Human Ventures - My Enneagram Talk for FoundersFeb 25, 2022
Heather Hartnett is General Partner and CEO of Human Ventures, and a former client that I really respect. She invited speak to the Human Founders about the Enneagram, and we talked about what it is and what it can do for founders, leaders, and teams.
0:00 Introduction to Josh Lavine
2:00 What the enneagram is and what it does
7:35 How do you know if you’re a good or bad version of your type?
13:10 Why the enneagram is more valuable than the Big 5?
17:37 Type 3 - the assertive goal-oriented type
21:56 Can you use the enneagram to find a co-founder?
27:06 Nature vs Nurture in Type and Psychological Health
31:59 The distribution of types on a leadership team
37:07 Why it's better to learn the whole framework, not just your type
43:39 What makes you good at empathy?
50:36 The power of sharing your vulnerabilities.
56:26 Advice for people who are interested in learning about themselves
Heather Hartnett 0:00
All right, well, we'll kick this off because I want to make sure that we have plenty of time to dive in. So welcome, everyone. I'm Heather Hartnett. I'm managing partner of human ventures. We're an early stage venture firm and startup studio in New York City. And we work with founders at the earliest stages of building their companies. And we'd like to help and provide founders with tools, but not just around building their business, although we do that too, but also around growing as an individual. And along those lines, I want to thank you for joining us today for our human speaker series. We'd like to bring in incredible speakers once a month to highlight what we call the human side of business. And so this month, we're thrilled to have founder coach and Enneagram expert, Josh Levine with us today. So Josh is, like I said, a founder coach, he focuses on self development, leadership, and interpersonal dynamics. He is an Enneagram expert, and he interweaves psychology, spirituality and developmental modalities to help leaders cultivate Self Mastery across all domains of life, as we know, you know, personal and professional, there are no there are no lines, they're definitely blurred. So your inner growth helps your outer growth. I met Josh about a year ago now, as I was looking for coaches to bring in to our founder ecosystem, and we immediately connected, I was fortunate enough to actually work with him personally as a coach. And I also attended an Enneagram retreat that he hosted, which really ignited and solidified my fascination with this personality framework. So I thought that it would be an incredible opportunity to bring this to our community. So thanks so much, Josh, for joining us. We have a lot to cover today in a very short amount of time. So that was a little bit of a an intro, I could go on forever, but really appreciate it. And let's let's start with, let's start with the basics. Can you provide a brief overview of the Enneagram personality framework and your words, because I love the way that you see it? And perhaps answer one of the most important questions that everybody always asks, How do you type yourself?
Josh Lavine 2:00
Sure. First of all, hi, it's good to be with you. And just minor, it's Lavon. Not loving, just FYI. But um, yeah, so the any gram, I'm just pausing for a second. Okay, so. So the Enneagram. Over the years, I've come up with a couple of little images that I like to describe the Enneagram. The Enneagram is, if you've never, if you're not sure what the Enneagram is, first of all, it's a it's a personality framework. There are nine types of personality in the Enneagram. Enya actually means nine in Greek, and grand mean shape. So any as an Enneagram is a nine sided shape, like a pentagram is a five sided shape. And the Enneagram is a symbol that has these nine personality types arranged around it. And I like to think of the Enneagram as, as like night vision goggles for the inner world. So it's really, in my opinion, is of all the personality frameworks out there, it's the most precise and illuminating. Of what of the shadows of your own and other people's inner worlds. So very, very useful for that. It's also a trellis for emotional intelligence. Like I think it's really interesting to think about the spectrum of the naturalness of when people are or are not emotionally intelligent. And the Enneagram provides a framework so that when you start building insights about people, you have places to put them, it's kind of almost like, it's kind of like, you know, those memory games where it's like you put stuff in rooms of an imaginary mansion, the Enneagram can kind of serve as that for you. So you have these nine, sort of, for lack of a better word, kind of places to put your insights as you're learning about human beings. And the third thing that I say about the Enneagram is that it's an empathy accelerator. So it's, in my view, the Enneagram is, the purpose of it on Earth is to is to be a tool for insight and compassion for yourself and other people. And if it's been used in any other way than that, that I think it's been used incorrectly. But because it's so profound and precise at giving you insight into what's going on in terms of the motivation. So just real quick, the Enneagram as distinct from other type ologies as much more interested in the inner motivations, as opposed. It's not just lists of traits and behaviors of the nine types of people. It's like what are the fears and desires that are really driving people at a core level? So that's what the anagram is illuminating. And because of that, then it unlocks a lot of compassion for what's going on with people. All the behaviors you see arise from from hidden motivations. And that's really good to hear was really, really, really useful at showing.
