Enneagram Type 8 - The Protective Challenger

Protector, Alpha Leader, Champion, Maverick, Commander, Negotiator, Boss

Worldview of the Type 8


You are a powerful, decisive, and action-oriented person who strives to overcome adversity by righting wrongs and seeking competitive advantage. You can be a charismatic and compassionate leader that champions others by fighting injustice and protecting the weak, downtrodden and underrepresented.

You want to be in charge of your environment and to be the master and commander of your own destiny-- so that you won’t be betrayed, controlled or manipulated. If you feel lied to, or if your authority is challenged, you can become intimidating, impatient, and insensitive. Your keys to growth include seeing through your denial, and being willing to lower your emotional armor in order to accept vulnerability and honor your innocence in the present moment.

What You Are Great At

  • Nurturing and championing others; heroically pulling for the underdog.

  • Maintaining courage and determination in the face of adversity.

  • Being fearlessly honest, sincere, and direct.

  • Being noble, generous, compassionate and magnanimous.

  • Being loyal, dedicated and protective of those in your circle of care.

  • Being self-confident, strong and assertive.

  • Standing up for your own and others’ inherent human rights.

  • Being decisive; taking action and initiative.

  • Being independent, responsible, and self-reliant.

  • Having fun, a love of life, and a great sense of humor.

  • Having the strength to improve conditions in the world.

  • Taking on big challenges and having a bold vision.

Core Wiring

You want to be open, honest, and straightforward; but most importantly, you want to be independent, make your own decisions, and direct your own course. You want to be the master and commander of your own life. You are honest and take pride in calling a spade a spade. You say what you mean and mean what you say.

You have the propensity to be excessive and to go to extremes. Too much is almost enough.

Under stress, you may be intense, intimidating, overpowering, or unwilling to self-limit. At your best, you are a protective, compassionate, and magnanimous leader that is both tough-minded and tenderhearted.

What Drives You

Driven by the fear of being weak or vulnerable you seek the power needed to prevail in any given situation. You want to be respected and the master of your own destiny. You are focused on being autonomous and self-reliant to avoid being dependent on, controlled by, or at the mercy of unfair others.

You are tough-minded and tender-hearted and believe in truth and justice, and a sense of fair play. Naturally strong, compassionate and self-possessed you readily fight to protect others from any abuses of power.

You have a personal code of honor and feel compelled to act in accordance with your sense of right and wrong. You are motivated by big visions of building something significant and serving from your place of power. You are driven to exercise your autonomy, strength and dominion – to assert yourself powerfully in the world.

Inner World of the Type 8

Core Fears

Your core fears are of being weak, vulnerable, controlled, limited, harmed, manipulated, betrayed and/or violated. Unconsciously, you feel that the world can be a cold, hard, and unjust place where the powerful take advantage of the weak and only the strong survive. It may also express itself as not trusting and not opening yourself to others in order to avoid being humiliated or betrayed by having your weakness or vulnerability used against you.

Core Desires

To be powerful, self-reliant, in control, and able to protect and empower yourself and others.

Core Needs

You need to be your own authority. You seek independence, and strive to be the master and commander of your own life.

You need to feel confident, self-reliant, and in charge of your emotions. You don't need to be liked, but you do have a strong need to be respected. You also need a sense of fairness and justice in your dealings with others, as your nature errs on willfulness and stubbornness.

Core Beliefs

Only the strong survive. To be powerful and overcome adversity, I must be tough, independent, self-reliant, and avoid weakness at all costs. The weak are controlled, manipulated, and betrayed. No one can tell me what to do.


  • Fighting for justice and a sense of fair play.

  • Being independent and autonomous.

  • A sense of humor and enjoying life to the fullest.

  • Exposing lies and insincerity.

  • Protecting the weak, innocent and downtrodden.

  • Representing those that can not speak for themselves.

  • Decisive action.

  • Competency.

  • Power of manifesting.

  • Accountability, results.

  • Honesty, integrity and nobility.

  • Being honored and respected.


  • Being betrayed and caught off guard.

  • Any abuse of power.

  • Deceptions, masks, falseness, manipulation.

  • Being falsely accused of something or being misrepresented.

  • Lack of leadership and power vacuums.

  • Incompetence and Idiocy.

  • Being micromanaged.

  • Insecurity, indecisiveness or waffling.

  • Grandiosity and pretense.

  • Being criticized for being honest and direct.

  • Weakness and vulnerability.

  • False or unjust authorities.

