to really read about the types where you scored high. And you’re going to be really close to, and tied in a lot of them usually, like three at least. And so you’ll still need to read a lot. But I include my shorthand instructions for you there, and you can get all of that and we’ll link to Erin. And Erin, do you actually do typing for your clients?

Erin Rocchio:

I do typing in my… Yes, absolutely. And even when I work with teams, I do a ton of typing in a team session or before or after, I think it’s pretty critical. So typing, there’s a lot of work that goes into typing, but the reason it matters is because each type has their own unique roadmap for development, as I said, so if you’re not typed correctly, like I thought, Caneel, I was a two for five years, and I was like owning my twoness, I just love being a two. I felt so proud to be a two. It turns out I just wanted to be a two. So that’s a big trigger. If you’re reading about various types, you go, “Oh, that one sounds sexy. That one sounds great. I want to be that one.” That’s probably not your type.

Caneel Joyce:

I’ve heard that. I think it’s especially a liability with a three because you’re so good at showing up in the way that-

Erin Rocchio:

We’re chameleons.

Caneel Joyce:

… The best performer. Yeah.

Erin Rocchio:

We’re adaptable. But I’ll never forget, I walked into this training and immediately the teacher called me out, she goes, “No, no, no, no, no, you’re not a two.” And I was so mad for like 48 hours, but now I completely agree and completely get it. And so what that did was, it gave me a new path to follow in my own work with myself and with teachers and coaches, et cetera. And so knowing your type is just step one, you want to get it right, and it’s just entry into a really rich process.

Caneel Joyce:

Ooh, I’m so excited. So pause this right now, go to allowedpodcast.com so you can access resources, and we have sort of a mini cheat sheet for you, if you want to just get a glimpse at what the different types are and figure out your type, because we are going to be delving into what you can do with it. Okay, so that gives a little bit of a flavor. Now, let’s say that we’ve figured out what our types are, and it’s time for us to do something with it. How can I use my type to grow?

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah. So I think this is the fun part where we get to coach ourself, for really dig in and say, now what? And I think the first thing to do is start to notice patterns. When I’m under stress, where do I notice my thoughts, my emotions, and my behavior? How does that express itself? What about that is productive? What about this is unproductive? Where is this no longer supporting what I say I want? Where might I be getting in my own way? So start to pay attention to some of these loops we find ourselves in, start to name them, I’m a big proponent of journaling, or my latest favorite journal is to post it, even one word. Here’s what’s coming up for me right now, paying attention to, and start to become a student of your own patterns, is really important.

Erin Rocchio:

The other thing in relationship, is to start to notice what aspects of other people frustrate you or trigger you, or have you feel disconnected or irritated, because often there’s some really good negative learning there for you. So like I’ll say for me, I love to be focused and I love clarity. I get really irritated when people get in my way of achieving focus and goals, or they take a long time because I’m wired for productivity. So in those moments, I go, oh, there’s my three mechanism, if you will, there it goes again. And I can have some self compassion for my own automatic patterns instead of saying, “Oh darn Erin, what’s wrong with you?”

Caneel Joyce:

That is more productive. So I’m allowed to be my type. I’m allowed to keep having the same pattern. And when I can not just see it and recognize it, but also love it, and I really like, not just allow it, but appreciate it, then I can imagine I waste a lot less energy and I can show up in a more whole way just being who I’m being. Or maybe I want to make some adjustments, but loosens its grip a little bit.

Erin Rocchio:

Yes. So the Enneagram is one way of helping us understand all the things that are happening in the background that we’re unconscious to. It’s like our hard wiring. So if we’re not aware of them, they’re going to be there anyway. So this is the way of making friends with it and saying, when I’m not conscious, here’s the fundamental need, the thoughts, the feelings, that are going to be there no matter what, the goal is not to change you. The goal is actually to shine a light on some of that deeper, darker stuff and come to love it, and appreciate it. It’s really designed to keep you safe. It’s designed to keep you, I won’t say happy, it’s designed to help you survive, and it will, it will help you survive.

