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Episode 151 Transcript: Enneagram Made Easy with Deborah Egerton

Deborah: Before all the therapy, before all of the parenting, the partners, the relationships, the jobs that didn’t fit, before all of that ever happened, there was a pure and innocent beating heart that is still there. Your life’s work is to return to it, to embrace it, and to allow that to be the beacon in the world, the light that people see that comes from you.

Nancy: Welcome to the Nancy Levin Show. I’m Nancy Levin, Founder of Levin Life Coach Academy, best-selling author, master coach, and your host. I help overachieving people pleasers set boundaries that stick and own self-worth, anchored in empowered action, so you can feel free. Plus, if you’re an aspiring or current coach, you are in the right place. Join me each week for coaching and compelling conversations designed to support you in the spotlight, as you take center stage of your own life. Let’s dive in. 

Nancy: Welcome back to another episode of The Nancy Levin Show. I am welcomed here today by my dear friend and esteemed colleague. And I’m excited to have this conversation with Deborah Eggerton. So for anyone who doesn’t know, Deborah is a bestselling author. She’s the president of the International Enneagram Association. She is an executive coach, a spiritual teacher. She is a mentor and a matriarch, and she is a mystic. And we are very fortunate to both be in the Hay House family. And Deborah’s first book came out with Hey House called Know Justice, Know Peace, “KNOW”, Know Justice, Know Peace. Her most recent book is The Enneagram Made Easy and coming soon, Deborah is also publishing nine Enneagram journals,

one for each point of the Enneagram. I could not be more excited about these journals, and I feel super happy to have Deborah here with us today. Hi Deborah.

Deborah: Hi Nancy. So good to be with you. 

Nancy: So there are so many ways to learn about the Enneagram itself and the points and the types and all of the sort of intricacies of the numbers. So I would rather spend our time today talking about what the Enneagram is in terms of a system, how we use the Enneagram to evolve and grow, and the importance of doing the work. So yeah, so for everyone listening, you can Google Enneagram, you can go find other places. You can certainly find other places where Deborah has talked about it. You could buy her book Enneagram Made Easy and find out about the the points and all of the intersections of the points. But let’s take the, let’s take the sky high view here. 

DeborahGreat. Well, I I love that you put it that way, Nancy, because I believe if anyone’s going to look into the Enneagram, you need to understand what it’s, and the Enneagram has a symbol that is over 2000 years old –  predates Plato. We don’t know exactly where it came from, but we do know that over time, seekers of truth came together from different parts of the world to try to figure out the Enneagram and, and actually look for this symbol. 

Now, often people who teach the Enneagram will take the shortcut and say, you’ve got to study it because it’s over 2000 years old. No, the symbol is ancient. And there are some spiritual traditions that went along with the symbol that we are still, you know, looking at and, and studying. But the modern typology, the personality typology, which we married psychology with the spiritual traditions, and we brought them together, that is more recent. And it didn’t come to the Western world until the 1970s. 

And we look at the Enneagram as a personality archetype and typology that allows you to understand that there are nine points of energy. I teach it as points of energy. And at each one of those nine points, there will be one energy that dominates within you, inside of you. And what that does is it helps you to understand why you do what you do.

The reason to study the Enneagram is because unlike most personality assessments, which tell you what your behaviors are, that’s fine, tut then what do you do with that? If you don’t know why you do what you do, then it’s very difficult to make any kind of change or really to go deeper into the levels of growth and to look at the shadow side of your personality and how you show up in the world. 

So the Enneagram takes you deep inside and allows you to do inner work from the perspective of how you were put together. You know, not just a generic sort of blueprint of everyone can try and do this. No, it’s, this is what I call the blueprint to your soul and the operating manual that you wish you were born with, but you didn’t get until later in life.

Nancy: And you know, when I thought about having this conversation with you, and I remember when we, you know, were in person a couple weeks ago and we talked about it, I got so excited because you’ve got these journals and I’ve got my new shadow work journal, Embrace Your Shadow to Find Your Light, coming out. And there is something so potent about being able to be with ourselves on the page.

Deborah: Yes, yes. And know where you’re going with that, because we’re so like-minded around, you know, doing the inner work. And you know, when you, you can read something, you can listen to something and you can sit and even meditate and try to process and integrate information. And I always say that, you know, as we go through life, we should try to cultivate wisdom. And to me, wisdom is taking information and integrating it and embodying it. And that’s what creates wisdom. Not information that you just collect and do nothing with. 

