BY HANNAH STAPLETON, GRACE ATTENDER
Read the Enneagram series here.
Out of all of the numbers on the Enneagram, no one will have your back like a Six. Sixes are loyal to a fault. When unhealthy, Sixes are wracked with paranoia, completely believing that the world is out to get them. But at their best, they know to trust their own life experiences and have confidence in themselves. Part of the Head/Fear triad, Sixes do not trust their own sense of judgement and are consistently anxious. Frodo Baggins, from Lord of the Rings? He’s a Six.
The Deadly Sin or Passion for Sixes is fear. Sixes will explore every possible worst-case scenario as a way of finding safety and control. They have lots and lots of anxiety, because they lack communicate with their own inner guidance. They look to others to help them make decisions. In times of growth, they look like healthy Nines. They relax and learn to let things go. When stressed, the become more like unhealthy Threes and become obsessed with their work, hoping to find safety and security there.
Carrie Honeycutt (CH) is wife to Curtis, mom to Miles and Maeve, and on staff with Grace Kids. She is from the Chicago area, originally, but has lived in Indy since 2007.
Katie Norton (KN) is a teacher.
Brooke Carnes (BC) is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Grace.
What’s your favorite thing about being a 6?
CH: I think things through and filter lots of information quickly. I’m also super loyal. It’s hard to lose my trust and loyalty!
KN: I love how loyal I am. If you're my friend/husband/etc. I'm most likely your friend for life. Being loyal is very important to me.
BC: Well, the 6 is loyal, cares deeply about what is right, is others minded, hardworking and reliable.
What’s the worst or hardest thing about being a 6?
CH: I’m often hesitant and afraid of everything. But I’m seeing a counselor about that!
KN: The hardest thing about being a 6 is that I am often a pessimist. I also cause unneeded anxiety as I think up the 10 different ways a scenario could happen and back up plans/ideas if things fall through or go bad.
BC: Someone wise once told me that our greatest strengths are often also our biggest weaknesses. Because 6’s seek security in relationships and situations, they tend to have trust issues. Kinda funny, a loyal person thinking that others may not be loyal.
If you could describe your number in three words, what would you pick?
CH: Responsible, trustworthy, prepared
KN: Loyal, responsible, thinker
BC: Bundle of opposites. Sixes have the ability to be neither either or, but both in situations. We are trusting and distrusting, strong and weak, tender and mean, a thinker and a doer – opposites.
When did you know you’d found your number?
CH: I was first introduced to the Enneagram in 2011 in a staff development program. I scored high as a 6 and the more I’ve learned, the more it’s confirmed.
KN: I knew I found my number when I read the description of a 6. It is 100% spot on. This is me in a nutshell. --> SIXES are attracted to and value loyalty. They endeavor to be faithful, conscientious, responsible persons, keeping their word and honoring their commitments. They want to make the world a safer and more reliable place in which to live. Doing your duty and respecting your traditions is what life is all about for SIXES.
BC: When I read that Sixes didn’t trust their inner voice so they had to seek opinions of others, lots of others because one person’s opinion may not be quite enough. I noticed this in myself when I was going through a major life decision. I asked several people secretly hoping that their answers would make the decision for me.
What’s one thing about your number you think everyone should know?
KN: One thing I think everyone should know about a 6 is that it often takes time to process a conversation, and also process what we want to say. We overthink what we might say and think about it in our head until its perfect. By the time We've gone through this all, the conversation has moved on, and we haven't spoken or shared. 6's may be more quiet, but we are always thinking and need time to process.
What’s your wing? How does that play in to your dominant type?
CH: I have a 5 wing and value information over feelings.
KN: My wing is 5. I am most comfortable when I have a detailed set of rules or an established system to follow. I have a quiet confidence. I find yourself in endless speculation about how things can go wrong or how I may be betrayed by others.
BC: My wing is a 7. This wing style helps me hope for the best while expecting the worst. I can find the humor in my own fears, be sociable and more relaxed.
How does the Enneagram play into your vocation?
CH: My job is creative and task-driven. I have a high attention to detail so I’m able to keep projects on track. I rarely take things personally, so I’m able to edit and adjust to meet the needs of those I work with.
