Children just seem to come out with their own personalities in place. And when you add in parents have their own unique personalities, understanding each other can be a challenge. That's where the Enneagram comes in. It's a simple tool which helps us understand our own personalities as well as those of our children. And with better understanding comes empathy. Wouldn't it be great to understand and get along better with your child? Check out this interview with Enneagram master and New York Times best-selling author Ian Morgan Cron. It might just be the tool you need to become the best parent possible.
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Ian Morgan Cron: About three times a week, my wife and I say to each other, boy, if we'd only known the Enneagram when our kids were little, if we had, we would have parented them very, very differently. Now they've turned out to be three magnificent, beautiful kids, right? But, but if we could have known what their interior world was like, if we could have known how they predictably and habitually acted thought and felt as kids it would have given us a great advantage, you know as especially in adolescents and afterwards.
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Phil Weaver: Hello and welcome to the learning success podcast where we learn to embrace your child's brilliance and unleash their true potential. I'm Phil Weaver. I'll be your host today and today's guest is Ian Morgan Cron. In addition to being a dad in is also a psychotherapist, bestselling author, sought after speaker, businessman and Episcopal priest, but Ian is also regarded as one of the leading masters of the popular Enneagram personality typing system. I'm curious how many of our listings listeners today are familiar with the Enneagram? Much to my surprise, prior to meeting Ian, I had never heard of it, which peaked my interest even more. So rooted in ancient spirituality, the Enneagram has an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively, used as a tool to help leaders cultivate self-awareness and emotional wisdom. The Enneagram has become a resource for people across the world as they seek to better understand themselves and see the world through other people's eyes. Because, you imagine discerning how and why people think, feel, and act the way they do. That's what happens when you grasp the Enneagram. We thought it would be interesting to have Ian stay so we could learn more about the anagram, but also so we can equip you as parents to have better understanding of yourself and to know how your personality type can deeply impact your parenting style. And I'm excited to learn today. Welcome Ian.
Ian Morgan Cron: Thank you, Phil. I'm glad to be here.
Phil Weaver: Thank you for coming on this. This should be quite interesting here. So let's start off with right at the top. Can you just tell us about the Enneagram, what it is and where it originated from?
Ian Morgan Cron: Sure. The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that teaches, there are nine core personality styles in the world, one of which people gravitate toward and adopt in childhood as a way to cope and navigate the world of relationships. Most importantlyeach of those nine types has an unconscious strategy or motivation that powerfully influences how that type acts thinks and feels on a daily basis. Its roots go back thousands of years though it wasn't fully formulated thousands of years ago.It existed that in its primitive form in the 20th century, it was conflated with modern psychology. And so it's been a work in progress for a long, long time. And but one of the things that people have found is that it is uncannily accurate and its ability to help people understand what it's like to live in other people's shoes, to understand that there are many different ways of seeing and experiencing the world.
Phil Weaver: Okay, great. And so you said it goes back thousands of yearswhere was that? What what society and history, where did it come from exactly?
Ian Morgan Cron: Well, we think it began with a Christian monk name Evagrius Pontus in the fourth century and he used it in helping to disciple or to do spiritual formation with young people out in the desert, you know, of Egypt and Syria and that area of the world.
Phil Weaver: Okay. And so it's not that he devised it then?
Ian Morgan Cron: He is a person who devised a very primitive iteration of it. It wasn't until it's become much more evolved and complicated now and accurate than it was then. But those are its roots or origins.
Phil Weaver: Right. Was that a gradual process or something that psychologists today picked up?
Ian Morgan Cron: I think I, yeah, I think it was a gradual process. You know, it really came to public, the public's eye in the 1970s when a Catholic Jesuit priest began using it as a tool to help train young novices for the priesthood. So it really came to us first at the Catholic church, but it has spread like wildfire in recent days.
Phil Weaver: Good. So you mentioned it's going to help understanding how other people may think and act and it's some, First off, is it, the belief is, is that we are born with these personality traits. Are these developed early in childhood?
Ian Morgan Cron: The answer is yes. You know the human, first of all, let's begin here. The, the, the human personality is a tremendously complex thing, right? People aremysterious and really we believe that the personality is formed by genetics, right? Biology. So there's some stuff that's just hardwired into us. You know, I don't know if you have kids like this, but you know, some kids are just born naturally anxious. Others come into the worldslightly depressive, you know, ER types, you know some come into the world bold and laughing and others are very challenging and strong. You know, so I, I've seen this with little kids all the time. You know, you see these things hardwired into them and, and the role of parents is to help kids steward the, this hard wiring that they have. Now, there are other factors than that as they get older that also come into play. One is that there's cultural factors, what does the culture expect of them? There's familial forces that come into play. Forming a personality. So it's not any one thing. It's a confluence of many things that bring the human personality into its fullness.
Phil Weaver: Right. With a genetic, there seems to be a genetic component where there is at least a large part that is at birth then. Is that?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, it kind of depends on what school of psychology you speak to. There are many of them. And actually I would say that the most highly contested debate in psychology is personality and its formation.
Phil Weaver: I got you. Yeah, sure.
Ian Morgan Cron: There, there are lots of different perspectives on how it's formed.