Outer World of the Type 8


You are independent, strong, honest, and upfront. You speak the unspoken truth. You have a personal code of honor; you protect the innocent and take control of difficult situations. You deny vulnerability and, when attacked, take charge and retaliate instead of defending.

Impact of Strategies

Being self-reliant and having power and control over your life leads people to accept you as you are rather than who they think you should be.

What's Great About You

You are strong, powerful, big-hearted, independent, and decisive. You can be a protective and charismatic leader that others readily follow.

Attention goes to...

Your attention goes to issues of power- who has it and most importantly, if it is being used fairly. You instinctively sense a power vacuum and often step in to fill it.

You are not interested in subtle nuance but rather in the big picture, much like a general surveying a battlefield. You can be relentless in your search for truth, justice, power and influence.

Operating System of the Type 8

At Your Best

You are a straightforward, generous, protective, and magnanimous leader who focuses on issues of power, control, truth, and justice in any given situation. Confident and self-determining, you readily take the lead. You have a personal code of honor and your word is your bond.

You are very loyal and always willing to stand up to, and/or for other people. Naturally honest and straightforward, you assertively confront injustice to protect those who are vulnerable or being treated unfairly. You determined, fearless and not easily deterred, which makes you especially skilled at fighting the “good fight, ” finding solutions and overcoming obstacles.

Your readiness to speak your mind, take on massive challenges, dream big, and champion others can make you an inspirational, visionary, and transformational leader and an asset to any team in the areas of shared vision and purpose, strategic thinking, clear and meaningful goals, effective decision-making, authentic communication, shared accountability, and healthy conflict.

Under Stress

When your focus is so resolutely set on justice and issues of power, you may not recognize your fear of betrayal or your need to control your immediate environment. Problems can arise when there is a “power vacuum,” or lack of leadership because it triggers your desire for power and stability, and you might take charge of situations when you have no business doing so. Avoiding the experience or perception of weakness, you assertively establish your own autonomy, define your territory and shun dependence on others.

The threat of weakness and humiliation can cause you to deny your own tender emotions and become insensitive to the emotions of others. You easily spot insincerity, phoniness and ulterior motives and can be overly blunt when you call people on it.

Preferring action over feelings, you may become impatient when others need too much attention, dwell in emotions or mental constructs or “waste your time”. If you feel you are being misrepresented, controlled or hurt, you can shut down your heart, thus losing the potential for real intimacy.

What Holds You Back

Denying your need for closeness and protection. Being overly preoccupied with injustice; overly ready to fight. Coming on too strong; being intimidating or challenging.

Dismissing or diminishing others and their contributions. Being blunt and abrasive when you feel others are being incompetent. Closing the heart in self-protection; covering up your soft side.

Blaming others for not being tough enough to handle things. Toughening yourself against pain, loneliness and fear. Judging yourself harshly and becoming emotionally isolated from others.

Not letting people in fully; not trusting or allowing your guard down. Being impatient when others are unfocused or ineffectual. Dreaming big but losing patience with those that are not able to execute the details.

Coping Strategy

To cope with fears of being controlled, harmed or manipulated, you deny your own vulnerability and may display power, autonomy and invincibility in the face of adversity. In an effort to manage your more tender emotions and your fears of being misrepresented or mistreated you toughen up your heart and develop a stance of indifference so that you can prevail against all odds.

You might take justice into your own hands or cope by intimidating, challenging, overpowering, or asserting control to protect yourself and get what you need. You often minimize your own needs to avoid feeling weak and take pride in your ability to sacrifice and endure.

Defense Strategy

Denial is your primary means of avoiding vulnerability. By denying your own weaknesses, challenges, wrongdoing and limitations, you attempt to maintain an inner sense of omnipotent control. When wronged, you seek vengeance to restore a sense of fairness.

Your suppressed self-blame may flow outward as blame, criticism, intolerance and judgment of others. You may also have a tendency to be very hard on yourself for any weakness or wrongdoing in order to maintain a sense of honor and control.

Hot Buttons & Triggers

  • Being underestimated and intentions misunderstood.

  • Feeling falsely accused of something because you are a strong personality.

  • Being lied to or having your trust betrayed.

  • Being made wrong or feeling humiliated.

  • Having your authority, domain of expertise or area of control challenged.

  • Being misrepresented.

  • Feeling deceived and betrayed followed by feeling out of control.

  • Others being treated unjustly or unfairly.

  • Others being incompetent, inattentive, slow or waffling.