Heather Hartnett 5:04
So so well, that's, that's a very deep way of saying it. And so a lot of people will hear about the Enneagram. And they say, Okay, well, what type? Are you? I'm a three, I'm a two, I'm you know, Can you can you just go into a little bit about how you should think about typing yourself? And, and, you know, what does that mean? Does it restrict you to only one, you know, one personality? Because we're all multifaceted,
Josh Lavine 5:26
right? Okay. Yeah. So typing. Alright. So typing is, is a whole can of worms, you can take tests, the Enneagram, I hear people saying that they like, you know, I took the test. And I know that and I'm a type, you know, I'm a type three and an EIGHT and a SEVEN. So no, you're not the the Enneagram. When you alright, so I don't want to say this. A test is a good place to start. But tests are not really useful. Or how should I put this, they're, they're really imperfect tools. Because tests are self reporting, they happen at a particular moment in time, you're in a particular state life of life, and also mood when you take it. And also, it's not in the nature of personality to see itself. So there's a lot of problems with tests. The Enneagram, like, the best way to learn your type is to talk to an expert, and to have a typing interview, someone where you can take a test, and then that's a good that's like, that's like basically call that just the opening to an exploration, not a final diagnosis. All right. If you want to take a test, and I recommend, there's the ready R h e ti on the Enneagram Institute's website, that's a good one. It's like 12 bucks, you can take free ones, but please don't, they're just not good. Get a paid one. It's much, much better. Even though it's still imperfect, the any, any grammar.com also has typing services that I think are really interesting. So those are some resources for typing. One of the things if you really like if you really want to use the anagram in a significant way, then the best way to learn your type is to do all the above. But then really to learn the framework itself, and then to see what kind of resonates. And you sort of have
Heather Hartnett 7:29
to read about each type and see what things start to naturally. Sound resonate with you about your personality.
Josh Lavine 7:37
Yeah. And you'll know.
Heather Hartnett 7:41
Now, tell me a little bit about how, you know if you're, if you are your type, are you stuck in that or you were talking about different levels. And this is one of the things that I actually love about the Enneagram too, is that it's not just a static type, but like your horoscope or whatever. Can you can you tell us what the framework how it's different from Myers Briggs or horoscopes for that matter? People kind of lump them all into into one bucket. But we'd love to hear about how it's very active and dynamic.
Josh Lavine 8:10
Sure, yeah. Yeah, so the Enneagram one of the reasons that I think it has a lot to offer, why I care about it so much obsesses maybe a better word for it, for what how I feel about it, but it's, um, it's not just a horizontal categorization of, I'm a type three, and therefore, this is how I show up. It's it is actually profoundly not that the Enneagram shows a type in the Enneagram is like a vertical structure that contains a whole diff, a whole bunch of sets of attitudes and behaviors that show up depending on your level of psychological health and balance in a given moment. And so, you know, there are healthy expressions of each type. And there are unhealthy expressions of each type. And there's a whole spectrum in between. And I think, just like at face value, people relate to having a good day, a bad day, you know, so like, on your good day, you show up with your virtues and your loving and your open your presents, on a bad day, you're stressed. And when you get stressed, you tend to act in characteristic patterns, like your stress patterns aren't surprising to you, you know, they're the same every time. And so that's the Enneagram is really good at exposing that, like what happens when you contract. And so in the Enneagram, in Enneagram language, when you contract into your personality, you get really stressed and you're showing up in the in the fixated or unhealthy version of your type. And then how to grow how to become a more open, loving, compassionate, effective, healthy version of your type. So whereas you know, other personality type topologies don't really have a vertical framework like that. And it's built into the anagram In fact, it's, it's almost more fundamental to the Enneagram that the types themselves
Heather Hartnett 10:01
Yeah, I love that. I love that. Okay, so now, think about it in terms of a couple other personality. We know Myers Briggs, you know, the big five, you know, with human, we actually do have those tools available for founders too, because the more you can learn about yourself in an industry, where it's it's very opaque, right? There aren't ladders, you're not, you know, understanding kind of where your progression is, in your career, you're in the founder ecosystem, and most people in the audience here are in the founder ecosystem. So how should we be thinking about the Intagram? In comparison to some of the other other frameworks?
Josh Lavine 10:33
Sure, yeah. So yeah, just taking a breath. Um, so first of all, let me just say that any, any personality framework is useful, insofar as it provides language for you to expose and investigate your own inner world, period. And you can make up a personality typology. Right now you can, you know, you can say, people who are like apples and people who are like oranges, and then that if that serves you, if it's useful in your context, then maybe that, then there you have that. One caveat, I would say, to what I just said, is that a typology is also only as useful as you're using it sincerely to investigate your inner world. And yeah, so just actually zooming out a little further. So in the, in the landscape of personality type ologies, there's a lot of, there's a lot of good ones, okay. And there's a lot and they can be useful in their own way. So like, the big five is the most academically accepted or scientifically validated version of a personality typology. But just to so I'll go down the rabbit hole a little bit with Big Five just for a second, because I think it's useful. So the premise of the Big Five, the reason the Big Five exists, is its big fight is based on what's called the lexical hypothesis of personality, which is that in language, language was partly developed in human society as a way to describe other people than what's going on with other people. And so in language, there should be there should be words that can be descriptive of other people. And so the big five was arrived at the Big Five is just five words, openness, conscientiousness, and a couple others. But we took all the words in the English dictionary that potentially could describe people, and then did a factor analysis and arrived at these fundamental five words. And then you take a big five assessment and you learn, oh, I'm this much sort of on the neuroticism scale on this much on the openness scale on this much on the conscientiousness scale, and it gives you a snapshot in time of sort of how you are. The problem with the Big Five, in my opinion, is that while it may be very useful as a data point about who you are and how you're showing up right now, it doesn't. It's a description of you from the outside, not the inside. Number one. It's also the the lexical hypothesis means that the Big Five is a pro social framework. So meaning it's about how other people are describing you, as opposed to how you're experiencing