Enneagram Strengths and Weaknesses

Wed May 10 2023

Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.

The trick is knowing how to identify them. There are also almost an infinite amount of dimensions by which we can slice and dice the things we are good at and bad at. Choosing where to start is difficult but the Enneagram can help.

Table of Contents

Understanding Your Energizers and Drainers

Many Enneagram authors talk about energizers and drainers. Have you ever noticed how certain activities energize you while others drain you? This can clue you into identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Keep in mind that what energizes one person may drain another. So, while some people love public speaking, others dread it. Some people thrive in social situations, while others fear turning into a pumpkin and are closely monitoring the clock.

Let’s look at common energizers and drainers for each Enneagram type and think about how to leverage our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses.

Type 1 - The Perfectionist

Energizers: Organizing, planning, completing tasks to a high standard, following rules and procedures. For example, creating detailed to-do lists, organizing a cluttered space, achieving a challenging goal, and following a strict routine.

Drainers: Dealing with uncertainty, chaos, and ambiguity; receiving criticism or making mistakes. For example, being criticized for mistakes, dealing with unexpected changes or disruptions, and working with disorganized or inefficient people.

Strengths: Ones have a strong sense of morality and ethics. They are highly organized, responsible, and detail-oriented. They have a strong desire to improve themselves and the world around them.

Weaknesses: Ones can be critical and judgmental of themselves and others. They can become perfectionistic and obsessive about details, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Example career situation: A Type 1 may excel in a job that requires precision, such as accounting or engineering. However, their perfectionism can cause them to become overly critical of themselves and others, leading to strained relationships and burnout.

More on type 1

Type 2 - The Helper

Energizers: Helping others, being appreciated and valued, connecting with people emotionally, feeling needed, volunteering at a charity, helping a friend in need, receiving gratitude and appreciation, and connecting with others emotionally.

Drainers: Being ignored, feeling unappreciated or taken for granted, neglecting one’s needs, for example, being taken for granted, feeling unappreciated or overlooked, neglecting one’s own needs for the sake of others.

Strengths: Twos are warm, empathetic, and caring individuals. They have a natural talent for connecting with others and helping them meaningfully. They are generous and nurturing and sincerely desire to serve others.

Weaknesses: Twos can become overly dependent on the approval and validation of others. They may struggle with boundaries and become highly involved in other people’s lives, leading to feelings of exhaustion and burnout.

Example career situation: A Type 2 may thrive in a career that involves helping others, such as counseling or social work. However, their desire to be needed may cause them to neglect their needs, leading to resentment and burnout.

More on type 2

Type 3 - The Achiever

Energizers: Setting and achieving goals, receiving recognition and praise, being successful, being in the spotlight, and, for example, setting and achieving goals, receiving glory and honor, presenting in front of an audience, competing, and winning.

Drainers: Failure, criticism, lack of progress or achievement, feeling unimportant, for example, failing to meet expectations or goals, receiving negative feedback or complaints, and feeling like a failure or impostor.

Strengths: Threes are ambitious, driven, and highly motivated. They are skilled at setting and achieving goals and have a natural talent for leadership. They are confident, charismatic, and highly adaptable.

Weaknesses: Threes can become overly focused on external validation and the opinions of others. They may struggle with authenticity and feelings of emptiness and disconnection if they are not achieving their goals.

Example career situation: A Type 3 may excel in a competitive career, such as sales or entrepreneurship. However, their focus on success and achievement can cause them to neglect their relationships and well-being, leading to feelings of isolation and burnout.

More on type 3

Type 4 - The Individualist

Energizers: Creative expression, self-discovery, deep and meaningful connections with others, unique and authentic experiences. For example, creative expression through art or music, deep and meaningful conversations with others, and exploring one’s emotions and identity.

Drainers: Mundane or routine tasks, feeling misunderstood or unappreciated, rejection, emotionally empty or disconnected, and for example, engaging in mundane or repetitive tasks, feeling like an outsider or misunderstood, and facing rejection or criticism.

Strengths: Fours are creative, imaginative, and highly intuitive. They have a unique perspective on the world and are highly attuned to their emotions. They are highly empathetic and have a natural talent for understanding and connecting with others.

Weaknesses: Fours can become overly focused on their emotions, leading to feelings of melancholy and isolation. They may struggle with a sense of identity, feeling like they do not fit in or belong.

Example career situation: A Type 4 may excel in a career that allows them to express their creativity, such as writing or art. However, their focus on their emotions can cause them to become overly self-absorbed, leading to loneliness and disconnection from others.

More on type 4

Type 5 - The Investigator

Energizers: Learning new things, exploring ideas and concepts, intellectual challenges, having time to think and reflect, and, for example, researching a new topic or subject, learning a new skill or language, and having time alone to think and reflect.

Drainers: Socializing, being forced to engage with emotions, being interrupted or distracted, feeling overwhelmed, and, for example, being forced to socialize or engage with emotions, dealing with overwhelming amounts of information or stimulation.

