Enneagram Type 6 - The Loyal Guardian
Loyal Skeptic, Trooper, Trouble Shooter, Defender, Guardian, Questioner, Devil's Advocate
Worldview of the 6
You are a conscientious, loyal, and dependable person who strives for certainty and security in a world that can be unsafe and unpredictable. You are cautious and have a knack for knowing who can be trusted. You seek reliable authorities, trusted friends, credible systems of reference, and valued traditions.
Friendly and playful, you enjoy camaraderie and working for a noble cause. While reluctant to commit to bad situations and afraid of getting in trouble with others, you can often lighten stressful situations with your playful and self-deprecating humor.
You might manage your fears or doubts by focusing on what could go wrong and being cautious, or you might deny your fears and courageously take risks to handle situations. When you feel prepared, you can be very effective in crisis. Your keys to growth include distinguishing the difference between your genuine awareness and your projected fears or doubts, and trusting your own inner authority and guidance in the present moment.
What You Are Great At
Identify potential hazards and either avoid them or face them head on.
Being dedicated, loyal and committed to friends, family and allies.
Troubleshooting, strategizing, and problem solving.
Anticipating potential problems, taking calculated risks.
Being giving and supportive in committed relationships.
Taking protective action for a better future.
Being analytical, planning thoroughly, prepared for worst case scenarios.
Being thoughtful and careful before taking action.
Mobilizing and supporting others during crisis.
Carrying out the directives of and being devoted to trusted leaders.
Working hard for the team without needing recognition or reward.
Supporting underdog causes and fighting for the underserved.
You want to be safe, secure, fit in, and belong; but most importantly, you want to have certainty, a trusted friend, or a known system to put your faith in. You are the true devil's advocate and can always see both sides of every issue. You may struggle with feelings of fear, doubt, and/or anxiety, and risk undermining or blaming others to protect yourself.
You may manage your fear by focusing on what could go wrong and by avoiding perceived hazards. Alternatively, you may face your fears and take calculated risks to prove that you are not afraid. Secretly, you still prepare.
You feel that the world is a dangerous place. Most people have hidden agendas, so you must focus on security, loyalty, and trustworthiness. At your best, you are courageous, supportive, engaging, dedicated and loyal.
What Drives You
Driven by an underlying fear of what is perceived to be a dangerous or hostile world, you are motivated to find or create safe and supportive means and/or relationships to protect against external threats. You want to be clear about your situation, feel supported by others, and have certainty and reassurance about the future.
Inner World of the 6
Your core fears are of being blamed and punished for something you didn’t do, and being misled or unsafe in a dangerous world. This may be expressed as either fearing authority and becoming passive-aggressive or challenging authority and becoming provocative and aggressive.
You may have a fear of being alone, unsupported and/or unprotected as well as a fear of success because successful people are often targeted by others. You may also have a fear of fear -- thinking that if you are afraid, you might become paralysed and cowardly- unprepared and unable to defend yourself and others when needed.
To be safe, secure, certain, protected, and supported, as well as to have clear structures and a sense of belonging so you can take calculated risks and contribute to a noble cause.
You need predictability, a protective authority, and the security of feeling like you belong. You long for trustworthy guidance to manage your feelings of fear and doubt.
You're a "proof junkie" who tests people, ideas, and beliefs numerous times to see if they merit your loyalty. You tend to need reassurance, encouragement, and positive feedback from friends and loved ones.
The world is chaotic, unpredictable and easily-angered. It's best to stay alert, be vigilant, and prepare for all worst-case scenarios. I must seek trustworthy guidance from experts to keep my world safe and predictable.
Clear structures and guidelines.
Rules and regulations.
Rehearsing to feel confident.
Preparation and predictability.
Security and certainty.
Loyalty and commitment.
Heroic gestures and noble causes.
Supportive relationships and environments.
Trustworthy authorities, friends and coworkers.
Plan B and preparing for worst case scenarios.
Tension and conflict.
Openness and honesty.
Being blamed for something you did not do.
False compliments or hidden agendas.
An uncertain future.
Anger and uncertainty.
Show boats and those that are insincere.
Dangerous situations out of your control.
Unpredictability and feeling caught off guard.
Others that do not follow the rules.
Inconsistencies, suspicious behaviors.
“Us against them” scenarios.
Outer World of the 6
You scan for problems and inconsistencies to prepare for all worst-case scenarios. You doubt and question, seeking reassurance and guidance from trustworthy sources. You are hypervigilant, thinking and analyzing instead of acting.