Phil Weaver: Right, right. Yeah. Well, just about every parent you hear saying that about their child, that they just came out that way, that their personality was, I mean, you hear that phrase, all the time. So so before we get too deep into it, what are the benefits you've talked about with, for parents of understanding better and all that, but what are the overall benefits for parents to understand this material?
Ian Morgan Cron: Well, let me say this about three times a week, my wife and I say to each other boy, if we'd only known the Enneagram when our kids were little, you know if we had, we would have parented them very, very differently. Now they've turned out to be three magnificent, beautiful kids, right? But, if we could have known what their interior world was like, if we could have known how they predictably and habitually acted thought and felt as kids it would have given us a great advantage, you know as, especially in adolescence and afterwards. So I mean, and the most important thing is for parents to know their type as they raise their own children. You know what are their strengths and pitfalls? What's the best and the worst about their personality? Because the Enneagram actually shows you that you know, that your blessing is your curse and your curse is your blessing. There's a great side of your personality. Then there's another side that if you're unaware of it and you're not properly monitoring it we'll get you into a lot of trouble.
Phil Weaver: Right? So that's it. That would be one of the greater benefits of being able to monitor your downside better.
Ian Morgan Cron: Oh my gosh, yes.
Phil Weaver: Okay. That makes, that makes a lot of sense. So let's go ahead and can we jump into the different types? Give me,
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, okay. So I'm going to give you literally one sentence descriptors, but I can tell you like for example, my, the road back to you, this book I wrote about the Enneagram, each of these gets 20 pages. And so I'm just giving you a thumbnail sketch of each. Okay. So the first one are called the ones and they're the perfectionists also called the perfectionist. These are folks who are ethical, they're detail oriented, they're really morally heroic people who have an unconscious motivation or strategy that has to do with their desire to improve themselves, others and the world. Now another way to say that it's perfect themselves, others and, and the world. Twos use are called the helpers. They, these are warm, caring, and giving people who, whose unconscious motivation is to meet the needs of other people while at the same time not acknowledging their own personal needs.
Ian Morgan Cron: Third type is called the performer or the achiever. These are driven, ambitious, success oriented image conscious people who have a need to succeed, to appear successful and to avoid failure at all cost. The four is called the individual list. This is a a slightly more complex type of person. Moody, temperamental, creative, wildly creative, imaginative these are people who have a need to be unique and special in order to compensate for what they perceive is a missing piece or fatal flaw at the core of their person. So you see a disproportionate number of fours in the artistic community. So fives are called the investigators. Sometimes they're called the observers. They're the most analytical number on the Enneagram. They have wild powers of analysis of analysis. They're also the most emotionally detached number on the Enneagram. You know fives sometimes are loners.
Ian Morgan Cron: And they have a need to gain knowledge and information in order to fend off a world that feels like it's just asking too much from them. You know, particularly in the relational sphere. All right. Sixes are called the loyalists. We believe there are more sixes in the world than any other type. Six or seven need to feel safe, insecure in what feels to them like an unpredictable and chaotic world. So you, you notice six is in your own life. Well, you know, all nine types in your own life, but six is, are the ones who are worst case scenario thinkers. We, I sometimes say that six is have pre traumatic stress disorder. They're always scanning the horizon, looking for what could go wrong and planning in advance what they're going to do when catastrophe strikes. That's one feature of the sixes personality.
Ian Morgan Cron: Seven are called the enthusiasts think Stephen Colbert. These are the joy bombs of the Enneagram there. Their need is to avoid difficult and painful emotions. And the way they do that is by thinking about a future of unlimited possibilities, adventure escapades. What new and exciting thing can I do? And that's all in service to not being in the present moment and avoiding suffering. Okay. Nines age I should say are called the challengers. Okay. Eights are notoriously blunt, can be domineering and confrontational. They have a need to assert strength and control over the environment and other people in order to mask weakness and vulnerability in themselves. Okay. And finally, there's the nine. We oftentimes call nines the sweethearts of the Enneagram. Nines are these beautiful, easy going, don't rock the boat. Hakuna Matata types who have a deep need to avoid conflict at all costs and to maintain connection with, with other people.
Phil Weaver: I see. Good. Okay. Are you going to fill us in on which one you are and
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, sure. I'm a four. Okay. What are the individualists that,
Phil Weaver: That's the rare one, right?
Ian Morgan Cron: We think there are fewer fours than any other number on the Enneagram represented in the population, which fours just love to hear because they just want to be special and unique.
Phil Weaver: Okay. so I, I imagine if you're figuring out what people are then that would enable you to be more persuasive with them. Is that, is that maybe looking at their, well, you just, you just said for us, love to be unique and loved to be, so if somebody knew that, not that I'm not that you want to do that in, in a negative manner, but it seems like maybe a weakness could be used against someone.
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, I've rarely see that.But I think the, the Enneagram, what it does is it helps us understand and get us, get inside of someone else's worldview.
Phil Weaver: Well, and I, you know, when you were speaking, I was at it. It really seemed to me like an empathy generator, right?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yes. It, it, it when, when people first are introduced the Enneagram, one of the amazing things that happens is compassion Wells up empathy Wells up understanding comes to the surface. People realize, Oh my gosh, people see the world differently than I do. I work with, I work with a lot of corporate CEOs and management teams and I tell them all the time, and this would be true for parents, that one of the most egregious mistakes a person can make is to believe that their way of seeing the world is normal. Right? That if the Enneagram is white, there are nine normals, right? Nine normal ways of seeing the world. And when you begin to see that and understand it, it really gives you a tremendous advantage in relationships.