  • Others playing the victim.

  • Your own feelings of vulnerability and weakness.

  • A power vacuum with no one taking charge or acting as a leader.

Blind Spots

Your denial of your own vulnerability and displays of power can make you blind to your actual needs, dependencies and emotions. You may also have difficulty seeing that others can be intimidated by your directness which may be perceived as aggressive.

Your own denial may not allow you to see anything wrong in your actions; you may genuinely perceive problems as entirely due to others’ poor judgment or incompetence. You also may not realize that your sense of justice is self-defined and not necessarily the full truth.

Mistaken Beliefs / Trap

It is a cognitive mistake to believe that you need to be stronger than others and invulnerable in order to survive. This belief can lead you to justify your defiance and need for control. You may erroneously believe that you have better solutions, more power to prevail, and a better ability to get things done faster and more effectively than others.

This can cause you to believe that the “end justifies the means,” and that others should defer to your leadership and judgment about the “best” course of action. It is also a cognitive mistake to believe that you have to be “right” and invulnerable to be respected and free from harm. Denying your vulnerability doesn’t make you stronger, in fact, it actually leaves you exposed.

Blaming others doesn’t make you blameless, it actually keeps you from learning from your own mistakes. Being closed and guarded in relationships doesn’t keep you from getting hurt, it might actually prevent you from experiencing intimacy, which then leads to greater vulnerability.

Growth Journey of the Type 8

Transformation Journey

Your transformation journey involves:

  1. Realizing that there is benevolence, truth and justice in the natural flow of life.

  2. Asserting your power without asserting your will.

  3. Surrendering to your more tender emotions and moving beyond your toughness so you can truly open to love and intimacy.

Under Stress

If you feel betrayed you may become preoccupied with restoring your sense of power and control. You can be driven to take charge, show your strength, and avoid any vulnerability. You may believe you know best and can be dismissive of others’ perspectives and contributions.

Resisting dependence on others, you can become self-reliant, tough, hard-hearted and isolated. Your worldview says that “the best defense is a strong offense,” which may come across to others as dominating, competitive and combative.

You pride yourself on being strong and rarely backing down from your position which sometimes leads to not changing course when necessary. When you don’t treat people as respected equals, or when you exert excessive control, others can become uncomfortable and afraid to voice their views and concerns.

An Average Day

When you become more genuinely interested in collaboration and the collective potential of the team, your softer side emerges and the greatness of your heart overrides previous tendencies to dominate and control. Naturally self-reliant and autonomous, you focus your energy on becoming enterprising and working hard for a higher purpose.

Your affinity for leadership begins to shine forth in new ways as others are inspired by your decisive, commanding approach. Others now follow you less out of fear and more as a role model they would like to emulate. You take initiative to make things happen; you champion people, provide, protect, and compassionately carry others with your strength, direction, and natural power.

In The Zone

Seeing through the illusion of vulnerability, personal power and control altogether, you align with universal power and exude an entirely new vibration of confidence and strength. You now courageously stand for the highest cause rather than any personal opinion, position, or need to exert control.

Your inner drive to dominate has been transformed by a sense of being a great protector and defender of all that is good and noble in life. No longer needing to prove your strength or overcome potential weakness, you radiate an irresistible inner power that can and will do anything for the highest cause.

Others feel this power in you and respond with enthusiasm, fire, and dedication. You truly embody the hero on the quest for truth and justice.

Keys to Growth

  • Examine your beliefs about fairness, power and control. Realize that the highest respect comes from compassion, big heartedness and humility, rather than fear, power and dominance.

  • When facing an issue or challenge, notice your tone and practice allowing others to have space and when possible their own way.

  • Develop compassion and acceptance for yourself and others.

  • Recognize that people can be genuinely emotionally affected by change and may need time to adjust. Be sensitive.

  • Choose to let go the drive for self-protection; see that the need for power and control is actually a need to self-protect.

  • Focus on opening and listening attentively to others before making a decision.

  • When challenged by someone, recognize your feelings of vulnerability. Rather than powering through them, open.

  • See that true power comes from inspiring and uplifting others, being caring and showing greatness of heart, compassion and understanding.

  • Offer positive regard and a "safe space" for others.

  • Examine the mistaken belief that “it's you against the world”.

  • Recognize that you are dependent on others and embrace it.

  • When triggered by someone’s potential neglect of you or a project, work on impulse control. Breathe and act with integrity and self-restraint.