Impact of Strategies
Having conducted a sweeping analysis of the environment for threats, you feel you have enough confidence, information, support, and trustworthy guidance to feel safe, certain and secure.
What's Great About You
You are warm, friendly, curious, loyal, dutiful, committed, and dedicated. You are a faithful and dependable friend, co-worker, and family member. When necessary, you are brave and courageous.
Attention goes to...
Your attention goes to feelings of fear, doubt and scanning the environment for danger and hidden motives or agendas. You have a tendency to focus on the worst-case scenario.
Your fears and doubts can keep you from taking action and/or trusting yourself and others. You may at times be overly phobic and at other times overly counter-phobic.
Operating System of the 6
At Your Best
You are a trustworthy, responsible, hard-working and committed person who focuses on what is needed in any given situation. You are especially courageous in the midst of crisis. You readily pick up on signals of potential threat or danger, anticipate problems, and prepare for action.
In order to work toward best-case scenarios, you imagine worst cases and prepare for them. You are especially adept at spotting hidden agendas, pitfalls and facades. You enjoy working with people you trust, and are especially committed to family, friends, coworkers and worthy causes.
You identify with underdogs and work tirelessly to support them. You’re a natural troubleshooter and team player that is adept at predicting, analyzing and solving problems. This aligns well with team competencies of mutual accountability, authentic and open communication, trust, collaboration and support.
When your focus is so resolutely set on wanting the world to be a safer place, you over focus on finding safety, certainty and security. You avoid being mislead, caught off guard, helpless or dependent. When you are afraid that things might go wrong, you may feel paralyzed by doubt and be become anxious and uncertain as to which action you should take.
You may fear that you will be abandoned and alone if you get in trouble with important others or are blamed for something you didn’t do. To avoid making a mistake you may become indecisive, evasive or hypervigilant which can also create pressure on you and strain your relationships.
You may be unaware of feeling afraid unless danger is actually imminent, but you might more readily recognize underlying anxiety, angst, worry, doubt or skepticism because they arise from the anticipation of problems. When your tendency to be judgmental, suspicious, defensive, rigid, pessimistic, or self-defeating is triggered you may develop an “us against them” stance and poll others for consensus in order to avoid feeling helpless, immobilized and/or betrayed.
What Holds You Back
Remaining fiercely loyal when people don’t warrant your trust.
Being preoccupied by worst-case scenarios, being hyper-vigilant.
Hesitating or not taking action out of fear.
Doubting oneself and being suspicious of others’ hidden agendas.
Constantly questioning, leading to uncertainty rather than answers.
Avoiding feeling badly about yourself by unconsciously projecting “badness” on to others, seeing them as wrong or threatening.
Imagining that you are being targeted or victimized.
Feeling helpless; that the power to affect your life is with others.
Challenging / not accepting / trusting authority / being provocative.
Sabotaging your own success due to fear of being blamed / exposed.
Becoming dependent on others.
Feeling overly responsible for others.
To feel safe and secure you avoid any form of deviance from the standards to which you subscribe. You manage feelings of fear and/or anxiety in a number of ways. You often cope by being overly analytical and hyper-vigilant, scanning for any threat or inconsistency in the position, situation or relationship, and having some sort of protector or like-minded group (believing there is safety in numbers in an “us-against-them” scenario).
In the face of danger or threat, you may avoid taking any action at all, and/ or engage in risk-taking behaviors -- both of which create a false sense of security. If you have a cautious personality, you probably do everything you can to prepare for the future by being dutiful, obedient, careful, and dependable and aligning with a trusted authority in order to feel safe and secure.
On the other hand, if you have an assertive personality, you plan and prepare for the future as well, but you are more likely to become rebellious, challenge unjust authorities and situations, and impulsively take protective action in order to feel safe.
Projecting your fear and negativity onto others, ruminating about your doubts, and being evasive are your primary defense mechanisms. You may also defend against fear by making people or things “all good” or “all bad”, or simply worrying about it. The fear of being blamed or endangered is so overwhelming that you have a tendency to not be clear or to obfuscate things so that you will have an exit strategy if needed.
At the same time, you demand clarity and reassurance from others in order to feel secure. When you feel fear, you scan the environment to find the source of your distress and can unwittingly project negative intent onto others and then feel helpless and defenseless until you reclaim your power with the support of a trusted ally or a defensive action. You may also project that an imagined fear will happen, spin out negative scenarios, and stay in a state of anxiety or panic about it.
This can ironically feel self-soothing because it feels like you are monitoring and managing potential problems when you vigilantly think about them. All of these defense mechanisms can keep you from taking responsibility for your feelings and taking necessary action.