yourself on the inside. And the Enneagram. Why I think it's more valuable from a personal growth perspective is because the Enneagram exposes or is more interested in what's going on with you inside, like, what are your motivations? What are your fears? What's what's truly, what's under the hood? Okay? Not just like, how neurotic Are you? Or how open are you quote, unquote, but like, how, what's your relationship with your own sense of worth? Or what's your relationship with your sense of your own independence? These kinds of things. Not only that the Big Five is, is a horizontal framework in the sense that it doesn't have a birth, it doesn't have a growth model embedded in it, like the anagram does similar thing can be said about the Myers Briggs Myers Briggs is a little more interested in your inner world in the sense of what's going on, like how you process things. Like, as an example, sensing and intuiting so is one of the dimensions of Myers Briggs, you have extrovert Introverted Sensing intuiting, you have a couple others. And the Myers sensing intuiting is just like, are you taking an information sort of at face value as is like your sensory inputs? Like I feel this I see this, I hear this, or that's the sensing pole. The intuiting pole is like, Are you are you adding more interpretation to it? I am not going to fully get on the soapbox here. I personally have a bit of a problem with that even polarity. But it is interesting in this in the sense that I And people do tend to sort of favor one pull over the other. And it's a way that you process incoming information. It's not really though getting to your core drives and what your basic fears are in the, in the, like, for instance, as a founder or an investor or something like that, what's the kinds of things that are preventing you from like meaningful inner work and growth that would help transform you into the person who you really are? Or the person you're meant to be? See,
Heather Hartnett 15:30
I'm gonna interrupt for a second because I, I love you touched on something called the growth edge, right? Most founders by nature are kind of internal growth hackers, they're always looking for those step change, you know, opportunities to grow. So this is why I love this framework. Because once you know what type you are, you can really start to think through how to how to grow or if you're in a conflict situation, what are your levers to be able to help communicate through that? So I wanted to ask you around, you know, particularly with founders and this framework, have you? Have you seen founders using your, your coach? So when you're coaching people, can you give us an example of how knowing your type, and then knowing where growth edge might be, might be helpful in a situation? And then also thinking about hiring, thinking about your team? How should founders think about those early dynamics and why it's important?
Josh Lavine 16:27
Yeah. Okay, so these are huge questions. So just zooming out one second. So one of the, one of the things that's hard about talking about the Enneagram is because, because it's so rich, and textured, and there's so many different, and there are nine basic types, not even getting into the subtyping kind of thing. It's hard to talk about the Enneagram, in abstract. So I'm going to just talk about a couple of instances or like types, just to have to give a little more texture and an answer to this. So I work with a lot of founders who are type three on the Enneagram, which is also my type, and I know also your type. And so, so just a little bit of texture on type three. So you can think of each type as having a basic fear and a basic desire. And there's a lot of ways to talk about each type. But the the personality arises, or form forms itself kind of around these basic these core drives. And for the type three, the basic fear is, is that I'm worthless, and the basic desire is to feel valuable. And so type threes are very assertive goal oriented types, they're ambitious, they have lots of drive, they're very good at determining what will work they have kind of an effectiveness lens. And they also have a, when they're really healthy, then they're listening to the messages of their hearts. They're, they're not getting ahead of themselves. They're not putting, they're not putting how I put this success and effectiveness, so far ahead of themselves that they forget who they are. They're, they're authentic. And when they're not as healthy, then they can get into this pattern of just sensing what other people are valuing. And then doing that. And here's something interesting, from a founder perspective is a lot of threes will start businesses just because they want to be sort of a prestigious founder. And they're attracted to the potential financial upside of starting a business without really checking with their hearts, like what they really want. So that's like pre that's like, that's the birth of certain companies like begins in that way. But pretend that you're a founder and you're aligned, and you're like, actually, your heart's there. And you're three, one of the things that I see is that and I meet a lot of threes who like, are really sincere have like a mission orientation. But one of the problems or the struggles they get into is overworking themselves so much that they burnout. Or having actually put this a kind of shape shifting a little too much from investor call to investor call. Or being like tuning tuning a little too much to like the feedback that they're getting from other people as opposed to cultivating like, a solid inner core of like, this is what I stand for this what I believe in the company is
Heather Hartnett 19:41
I've heard you call it kind of chameleon being a chameleon as well. Yeah,
Josh Lavine 19:44
yeah. Being a commit being a little presentational. Yeah, these kinds of things,
Heather Hartnett 19:47
just because I love the really direct examples too. Can we just do another another type that's often a founder is also an eight, right? You tell us the desire and the fears of an eight just so we can have a couple more examples?
Josh Lavine 20:01
Sure, yeah. Okay, so. So the basic fear of type eight is that they will be in a position where they can be controlled or hurt by other people. And their basic desire is to feel strong live independence, and to have an impact on the world. And just even just with that, you can see why this type is drawn to being a founder, it's like, I don't want to work for other people, I want a boss, I want to do it myself. And a lot of eights are very, they have a galvanizing, initiating energy, they start things, they can rally people on the cause. And they're very effective. They're kind of like natural leaders. But so and so when they're really healthy, they can be very constructive. They're, you know, they're throwing their weight around for a good cause. They're doing things like champion, championing underdogs and things like that, when they're not as healthy, then they can get into a state of kind of barreling forward without, and losing sensitivity with how much force they're using. So starting to try to control the people starting to let's see, be repulsed by other people who aren't, can't stand on their own two feet, like only wanting to work with people who can like give it to them straight, they become kind of like straight talkers, like, don't call me I don't want any fluff around here. And anyway, you can see there, they can lose a kind of softness, or they're showing up as this kind of dense being. And, and while they can be effective for getting things done, they can over prioritize tasks, and getting things done over the relationships and causing damage along the way.