So when you sit with, you know, particular prompts on a page and allow yourself to really maybe go back in time and observe who you were, you know, really connect to your inner child, really connect to your earlier experiences, really look at the evolution of your spirit, your being over time. Then you have epiphanies that open doors and portals inside of you that you didn’t even know were there. But you’ll never find those openings if you are not willing to sit with it and allow the doors to open. And so that’s why I think it’s so powerful to sit with a journal and to go deep into the work in a way that you would not do if you just read a book or just listen to a podcast. That’s information, but that’s not gration and embodiment of where you’re trying to evolve in life or to even to elevate your consciousness on any level. You’ve got to do the work to get there. 

Nancy: I so appreciate this, especially of course, the language you use, integration and embodiment. And journaling for me has always been about those two things and really to be able to track myself. So it’s not about comparison. I always remember Wayne Dyer saying, you know, all we can hope is to be better than we used to be. So it’s, you know, what does it look like for my own personal evolution and how do I get to see myself in the tracking of where I was, where I am now as I am still becoming.

Deborah: Exactly. You know, and I often think and repeat the words of Maya Angelou because Maya said, when you know better, you do better. 

Nancy: Yeah. 

Deborah: And it doesn’t do you any good to simply listen to something and have an epiphany and then let it go. The know better and the do better comes from being willing to sit down and do the work. And the work’s not easy. And I, you know, even having written Enneagram Made Easy, I put right there in the front and I laughed about it. But my first opening quote is, make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler – Albert Einstein. And that’s the reality of how we have to live. 

My work, as you know, Nancy, involves trying to bring people together. And as much as we look at all the divisions that we have in the world, I really feel that my work is trying to heal these divisions. But how do you heal them? You heal them one healed human at a time. And so it, it’s so important that we don’t look at the world and get overwhelmed by everything that’s going on in the world. First, start with ourselves. When we are whole, then find connections where we didn’t even know connections existed. Because now we’re present and we’re open to it. We’re not hiding anymore because we don’t wanna face our own shadow. We don’t want to deal with anything from our past. We can’t deal with what’s in our present, and we’re scared as hell of the future. You know, that’s just not where to live. 

Nancy: Hi, it’s Nancy interrupting my own show. I’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up in 2024, including a brand new book plus a group coaching opportunity, unlike anything else I have ever offered before. To make sure you are in the know, pop on over to my website now and sign up for my free weekly newsletter at nancylevin.com/newsletter so you don’t miss a thing. Okay, back to the show. 

Nancy: In my shadow work journal, we are really looking at the seven alchemical stages of shadow work. And we begin with awareness and we move through to wholeness and it’s only in the acceptance of our totality that we are able to come out from the hiding – hiding the parts of ourselves we don’t want others to see.  Hiding the parts of ourselves we don’t wanna see. 

Deborah: That’s the main thing. We don’t wanna see. 

Nancy: Of course. 

Deborah: And it does us absolutely no good because we’re fooling ourselves. You know, you and I have have worked and played together, and we have talked about how I have an aversion to people always talking about creating versions of themselves. And, you know, the journals, the work that you and I are putting out in the world right now is really about helping people try to unearth their authentic self. 

Let’s skip all these versions. You know, you can’t look at someone else and say, that’s it, that’s the person I’m going to be. No, that’s not the person you’re going to be because you’re not that person. You are you. And once you embrace all of who you are, once you recognize that even the painful things that happened in your life created an alchemy of strength and character, and even grace that allow you to navigate through the world in a way that no one else can navigate in the world. The uniqueness and the authenticity of each individual is what is needed. Not these false fake phony. I’m gonna put this cheap dress on for today and see if it fits and well, no, that didn’t work. Well, I’ll try another one tomorrow. Just know that inside of you, everything that is there was designed for your good, for your wellbeing, for you to learn from. There’s no growth inside your comfort zone. 

So our journals may pinch you a little bit, but that’s where the growth is. And on the other side of that growth is joy and acceptance. You know, I have an involuntary smile when I talk about it because I know what journal work does for me. Without having my journaling there are things that have happened in my own life that I would not have been able to process to understand that that thing happened to actually grow me, to actually help me evolve to a higher level. So I really, you know, I have so much joy recognizing that this is coming out into the world and people are going to have an opportunity to experience this.

Nancy: Some of what you just said evoked in me the way that I talk about reinvention, because I don’t think it is reinventing into a new version. I actually think it’s returning to the essence of the truth of who we are before we began packaging ourselves to be digestible to everyone else. 

Deborah: I love that. I love that. And that, you know, that word, I remember at one point I thought about writing a book about pretty packaging. 

Nancy: Yeah. 

Deborah: Because unfortunately, we spend a lot of time on trying to package ourselves up to be palatable to whomever we’re trying to appeal to. And you know, from a societal standpoint, there are so many different places that we might feel that we need to package ourselves differently. Not understanding that the return home to our authentic self requires no package. 