Type 8 In the Workplace

Working with Others

You are a natural leader that is decisive, pragmatic, and excellent at problem solving in the workplace. You directly and openly express your opinions, rarely hesitating to address any issue at hand. Co-workers usually appreciate your forthrightness, knowing that “what you see is what you get.” You make your position clear and encourage others to communicate without qualification.

You are protective of others but can also be quick to assign blame when threatened. When you feel confident in your opinion and in what you believe is the right course of action, you might not seek input from others.

Instead, you just expect them to fall in line. This may lead to stifled creativity or less participation from others on the team.

Ideal Environment

You work best when allowed to lead in your area of expertise, and enjoy working with competent, people you respect. You thrive in a work environment with high expectations for excellence, integrity, results, accountability, and action-orientation.

Your role is often as boss, team leader or big picture visionary. You work well on a team with independent roles that are strategically interconnected. You respect others who are accountable and work hard for the team.

Typical Challenges

You work less effectively in a work environment where team members are indirect, indecisive or do not take responsibility for their actions. You prefer to have your territory well defined and to have control of your areas of responsibility. You dislike being bound by unnecessary or rigid rules, restrictions or procedures.

You have a strong sense of justice and can be intolerant of dishonesty, excuses, incompetence, waffling or time wasting by your co-workers, and may be insensitive to others’ challenges. Keenly aware of who does, or doesn’t have power in any given situation, you can be resistant and reject unjust authorities and rules you don’t respect. When you feel that someone has let you down or is wasting your time, you might come across as too blunt, harsh, insensitive or disrespectful.

Taking Guidance

You faithfully follow others who have proven themselves and earned your respect. You especially respect leadership that is direct, honest, and uncompromising.

You are very uncomfortable if others you perceive to be incompetent have more authority or power than you. You may have difficulty receiving feedback because you dislike being seen as wrong or mistaken. You can be defensive and defiant with authorities, opinions or rules that you don’t respect.

Leadership Style

You lead with charisma, big ideas, broad vision, and bold strategies. Naturally protective of your “flock” and any underdog, you go to bat for your employees, particularly when you perceive that they are being unfairly treated or not rewarded for good work. You can inspire your team through your loyalty, nobility of heart, generosity, and inherently heroic nature.

You set high standards for your team in terms of their effort and commitment. On the other hand, your powerful personality can intimidate others without you knowing it. Your self-confidence and resolve can feel to others like, “ it’s my way or the highway.” If you mistrust employees, you might become impatient and feel the need to micromanage them (which you hate because it seems like a waste of time).

Famous Type 8 Protective Challengers

Tupac, Frank Sinatra, Joseph Stalin, Donald Trump, Napoleon, Lucille Ball, Charles Barkley, Humphrey Bogart, James Brown, Richard Burton, Johnny Cash, Fidel Castro, Sean Connery, Jimmy Connor, Danny DeVito, Mike Ditka, Bob Dole, Michael Douglas, Milton Erickson, Indira Gandhi, Joan Jett, Lyndon Johnson, Brian Keith, Martin Luther King Jr., Evel Knievel, Bruce Lee, Rush Limbaugh, Mao Tse-tung, John McEnroe, Golda Meir, Dennis Miller, Judd Nelson, George Patton, Sean Penn, Fritz Perls, Julia Phillips, Julianne Phillips, Suzanne Pleshette, Queen Latifah, Ann Richards, Theodore Roosevelt, Axl Rose, Mickey Rourke, Colonel Sanders, Maurice Sendak, Ken Wahl, George Wallace, Mike Wallace, Denzel Washington, John Wayne, Zorba the Greek.

Mediator, Peacekeeper, Diplomat, Pleasant Person, Modest Person, Humble Person, Pacifist Worldview of the Type 9 Overview You are an easy-going, kind, and accepting person who strives to be in harmony

Epicure, Visionary, Enthusiast, Jack-of-All-Trades, Adventurer, Innovator, Dilettante Worldview of the Type 7 Overview You are an upbeat, spontaneous, and energetic person that strives for stimulation

Loyal Skeptic, Trooper, Trouble Shooter, Defender, Guardian, Questioner, Devil's Advocate Worldview of the Type 6 Overview You are a conscientious, loyal, and dependable person who strives for certain

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Max Marmer

Max Marmer is a Multidimensional Entrepreneur, Investor, Writer, Coach, Biohacker and Systems Theorist dedicated to supporting and enabling the flourishing of humanity in the 21st century.