Phil Weaver: It's a, you know, there's the recent events with this, this covert 19 thing has really been for me, an awakening moment as, as really starting to understand how people different, different things. I didn't have a framework to work from. Maybe this would have helped, but that's been something that's been on my mind a lot. Cause it's becoming more and more obvious that people think differently.
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. Well, let me ask you a question. It'd be very difficult for you to answer it. So don't worry if you can't have those nine types, which ones sounded most like you?
Phil Weaver: I am fairly, not fairly, I am very certain that it's, I'm a five.
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. Yeah.
Phil Weaver: So would you have guessed that, you've only known me for a few moments? Okay.
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, I would have but that's because I'm very experienced and I sometimes you can just pick it up washing somebody.
Phil Weaver: Okay. Do so facial expressions, body body motion, body posture.
Ian Morgan Cron: So for example, your face is not as animated as mine is, lets say. And I don't know if you've ever had someone tell you that it's very hard to figure out what you feel and that you actually are, let me, I'll tell you a few things. About five seconds.
Phil Weaver: All the time. Actually. Actually, most people get it wrong when they try to figure out what I'm.
Ian Morgan Cron: Yes, yes. So five's a sealed world that makes demands on them but doesn't give enough supply. Right. And this is particular, this is particularly true in the area of relationships. So fives, find too much human contact depleting, right? Like it's, it's, you know, they in fact, I always tell five, so I mean this is, I mean, the idea of social distancing is heaven to a five. I mean, you know, it's, you know they typically are very introverted. They need to spend a lot of time in solitude and privacy. That's where they recharge. And they, they really have a lust for knowledge and information, particularly about niche subjects. And so yeah, actually two of my best friends are fives and one of them likes to tell me all the time, you know that he describes his face as a blank computer screen.
Ian Morgan Cron: Sometimes, you know, he just says it's very hard to read him, but it doesn't mean that they don't have emotions. It just means like, for example, with fives, they actually have to think their way to their emotions. They're very cerebral. So if you said you, if you gave me a great compliment that really deeply moved me, I might become tearful right now. A five, might take two or three days to process that information before the feeling caught up to them. And even then it might be more muted than it would be for other types. So anyway, I could go on about five. So I'm a big fan of fives, but I was fairly certain you were when you came on.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. So, so what you were just saying about that, that delay. So in general I was, when I was going through this list and, and looking at it, I recognize a lot of traits in other numbers that I certainly did not have, but have developed as over over time. One of those, which is not in the list, but what you were just talking about as the feelings and through my Kung Fu, I've been doing conclu for 25, 30 years now that which makes you more body aware and when your body more body aware you, you feel your feelings. But I remember earlier in life when I didn't, and like you said that that's absolutely true.
Ian Morgan Cron: And yet as children, what people don't know about fives typically is that they're very sensitive. So even though oftentimes five sort of teachers will talk to me about this, that five children often are the children who you'll watch them, they tend to observe life rather than participate in it. So in other words, sometimes just see them on a playground at the perimeter while kids are running around on swings and slides and doing their thing. The five might be off to the side reading, you know the Chronicles of Narnia or you know, a Tolkien fantasy book, or they're just observing what's happening on the playground. Now eventually they'll get in, but they tend to observe and be in there, just constantly taking in information and analyzing it right now so that you, so it's clear. Everybody contains all nine types. So you will actually resonate with features of all nine types. It's just that it's just that one is dominant, one is one is more like you than all the others. And so if it's a five, congratulations, you're you're a wonderful number.
Phil Weaver: Thank you. Alright. So, so, you know, I was going through and it was very easy to peg myself with this, but I was trying to figure out my wife and it was really difficult. Is that, is that common to, I mean, I'm no expert in it. I've just been introduced to this. But I came up with your girl one, six or eight and then when you were speaking and going through it, I was like mass six, but it was
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. So I mean it's, some numbers are easier to spot than others. Some people have harder time self identifying and then others do. It took me as a therapist, a trained therapist 10 months to figure out my time. Really. Yeah. And I won't go into the whole story of why, cause it would be long and probably not all that interesting to your listeners, but you know, the Enneagram is easy to learn and hard to master, you know, and, and but you know, when you find out what your number is, you will have this feeling in your gut. Like someone's been reading my mail, someone knows me far better than I ever imagined. And there are lots of people out there just like me. Now you are a unique expression of a five. There's no other five like you, you know but you share with all fives just a whole constellation of traits and behaviors, ways of thinking, seeing, feeling and, and and behaving in the world.
Phil Weaver: How does this compare to, is it that Myers-Briggs, is that the name?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. So one of the things I've, I've worked with Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Disc, Colby, Hogan, you name it. I've been all these personality typing systems. The reason the Enneagram is my favorite is because it takes into account that the human personality is fluid and dynamic. Like your personality right now is in one mode. But if, you know, if you were on a battlefield somewhere, your personality would change, you would adapt to that situation in stress. Your personality would change, right? When you work with the, and I do, I love all those tests. But they tend to be more static. They tend to, to see the human, they described the human personality in a very boxy way, whereas the Enneagram describes what people are like when they're under stress, when they're feeling secure.