Heather Hartnett 21:56
You can see, so I love this, because when we did the Enneagram retreat, we went through each personality type, we saw the healthy version, and the fixated version, how you have, you know, growth edge, you know, opportunities for growing, when you realize that you're kind of falling into those patterns. So many founders talk about finding their co founder, and we, you know, at human, we use a lot of personality testing, but also just to kind of intuitively how you're thinking about finding your co founder, a lot of people think of skills like complementary skills, but there's so much that goes into complementary personalities, too, and how you resolve conflicts, how you're thinking about the world? Have you talked to founders about that? And how do you think about using the Enneagram framework in terms of compatibility with either co founders or life partners or anything or business partners in that way?
Josh Lavine 22:45
Yeah. So the compatibility question comes up a lot in in all these contexts. And one of the things that's really, I think, very important to say about the Enneagram, is that the Enneagram doesn't really have the position like astrology is like, if you're a Capricorn donate, don't get a Pisces. I'm not, I'm not an astrology expert. So that might be wrong. But in the Enneagram, your level of health is so much more indicative of your compatibility with other people than then you're typing in someone else's a type three, okay? The Enneagram does not take the position that, oh, you're a type eight, that means you're not going to work? Well, the type four period doesn't have that. Okay? What it does have is, if you're triggered, or if you find yourself struggling to work with certain people, that exposes certain things about you, that are interesting to look at, from an Enneagram lens, okay, we could go down that rabbit hole if we want to. But the point is just responding directly to this compatibility point is that compatibility is a kind of It's a mystery. And, you know, the chemistry that two people have is so much more a function of things like shared interests, and just general energy and question mark, than it is of like, oh, you're type three, or type eight and, and checking it out.
Heather Hartnett 24:19
So we had so many questions that came up when people registered. And so I do want to distill some of those one answer or one question, you know, and people in the audience, please feel free to send me send me questions, and I'll work them in. But I think this is a good one. How is the Enneagram different from emotional intelligence assessments? And yeah, do you have anything to say about that?
Josh Lavine 24:42
Oh, that's an interesting question. The Enneagram is not itself in an emotional intelligence assessment. So I'm not sure what what kind of emotional intelligence assessment you're referring to, I imagine I have an idea of what it might be. But the Enneagram is just the framework that has As you know, these while really it's just the symbol, and then a teacher gives it meaning when they teach what each of the personality types mean, or how they show up and what they are. And it is a framework that can like, very significantly increase your emotional intelligence, but it is not itself an emotional intelligence assessment. Yeah.
Heather Hartnett 25:26
So I get a lot of questions about nature versus nurture. Personality. Yeah. So I kind of feel like we should just have, you know, handle this head on, which is, is just, you know, how does that, are you born with a personality? Is it is it cultivated over time? You know, how does age and experience factor in? Are you always stuck with your personality?
Josh Lavine 25:50
Sure, yeah. Okay, so, yeah, fundamental question. The origin of your personality is really, it's impossible to know for sure. There, there are a couple of components to it, in my opinion, so nature, nurture, maybe in some choice. So what we do know is that babies show up in the world with a temperaments. It's like if you take 10 babies, you know, fresh babies, our old and you go to that room, in the hospital, they're all hanging out, they have different qualities. So one is going to be interested in reaching out curious about stuff one's gonna be grumpy and, and shy one is going to be, you see, they're, they're not blank slates. And so we show up in the world with a particular temperament. Interestingly, there is research that has been done that describe nine distinct temperaments that actually correspond to the non Enneagram types. I haven't personally looked at the research, so I can't tell you if I like it or not. But I just think it's interesting that it's been, it's been done. The point is, is that there is some nature component to how you are the proof is just look at 10 babies, and they're different. But nurture also has your environment has a massive impact on how you show up. I think nurture and the quality of your environment, growing up, has a huge, huge influence on how quote unquote, healthy you stabilize at as an adult. So if you have lots of trauma as a child, then it's likely that you're going to contract into much more intense defense mechanisms. And that's another way to think about each Enneagram type is that an Enneagram type is a set of ways of coping with the normal stresses of life. And if the stresses of life that you had in childhood were very intense, then your coping mechanisms are going to be intense to have met that. And so, anyway, my point is, is that you stabilize at his particular level of health or developments in the in the Enneagram framework. And that has a lot to do with your environment, and probably also has something to do with will or choice, and I don't know, if it's like, you know, a third, a third, a third, or what the percentage distribution of it was, but some, some combination of all three is probably the answer.
Heather Hartnett 28:12
Let's go into how we apply Enneagram into the business world, do you see different types of kind of different types of industries with a wit attract certain types of personalities? And how do you think about it in terms of yeah, in terms of practical applications in the business world?
