This is the fourth part (of five) of my recorded discussion with my friend Debbie, a 6w7 who originally had it the other way around and thought she was a 7w6. In this post, she also talks a little about the influence of her 7 wing.
(The previous three posts can be found here: one, two, three.)
J: 6s have a tendency to feel like they never have enough information. Have you ever experienced that?
D: That was a big problem for me when I was working on my master’s thesis. I needed to do a literature review, and no matter how much literature I read, I wasn’t sure I had enough. I felt like I had to keep going and digging deeper. Yet sometimes the more you dig, the further away from your real points you get. So it got to be kind of confusing to figure out what I really wanted to say and how to support it.
I notice it in terms of other projects. I wonder if I have enough information to begin. It’s even been an issue with my quilting. I think that if I don’t know how to do all the pieces, maybe I shouldn’t start. Maybe I need more information. Maybe I need to collect a few more patterns before making a final decision.
But when I worked on the quilt for my grandson, I began with a pattern but then adapted it as I went along. It was very satisfying because I stopped looking outside and trusted myself to play with it. So if I were going to do another writing project involving research, I’d try to model it after my quilting experience rather than after my master’s thesis.
J: Being a Doing-type 6, you can get into the doing easily enough, but the need for information can hold you back. Once you get started, though, you know how to proceed.
D: And if I really truly need more information, I know how to find it. So it’s a matter of trusting myself. I don’t have to have it all before I do anything. It was a lot harder to see that before I knew I was a 6.
J: So having a framework helps.
D: That’s one of the really nice things about the Enneagram is having that framework to know what tendencies are part of the type and where they’re taking you—and then how you can work within them to achieve what you want to achieve instead of doing a freefall.
J: Being led along by whatever tendency has a hold of you in the moment.
D: Yes. I find that when I can do things that are interesting to me, everything really does connect. When I’m on, everything just flows. I don’t have to look for time. It becomes imperative to make time for those things.
J: How do you think your 7 wing impacts all of this?
D: On the plus side, I think it’s a very good thing I have a 7 wing because the question, “Where’s the fun?” helps pull me toward having fun. If not for that, with my strong impulse for doing, I think I would be in really big trouble. This way I remember there has to be something in it for me. I can’t just be focused on doing-doing-doing.
The other thing I like about the 7 wing is it opens up all kinds of possibilities. Everything looks interesting. That can also be a challenge, though, because there’s a limit to how much time and energy there is.
J: How do you think the wing shows up in your teaching?
D: One thing I know is that when I’m teaching I’m very good at thinking on my feet. So if something isn’t getting across or somebody looks like they’re not connecting, I can come up with something on the spur of the moment. I can just throw it out there, and often it turns the whole class around and starts focusing it in a direction that brings more people around. It’s partly the 6, too, that makes me aware something is going on. Then the 7 says, “Oh, I have an idea.” In that way, the two work really well together.
Also I feel it’s really important to not have class always be so serious. The 7 wing helps me remember to make it interesting for people and even fun sometimes. Bringing humor into a class can help people remember things better than just explaining the steps to the process.
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Next time we’ll finish up with some thoughts about typing and mistyping in general.
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