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Business with Purpose


Aug 19, 2020

How the Enneagram is a Tool with Purpose | Business with Purpose Podcast EP 207: Ian Morgan Cron

Ever since I was a little kid, I remember being fascinated by personality quizzes. I remember being in elementary school and taking my first Myers Briggs test, and just learning how my friends scored so differently on so many things. It was really a point where I learned that we are all so different with how we view the world and interact with the world. A few years ago, I discovered the Enneagram, I just loved the way that this particular personality tool really helped ignite a better understanding within myself of how I view the world and how my friends and family view the world. Well get ready ya’ll, because today, I’ve got THE Enneagram guy on the show. Ian Morgan Cron is a best-selling author, psychotherapist, Enneagram teacher, Episcopal priest, and the host of the popular podcast, TYPOLOGY. His books include the novel, Chasing Francis, the spiritual memoir, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me, and the Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery. Know for his transparency, humor, and depth of insight into the inner workings of the human heart and mind, Ian uses the Enneagram personality typing system as a tool to help leaders cultivate self-awareness and emotional wisdom. He is a sought-after speaker, thinker, and advisor to a growing roster of clients such as The Discovery Channel, Ramsey Solutions, Michael Hyatt Company, Warner Bros., among others. He and his wife Ann have three kids and live in Nashville, TN. I was so honored to have Ian on the show! I’m a huge Enneagram nerd, and have followed his work for quite some time. You’re going to love this conversation! Join me to hear more about Ian and his journey of cultivating self-knowledge that is equipping so many people with the tools to understand themselves and interact well with the world and the people in it.

5:04 – The Ian 101

  • Ian has been married to Ann for 31 years and they have three adult children and he’s also dad to two of the most perfect dogs in the world, Percy and Pipp. 😊
  • When people ask Ian what he does, he says he has a portfolio life. He does a little bit of everything as a writer, speaker, trained psychotherapist, trained spiritual director, Episcopal priest, and a double award-winning songwriter!
  • When Ian really started giving into his career he had such a variety of interests and thought he was vocationally confused because he wanted to do so many things. He realized all of his interests led back to one ultimate goal of helping people better understand themselves, their spirituality, the world, and the people around them.
  • So many of us can relate to Ian’s feelings of questioning our purpose, our careers, our interests, our relationships, and how they all intertwine and interact.
  • Ian first came across the Enneagram in 1992 while on a Catholic retreat monastery in Colorado and came across the monastery’s library where he found a book by Richard Roar on the Enneagram. At the time he was getting a master’s in psychology. He sat down and started reading where in the world this book had been in all his studies. It was practical psychology mixed with spirituality, and Ian thought it was a great tool.
  • At the time Ian was busy with school and a young family, but the Enneagram was always in the back of his mind as something he wanted to pursue further. About 8 years ago, Ian decided he really wanted to throw himself into it and try to figure it out, especially because people were starting to talk about it more. He knew it could really help people since there are not a lot of books on the Enneagram that are not 500-pages long and overwhelming with information.

9:23 - Door to the Enneagram

  • Ian wanted to find a way to bring the Enneagram to people in a way that would help them, but not overwhelm them. Ian now has so many tools to help bring the Enneagram to a wider audience through many platforms like his podcast, TYPOLOGY and his book, Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery.
  • Even as someone who has delved into the Enneagram, Ian can see that there is much more to life than the Enneagram and other sources of self-knowledge. Many people in their excitement to learn more about themselves nearly become obsessed with the Enneagram. Ian understands it as just one of many helpful tools to obtaining better self-awareness.
  • It’s important that when studying the Enneagram, that we realize that within each of the 9 types, there is an infinite variety of expressions of that type. No two people with the same type look identical. That may be part of the reason so many people are drawn to the Ennegram: it doesn’t put people in boxes with a set “type.”

13:54 – Enneagram in Business

  • The Enneagram is gaining steam in the business world. Many corporations and non-profits are using it in their management and the way they are leading their teams. In the professional and workplace environment, Ian helps teams learn their types. They can begin to understand that their coworkers see the world differently and may be motivated by different things.
  • The biggest mistakes leaders can make is to assume their way of seeing the world is what’s normal. That puts them in jeopardy of seeing the ideas of others as wrong. When leaders and teams learn there are 9 “normals,” it reduces conflict, improves collaboration, detoxifies cultures, improves retention and engagement and so on. It removes inefficiencies caused by personality differences.