Josh Lavine 28:32
Sure. Yes, to your question broadly, yes, I do that I mean, Enneagram types do tend to self select into areas or industries of interest. But they're also like an example of type fours, which are the individualist which are often stereotyped as the kind of stormy temperamental artists Not, not every for as an artist, and not every 41 relates to the word being creative. But there's a way that fours tend to be kind of inward looking and fascinated by what's uniquely mine to bring into the world. And so a lot of them are drawn to creative endeavors, or if they find themselves in the business world have a kind of countercultural, or a vibe, a bit, just like tuning into what's what's what's at the emotional depth of things, wherever they are. But yeah, so I would say, more fours are, I see fewer fours in like the corporate business world that I see threes and sixes and nines and eights and people who are more either kind of go with a flow in their lives, or who are trying to climb a corporate ladder or who are trying to like start a business and change the world. Anyway, that's a fascinating topic. And we could we could go further and set it if if if that's an interest. But yeah, Yeah,
Heather Hartnett 30:00
I mean, I think I think that's a good way of touching on it. I do. I do think that, you know, I'd love to know if it's getting steam in in the business world and how people are thinking about it as well, once you should you have your whole team, take it and have it typed. And then once once you do know your types, what some of the practical ways that you can maybe think about guiding, do you have a coach that does that? Are there ways that you can make that actionable? Once you know what types people are on your team?
Josh Lavine 30:30
Yeah. Okay, so first, okay, good. It's a good question. First of all, if you're interested in using the Enneagram on your team, there's a couple of disclaimers or warnings, and also some suggestions. So there are lots of choices, you can use a disc framework, you could use Myers Briggs, you could you could do whatever, you have to first decide how much how much time you're willing to invest in this. And what your what your kind of purposes for doing it. If you're wanting just like a couple of bullet points to be able to grab onto like, oh, Kansas is assertive, and this person is sensitive and this person is, and you just want some like very simple language to just have a handled, the anagram is probably not your best bet. The anagram is like rich and deep and revealing of your inner world in such a way that it it really can create a level of emotional intimacy, but you have to be willing to go there. And my opinion is that the anagram is a very, very powerful framework for teams because it invites the kinds of conversations that allow you to really get to know each other beneath the surface level of how we normally show up at work. And, like the Enneagram is, in a sense, and not the only but an antidote to the whole, when we come to work, we leave our emotions at the door kind of mentality of you know, the 50s that we still have in some areas the world today. So the Enneagram however, it does require a real investment. I don't recommend taking just like taking a test. And then assuming that your types are perfectly diagnosed and sort of doing it yourself, I recommend having a facilitator who can really walk you through the process and do one on ones which with each of your team members, and really uncover what's really going on with people. One thing that I find fascinating too, with respect to the Enneagram and, and workplace culture or founder teams and things like that is understanding like the distribution of types on a team. Like for example, I recently did a Enneagram engagement with team and it was like 20 people in a startup. And the C suite was added to this four eights on the C suite. Yeah. And number eights, it sort of kind of the most naturally assertive type, the most natural leader, and it was fascinating because well, in a sense, it's like oh, no wonder are that are of course, but also it's like whoa, four eights on a leadership team. I wonder what kind of what kind of type dynamics that creates with a bunch of very strong personalities, sort of leading the charge. And, you know, they'd have to be really, really watchful and of themselves so that they don't, this isn't just specific to AIDS, I'm not picking on AIDS, but like, any leader has to be watchful their own emotional shadows. So they don't leak those out into the onto the rest of the business. But just found it fascinating that four eights, hang out in a room together and lead the business anyway, you get my point. So type distribution on a team is really interesting. I do
Heather Hartnett 33:41
find that fascinating. And you know, you oftentimes you'll see a company that has been acquired by another company and they merge. And it's difficult to have make sure that that culture kind of meshes, but I think it's also the leaders that were on one team, or you know, one team and the leaders in the new company, how that how that actually meshes, I think it's going to be much more understood and analyzed in mergers and acquisitions down the line. If I could predict, you know, thinking through what those personalities are like, and if that's going to be successful or not. One practical thing I we didn't cover in the beginning, but I think it's worth going into is if you are one type what happens when you feel like you are one type that might be split, right? You're a seven, but you have properties of an eight or you're an eight Yeah, you know, and so I know that there are the wings as well that might be it's the first step into going a little bit deeper into the different variants of the types but maybe you can address that.
Josh Lavine 34:33
Yeah, so so a couple of Enneagram one on one one on one like basic stuff. You have one dominant type period, okay, and in a sense, your task should you choose to accept it. Your first task in your Enneagram journey is to learn about the types with enough depth that you can identify what your dominant type is. That may take a while. Okay. I know people and I know people who thought they were certain type for a year And then woke up one day and realized, Oh, actually, I'm not an iOS six. Generally doesn't take that long. But there's a journey to discovering your type. So that's, and that's part of it. So number one, and yeah, so you have a dominant type that is like, very significantly sort of a flavor of your consciousness more than the other types. You also have a wing. So the Enneagram has a diagram, that's there's like an outer circle with some inner lines, the outer circle has the has the numbers arranged just sequentially. So if you're, for instance, a type two, your wing is going to be an adjacent number on the circle, so either a one or a three. And your wing is like a subtype or a, almost like a secondary type that flavors your relationship with your primary type. We could get, like, if we really wanted to go into it, there's like Enneagram 301, in 401 concepts that the Enneagram fundamentally is about your relationship with what are called the centers of intelligence, your body, your heart and your mind. And I'm gonna restrain myself before I go on the whole rabbit hole, but you have a particular orientation to your body in particular orientations, your heart in particular orientations, your minds. And the anagram, there are body types, heart types, and mental types. And so there's this idea and of the tri type, which is like you have you personally have, not just your dominant type, but you have like a body type, heart type, and mental type. There are lots of lots of ways that the Enneagram deals with, like the infinite complexity and nuance of human beings, they're not just nine types, there are lots of ways of subtyping. There's also a whole dimension of the Enneagram, that we haven't touched on the instincts, and the instinctual variants, which also flavors your relationship with your primary type. So you're not sort of stuck or trapped in a particular type. Not only that, all the types live in you, you know, they're all universal patterns. And it's just that you can almost imagine a histogram, like one of them tends to show up in you in like a 70% way, and then the others are distributed in some other way.