Nancy: Exactly. Exactly. 

Deborah: You know, people know when you’re authentic. People know the difference between a, I’m sorry and a I really did not mean to offend you. My heart hurts that I did. 

Nancy: Yeah.

Deborah: You know, people can feel the energy of authenticity. And so if we had more of that in the world, and if we weren’t afraid to be our authentic selves, we would have a much kinder, gentler, and more compassionate world. 

Nancy: Yes. I always think about the way that, you know, well, first I’ll say I, I know for myself, and I know from so many clients and students, we all on some level have some part of ourselves we think we need to hide in order to be loved and accepted. You know, if, if you knew this about me, you wouldn’t love me. And so we start, you know, we start sort of curating ourselves, and yet at the same time, we wanna be loved for the truth of who we are. We want to be loved for our authentic self. And obviously that can’t happen unless we’re willing to reveal the authentic self. And that’s ultimately what I think is the gift of journaling, getting to really see who we truly are and getting to be an acceptance. You know, from there, self-love, self-forgiveness, forgiveness, all the elements are possible. 

Deborah: Well, you know, when you think about the energy at the nine different points of the Enneagram, and this I can do very quickly, you know, at point 1 you have people who are trying to show goodness the right way, and that is the journey. At point 2 It’s about love, and that is the journey. Am I lovable and can I give and receive love. At point 3, am I successful? Have I shown you how much I can do in this world, do you see it?  At point, 4 it’s do you recognize that I am a unique creative being and I am not going to sell out to the world? At point 5 it’s do you realize that I want to be competent and to have the knowledge to be able to participate in the world? At point 6 it’s, I want to be sure that the structures are there that keep me and you safe and sound and I need to know that I’ll have that guidance. At point 7 it is, I want to be able to be free, to be able to truly spread my wings and be the best that I can be in this world. At point 8, it’s, I want so much to be able to love and protect and be the guard of the gate, the protector, the champion for all of humanity. And at point 9, it’s, please let me and the world have peace. 

Now, unearthing that, you know, I’ve got goosebumps, big goosebumps when I do that. Individuals in the world possess one of those nine energies in abundance. It’s more of that than any of the other eight, even though you have all nine within you. So when you’re, we are talking about returning to the authentic self and I love that you use the language of it’s not reinvention, it’s a return. It’s a return to the authenticity of who we really are. If you understand the energy that leads it is your home base that you are returning to from a very pure and innocent heart, from a very pure and innocent place, that’s the journey that the journals are going to take you on. 

And you know, I look at that, and then as we do that work, we go deeper and deeper into really being able to find the pure and innocent heart that we came into this world with before all the therapy, before all of the, the parenting that might have been well-intentioned, but didn’t go quite so well. The partners, the relationships, the jobs lost, the jobs that didn’t fit before all of that ever happened, there was a pure and innocent beating heart that is still there. Your life’s work is to return to it, to find it, to embrace it, and to allow that to be the beacon in the world, the light that people see that comes from you because you haven’t covered it up with a bunch of crap. 

Nancy: Exactly. 

Deborah: You haven’t covered it up with a bunch of crap. 

Nancy: I’m curious about the way you structured the nine different journals for the nine points and what stands out about them that is different in each one. 

Deborah: Well, what’s, what is different in each one is that each journal has you touch the parts of the Enneagram that are, you know, there’s a, a main line that you follow for the Enneagram, but each type has a different branch. You know, it’s sort of a different way that they, that we go. Because your basic desire, your basic fear or motivation, that childhood inner wound is a, is part of it as well. And then each type also has what we call the passion. But I also translate the language out to be sort of the vice. You know, that’s, we’re a little afraid of, that’s kind of the shadow part. And there’s the virtue, the gift. 

So each of the nine for each of the nine types, those things are different. And so instead of having to wade through all of the Enneagram, once you understand the Enneagram, then you can get into the work that is applicable to your point on the Enneagram and do that work. And I know people have been asking for this forever, and I feel, you know, just divinely be grateful that, that it was able to come through me to be able to, to create this. And, and of course I can never say that without saying me and Lissie because that, that angel in my life, you know, to be able to work beside her and the two of us come together to create something that I believe will be here through all of time. I believe it will roadmap that people will be able to return to over and over again and to go deeper and deeper. You know, Father Richard Rohr said, we have to be willing to go down deep inside of ourselves and find out what’s there, but when we find it, we have to come back up and out and take responsibility for all of it. And this is a way of doing that. So in a lot of ways, I feel like this is also honoring some of the words that he put out in the world, that he’s a point 1 person as well. And I have followed his work. And this is something that says, go down inside and find out what’s there and now take responsibility for and work with it so that you can grow. And so that you can not only know better, but do better. 

