The Enneagram is Making Waves in Georgia and Beyond
by Noah Chen
The Enneagram of personality is a model used to gain a deeper understanding of the individual and to promote personal growth. The International Enneagram Association (IEA) has contributed to the popularity of the Enneagram model, which is being used in business and taught in classes, affecting the lives of men and women around the world.
Lynda Roberts, treasurer of the Georgia chapter of the International Enneagram Association, describes the Enneagram as a tool to help people develop their capacity for self-awareness. While following the Enneagram can bring one closer to their spiritual selves, Roberts says the Enneagram is not a religion or a spiritual path.
The Enneagram is a visual model of nine ways of being in the world and maps how each way is connected to others. According to Enneagram philosophy, everyone is born into one of these nine types and has traits associated with that type. For example, a “one” is also known as a Reformer. Reformers are driven by a basic desire for balance and integrity, and their “ego fixation,” or defining negative emotional trait, is resentment.
“When we are wrapped up in our ego personality and identified with our ego personality, we are cut off from our more central nature. And this is where the spirituality aspect comes in,” says Roberts.
Roberts, who has served as board member and president of the global IEA, helped form the Georgia chapter after a colleague asked for her expertise. Their first meeting was in 2017. “We don’t do the accreditation part of the plan,” says Roberts, but aside from that, “our mission is pretty much the same as the global organization, as it relates to providing opportunities for education and engagement.”
The Georgia branch hosts guest speakers and holds educational talks on the second Thursday of every month. It has witnessed its community grow and engagement increase. “We’re finding we have to kick people out at the end of the night because they keep hanging out and chatting!” exclaims Roberts.
With 60 official members and a mailing list of 300, the Georgia branch has been seeing steady growth since its creation two years ago, and Roberts plans to continue expanding.
“We are hoping to have one, if not two, events next year in addition to our monthly chapter meetings,” says Roberts. Her vision is to have all-day workshops and guest speakers who are fairly well known in the Enneagram community. That community spans the globe: there are active Enneagram communities in China, South Africa, Australia and Europe. Global acceptance of the Enneagram may stem from the variety of ways it is being used.
“There’s certainly the Enneagram in the business world,” says Roberts, who teaches a leadership program to businesses that “is based on the idea that the more self-aware we are, the better leaders we’ll be.”
The Enneagram also helps promote cooperation; after learning the Enneagram, managers understand that people have different perspectives and that not everyone communicates in the same way. “The Enneagram helps us see that it's not about personality clashes, just differences,” says Roberts. “It also provides insights into what motivates every individual, which can be useful in understanding a group dynamic.
The international organization just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and if the growth of the Georgia chapter is any indication, it will be around for many years to come. Roberts says she is excited for her future in the IEA, in part because of the positive impact the Enneagram has made on her own life and in part because of the fantastic community of which she is a part. “What I appreciate most about the IEA is that I do have friends all over the world. I can pick just about any country and know someone there.”
For more information, including details of monthly meetings, go to IEAGeorgia.org.