The Enneagram Type Seven personality – the Enthusiast – approaches life with curiosity, optimism, and a sense of adventure. They’re the life of the party who pumps up the energy in the room so that everyone will feel excited about what’s happening. Sevens like being the center of attention and having lots of interesting people, ideas, and events around them.
Sevens live in the future and love to contemplate possibilities. They are quick-witted and fast learners. They love to brainstorm and are good at generating novel ideas and synthesizing information. It can be challenging for them to stick with a concept or plan long enough to see it through to fruition. The next interesting idea or opportunity always beckons at their doors.
Healthy Sevens can be positively brilliant and creative. They are big-picture people who can see the finish line, consider all the options to get there, and instill confidence and enthusiasm among their cohorts as they embark on the journey. They live fully and encourage others to do the same.
When subject to the influence of the neighboring Six, Healthy Sevens become Entertainers. Their agile minds render them playful, curious, and creative. They have a positive outlook, interact well with others, and seem to accomplish a great deal with ease. They do well in show business, public relations, advertising, and media.
When subject to the influence of the neighboring Eight, Healthy Sevens become Realists. They are multitaskers who combine a zeal for material success with the capacity to think strategically and organize quickly. They’re pragmatic about relationships and privilege activity over connection. They can be direct to the point of bluntness.
Sevens are also influenced by their dominant instinct:
- Self-Preservation Sevens focus their ambition on securing creature comforts. They’re classic consumers who are unabashed about pampering themselves. They like social connection but can be reserved for fear that others might weigh them down.
- One-to-One Sevens seek an intense experience of being alive. They’re drawn to people who they find especially interesting or charismatic. Their love for dreaming about future adventures can engender restlessness within themselves and their intimate relationships.
- Social Sevens cultivate a wide circle of friends for stimulating companionship and for the sake of staying apprised of future possibilities. They like to have a full calendar, but they don’t want to be tied down to specific plans should their companion(s) proceed at a slow pace. They maintain back-up plans to keep their options open.
Of course, all that enthusiasm can have a dark side. Sevens can become so fixated on the future that they fail to revel in the here and now. They have a wandering eye that’s constantly on the lookout for more interesting experiences. A “fear of missing out” causes them to eschew commitment and get antsy when others have expectations of them. This restlessness may deny them the pleasure of experiencing life deeply or give them an enduring sense of satisfaction.
Under stress, Sevens may adopt characteristics of an Unhealthy One. They impose discipline on themselves to meet their obligations but chafe under the structure and limitations. They may strive for more freedom by trying to convince others that they are right about changing the rules of the game. They can become surly and impatient with those who disagree or fail to meet their standard of excellence.
The antidote to stress lies in processing anxiety when it threatens to take over and spur impulsive action. The circumstances may call for a simple act of finding contentment in the ordinary rather than seeking the next mountaintop experience.
Sevens find strength in movement toward a Healthy Five. From this position, they learn to quiet their hyperactive minds so that they can live more fully in the moment. They stay with their current experiences long enough to assess what is really happening and make more conscious choices about how they want to live.
One of my colleagues shared a story that illustrates the high side of Sevens. The family home was partially flooded around the Christmas holidays. To be sure, it was unpleasant for the entire household. But her attitude was: “We’re going to be OK. It’s just stuff. We’ll get through this.” And with that, she decorated the unaffected areas of the house and got on with enjoying the holidays. As she said, Sevens aren’t always optimistic. But it’s going to be OK…