Nancy: Yes. I so appreciate this because there’s so much here that is synergistic about, you know, looking at the parts of myself that I have relegated to the shadow, the armor I’ve put on, or the image I’ve been presenting, and what happens when I’m willing to go in and instead of cut those parts of me off, what happens when I really tune into them and allow the chaos I’ve created in my life to become the catalyst for opportunity and to not push things away, but instead, you know, again, back to sort of your, what you were saying about versions of ourselves to actually just put our arms around all parts of ourselves and all ages of ourselves, all stages of ourselves to pull them in and harness their power instead of push them away. 

Deborah: Absolutely. And you know, Nancy, just on a, on a personal note, from the very first moment that I met you and very early on, one of the things that I respected so much about you was your capacity for vulnerability. Your willingness to, to share and to tell it like it is and to allow people to see the unpackaged Nancy, you know, and that resonated deeply with me when I see that you, you know, you, you walk that talk, you, you’re helping other people to do that. And we are on the same journey of helping other people to do that, to learn how to do it. So it won’t be so hard. Life doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. So much of what makes life hard is trying to be someone that you’re not trying to fulfill the desires and the dreams and the wants of other people that are not aligned with who we are. That’s what makes life hard. But life is not intended to always be easy, but life is certainly manageable and beautiful, and we learn and grow in the hard places, but we don’t have to stay in hard places all the time. 

To me, not being authentically true to who you are is keeping yourself in a hard space. It is walking you down in a hard space and you will never feel true joy. You know, there’s happy and then there’s joy. Joy has depth. You might have moments of happiness, moments of pleasure, but if you’re going to move into the expansive space of joy, never get there trying to be someone that you’re not. It’s the reason to do the deeper work. 

Nancy: I so appreciate what you just shared, and specifically the lovely compliment and reflection of me because I lived decades not like that. And if you had told me at that time how free and resourced and energized I would feel when I came out of hiding, I wouldn’t have been able to believe it. 

So, to your point, I made life so hard because I thought I needed to create this persona because I didn’t think I was good enough, or I didn’t think I was lovable, or I was certain something was wrong with me. Now, the freedom I feel inside myself, the peace I feel inside myself, the freedom from the inner critic and negative self-talk, I I did not know this was possible. 

Deborah: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we want that so much for everyone. It’s very difficult to be unkind to another person when you’ve been on this journey. And what I do know is that it’s very difficult to take people on a journey that you have not been on yourself because you don’t know know for sure which way is right and which way is left, which way is going to lead you to a place where you are. You are going to self actualize in such a beautiful way. 

But having lived enough of life and you know, I’m a little older than you are and having, you know, walked that path, I can look back now retrospectively and really want to spare anyone from having to do life in the hard space over and over and over again. I always say, the universe will give you plenty of time to course correct. Because those mistakes that you make, if you don’t course correct by going into your own being and really unearthing your authentic self, the same negative things are going to keep happening. You’re going to keep drawing the same types of people into your life. It’ll be people that hurt you. You’re going to keep having the same type of career outcomes because you’re trying to be someone that you’re really not and do something that you don’t love. You’re going to constantly be on this search for a purpose and passion in life. And life’s going to feel flat and empty until you find you. How can life be exhilarating and exciting and wonderful if you don’t know who you are and if you don’t know how to walk the path forward? 

So I believe this is the most important work, that if you want to have a life that is full, a life, that when you wake up in the morning, you’re excited about the fact that you woke up because you have no idea what wonders await you on this next day. That’s the way you wanna live. You know, not waking up to an alarm clock and dreading the fact that you have to get outta bed and go do it all over again. No, that’s not living, that’s existing, you know, and we wanna get beyond existing. We wanna get to passion and purpose and being excited to be alive. 

Nancy: Hmm. Deborah, thank you. Thank you for being here, everybody listening and watching. Just share the easiest way to find you, how to get in touch with you, how to follow you. 

Deborah: The easiest way to follow me is Deborah, D-E-B-O-R-A-H, Egerton, E-G-E-R-T-O n.com. And everything you wanna know, books, podcasts, everything that’s going on in my world, it lives there. It all lives there. 

Nancy: Awesome. And grab your copy of Enneagram Made Easy, and then once you know what point you are on the Enneagram, grab the journal that Deborah has made just for you. I’m so excited to have my 3 journal in my hand very soon.

Deborah: It’s Beautiful. I may make sure what you would want on your 3 journal. 

Nancy: I’m so excited. Ugh. I love you very much. And to everyone listening, I will be back with you again soon.

Thanks so much for joining me today. I invite you to head on over to nancylevin.com to check out all the goodies I have there for you. And if you’ve enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a rating and a review. I’ll meet you back here next week.