Ian Morgan Cron: So, and it just gets us our minds around this idea that our personalities are not fixed. They're, they're always changing. In the course of a day you'll move, you might move from healthy to unhealthy in your personality. You know, it's on a continuum. So you're going to be going up and down as you faced different things. And the Enneagram is helpful because it will help. What it does is it helps you predict what might happen or what will happen in different situations so that you can make new choices than the ones you knew before you had that level of self knowledge that the Enneagram gave you.
Phil Weaver: Right. So is it giving us, so we've talked about, mentioned that we're able, if we know it, able to spot our mortgage, negative traits are the things to watch out. Is it also going to give us a goal to work towards or what?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, absolutely. The, that's the other thing I love about the Enneagram is that it has for each type of transformational growth path. Right. so,
Phil Weaver: It's somewhat laying that out through, through the knowledge of the Enneagram?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. So for example, fives typically have a scarcity mindset. They tend to be minimalists. They tend, they're not hoarders, although some actually are, but they tend to be very concerned about retaining what little they think they have, both in the material and in the interior world. Right. This is why they're so private. Why they tend to be that some people will feel like when they're with a five, like they're withholding personal information. So freedom, even an example, if you said to me, tell me all about your childhood Ian, I'm a four on the Instagram. I could jump right in and tell you the most personal things. You know what I'm saying? I could ask you the same question and you would feel like it was prying. So it's just different ways of seeing the world. So you know, I know if I met you and I knew you were a five, for example, I would probably stand a foot further away from you than I would with other types.
Phil Weaver: Yes. That would be appropriate.
Ian Morgan Cron: I would know not to tap you on the back or you know, because fives have a need for boundaries, physical boundaries, right. They don't like people they don't know. Hugging them out of the blue doesn't, doesn't bother me at all. So again, nine normal ways of seeing the world, but different.
Sure, sure. Okay. So going into like picking one, how would say a, for work with parenting, like what would be the things to watch out for and what are the, what are the benefits of being a four or,
Ian Morgan Cron: Sure. Well at our best fours are the most Impathics number on the Enneagram. They are very comfortable. For example, as a therapist, as a person I'm very comfortable in the presence of difficult feelings, right. As a priest, I don't have a parish anymor, I'm great at funerals moment, you know what I mean? Like, or in a hospital, sitting with someone as they're, as they're, as they're dying, you know. Fours, so with children, gosh, empathy is a, is a huge value. Right? so, but I would warn fours about a few things one is that fours how would I say this? A fours has to be very careful about taking things personally. They're very sensitive, right? So if it, if a child, if a child says to you, if you asked your kid, Hey, do you want to go out in the car, go grab an ice cream cone.
Ian Morgan Cron: Their kid says, no, a fours will might withdraw and say, gosh, I must not be a very good parent. Or, you know, they just take things very personally when actually the kid was just happy where they were, you know, that there was nothing personal about it. Right. I would say that they, they also need to be careful about exaggerating their emotional States. Right? Fours don't have feelings. They are their feelings, you know? And so they, they have to be careful with their children that they're tapping also into the ability to be good critical thinkers. Right. So now, but they can be great. They're imaginative. They're, they can be very fun with their children. So they bring both blessing and blight to it. Now, once, you know, and I only just gave you a, just two examples. Once you know this information, like for me, I don't take it personally anymore, which means, which means that my kids don't feel guilty or ashamed when they tell me, I don't want to do that with you because they see my face fall, my face doesn't fall anymore. I was just able to go, okay. So self knowledge, which is one of the great gifts of the Enneagram, helps you relate to the world in a much more balanced and healthy way.
Phil Weaver: Sure, sure. Yeah. Makes life the more self knowledge you get, it just makes life a lot more enjoyable and easier. Certainly does. So what would you run the same thing through a five? What would you, what are the positives and negatives? In a parenting aspect.
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. So a five block, no, some great five parents, a lot of fives will tell me that parenting doesn't come naturally to them in some ways. They're not huggers, you know, they're they need a lot of alone time. And sometimes their distance, their emotional distance can, can sometimes message to a child a lack of interest in them. And, and so the five has to, I tell fives all the time, intentionally hug your children and tell them that you love them every single day. Do the same with your partner. You know, I think that fives have to learn how to be deeply present in the moment with their child because often they have these big minds and once they get thinking about something else, they can kind ofretreat far up into the, into their heads, you know, and others will interpret that as aloofness with kids. So, but I mean, fives with kids can be great because number one, they're interesting as heck. They know a lot of really interesting stuff. They can be great sources of objective advice giving. You know, like fives, can give a five the information and say, Hey, can you help me with this? Their powers of analysis are unparalleled. So when a kid comes to you, you will give them the objective truth as you understand it. And generally it's right. Generally it's right.
Liz Weaver: Okay, good. I was distracted by you have a Husky back there?
Ian Morgan Cron: I have three dogs in my house right now and I have three children and two of their spouses. So we are all in quarantine together here. It's really something.
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Phil Weaver: So do you have a moment to go over kind of all, all nine as far as in parenting?