Hot Buttons & Triggers
Others’ behaviors or actions that seem to lack integrity.
Being pressured or rushed to act when important things are at stake.
Not knowing what is going on or underdogs being hurt or oppressed.
People not being committed or responsible to the team or cause.
People breaking their word or being unreliable.
Any perceived threat in the environment that can signal danger.
Feeling betrayed or “turned against” by a trusted ally.
When facts are omitted/fabricated or people make exaggerated claims.
People not following the rules established by the leader or team.
Being caught off guard or surprised by seemingly preventable problems.
When authorities seem unfair or dangerous.
Being forced to make decisions without proper preparation or thought.
Disowning parts of yourself may lead to blind spots, including not recognizing your own power, strength, courage, authority and capacity to solve problems. You can also over-rely on thinking and not trust your own gut feelings. It may be very hard for you to see when a perceived threat is not outside, but only an inner state of fear - especially when it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Your doubt about self and others has the effect of sabotaging yourself and undermining others. You may also need to see the ways you may unfairly project blame onto others or undermine them by raising doubts about them. You may not see how you adjust your behavior and become submissive or aggressive depending on the situation at hand.
Mistaken Beliefs / Trap
It is a cognitive mistake to believe that by focusing on vulnerability, obfuscating or avoiding decisions, you are less likely to experience blame, or by over focusing on challenges you are stronger and more prepared. Thus your biggest trap is to be stuck in a cycle of doubt leading to endless overreactivity, feelings of doubt and worry, preparation, and/or seeking constant reassurance, believing it will make you safe, when it only perpetuates more doubt, fear and mistrust.
Since you almost always worry about things, and the majority of the time, things end up working out fine, you develop a superstition about the power of your worrying - you believe that it actually helps to prevent bad things from happening. Worrying about worst case scenarios feels like “doing something” proactive and seems to help keep things safe, when in fact, it is just causes you more stress. In reality, true protection and certainty comes from an inner trusting one’s inner guidance.
Growth Journey of the 6
Your transformation journey involves:
Realizing that overthinking, second-guessing and analyzing what can go wrong doesn't actually change anything and that you must take steady, appropriate action to actually change your situation.
Trusting the natural intelligence of the universe.
Recognizing that all the guidance and authority you need is already inside of you.
When doubt and insecurity are running the show, they can generate the very situations they are meant to overcome. Focusing on worst case scenarios can sometimes make them more likely to happen and indulging in anxiety is sure to make you more anxious-- because it’s presence makes you think there must be something worrisome “out there” to cause it. As pressure builds, feelings of self-defeat can mount, leading to defensiveness and a sense that people are against you.
Fearing that others will be unfair or blame you, you might become unfair or blame them “in return”. If you are a cautious person you might blame others in a passive-aggressive way, such as raising doubts about their character.
If you are an assertive person you might become aggressive and challenging. Either response can alienate supporters and trigger your core fears of being blamed, physically abandoned, unprotected and unsupported in a world that feels threatening. Worst of all, incessant fearful thoughts make the longed-for sense of certainty, strength, and safety seem ever more elusive.
An Average Day
As you see your fears aren’t protective but rather the actual source of insecurity, your attention is less drawn to self-protection. More energy is freed up to dedicate yourself and use your gifts for worthy and fulfilling causes. Your natural desires and abilities to establish deep, committed, lasting relationships and build supportive community flourish.
Your innate tendencies to anticipate obstacles and potential issues become strengths to problem-solve effectively in all areas of your life. Others respond to being cared for and nurtured, feeling they can rely on and trust you. Your confidence grows. Mistrust becomes self-trust, you feel stronger, and others believe deeply in you.
In The Zone
Grounded in self-trust and inner strength, your need to look externally for protection and safety drops away completely. Coping through anticipatory fear is clearly seen to be its own self-fulfilling prophecy and no longer drives you. The power of self-responsibility and inner authority emerges.
Others become increasingly inspired by your integrity, conscientiousness, compassion, and deep care. They now also see the immense inner power that radiates from your core sense of being secure in yourself.
People dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to you and your life work because they inherently trust your intentions. You are a true refuge for others. Deep confidence, security, and wellbeing flow from your core and others respond with love and reverence.
Keys to Growth
Develop inner guidance and wisdom rather than looking for security or answers outside of yourself (in systems, rules, surveys, people or authorities).
Realize that what you need is already available within you. You actually don’t need safety or protection from without.
Notice that when you feel sure of your thoughts and decisions, you have no trouble taking right action. You don’t hesitate at all when duty calls or crisis is upon you.