17:38 – Enneagram in Unprecedented Times

  • The Enneagram can be helpful as we collectively experience a global pandemic as well. We all experience and process this collective trauma differently. Using the Enneagram can help us support each other better during this time.
  • Ian just completed a series on the Enneagram and stress, which is really about the Enneagram and stress in the time of Covid-19.
  • Each type is going to have its own challenge and opportunities during this time. If you know your type well, you can cut the challenges off before they take over into reactivity and build on your strengths so you can love the people in your world that may not be handling this time as well.
  • Knowing ourselves can help us to not judge how others are reacting to the coronavirus, and even prevent us for being too hard on ourselves in the way we are reacting as well. It helps us cultivate a healthy practice of compassion.
  • Ian defines suffering as not being able to feel at home, ever. It’s a dis-ease and it’s important to remember we all experience it. It can arouse compassion and get yourself out of your own ego.

28:27 – Enneagram Stereotypes

  • As the Enneagram has become more popular, you see it a lot in social media in the form of memes. It actually drives Ian crazy that there are Enneagram memes because it risks the very useful tool into stereotypes. Especially when it’s used to market products.
  • It trivializes the Enneagram. It’s a powerful system to help people grow spiritually and psychologically and it can be dangerous territory when people who haven’t spent years studying it suddenly think they’re experts on it. It took Ian 5 years to understand the Enneagram.
  • Ian talks about the differences between a stereotype and a type. A stereotype is a generalization about a whole group of people that by virtue of its generality, it inaccurate. Typing understands that in any subset, there is an infinite variety of expressions of those people, they’re individuals all having individual lives.

34:22 – Enneagram and Mental Health

  • When you have mental health conditions that are life-interrupting, the Enneagram becomes less helpful because there are too many other complications in the mix.
  • The Enneagram is not meant to measure a personality with a level of science required for mental health categories and medical conditions.

35:50 – Children and the Enneagram

  • Ian warns parents not to try to “type” their children, especially when they’re younger. If your child takes an interest in it, you can find age-appropriate reading for them to learn more. The teenage years is a better time for kids to start learning about what type they might identify with. 
  • It can be world-changing for teenagers to gently explore the Enneagram, especially when they’re navigating complicated social worlds during adolescence.
  • Tune in at 38:02 for important discussion and warnings about the damage that can happen when you try to type children at a young age.

38:50 – A Vision for the Enneagram

  • Ian wants to see the Enneagram start to help people appreciate and celebrate difference, especially in the cultural climates we live in now. It could reduce “us vs. them” mentalities that we are often caught in as a society and in interpersonal relationships like marriages, friendships, workspaces, etc.
  • You can take the IEQ9 assessment HERE for the most accurate and in-depth enneagram report available.
  • Ian is putting together 9 live online trainings for each Enneagram number and has a lot of plans for more helpful tools in the future.

42:00 – Getting to Know Our Guest

  • Find out some fun facts about Ian like what of his pet peeves are the strangest, what meal he would have for dinner if he could only the same thing every night for the rest of his life, what his favorite TV shows were growing up, something that no one would ever guess about him, and what song he’d choose to be his hype song. You’ll definitely want to stay tuned to hear what it means to Ian to run a business with purpose.

Memorable Quotes

6:19 - “It dawned on me one day that everything that I did, all of those different streams met up in the same pool of interests which was helping people have a deeper conversation about who they are, who God is, why they’re here, what does their suffering mean, what does their joy mean. Just helping people accompany me on the journey of asking and trying to answer questions of ultimate importance.”

10:47- “I think we have to remember that the Enneagram is not the end all or be all of psychology or spirituality. It’s just one of very many useful tools.”

21:22 – “If you know your weaknesses, you can move through the world with more wisdom and say to yourself, ‘This is not a good place to be, I need to do this and avoid that so I can live in a good state of equilibrium.’ “

24:20 – “One thing you can know for certain about every human being is that they’re suffering, and they are experiencing that suffering all the time. It can arouse and awaken compassion for others and it can get yourself out of your own ego’s obsession with itself.”

About Ian Morgan Cron:

IAN MORGAN CRON is a bestselling author, psychotherapist, Enneagram teacher, Episcopal priest, and the host of the popular podcast,Typology. His books include the novel Chasing Francis, the spiritual memoir Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me, and The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery. Known for his transparency, humor and depth of insight into the inner workings of the human heart and mind, Ian uses the Enneagram personality-typing system as a tool to help leaders cultivate self-awareness and emotional wisdom. He is a sought-after speaker, thinker and advisor to a growing roster of clients such as the Discovery Channel, Ramsey Solutions, Michael Hyatt Company, Warner Brothers Music, OCLC, among others. He and his wife, Anne, have three children and live in Nashville, Tennessee.

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