Ian Morgan Cron: Oh yeah, sure. Oh yeah, yeah. So ones make great parents think about Atticus Finch in to kill a Mockingbird. That's sort of the iconic one, right? They are wise. They're measured, they're attentive. They treat their children when they're in a good space with kindness and respect, right? But when they're not self-aware once can become judgmental, critical. They have very high internal standards and they want others to conform to their high internal standards. A one that's not very self aware sees the world. How would I say this? That there's two ways to do things, their way and the wrong way. All right, so I would, I tell people, if you want to know if you're with a one, just, just do the dishwasher test, which is, load the dishwasher and then stand back and see what they do when they open it and look at how you've done it and they just start unloading it and reloading it cause they have the right way to do it. You know what I'm saying?
Phil Weaver: Maybe will my wife is a one.
Ian Morgan Cron: What I tell ones all the time is number one, like for example, resist making snap judgments that, you know, at times, once you lack self awareness will reflectively point out their kids' mistakes whenever they do that doesn't conform to their high internal standards. And over time this will make their kids feel like failures who can't do anything right in their parents' eyes. All right, so that's a big one. I tell them to celebrate difference and to know that there are more ways to do things than their way. That's you know one is really growing up. When I, the one they can actually say, you know, there's more than just one way to do something. You know, there are other ways to do things. So I think those were important things with, with our, with our children, is to create an environment where they don't feel perpetually criticized or judged for not doing things perfectly right. Which means, which means in alignment with that one's view of how that should be done. Whatever that thing is.
Phil Weaver: Sure. Okay. And then what are, what are the positive sides of that one?
Ian Morgan Cron: Well, you know there are so many you know, One parents are not typically huggers. They're, they're, they're, but there are people who show up for your life. They make sure that the oil and the car is always filled, that the tires are changed, that the boiler is working in the winter, that the screens on the windows, you know in the summer that the kids have a lunch every day with a note in it. You know what I mean? They, they, they care a lot about the details and about creating a world in which their child is safe and can thrive. And I love in that. I was mentioning Atticus Finch a moment ago. There's a great quote in it. It's at the very end of the book where scout says life without him was unbearable, you know, and it, it's so it's a beautiful testimony to, to ones they, they bring so much stability and integrity, integrity, integrity,
Phil Weaver: The word was right. That's so the word that was coming to buy in there. Yeah. Okay. So can you go ahead and tell us about twos?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. to this are the warmest they're kindest, most approachable, loving people on the anagram when they're healthy. They're highly attuned to the feelings of other people. I often laugh and say that twos know what you're feeling before you do, and they feel a need to meet your needs actually, whether you want them to or not, you know? So, when they're not in a good space, they can be a little smothering, right? As a, for example, as a parent. So I tell parents, help her parents, you know, number one, they got to set boundaries because when they lack self awareness, they can become overly permissive and avoid setting boundaries with their kids because they don't want to lose the love, the appreciation and of, of their children so they can get a little permissive. They need to resist rescuing children.
Ian Morgan Cron: This happens a lot with two, self-aware you know we want our kids to be safe, right? But we don't want to rescue them when they don't do their homework or when they're not doing what they're supposed to. They just, they just need to deal with reality while we create a safe container for that to happen in. So unless you want a kid living at home at 35, it's really a good thing to as a two, to allow them to meet reality as it is without rescuing them. All right? So that's, I'm only giving you a course. You know, a couple little tidbits here are things I would say. So three performers, achievers so boy, I don't know if you've ever read the book getting things done by David Allen.
Ian Morgan Cron: Okay. So these are the kinds of things that three's read their productivity hounds. They, they are ambitious. They have a lot of trouble not working. They have a need to really succeed. And so their tip, they often are workaholics type a personalities. So what I tell them is number one, practice intentional listening. Three parents can sometimes be talking to their child while in their mind, be putting together a business plan, you know, because they're just multitasking all the time, you know, and of course the kids are smart, you know, they know when they don't have the full attention of their parent. Right?
Phil Weaver: Right.
Ian Morgan Cron: So another one would be to let their kids accomplish their tasks in their own way. Sometimes a three will step in to tell their kids how they can complete a task more efficiently. They're very concerned with efficiencies. How can I get something done as fast as possible? So thanks to your kid doing something that's going to take longer than it should, they'll jump right in and say, well, you do it this way and do it that way. You'll get it done, you'll be more productive and you'll get it done faster. So, I three is just have to reminded that not everybody values efficiency as much as they do.
Phil Weaver: We can jump to six.
Ian Morgan Cron: So reliable, loyal, down to earth, practical, well-prepared, funny as heck a detail oriented. Sixes are great parents when they're when they're self aware, when they really know themselves when they don't know themselves boy, they can become self doubting alarmist procrastinating, and they can start hovering over their kids' lives out of fear for their safety and wellbeing. Right? So I tell six parents all the time.