Heather Hartnett 37:07
Yeah, I love that. I mean, it really does show you can, you can continue to kind of peel back the layers. But it also shows you that I think that, or maybe I asked this, you should really become familiar with all the different types, because you're going to embody different, you know, different parts of each type it different parts of your, your personality, or should you be fluid, and not just the way that you think about your type, but other types, too.
Josh Lavine 37:35
Yeah, I mean, this is, this is a point that I really like to stress too, is that the Enneagram, like a lot of people want to just do a, you know, they want to just learn their type. And that is useful. But it's so much more useful when you learn the whole framework. Because, you know, it just is, it's like, you know, if you know, you're a type three, but you don't know what a type seven is, then you don't know what makes you unique and special and different, and what your strengths or weaknesses are relative to the other types, just really helps to know the whole framework, and just to map the landscape of it in your head to install it in there as a lens.
Heather Hartnett 38:18
I think one way that I started really getting excited about the Enneagram is when there are some concrete examples. And so I wanted to ask a couple of questions in relationship to some of the the different types. So you can kind of talk about type seven, right? And if you are a type seven, what are some of the what is some of the things to look out for in your fixated in your fixated state? And so maybe you can say what, what are the motivations and what are the fears of type seven, and then and then how you would think about maybe pacifying that if you're somebody who works with the set or works with the seven or you're married somebody who's a seven. So just to give some ideas of what that personality framework can do for you in terms of how you're thinking about conflict resolution or interacting interpersonal skills.
Josh Lavine 39:09
Okay, right. Yeah. So alright, so this first of all, it's a really important question. This is like where the rubber meets the road. And like, really applying anagram. So let's just take it first of all, from the perspective of let's say you are a seven. So if you are seven, so the basic fear of the seven is that AI is a being trapped in pain. And, or, or of having my experience become stale over time. Like, I won't like whatever my experience is, even if it's great, they'll just, they won't have a lifespan and I won't have freshness in my life. And so, the basic desire of seven is to feel happy, vibrant, fulfilled, joyful, and To be free to experience all the all that the world has to offer. So as you can imagine, with those two sets of Port drives, that type seven is really sensitive to limitations on me. So as a type seven, if I feel like I'm being unnecessarily constrained or boxed in by something than that can, I can there's like a, a wanting to escape or get out or start exploring something else. sevens are like sevens are the, you know, the types of people who they want explore all the flavors, the ice cream shop, they're aware of, like all the best restaurants in the neighborhood, they probably tried them. They bring a lot of joy. Anyway. But yeah, so if I'm a seven, and I'm noticing that, like, I've been working on my company for two years, and it's like, boring to me now. Or it's like, I am really struggling staying with the meticulous details of executing a particular project. And I wish I could spend more time in brainstorming and strategy sessions, because that's more that's more fulfilling and exciting for me. So as a seven, your task is to notice, when you're not when your habitual reaction of like, I'm getting bored, I gotta get out, I gotta go do something more interesting. When that is arising in you to turn towards it, and then stay with the anxiety for long enough to slow down and then settle, so that you can be with whatever is necessary for you to, to be with as opposed to just sort of escaping into a normal pattern. Does that make sense? So all right, so that's like, if you are a seven, if you work with a seven, let's say your co founders are seven, or you have a report is a seven. So supporting a seven, first of all comes from understanding what I just said, that's the, that's the most important thing, first of all, when you're working with seven is to have the insight and compassion for what's really going on with them. Because if you're noticing from the outside that oh, this person, this person, just, you know, all they want to do is hang out in brainstorming sessions, they never want to get their hands dirty in the in the actual work, that'd be very frustrating for you as a co founder or as a boss. But if you're not aware of the inner dynamic, like pain, that the suffering that seven is in, that they're trying to avoid, and you can't find it yourself, then you're not going to have a compassionate interact from that person. And they're not going to be open to your feedback or your you know, whatever, you see my point. So that's like, fundamentally, why the Enneagram is valuable is that it provides that doorway, that's, that's the night vision goggles into the other person's inner world, it's like, Oh, I get it, this is what's going on with you, you're struggling, because you want to stay excited, we all relate to that. Okay, I get it. And then here's the magic is like, and this is, this is a part that's almost like, hard to believe, but I'm gonna say it because that's true is that just your understanding of that will soften you enough to be in the interaction in a way that opens your conversation with the person. So that, how I put this, they will sense your compassion for them, and be open to change in a way that is much, much better and more flexible than if you just were frustrated and showed up and were like, hey, you need to fix this.
