Forward Thinking: An Opportunity to Grow

If you had asked me a year ago what my thoughts on the Enneagram were, I would have rolled my eyes. I typically avoid things that are a fad because I don’t want to become invested is something that is fleeting. For example, I was married for two and a half years before I decided on a décor theme for our house. I didn’t want to simply go along with the farmhouse chic look because I didn’t want 20 years to go by and I look at my house and think, “Oh boy, what was I thinking?” or even go through constant cycles of ridding my house of decorations only to buy the next décor fad. I like consistency. I also wanted something that could beautifully and effortlessly blend my style of life with my husband’s (I mean, it’s his house too and I don’t think he would want to live in a completely feminized house…). I digress.

A year ago I viewed the Enneagram as another fad. I attended a private Christian college and almost all my friends and college classmates were infatuated with this personality test; therefore, I naturally resisted it. I didn’t want anything to do with it. My friends would call me and ask my thoughts on the Enneagram. I would say, “I don’t really know much about it specifically, but I do know that oftentimes people will use a personality test as a crutch to prevent them from bettering themselves or changing problematic behaviors. They might say, ‘This is who I am. I can’t change’, “.  I viewed the Enneagram the same way. It’s just another excuse for people to not grow. (You can read more about my thoughts on growth in this post).

So imagine my response when I join a small group at church and they tell me we will be studying the Enneagram! Cue the eyeroll. However, I committed to the group and began the study. We read through The Road Back to You and I was immediately hooked because the author emphasizes the purpose of the Enneagram is to highlight the areas in which a person can strive for growth. *Note, I am not fluent in Enneagram speak. I just have a baseline understanding of how each type functions. End note.* Some of you Enneagramers might be trying to type me at this point. Let me tell you my number: I am a Nine. The peacemaker. The lover of harmony and the avoider of conflict. That’s me!

Now, over the last several months, I have noticed something about myself. Maybe this is the Nine in me, but I have noticed that I live very much in the moment. I don’t dwell in the past nor do I plan much for the future. Sure I reminisce from time to time and I have dreams for my life, but I live annoyingly in the present. I often struggle with taking initiative to achieve certain tasks or goals. However, since learning more about my personality type and the growth areas associated with Type 9, I am presented with a wonderful opportunity to further develop. Therefore, over these last several weeks I have created what I call Forward Thinking. It is the time I set aside to write down the tasks and dreams I need and want to achieve in the near future. For my Future Thinking, I go to one of our bedrooms where I sit at a vanity that I inherited from my great-grandmother. As I sit in front of this mirror – coffee in hand –  I look at all the notes I have stuck on the mirror. I have a piece of paper that reads: “Forward Thinking… Who do you want to be? What will it take to achieve it?” Underneath I have various post-it notes with my goals: mom, licensed marriage and family therapist, Jesus, encourager…. So when I am sitting at the vanity, engaging in Forward Thinking, I can look at my reflection with the notes surrounding my outline reminding me and encouraging me of what I want to be in this life. I have Forward Thinking to thank for this blog, my website, and my future private practice.

I may have rolled my eyes at the Enneagram a year ago, but learning about myself and how I tick has helped me grow as a person. There is power in stepping out of your comfort zone; in fact, I believe this is the only place where we are challenged to grow. So I encourage you, reader: get curious with yourself. What are some areas in your life that could use some growth? What are those areas you tend to avoid? Could these areas be arenas in which you could be presented with an opportunity to grow yourself? If so, what is preventing you from stepping into the arena?

Comment below with some of the goals you have and are working toward achieving!

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