Ian Morgan Cron: Remember, number one, fear is contagious, right? Anxiety is contagious. So it's important for loyalist parents to reign in their, their anxiety to prevent it from spreading to their kids in an unhelpful way. Right? that would be one thing. I would say two, avoid making too many rules. Loyalists can become too dutiful and bound by rules and sooner or later imposing too many household codes and protocols will eventually anger your kids and move them to probably mutiny against the captain, you know? So but they're great. Great parents. And I'll give you one last one, resist the temptation to catastrophize. Sixes see catastrophe everywhere. They have this vague feeling of apprehension about perceived threats all the time, you know, and so you want to make sure that you're not always catastrophizing because it sets your kids up to see a world that's hostile, right?
Ian Morgan Cron: That's dangerous and where they can't live without mom and dad's protection. So we don't want to create a catastrophe mindset for our children. We don't want them to be pessimists. Right?
Phil Weaver: Right. Okay. Then we can jump to seven.
Ian Morgan Cron: Well, I mean, who would want to have a seven parent? The enthusiast. Gosh, they're fun, spontaneous, imaginative, creative, energetic, optimistic people. If six is deal with their anxiety through pessimism, seven steward through optimism. They are eternally sunny people, right? I oftentimes though tell seven parents that they need to learn how to be reliable. So enthusiastic parents are a blast, but they have racing minds, they're easily distracted and they tend to overcommit and which can lead them to lose track of the time and unintentionally not follow through on promises that they made in the glow of the moment or you know, arrive 20 minutes late to pick the kids up at school because they were off, you know, doing something else and not paying attention.
Ian Morgan Cron: So they need to learn how to be reliable. Kids need to know that they can depend on you. More than any of the, any other number of sevens had trouble staying in the present moment. So I'm telling them all the time, be mindful of the moment. Stay, you know, it's a seven is a little bit like a puppy on a leash, you know, it wants to ramble all over the place and you have to keep going, stay, stay, stay focused, stay focused because their attention tends to migrate all the time to whatever is most interesting around them. Right? And they're always thinking about the future and not staying in the present moment, right. And then lastly, they just have to accept the fact that with their children, they have to be the authority. Usually they like to flatten hierarchies because they don't want to be the bad cop.
Ian Morgan Cron: Because being the bad cop makes you have to feel bad feelings, which is what sevens don't want to feel. Right. So I just tell them, Hey, like it or not, you have to be the authority because at the end of the day, kids don't want to live in a world without rules.
Phil Weaver: No, they don't.
Ian Morgan Cron: You know, it makes them anxious. You know, a game of soccer is not that much fun when there are no cones or lines on the field. It's just chaos. But when you put the lines in the cones down, they know where the boundaries are. Now everybody can have a great game. So that's what I, I'm always encouraging sevens to do.
Phil Weaver: Got it. Yeah. As, as martial arts teachers, that was one of the fundamental things that kids really loved. The regimented, their rule sets and knowing what those rules are, gave them a lot of confidence and sense of security.
Ian Morgan Cron: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. So eight parents, I was raised by a mother who was an eight K they are blunt, larger than life presences, you know they could be confrontational. They're very comfortable with conflict. They're straight shooters, you know, they they're just straight up forces of nature, you know? And but they can also be intimidating to people. Right? Five for example, would find an eight. Oftentimes their energy overwhelming because they're, they're so aggressive sometimes and assertive and but tremendous parents because they're very protective. They teach kids how to live in the world with confidence, you know, and makes it great, but eights can have a temper that they really have to watch out for. They struggle with anger, right? So I tell aches all the time, learn how to respond, not react to your children.
Ian Morgan Cron: Practice a pause, count to 10 before you respond because oftentimes they, they are very quick to and rush to say things and it's, they're a little bit more like steamrollers than diplomats, you know, so they just have to be careful of that. They gotta dial back their energy sometimes because it can be too much for their kids and they have to learn how to apologize to their children because sometimes an eight thinks an apology is a sign of weakness rather than vulnerability. They confuse weakness and vulnerability. Okay. So it's important for them to learn how to be vulnerable enough to really just apologize to their children when they need to. And again, thinking would be great. Great parents.
Phil Weaver: I see. Good. And then nine seems very different for eights and the opposite end of that.
Ian Morgan Cron: Yes. Yes. Yeah. so I'm married to a nine. I'm the father of a daughter who is a nine. They really are the sweethearts of the Enneagram. They are, when they're self-aware, they're the most easy going, warm, don't rock the boat. They, they, they, they know how to keep the peace in the family, you know, and, and they're so good at it. They can mediate arguments between children like nobody's business. They can bring everybody to the middle, which is why we call them the peacemakers. You know, our best presidents, I think in the United States have all been nines, you know because they're very good at seeing everybody's perspective and the merits of everybody's perspective and able to bring them to the table and figure out how do we reconcile all these perspectives.
Phil Weaver: That's it.
Ian Morgan Cron: That's a real good thing with children. If you've got a house full of kids, that's a good gift, you know? They too, like twos. They need to avoid being too permissive with their kids. Nines are really afraid of conflict, and so to avoid conflict, sometimes they'll let their kids get away with more than they should, right? They need to build healthy boundaries. It's hard for nines to say no. And so I tell parents all the time who are nice, remember, remember that saying no or I can't do that for you, does not equate to I don't love you,r ight? So again, make all of these types, they're healthy when they're self-aware, when they know their blind spots make incredible parents. I mean they're just amazing. But when they lack self awareness and self knowledge, the more self awareness and self knowledge they lack, the worse it gets. I know they're on autopilot, they're in reactivity, they're just operating out of their personality. And that usually looks like someone banging guardrail to guardrail through people's lives and it just doesn't work.