Erin Rocchio:

But also the more we can love it, that’s where we bring wholeness into our life, where we can say, instead of rejecting this part of myself, most of us spend most of our life rejecting fundamental aspects of who we are, how much pain does that cause? We don’t need to do that. What if we were to embrace that and say, you know what, I don’t love that as a three I care about what other people think of me, I wish I didn’t, but guess what, I do, darn it. I might as well come to just let it go and appreciate that and see, what can I do with that, that could be of service to myself, to other people?

Caneel Joyce:

Because when we reject, repress or deny parts of ourselves, we push parts of ourselves into our shadow. And this was episode number two, with Luke Entrup, of this show. I could think it’s just so fundamentally important that it was episode number two. And when we push our own hard wiring into our shadow, meaning we were not trying to govern it anymore, we don’t even see it. We’re not willing to admit it. Then it’s operating non-consciously and that’s when it becomes, it can come out at times where we least expect it, where it’s least intentional, least perhaps of service, and suddenly you’re like, “Why am I reacting this way? This is not helping the situation at all.” Well, probably there’s some shadow here. And I think the other thing that happens with shadow is, we begin to see it in other people and get upset with them about it, when really it’s us.

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah, projection.

Caneel Joyce:

Projection, yeah.

Erin Rocchio:

It’s exactly right. Yeah, I completely agree with you. It’s fundamental. The only way that we’re going to be, I think really thriving as human beings is to embrace these sides of ourselves. And we talk about relationship, we cannot possibly truly see and understand, let alone love other people, if we don’t understand all the ways that they came to have that perspective. So I can only appreciate you, Caneel, when I fully understand what makes you, you, and why that’s so meaningful. And by the way, here’s the other kind of big thing for the Enneagram that I just think about almost every day, there are nine, at least nine different perspectives on life that are all equally valid. Okay.

Erin Rocchio:

That’s earth shattering for me as a three who thinks I know all the best ways of everything. And I’ve got lots of evidence about that. No, there are nine equally valid, equally valid and important ways of perceiving life. And when I stand from that place, holy cow.

Caneel Joyce:

It is so useful. This is why it’s such a great tool for working with executive teams. It’s so easy to come into your team, to show up at work thinking, my way is the right way, and my job is to either deal with other people who are doing it wrong and thinking it wrong, or convince them of the opposite. And some kind of typical conflicts I’ve seen come up is between ones and eights, and the ones want to get all the structure in place and do it right, and make sure, and due diligence and the process and systems, and they’re so fantastic at that. And I’ve met a lot of COOs who are ones, I’m not sure if it’s common, but seems to be a good fit.

Caneel Joyce:

And then there’ll be an eight CEO, who’s saying, “I don’t care about your system, I don’t care about your process, I don’t care what I have to break, we’re going in this direction. You’re with me, or you’re against me, get out of the way. Break, break, break, I don’t care. This is a waste of time, there’s only one goal.” I’ve seen that conflict more times, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that. So there’s a lot of value in knowing not only your own type, but the types of others you work with. Not just because you want to stereotype them, but because then you can have some understanding of, oh, this is what they’re after, and I only have a slice of the reality here.

Erin Rocchio:

Okay. Let me give you a great example on that. So for me, I worked for many years with a type six, which is, when you think about a team and decision making, for me I’m like, let’s make decisions quickly, let’s move fast, let’s boom, boom, boom, boom. I don’t sit around too long. Type sixes are the opposite from that regard. And so they want to make sure all the details are thought of, all the considerations are heard, all the questions are asked, and I spent years getting so annoyed and frustrated by this one colleague who would constantly ask questions in meetings, that to my undeveloped three self, felt like they made me look bad. It was a source of conflict.