Heather Hartnett 43:49
I think that's the key point here, I think that we're entering in a time where IQ has been valued for a very, we've been in a time where IQ has been valued in our society. And those who have quote, unquote, EQ, are kind of people can't really put a lot of framework or structure or vocabulary around who it is, you kind of know, you know, if you're good at relationship dynamics, you know, you're good interpersonal dynamics. But what makes you good at that, and a lot of it is what you're just talking about, it's that empathy. It's understanding where what perspective that person is coming from, and how you're approaching a situation, whether it's just making them feel seen as a direct report, or making them understand where you want to go or motivated, you know, or share your grievances as a partner. So I think what you're saying here in that, in that concrete example, is really talking about empathy. In a way that's a useful tool. And what we look at with human is that we say this all the time, you can only grow as fast your company can only grow as fast as you as an individual can grow. And so if you're put into high, high stress situations, and you have the ability to have shorthand with some of the interpersonal things that really do blow I have a lot of companies, then then I think that that's a very valuable tool. I love that. So I wanted to just step back a little bit to and just ask you about your fascination with the Enneagram. How did you end up thinking about this? And how did you end up using that as a tool? For coaching?
Josh Lavine 45:22
Yeah, like, how did I discover it? Or
Heather Hartnett 45:25
what's? Yeah, discover it. And then I mean, you must have had to have a personal experience that that made you really go deep into the framework.
Josh Lavine 45:32
Yeah. So, man. There's the, you know, there's the three hour version of this, and there's a, so I'll restrain myself?
Heather Hartnett 45:42
Well, I'll just I'll give context to if people in the audience are saying like, Is this for me? Is this what, you know? What, at what point? Was there a trigger point for you to actually want to have those Inner Inner goggles into your inner world? Or is it something that you felt like would just give you a better sense of what the world was, you know, if people are really thinking about, is it something that I should spend the time is it worth it? What was that thought process for you?
Josh Lavine 46:04
Okay. When I first learned the Enneagram, I was a brand new manager, I was I was a, I was a manager of a band in St. Louis, I was playing piano at a piano bar, and I had this band, and, and a friend of mine was like, Hey, you should take this class, I think you'd like it. It's on this weird thing called the Enneagram. And I was like, oh, yeah, cool personality types, that'll make me better manager. Great. And so I take it was a three day workshop was a lot like the retreat that that you went on with me. And I was, I was so blown away by it, it was so profound for me that it changed like my entire life. What I what I thought was going to be just like, the installation of some tool, like, oh, like, I'll, what I thought was gonna happen was, I was like, Okay, I'm gonna get a map of the human inner world. And then I'm going to be able to go back to my teammates, and I'm gonna be able to speak with them in a way that is going to you know, get them to perform better, and it's gonna, we're gonna have a better team as a result of all this and, and that was true, but the way that it ended up happening actually was in a way that I really didn't expect, which is that it changed me first. And it wasn't just like, I it wasn't like, I learned a new tool, it was like, I transformed into a new tool. I became an a new tool, if that makes sense. Let me say that less abstractly. So, so yeah, so I hear you it's like, people are wondering, like, is this memory Can I can I use this with my team. My experience, like brand new learning Enneagram was that I went to this class. And, and I read this book on the anagram and it was, first of all, so extremely accurate at pointing to these things inside me that I thought were very private, like, as a three things like a tendency towards like, really wanting to be liked by other people. And a tendency towards like, really, really wanting validation and shape shifting a little bit. And also a just like, a deep goal orientation, and a sense of, like, even my inner talk, like, at the time, I was playing piano, and I was learning songs. And I was, I remember, I was like, learning, I would learn songs. And I would think to myself, like, oh, it's gonna be so cool. When I play this at the bar tonight, like people are gonna be so impressed with me. And then I read that that was going I read about the type three in the in this book, the wisdom of the Enneagram and it was like, hey, free sometimes do this kind of thing. And it was like, a precise description of this thing that was I never told anybody about that. I never told anybody that was going on in my inner world. In fact, that was a little even a little embarrassed about it. But there was in plain English in a book and then we talked about in the class and it was so powerful for me. And precise that I was like, This is real I have to I have to use this now. And actually, let me just say a little further like I came from like I've dipped into like deeply unhealthy psychological territory in my life. Like I was really really depressed in college I was like obsessed. Like if you read about the type three in the in any pick any any room book read about type three and then read about the unhealthy three where they're, like, deceptive and opportunistic, and and just like obsessed with validation and feeling that they're worthless, I was really there. Okay. And, and I got better through various kinds of therapy, but then when I learned the Enneagram it was so precise that describing why that happened to me. And and not only that, but like, who I really am underneath all of that and the Inspiring persons I could be if I were to work on myself, and the gift that I can bring to the world by doing that. Anyway, so that was why that was why it grabbed me so much. And I decided, I think in that moment that I was going to, I was like, Oh, this is my calling, I'm supposed to do this, I'm supposed to help other people go through these kinds of inner transformations like the one that I went through, and realize who they really are underneath their habitual psychological activity and reactivity, and all this kind of stuff. So that's, that's me. That's my, that's my personal story. And that's why I love the Enneagram so much.
Heather Hartnett 50:36
Well, I just want to say thank you for sharing that, you know, a lot of people don't like to share vulnerabilities. They don't like to share reasons why things like this happen, or any trigger for personal growth. But I think this is why it's so powerful, you have to be wanting the desire for self awareness, and self aware and a lot of people don't want to be, don't want to go and reach that. And I think there's power and understanding who you are your strengths and your weaknesses, and then understanding how you are in relationship to others. So I appreciate you sharing that story. I think founders that resonates with founders a lot to where, you know, we talk about imposter syndrome we talk about, if you're out in the press, and you day to day, don't feel like that person who's being you know, talked about in that press, there's a gap there, and that can actually create despair that can create that depression in some, in some ways, as well. So as we talk more about these very human things that happened to each one of us that maybe isn't putting our best foot forward, you know, publicly, but it's really what makes people stronger. I think that's really important.