Phil Weaver: Sure. Isthe Enneagram in general a good tool for becoming more self aware?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yes. I would say it's the best one. I know. And, and I would define self awareness as the ability to monitor and regulate your thoughts, feelings, and actions in real time as you're, as you're interacting with the world, right? It's the ability to see the effect your personality is having on another person or group and being able to make adjustments so that the best outcome will come to pass.
Phil Weaver: Yes. I see. So, I can see that if you knew the numbers of the people around you that you could think very quickly and if they're doing a certain thing that may conflict you, you can understand that very quickly. But are there, is there the other side of that? Are there downfalls of kind of pigeonholing people into this?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, so one of the things that I like to say about the Enneagram is that the Enneagram doesn't put you in a box. It actually tells you about the box you're already in and how to get out of it. Everybody is in a box of their own personality. That's just a fact. You know what I mean? Like we, we come in you, you came in the five box. I came in the four box. What the Enneagram does is say, "Hey look, this is what the box is and here's how you can get out of the self-defeating self limiting ways of thinking, acting and feeling that have followed you throughout your life, that they may have worked for you as a little kid to help you get your needs met. But in adulthood they begin to work against you."
Phil Weaver: Gotcha. So with the path then, once you see those qualities would be moving towards the positive qualities within that box or more out to other other boxes, as a, as an initial path?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. So I think the path is different for maybe for everybody, but it begins with, you know acquiring self knowledge, right? So you study your type, right? The next step would be self observation. The ability in you would be great at this as a five. The ability to step back and observe yourself compassionately in a non evaluative way and just observe what am I doing right now? Well, how am I thinking, acting and feeling in this moment? What story am I telling myself about what's happening right now? And when you have that kind of self knowledge, you then can say, you know, before I and self knowledge I would have reacted this way. In this situation. I would have said this. I would have thought this, I would have, you know, done this. Now I don't have to do that because I know that's just an old pattern. It's an old way of being in the world. I now have new choices because I know my type and I've been working on myself to develop new ways of being in the world.
Phil Weaver: Okay, great. So tell us about, you have a parenting series going on right now. Can you tell us about that?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, so actually I just finished a series of nine YouTube videos. We first released them on Instagram and then they go onto my YouTube channel. It covers a lot of this material, but particularly through the lens of how to parent well in a time of crisis, like the one we're in right now. So that's the sort of the twist on the series. You know and it's been been really wildly successful. I was very surprised at how many people wanted to know how do I parent in quarantine and you know, it's a, it's a great opportunity really to develop self knowledge and work on becoming your best self.
Phil Weaver: Okay. And that's on YouTube.
Ian Morgan Cron: That's on YouTube.
Phil Weaver: So we'll put the link to that below. Some make sure people can get to that.
Ian Morgan Cron: Right. It's called Enneagram and Stress.
Phil Weaver: Especially kids with parents now being their teachers and things like that. They're under a lot of stress. So children being stressed, you know, they're probably not understanding what's going on and now they're their parents or their teachers and there's there, of course at home more all the time are people tending, of course, to drive, to dive into their, their lower selves and these personalities, are they?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, you know, your personality under stress will change. So for example, when you're in, this is what the integration will teach you. We didn't have time to talk about security and stress. You're a five. When you're in a really great place, you start to look like a healthy eight. It's like one of the biggest jumps on the Enneagram. A five was suddenly that's typically kind of withdrawn. You know, you have the most powerful, powerful skill of observation. It's unbelievable. You don't miss a thing, but suddenly they become animated and big and just excited and larger than life in a way that they are not normally right when they're in. But when you're not in a good space, you start to look like an unhealthy seven and you start to get racy mind your thoughts, your zillions of thoughts and ideas start to come out and not always in a way that's very coherent. You have trouble focusing, which is unusual for you when that happens and you have trouble staying in the present moment. So, the Enneagram actually will tell you this is what you'll look like when things are going great. Here's what you're going to look like when things are going South and you can catch yourself. Once you have that knowledge, you can catch yourself before you go all the way, you know, before you spiral all the way out.
Phil Weaver: Okay. And so then at that point, maybe use a mind body technique or something to bring yourself out or just the self awareness itself.
Ian Morgan Cron: Totally. The self awareness is really the first start it you need grant three, freedom to make other choices when you're not on the autopilot, which is what most people are all day all day long, they're just running on autopilot.
Phil Weaver: Sure, sure. Right. It's interesting because you know I mentioned I have about 30 years of Kung Fu under my belt and that, so the eight is the commanding intense confrontational. That's to me when I'm on the mat.
Ian Morgan Cron: You know, it's an awesome thing for an eight to do. One of the things I'm always telling eights is you have to get back in your body. You are not a brain on a stick. So eights tendthere's a character in one of James Joyce's books and he describes in this way, Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body. Do you know what I mean?
Phil Weaver: Yeah. Yeah.