Erin Rocchio:

And when I did some deeper dive on it, I realized like, okay, if I were to stop and put that aside for a second and say, how could I meet her need, which is really for security and knowing? How could I help her answer her questions earlier? By the way, it makes my decisions better. Now I’ve got, instead of someone who feels like an enemy at work, she feels now like a really important partner. My decisions are better. Yeah, it might take me what? A day or two longer, but my plans, threes are obsessed with planning, they’re way more thoughtful and we don’t have to go back. And so it satisfies my needs and her needs. And now I’ve got a partner at work instead of someone I’m constantly railing against.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, that’s so brilliant.

Erin Rocchio:

For me that’s kind of what there is to do, after you know your type, start to notice where all these conflict patterns come up and say, let me dig underneath the surface and say, what is that other person? I loved your language. What is that person really after? Oh, they want to make sure everything’s okay. Well, guess what, I can do that for her. I can do that for her. So let me meet that need, let me not get distracted by this behavior.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. And we have a choice about how we want to see the world, but when I’m stuck in my own type, I don’t think there is a choice and I don’t think there’s another way to see it. I love the way that you’re applying this so much to relationships, so, so helpful. So all of you who are listening or watching this on YouTube, please go to allowedpodcast.com to get what Erin’s offering you, this guide to using Enneagram in relationships at work, in family, romantic relationships. It is extremely helpful, I think you’ll be able to use it right away today, and go figure out what your type is. In this era right now, with all these challenges, it’s going to be one of the most useful tools in figuring out, how do you erode your own resilience and wholeness? And what might the path look like in you working with how you are, and who you are to become more resilient and whole.

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah. Beautifully said Caneel. I think the times we’re living in are so uncertain, so anxiety producing, there’s so much change coming out of State today. I think this is one of the very best ways, the very best tools we have to say, in this moment, given there’s so much I can’t control, what do I need to feel centered, to feel grounded, and to feel whole in this moment? We cannot survive life day to day, given what’s going on, if we don’t have that anchor. So the Enneagram can be so powerful to give us that self awareness and that path, in conjunction with other things. But it takes us really committing to that path.

Caneel Joyce:

We so often repress and deny what we even need, or we don’t know how to even know what we need, so it is so nice having a little shortcut, a little path. Perhaps as a nine, you need some more harmony. Great, how can I give that to myself? Wonderful. So I want to draw some connections to, we talked about how this relates to shadow, I’ve one more connection I want to make sure I drop before we wrap up today. And a lot of this show has been spent talking about conscious leadership, the drama triangle, the empowerment triangle, and related to that of course, when we are in empowerment, where we’re above the line, we are committed to living in our zone of genius primarily.

Caneel Joyce:

So I see the Enneagram is really, really relating to all of these things. And I think of it, when I go below the line, I am basically hooked by my personality type. I have lost perspective that there’s any other way to see it than the way that I see it, which is the way that is dictated by this kind of egoic self protection mechanism, which for me is, there must be something missing here. And it’s really important that I’m unique and special in order to, I’m not sure what, I’m not even sure what I’m going for there actually, to be okay, to be valid.

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah, I totally see it that way. So at a very base level, like for me having distinctions, it’s either this or that, even though the truth is there’s more than that, it does help me get clarity in certain moments. So I look at the Enneagram as giving us access to the ego versus our essence, or kind of on our fundamental nature, which is very whole and super complex. When we’re not conscious of this, this is running, this is necessary to help us survive. Our ego is needed, it’s our brain, and fight or flight. And when our brain goes there, we’re below the line, and we say, how do I survive this moment? And the eye that’s talking is our ego.

Caneel Joyce:

The one that’s perceiving us as big threat.

Erin Rocchio:

As a big threat. I’ve got to guard against the situation, you, myself, what’s happening, I’ve got to survive it. And so unless we’re aware of what’s happening in that moment, it’s going to be typically undesirable behaviors that come out, like things that we went back and go, “Oh, why did I say that?”