KN: I am a teacher, and definitely think my enneagram number plays into this vocation. I am a planner and enjoy planning activities and lessons/ideas for the coming weeks. I have learned to be more flexible as a teacher. I often worry about mu students even when our day is over. I overthink or become anxious about emails I send/phone calls I make. I want to make sure they are perfect. I really appreciate teaching kindergarten because we set up a lot of procedures at the beginning of the year. I thrive off of routine and a schedule which I believe kids do as well. I also am a rule follower, so this allows me to set high expectations and firm boundaries within my class. I want my students to go into the world and change it for the better. I strive for things to be safe for everyone. I believe my students will go out and make the world a better place!
BC: I work in ministry and the Enneagram helps me lead better. I love watching those that I lead, adults and children, discover that they are a masterpiece too!
How does your knowledge of Enneagram affect or influence your relationships?
CH: It’s helpful to know about Enneagram styles, because we all approach life with a different lens. Whether you lead with feelings or information makes a difference in how to best communicate. Knowing if a person tends to “think, feel, or do” first gives me understanding about why others don’t always do what I think they should.
KN: My knowledge of my Enneagram number affects my relationships so much! Husband - He understands that I get anxious about situations. He appreciates my tendencies to be a rule follower and have a plan. Kids - I overthink things that could happen or might happen with my kids. Sometimes I hold back on things with them because I don't know what will happen. I get anxious when it comes to situations I can't control with my kids. Friendships/work friends - I have a quiet confidence, so sometimes I blend in and don't stand out. I tend to never rock the boat or confront people, which in turn builds up resentment and bitterness. As a friend, you can always count on me. I am trustworthy and responsible. If I say I'll be there, I'll be 10 minutes early. Once I am burned by someone or they show they are not trustworthy, I take a step back and am very cautious.
BC: The Enneagram has helped me learn more about other people, how their number responds to mine in different situations. It gives me better understanding of how to love others intentionally and individually.
How does the Enneagram affect your faith? Do you use it as spiritual practice?
CH: As a 6, I have a high capacity for fear and worry. Faith and trust are pretty much the opposite of that and exactly what Jesus tells us not to do. I am constantly reminded to take a breath and trust. Rest and trust. Reminding myself of God’s promises to be with me is a critical practice as is reflection on how He has shown up for me in the past.
KN: When it comes to the Enneagram and my faith, I think the loyalty piece is huge. No matter what problems my husband and I go through, I'm here for the long haul. Also, in day to day life, I tend to worry and not trust that God has everything under control. I overthink way too many things instead of just giving it up to God. But in times of great need or despair I find myself clinging to God because I trust him and have seen him come through. It is also hard for me to fully forgive and move on. When I feel I have been betrayed and trust was broken, it is very hard for me to not think back to that moment or situation. It's always in the back of my head.
BC: I believe the Enneagram is a gift. God wants us to learn who He created, our True selves crafted by a loving and detailed Father. The Enneagram has uncovered Truths about my personality, some that I am not proud of, and I have sought God in understanding why I do or think certain ways to cultivate better self-awareness. It has definitely brought me to a deeper level in my spiritual practice.
How does the Enneagram bring you closer to God, if it does?
KN: With being a 6, we go by the books and follow rules. I am not perfect, but I am conscious of my choices and how they can affect others or my relationship with God. I take God and his word very seriously. When my anxiety is too much, and I have my quiet time, it is spent talking to God.
BC: I am a masterpiece created in Christ Jesus and God loves me too much to let me stay where I am at. I find comfort in knowing that the day God is done working on me is the day He calls me home.
What are some resources you would offer to other 6s?
CH: Devotional: Imperfect Courage by Jessica Honegger.
KN: I love the podcast The Enneagram Journey with Suzanne Stabile. She knows SO much about each enneagram number and how you relate to others. I have learned so much from her. I would also say for 6's to see if they are a phobic or counterphobic 6. This allowed me to dig deeper into my 6. Take time to invest in yourself. Find a way to control your anxiety. I work out or go outside which helps my brain shut off. I think it is helpful to have someone in your life who is very spontaneous. Although this is uncomfortable, it is usually freeing and fun to not have to plan or think too much.
BC: I enjoy listening to podcasts and I especially love listening to other Sixes. It makes me feel like I am not alone in this. Sometimes it’s almost like they’re telling my story it’s so similar.
Resources for 6s:
The Enneagram Institute
Sleeping at Last “Nine”
The Road Back to You Podcast interview with Sarah Bessey