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Read articles and learn more about the Cincinnati Chamber through our related news articles

Service options, community support drive Metro ridership growth
Enneagram Gave Me the Power to Overcome Fear

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Read articles and learn more about the Cincinnati Chamber through our related news articles

Service options, community support drive Metro ridership growth
Enneagram Gave Me the Power to Overcome Fear

Enneagram Gave Me the Power to Overcome Fear

By Karen Harmon

March 27, 2024 – I was desperate to quit my career for 5 years.

Five years is a long time. Five years of wanting to make a change but being unable to take the step was stressful, heartbreaking, and frustrating.

After almost two decades as a teacher, I was burned out and unhappy. I wanted to leave teaching to be home with my two small children, Cara and Ollie, and while I knew I wanted this more than anything else, I couldn’t understand what was holding me back.

How could I want something so deeply but feel completely paralyzed and powerless to make it happen?

That’s when my frustration hit a tipping point, and I started to search for answers. I’d been familiar with the Enneagram and chose to dive in and see what I could learn about myself.

Working with the Enneagram felt like discovering my personal owner’s manual. It was like reading a how-to book about myself that showed me my strengths and challenges, the motivation for my actions, and the thoughts, habits, and patterns that unconsciously influenced and ruled my life. And it showed me a clear path for growth, all with an approach that felt authentic and informative, not critical.

I discovered WHY I felt so afraid. As an Enneagram Type Six, I learned that my core internal motivation is fear. Type Sixes, in order to minimize or control their fear, search for certainty and trust and avoid the worst-case scenarios from coming true. Fear, or avoiding what felt like fear, unconsciously drove me, my thoughts, actions, emotions, and beliefs. This meant quitting my secure, predictable, safe, and certain career automatically triggered all the worst-case scenarios in my mind and stopped me in my tracks.

But discovering that internal motivation gave me the power to change it.

In exploring my Enneagram type, I discovered and recognized things I didn’t know about myself. I became aware of thoughts and actions that I believed were helping me but were actually creating frustration and stress and holding me back. I understood my natural strengths and how to leverage them better. I improved my communication skills, reduced conflict and tension, worked with others more effectively and compassionately, and learned to give myself grace.

What made all of this new knowledge so transformational was the ability to do something about it. I quit my job, found and married the most amazing partner, transformed my parenting, and launched a coaching career I absolutely love.

The Enneagram laid out a clear and practical path for my personal and professional growth and enabled me to take bold and courageous action, changing our lives for the better. And it can do the same for you.

Each of the Enneagram’s nine personality “types” represents a unique way of seeing the world and operating in it. Knowing your type is like having your personal owner’s manual and will enable you to:

  • Know and leverage your strengths
  • Understand and transform your blind spots or challenges
  • Recognize your internal motivations and how they impact your life
  • Release unhelpful defense mechanisms
  • Mitigate conflicts and their triggers
  • Clarify and improve communication and feedback, both giving and receiving
  • Understand others with empathy and compassion
  • Be self-aware and intentional about your life
  • Start making meaningful and conscious changes in your life instead of unconsciously operating on autopilot through old habits, patterns, and beliefs.

Your deeper self-awareness will naturally grow you as a leader, partner, colleague, co-worker, parent, and friend. In the workplace, you’ll increase your work satisfaction, reduce conflicts and irritations, and improve relationships and communication with colleagues, clients, and bosses while modeling authentic, inspirational, and influential leadership.

With unique a focus on your internal motivation, the Enneagram is designed to help you be more consciously aware of why you do what you do and give you a path to experience radical, positive transformations in every area of your personal and professional life.


I invite you to register for the upcoming Enneagram Workshop running in collaboration with the Leadership Center.

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