Focus on and intentionally imagine positive outcomes to balance worst-case scenarios.
Stay in contact with others when afraid and/or wanting to withdraw.
Connect with your own strength and power and develop courage by trusting yourself.
Examine your fears objectively and feel the energy itself as just passing waves – they have no power over you.
Recognize when your anxiety is projected outward and reign it back in to look at your desire to control fear with negative thinking.
Use your astute observation and attention skills to look deeply into your own inner dynamics of insecurity and fear and how you avoid making a decision.
Watch for fear of praise and recognition and examine the tendency to self-sabotage your own successes for fear of being a target.
Stay grounded in yourself and in your own being when anxiety gnaws at you to take protective action.
Learn to consider your options before making commitments. Learn to say “no” instead of just not doing something or making excuses and letting others down.
Type 6 In the Workplace
Working with Others
In a supportive environment, you reliably and dependably work hard, build teams, forge alliances and move mountains. You are especially motivated to work hard for worthy causes and underdogs. You can be incredibly focused, attentive to details, and aware of potential pitfalls in strategies and plans.
Your devotion to a trusted leader and to your team carries you through many challenges and trials. You may at times be seen as inconsistent and unpredictable when you are overly cautious and indecisive one moment and rebellious and impulsive the next. Your ability to see and desire to point out what can go wrong may seem like disruptive naysaying and may cause others to see you as not being “on board” or not being a team player- especially with anything new or with minor changes.
You work best when you have a team you can support and feel supported by; you will work diligently when you are inspired by the collective effort. You also work well when expectations are clear and lines of authority and responsibilities are fairly distributed.
In the ideal work environment, your concerns are appreciated and acknowledged and problems are dealt with directly when they arise. You feel most confident in a friendly and collegial work environment where issues can be closely examined to prepare for pitfalls.
You work less effectively in a work environment when plans change rapidly, unpredictably and without notice because you don’t like feeling caught off guard and unprepared for change. You don’t work well when alliances are unclear. You may also have trouble when you feel pressured to make decisions without careful analysis or when you don’t have certainty.
It can be difficult for you when your loyalties with different people become conflicted, or you lose faith or trust in family members, coworkers, leaders or authorities. Your fears and concerns may cause you to have a pattern of making mountains out of mole hills.
This catastrophizing pattern can cause others to stop listening or to take your concerns less seriously over time. You may consciously or unconsciously sabotage your own success in order not to draw attention from others, possibly shying away from leadership positions.
You actively seek out strong protective figures as well as systems and resources that can be trusted to provide guidance and protection. You have a push/pull relationship with authority. On the one hand, you want to follow a trustworthy leader or commit to a secure belief system or situation.
On the other hand, you may really doubt whether anyone can really be fully trusted and relied upon. You may at times, push for what you believe in, even to the point of being oppositional or quarrelsome, only to have to backpedal when a strong other points out that it is a weak position.
You may also have problems following through-- due to fear of others criticizing or being unsupportive of your work. You want to do well for your team and leader but fear can block this intention.
As a leader, you inspire others to work hard by your own example. You can make great sacrifices of time, energy and resources to support others. Anticipating potential obstacles and problems enables you to develop excellent strategies and careful plans that others can execute.
You have a genuine desire to lead others, particularly in good causes, but hierarchy and authority are sometimes conflicted for you. You may attract others who are loyal, trustworthy, and faithful but lack important work competencies. You might not hire strong personalities because you are uncomfortable with their forthright nature but this can cause you to miss important perspectives that could add a key element to your success.
Phobic: Jason Alexander, Woody Allen, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, Candice Bergen, Albert Brooks, George Bush, Lynda Carter, Rodney Dangerfield, Ellen DeGeneres, Sally Field, Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon, Richard Lewis, Penny Marshall, Marilyn Monroe, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Richard Nixon Anthony Perkins, Sydney Pollack, Paul Reiser Rene Russo, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Carly Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, Meg Tilly, Brian Wilson.
Counterphobic: Eminem, Adolf Hitler, Warren Beatty, Spike Lee, David Letterman, Judy Davis, Carrie Fisher, Mel Gibson, Andrew Grove, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, J. Edgar Hoover, Tommy Lee Jones, Wynonna Judd, J. Krishnamurti, Gordon Liddy, Charles Manson, Steve McQueen, Michael Moore, Paul Newman, Chuck Norris, Rosie Perez, Richard Pryor, Robert Redford, Janet Reno, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Steven Seagal, Ben Stiller, Patrick Swayze, Justin Timberlake, Ted Turner.