Caneel Joyce:

And when I am empowered in myself, meaning I’m embracing who I am, how I am, what my actual needs are, and I’m recognizing that I can work with who I am to create what I want, then I’m out of drama, I’m above the line, and I have access to my own zone of genius, not somebody else’s zone of genius, not trying to show up and look like a one or a seven, my own zone of genius, which looks for me very, very fourish. And being able to embrace that. So that’s how I think this is all very connected, which is another reason why it’s so helpful to know your type, because it helps you recognize even faster where you are, above or below.

Erin Rocchio:

Yes. And I would say, all of that, the big thing that comes up for me when I hear you talk about this, is it requires self compassion, what gives us access to self compassion. If we’re below the line in survival, feeling triggered, angry, fearful, you name it, we’re trying to protect ourself. Having the ability in that moment to meet ourself with compassion and say, “Gosh Caneel, I can see.” When you’re speaking to yourself, all you really want is to be seen and held as you are. What if you could do that for yourself?

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. I’m the only one who can do that actually.

Erin Rocchio:

It turns out.

Caneel Joyce:

I have to do it for myself because it won’t… Yes, and that’s how it is for all of us. Yeah.

Erin Rocchio:

Yes. But we’ve got to meet ourselves in those moments when we are below the line with a huge degree of self compassion, and we can have compassion when we understand. The Enneagram helps us understand where it’s coming from so we can embrace it, otherwise it feels fake. It’s like, oh, just say an affirmation and you’ll be better. That’s not actually how it works. It’s a really deeply understanding.

Caneel Joyce:

It’s more like a scared, hurt little child that comes to you, and you’re saying, “Oh, poor baby, of course, you make sense to me, yeah”

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah, I see you, I get you.

Caneel Joyce:

This is scary, you need something.

Erin Rocchio:

Right. And from that, then yes, you can be genuinely empowered. And then be in your genius. So I think it’s a critical tool to doing what you’re describing, that path of self acceptance and compassion and exploration and expression, it’s incredible.

Caneel Joyce:

It feels good. It feels good. Well, Erin, speaking of you being a achievement oriented person, who’s achieved a lot, I know that we’ve dived really deep into Enneagram today and there’s so much more there that you have been offering, some of it to us and you do more with your teams, but also this is only one of your areas of expertise. Tell us about some stuff that you’ve got going on if our listeners want to get more plugged in with you, do some work with you, what are their options?

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah. So another really big passion area for me, I mentioned it earlier, is this idea of being whole and resilient in all areas of your life, particularly at work, in contrast to burnout. And so I’m building a really exciting coaching program, an incredible self guided coaching workbook, for people who feel any glimpse of burnout. It’s rooted in some really rich integral theory. It’s going to be beautifully designed to satisfy my four friends, and it includes the Enneagram. And so there will be a way to go through it on your own. Some people find coaching a little intimidating and they say, “I’m not ready for that yet.” So you can do it all by yourself if you want, there’ll be some videos from me. And then, if you are more invested, you’ll have the opportunity to do something like the Enneagram, or take some other burnout inventory assessments with me and do some coaching. So I’m really excited to be able to offer that to folks in the next couple of months.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, exciting. Well, let us know when that’s ready-

Erin Rocchio:

Yeah, you can go to my website-

Caneel Joyce:

… And we’ll send… Yeah website, what is it?

Erin Rocchio:

I sure will. It’s erinrocchio.com, E-R-I-N-R-O-C-C-H-I-O.com.

Caneel Joyce:

And we will link all of that in the show notes, and we’ll also, if you are on our email list, we will let you know when Erin’s course is ready and live for you, and you can maybe even get yourself on a waiting list beforehand. We’ll set that up and give you the details there at allowedpodcast.com. Thank you so much for your time, for being here today.

Erin Rocchio:

Thank you Caneel, so fun to be with you.

Caneel Joyce:

So fun. And listeners-

Erin Rocchio:

Hope to see you again.

Caneel Joyce:

… Thank you for showing up for yourselves and for investing time in getting to know, what are more ways that you could get to know yourself and allow yourself to be exactly a you are. And I will see you next time.

 

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