Enneagram Type Nine – Finding Your Passion

LoveWhatYouDoI recently received a comment from a reader on my Enneagram Type Nine blog: that went like:

“Thanks for your really helpful comments, which I wish I could instantly digest and do something about! Would be interested in your thoughts on type 9s identifying their passion which I know is a problem for them.”

So I answered him back with my thoughts but also advised that I would check in with my expert panel themselves, the Type Nines, to see what insight could be gleaned.  Well – it was a beautiful experience and I believe great information for the Nine in all of us.  Here is a summary of the responses that I received.

You have to push yourself, take risks, get out of your comfort zone, try something new and give yourself permission to do something that may make you stand out and may not be what everyone expects of you.  If you haven’t found your passion in the world that you have created for yourself you have to venture out further to find it.  I think usually fear is what holds us back from reaching for the next level and challenging ourselves; fear of failing, fear of making a mistake, fear of being judged, fear of being noticed, fear of disappointing someone … and maybe even fear of success.  I have discovered that the only thing you should fear is standing still and not growing.”


As a typical nine, my first reaction is to start a list.  I’ve actually done this exercise and found that the things I love to do aren’t necessarily the things I am currently doing.  This is now the reason for my shift and transition to being more in alignment with my passions.


The first thing that comes up is negative self talk:

  • Just when I think I have found it – I question it.
  • I’ll never be as good as someone else.
  • Stop dreaming big, I’ll let myself down.

I find it helpful to have someone as my sounding board that encourages me and helps me see my big picture. This also assists in lowering my distraction factor and staying focused on my priorities.

I have found reiki to be very valuable, I remember moments of true clarity that are powerful to keep me focused and I get in touch with my inner passion and strength to help me believe I can do anything that I decide to do!

And really – if I look back over the last 20 years, my real passions have never changed, just what I am doing with them!”


“For me – I need to step out of my comfort zone, but in baby steps so that I don’t get over whelmed and stop.  I can make up my mind that I want to do something but the rest of my body does not want to follow.  I will always end up questioning myself, can I do this, it might be too much responsibility and I may not be able to handle it.

So – it is important to have some supporting people in my life that encourage me and help me to stop procrastinating.  I am not a good visualizer for myself and so I need to give things a try to know whether they might become part of a passion or not. (I am great at seeing the big picture for others, just not myself)”


So you see, a couple of patterns ring true for all Nine’s and likely many of us.  The first is to have a strategy to handle the negative self-talk.  We are tougher on ourselves than anyone else in our lives! The second is to have support in place to help us stay on track, see the big picture and connect with the LOVE of it!  Of course in perfect synchronicity, an e-mail arrived in my inbox today with a 4 minute video from a great Canadian leader, Robin Sharma who talks about doing what we do for the LOVE of it! Here is the link:

Let’s keep this dialogue going…what have you found that helps you identify your passion(s) and not let them get buried in life’s distractions? I’d love your feedback. And don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too, via the commentluv feature here on the site.

Until next time,




4 replies
  1. Sue says:

    Interesting to read what other 9’s have to offer each, and what a great idea.
    Many a time in discussing my “6ishness” I have wished for other 6’s to bounce ideas off of, etc. ( If you know of any, let me know!)

    • Karen Armstrong says:

      Hi Sue – if you would like to pose a question from a Type 6 perspective, I’ll write a blog to provide more insight for one of your many questions!! Let’s have some fun with this. Karen

  2. Solveig says:

    Hi Karen,

    I just discovered your site. I’ve been reading about the Enneagram for a long time, but (like so many 9’s) could not decide what my type was. I resisted embracing the 9 personality because I saw her as kind of a non-personality, and wanted to be a 4 instead, partly because 4s in general seem so individualistic, inner-driven and appear to have an easier time tapping into their ‘passion.’ But I’ve never been able to discern what my life ‘passion’ was. Recently, I have had a lot of insight into all of this and am finally (at age 50) finding peace with it, with seeing the wonderful gifts of the 9, understanding that she is not a pushover, or a non-entity. She is just so good at seeing everyone else that she has a hard time seeing herself. So one of the primary tasks for the 9, for her to be her truest self, is to discover her own voice. Which–said another way–could be called ‘Finding Your Passion.’ The problem with that, though, is that the task of Finding Your Passion seems huge and overwhelming to a 9.

    Lately, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, and then heard her great interview with Krista Tippet on OnBeing called Choosing Curiosity Over Fear. In it Ms. Gilbert encourages us to drop the big, overwhelming job of Passion-Finding, and to instead set out to follow our curiosity. Following curiosity is a joyful, personal, intuitive process that can lead to great creativity. And it fits right in with the 9 personality type, because it is a multi-faceted, never-ending wellspring, but it does not box us in or force us into any mold (even one of our own making). And it is not overwhelming or final; we do not have to have everything decided or entirely know where we are headed. Best of all: it is inner-led, so it truly comes from our own inner voice

    • Karen Armstrong says:

      Thank you for taking the time to share your journey of exploring your Enneagram Type and how you have found peace with accepting who you are. It is really touching and true. Your recommendation for the book and interview may just be the best tip of the month for your fellow Nine’s so thank you again for sharing this information.
      I look forward to looking into the book further as I enjoyed her first book.
      Nine’s are not the only type who get overwhelmed with their own and the world’s expectations so this could be a good read for others and the Nine in all of us. As you know – we are one.
      I welcome you to stay in touch and continue to share when you get new insights, here or my personal email.
      Happy trails following your curiosity,


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