Ian Morgan Cron: And sometimes she'll be talking to a five is not very like, like I can remember being in an emergency room with one of my kids getting stitches or something and we were worried about a head injury and this doctor came out, the surgeon came out and he looked at us and with the most black expression just began giving us all this medical report. None of which we could understand, we're upset. He wasn't attuned at all to it. You know what I mean? And I felt to myself, is he even inside his own body? Cause he seems like his brain is over here looking at the conversation, watching it, but not actually in it. You know? Okay. So, so I say I tell fives all the time, they should do yoga. They should do things like what you're doing. I've never thought about martial arts, but what a great thing for, for fives to do also because it helps you energized in a way that fives don't typically energize. You know, fives usually run on a lower temp, you know, and, and so to get it hot and high and also to be in a social context where you're dealing with people is really important for fives. Otherwise they'll spend their whole day trawling the internet just gathering information.
Phil Weaver: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It was my students who only see that other side of that on a map. They, they absolutely do not believe that I'm an introvert. They cannot convince them of it cause they only see, they only see that that other side of me. So,
Ian Morgan Cron: So I would say that's part of your work and you're doing it well and, and so in another, so another thing you might consider is beginning to see a world of abundance versus scarcity.
Phil Weaver: Yes.
Ian Morgan Cron: Which is part of the journey for fives.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. It was just something I've been working on actually. Yeah.
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. So again, this is a spiritual journey, if you will. And when I say spiritual, I mean that self-actualizing self discovery of meaning in life to become the highest expression of your, of your, not just your personality but of your soul of yourself. This is, this is what it's about.
Phil Weaver: Yeah, it really seems so. I know you mentioned your, your book. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah. So I wrote a book called the road back to you in Enneagram journey to self discovery. And it's a wonderful, I have to say wonderful because the book has now sold about 600,000 copies and, and it's, it has not because I'm a genius writer, but because it's a primier on the Enneagram. Most books on the Enneagram are very dense very long and very dry content, rich, wonderful material. But I wrote a book that would help a lay person who didn't want to quit their day job to study the Enneagram. I wrote a book that was accessible and easy to learn from. Right. So that's the road back to you in Enneagram journey to self discovery.
Phil Weaver: I see. To really get the benefits out of this, how deep does a person need to, I mean, is there a point of diminishing return or is it just that?
Ian Morgan Cron: Yeah, I'm glad you asked that. Another thing I love about the Enneagram is that you could just read my introduction to the Enneagram book and get out of it. That you could move the needle in a meaningful way in your life and then never have to read another Enneagram book. Or it could be a gateway drug to the, you know, millions of other books on the Enneagram that are five or 600 pages and tend to be a little clinical, you know, so you know, you can know a little bit about the Enneagram and get a lot of benefit. That's the cool thing about it.
Phil Weaver: Great. Okay, good. And so I'm sure people are going to want to know what their own numbers are. And so how do they, how do they do do that? Okay.
Ian Morgan Cron: Well. They can actually, if they could actually go to my website, Ian Morgan Cron, I A N M O R G A N C R O N.com, and you'll see a tab for my Enneagram assessment, which is called the IEQ nine. And I think it's the most accurate self-report assessment for the Enneagram that's available. Read my book. I mean, seriously, a lot of times people can just read my book and like you just reading a couple of sentences, they're like, I got it. I don't have to take a test. I could say I just know right away, you know, or get to a workshop, you know, and I have courses that are, are running and people can learn about that. I have a course called Enneagram made simple. And so they can, that also is on my website and they can listen to my podcast typology. Just this month we celebrated 10 million downloads. And what we do is we bring people in of different types to talk about their own experience as that type. Cause think about it today, I just described other types for you, but they are so much better than I am at describing how they move through the world. Right. So that's a narrative. It's called a narrative way of learning. So do one or do all you won't be disappointed at the results for your life.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. And so if they were to take the assessment, what information is that going to pump out for them? Is that going to give? Is that just here's your number?
Ian Morgan Cron: No, there's, there's two tests. One is a standard test that gives a 22 page report. It tells you a great deal about your type and who you are. And then there's a pro level, which is about a 40 page report. That has a lot more information in it. But both are great. Both are great.
Phil Weaver: Interesting. Is there anything we haven't covered that's important?
Ian Morgan Cron: I don't know, Phil, but I'm so glad I had a chance to talk to a five. There's some of my, there are some of my favorite people in the world. I'll tell you why I think that fives are often, particularly in relationships, the most misunderstood number on the Enneagram. And that is particularly true in relationships. Fours are maybe the most mysterious but fives are the most misunderstood and so are eights because eights usually have a very tender heart behind all of that aggression. And people don't often see it because it's so well defended and mast, but when it comes out it's fantastic.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Okay, great. Well we will put all of the links to everything we've talked about here below the podcast so people can get their assessment and, and your parenting course are doing and book all of that. So thank you very much for coming on. This is really intriguing to me and I'm personally gonna follow up and read your book and, and do much more with this.
Liz Weaver: Thank you for listening to the learning success podcast. We hope you enjoyed it. We also hope you have learned something useful, something that you can take back and improve your life with today. If you would like to say thank you, the best way for you to do that is to share this podcast with a friend. Help us help others along this journey, and if you haven't already, please rate and comment on the podcast. Every rating helps us and helps this podcast get out to more people. We appreciate it and we appreciate you. Thank you again and make today a great day. No one should have to live with alerting difficulty.
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