Josh Lavine 51:45
Yeah. And exclamation point. Yes. And, you know, the way that I use this in my coaching practice is like, my orientation as a coach is that human beings are not as compartmentalized as we, as we think they are, you know, how you are at home affects the way you are at work, how you are in your relationships affects the way you are with yourself. You're an integrated organism, and our relationship, you know, how how, how intimately, we can defend our shadow is, like, never said this before. But I think it's like, probably the truth is like, how intimately we can befriend our shadow and the depths of ourselves is the real measure of how effective a leader we can be. And that's why I love humans framework around like, you know, a business can only grow as much as founder can grow, or whatever your language is, but it's like, yes, human development has to be front and center. And we have to, we have to be, we have to have a real conversation about what it means to grow as a person, like growth is not just learning how to write better spreadsheets and run better meetings, and get get tasks and become more productive. Growth is, is, you know, the whole other dimension of growth is like, expand, questioning my beliefs, the friending my shadow, consciously going through the kind of inner work that you might consider is like, relegated to therapy offices and stuff like that. But like when, when you really go through it, you realize that you open into a whole new kind of person that is so much more flexible and available and has capacity for empathy and real leadership. You know,
Heather Hartnett 53:38
I love that I also love how you do describe, you know, there's, there's learning different skills, and you can cram more skills and go to different courses and everything. But it's was actually about expanding the container to I love that you say that you expanding the container is is something that you don't learn in school, you don't learn a lot of this stuff. Right. So this is, so we only have a few minutes left. And I just wanted to give you an opportunity, you are hosting a, you're starting a course coming up March 7, for founders, specifically, if you really want to dive into this. I mean, I'm not sure how this is perceived by everyone. This is the first time we've done a course like this. We are packing in in a very short amount of time, a huge framework and, and 1000s and 1000s of hours that Josh has studied as well. So maybe you can just run us through what's happening on March 7, how you unpack this and how founders can can participate?
Josh Lavine 54:26
Yeah, so. So normally when I teach the anagram, it's a three day retreat. And it's like very content dense and there's, there's just so much information. But it's also I try to create the kind of container in which people can really engage with the material in a deep way like really drinking in this is the first time that I've decided to not offer it in a person and in person or tree and decide just because founders and investors and people and startup world are are really busy. I'm offering a 12 week program. So it's it's the same content. But it's like, it's 12 weeks, we're going to start just by setting a container for like an intro, it's only 12 people, by the way, so there's a couple spots left. So if you're interested, let me know. But we're going to set a container, we're going to talk about some fundamental kind of building blocks the anagram. And then we're going to have a deep dive on each type. That's like the bulk of the program. So nine of the 12 weeks is like one type at a time we're going to go through. And if you are that type, it's going to be, it's going to be really, I think, powerful for you. If your co founders that type, or if you have a report, that's a person of that type, or if you're investor and you invest in founders who are of that type, it's gonna be very powerful for you. And the other thing that I like about these kinds of programs is that it it's a group and learning this in the context of a an intimate group of peers in the startup world, I think it's going to have extra value, because, you know, we're going to be sharing stories of like, when I talk about a type two, it's, you know, you're gonna, you're gonna know, it's like, oh, wow, I totally that person, I used to work with a type two, and then you're going to share that story, and everyone else is going to benefit from it. And they're going to have stories to like, Oh, my old boss was a type eight. That kind of thing is really powerful, gives a lot more texture to it takes the anagram out of this abstract, like cerebral framework realm and embeds it where it belongs, which is in human beings. And anyway, so I'm really excited about things can be really, really great program.
Heather Hartnett 56:26
I want to just advocate for this for people who are interested in learning more about themselves, but also learning about, you know, how they're showing up in the world and, and connecting with other people, it really inspired me. And we do a lot of this stuff at human. And it was another level deeper. We also went through, you know, some public personas of people who are these types, and that always helps solidify the language to who you know, who embodies the different types. We're coming up here to the end, I put the link in the chat for signing up for this, if you'd like to, I'd also recommend following Josh Lavon, on on Instagram, he has great. I'm saying I don't see the link. Oh, Kevin, just a great kind of synopsis of each one of the types and then some growth hacks for that, but also just different perspectives. So I hope that you take this as a very quick introduction to what is a very deep framework and could kind of go as deep as you want to, or stay, you know, stay on the top and kind of know how to how to discuss it with other folks, but wanted to thank you very, very much, Josh, for participating in this and coming and opening up this conversation, which I think is a very unique one in our field. Yeah, any last any last words?
Josh Lavine 57:48
I just want to say, I just want to say thank you for having me. It's it's really great. And you know, how much of a fan I am of you. So I appreciate the opportunity to chat.
Heather Hartnett 57:58
Yeah, I also want to plug Josh as a personal coach to doing one on one sessions. Because I were I was skeptical, I thought I thought, you know, I try it out because we don't want to recommend things to our founders that we haven't tried. And then it's been a year and I've been really thankful for this relationship and in the view that Josh has in the world. So open, open your mind to all these different things. And I hope that um, you come back for some more soon. Thank you very much. Thanks, Josh. Thank you to everybody who participated like soon
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