Strengths: Fives are highly analytical, logical, and objective. They have a natural talent for understanding complex systems and ideas. They are highly independent and value their privacy.

Weaknesses: Fives can become overly withdrawn and isolated, leading to feelings of loneliness and disconnection from others. They may struggle with inadequacy and inferiority, leading to paralysis and indecision.

Example career situation: A Type 5 may excel in a career that requires deep thinking and analysis, such as research or academia. However, their desire for privacy and independence can cause them to withdraw from social interactions, leading to isolation and loneliness.

More on type 5

Type 6 - The Loyalist

Energizers: Feeling safe and secure, being prepared and organized, working towards a common goal with others, building trust and loyalty, for example, being part of a loyal and trustworthy group, having a clear plan and structure, working together towards a common goal.

Drainers: Feeling uncertain or unsafe, conflicts or disagreements, making important decisions, unexpected changes or surprises. For example, sixes feel drained when facing uncertainty or unexpected changes, dealing with disputes or controversies, and feeling unsupported or betrayed.

Strengths: Sixes are highly loyal, committed, and responsible. They have a strong sense of duty and are highly dependable. They are highly attuned to potential threats and are skilled at problem-solving.

Weaknesses: Sixes can become overly anxious and fearful, leading to indecisiveness and a lack of confidence. They may struggle with trust and become overly dependent on others for support and guidance.

Example career situation: A Type 6 may excel in a career that requires a strong sense of responsibility and commitment, such as law enforcement or military service. However, their tendency towards anxiety and fear can cause them to become overly cautious and hesitant, leading to missed opportunities and indecisiveness.

More on type 6

Type 7 - The Enthusiast

Energizers: New experiences and adventures, exploring possibilities, excitement, and stimulation, having fun and, for example, planning a fun and adventurous trip, exploring new hobbies or interests, and attending a party or social event.

Drainers: Routine or repetitive tasks feeling stuck or restricted, negative emotions or experiences, being forced to confront problems or challenges, for example, engaging in routine or boring activities, facing negative emotions or experiences, feeling trapped or restricted.

Strengths: Sevens are highly energetic, optimistic, and adventurous. They have a natural talent for exploring new ideas and experiences. They are highly creative and enjoy sharing their enthusiasm with others.

Weaknesses: Sevens can become overly focused on pleasure and enjoyment, leading to a lack of discipline and focus. They may need help with commitment and may become quickly bored or distracted.

Example career situation: A Type 7 may excel in a career that allows them to explore new ideas and experiences, such as travel or entrepreneurship. However, their tendency towards distraction and lack of focus can cause them to neglect important tasks and responsibilities, leading to a lack of success and achievement.

More on type 7

Type 8 - The Challenger

Energizers: Being in control and taking charge, achieving goals and overcoming obstacles, and standing up for oneself and others, for example, leading and taking charge of a situation, standing up for oneself or others, achieving a challenging goal through determination.

Drainers: Feeling vulnerable or powerless, controlled or dominated, criticized or rejected, forced to submit or back down. For example, feeling powerless or helpless, being controlled or dominated by others, and facing criticism or rejection.

Strengths: Eights are highly confident, assertive, and powerful. They have a natural talent for leadership and are highly skilled at taking charge of a situation. They are highly protective of their loved ones and are willing to fight for what they believe in.

Weaknesses: Eights can become overly aggressive and confrontational, leading to strained relationships and conflict. They may struggle with vulnerability and may become excessively controlling in an attempt to protect themselves and others.

Example career situation: A Type 8 may excel in a career that requires assertiveness and confidence, such as politics or business. However, their tendency towards aggression and control can cause them to become overly dominant and intimidating, leading to conflicts and power struggles.

More on type 8

Type 9 - The Peacemaker

Energizers: Creating harmony and unity, being inclusive and accepting, being part of a supportive and peaceful community, feeling calm and content, and for example, creating a peaceful and harmonious environment, mediating and resolving conflicts, and being part of a supportive and inclusive community.

Drainers: Conflict or confrontation, feeling pressured or rushed, making decisions or taking a stand, feeling disconnected or isolated, dealing with confrontation or disagreements, feeling rushed or pressured, and facing difficult choices or changes.

Strengths: Nines are highly peaceful, harmonious, and empathetic. They have a natural talent for mediating conflicts and finding common ground. They value relationships and strive for balance and harmony in their lives.

Weaknesses: Nines can become overly passive and indecisive, leading to a lack of motivation and direction. They may struggle to assert themselves and become excessively accommodating to avoid conflict.

Example career situation: A Type 9 may excel in a career that requires mediation and conflict resolution, such as counseling or diplomacy. However, their tendency towards indecisiveness and lack of assertiveness can cause them to neglect their needs and desires, leading to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

More on type 9


Hopefully this was insightful. Check this out for more on self-development and personal growth.

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