Sarajane Case is the creator of arguably one of the best enneagram Instagrams @enneagramandcoffee. With an enneagram podcast, summit and coffee mugs available––it’s safe to say she’s an enneagram enthusiast. Fitting, because she’s a Type 7 on the enneagram: the enthusiast.
If you’re not already familiar with the enneagram, it’s a personality test with nine types designed for self-discovery. You learn how to be your best self in your type, and what it looks like when you’re being your worst self.
What we love most about this test is that all it shows you how to work with your type and there are no types that are better than others––we all have unique gifts and challenges within our type.
Since Sarajane is an enneagram expert, we asked her a few questions to learn more about why the enneagram is a remarkable tool for self-discovery, better relationships and what steps we should take right after we take the test.
1. How & when did you discover enneagram? And what surprised you in the process?
I discovered the enneagram back in 2015. I was at a bonfire with friends who were discussing how much it had changed their marriage and the communication in their marriage. My husband ( boyfriend at the time) and I immediately took the test that weekend and both mistyped. That was my biggest surprise in the process.
Up until that point all personality tools I’d worked with had given me my results via a test and didn’t put me in the drivers seat of my own self-discovery. The enneagram put me on a journey of getting really honest with myself about who I am and what my struggles are.
It took me close to two years of self-discovery to fully be able to commit to a type. I wouldn’t change that process for the world. I was able to explore my relationship to myself and the world around me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.
2. What was the most life-changing aspect of learning your enneagram?
I truly believe the enneagram is less about trying to overcome our type and more about being willing to face how you show up in the world in both beautiful and difficult ways.
With that awareness we are then able to distinguish between our essence and our coping mechanisms. We will never escape our humanity, our “flaws” will be with us until we die. That’s just part of being human. However, knowing the enneagram can help us to hold the awareness necessary to do less harm to ourselves and others in the process.
That’s been my greatest takeaway from my enneagram work –– the ability to know when I’m leaning on old habits and patterns in order to protect myself and the knowledge that I don’t have to do that in order to be who I want to be in the world.
In addition, I believe it’s a really helpful tool in relating to other people. Once we are able to look at and accept the wide range of who we are, then we are finally able to relate to others as peers rather than authorities or competitors.
3. When it comes to partnerships & enneagram, what have you learned in your personal relationships?
In my partnerships I’ve learned to acknowledge what is mine and what is his. That I am only truly able to impact my reactions while also not taking responsibility for his.
What this means for me as a 7 is that I don’t need to have an escape plan and that it’s of the utmost importance for me to be fully present with our relationship. If I can breathe into and acknowledge the good in each moment, it is so much more beneficial than the very real temptation to always be planning for the future.
In addition, I’ve learned as an employer exactly what kind of support I need and how to help my employees thrive. I know that I need freedom and flexibility so I need support that is consistent, stable and detail-oriented.
In the same way my husband who is also my communications director –– as a four –– needs autonomy paired with clear expectations and some creative control over his role. Thanks to my work with the Enneagram we’ve been able to quickly put language to all of that and communicate directly and openly about our needs.
4. What’s lighting you up right now and what’s challenging you?
Honestly, my life is lighting me up right now in such a beautiful way. We’ve been very intentional about creating a life that we truly adore and I am blown away every morning by how magical it is to be alive in this time of my life.
At the same time, I am challenged by the many, many, many moving pieces of what I’m creating. Taking the time to set a vision for the future hasn’t really been an option lately and I’ve had to carve out intentional time to go off by myself and meditate on what I want the future of the company to look like.
As a 7 who is very accustomed to living in the future, it can feel strange to only be able to manage what is right in front of my face. I am looking forward to creating a bit of space, so that I can reclaim the drivers seat of the business and ensure that I’m not operating from a place of reaction.
5. What are five things that someone should do after taking the enneagram test if they want to dive deeper?
I love this question!
1. Read through your top 3-4 results and see which number makes you feel the most seen. It’s fairly likely that taking a test alone won’t give you the correct answer on your first round.
2. Read up on the levels of health of your type. Knowing what you look like when you’re really healthy vs. unhealthy will show you how to gauge your relationship to your life. (Hint: Most of us experience varying levels of health in a given day.)
3. Understand the move you make in stress. Knowing your stress number will give you the understanding of the indicators that may arise for you when you are in need of some self-care. It will also show you what resources you can pull in to provide that care for yourself. For example: a type two moving to eight may find themselves experiencing anger or resentment when they’re in need of some care and often that care can look like 8s super power of creating boundaries and communicating directly about what they want and need.
4. Understand the move you make in rest. Knowing your rest number will give you the understanding of how you show up when things are going well in your life, when you feel secure. It will also show you some preventative self-care that you can take before you ever reach that stress number. For example: a type two moving to four in rest means they feel secure being alone and appreciating the intricacies of life. They may find that spending more time by themselves, enjoying the world and asking for what they need proactively could aid them in managing their health levels long-term.
5. Finally, ask yourself what understanding your number brings awareness to for you. Specifically, in terms of how you may show up for yourself and others better. Are there habits there that cause harm to yourself or those that you love? How can you bring continued awareness to those habits and work to show yourself that the world can be trusted with the truest version of you without all of those traits you’ve adopted in order to keep yourself safe.