What’s the Enneagram, and what are we talking about when we say type SIX? Check out our Enneagram Types on Vacation post and our Enneagram Resources page to learn what the Enneagram is and why we think it’s helpful when applied to travel.
People don’t fit in boxes
One of the major arguments against personality typing systems I have heard is that people are so multi-faceted; how can a personality type define all of the subtleties of an individual?
We have been amazed at how extensive the Enneagram is. While you can dabble and learn a great deal of helpful information, you can also do a deep dive and still not touch the bottom.
We would never want to put anyone in a box or say that we understand another human being because we will never experience how another brain works.
However, we’ve found the Enneagram to be extremely helpful in articulating how we’re motivated in this world, which helps us learn how to relate to each other as we travel together.
Who is Enneagram type SIX
Type SIX often called…
The Loyalist. The Guardian. The Traditionalist. The Troubleshooter. The Doubter.
Of having no support or guidance, of being unable to survive on their own.
To find security and support.
Responsible. Loyal. Committed. Hardworking. Suspicious. Anxious.
Concerned for the common good.
Deadly sin or passion
Fear, anxiety, or angst.
Anxiety – Scanning the horizon of life and trying to predict and prevent negative outcomes (especially worst-case scenarios); remaining in a constant state of apprehension and worry.On the core weakness of type six from: Becoming Us by Beth and Jeff McCord
Enneagram type SIX strengths
SIXES are loyal, dependable, and great problem solvers. They are out to defend the common good, aware of everyone, and intentional about making things work for everyone. SIXES are hard workers and highly responsible.
You want a SIX on your team if you need things done and can’t micro-manage to see something accomplished.
“The root sin of SIXes also has a positive side: SIXes have wonderful gifts. Every community or group that has SIXes in its ranks can depend on their loyalty, Self-sacrifice, and readiness to assume responsibility. SIXes, to be sure, expect from their superiors and co-workers the same loyalty and credibility for which they themselves strive.”The Enneagram a Christian Perspective
Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert
When traveling, SIXES are a great asset because they will be prepared. They will often research and plan a trip ahead of time to know what to expect.
Being prepared is of high value to a SIX because it helps them to feel safe. Like the boy scouts, their motto could be “be prepared.” You can always rely on them to have a large bag of everything you need.
SIXES live life in a constant barrage of anxiety. They are anxious about everything. SIXES tend to be courageous because they usually persevere and work through fears.
Enneagram type SIX struggles
Because SIXES struggle with nagging anxiety or angst, they may become uptight. It can be difficult for them to go with the flow, be spontaneous, and deal well with changes in plans.
SIXES do best when they know what to expect and what others expect. Without these things, they will be fighting their inner angst and can come across as irritable, doubting, questioning, unenthusiastic, and stressed.
The type SIX is often nicknamed The Doubter because SIXES will respond to new ideas and plans with lots of questions, with all the reasons why it’s a bad idea before considering all the reasons it might be a good idea. For more enthusiastic types, this can seem like a huge rain cloud dumping on their dreams.
“SIXes need places of security, free from fear, where they don’t need to defend themselves, where they sense they are accepted as they are.The Enneagram a Christian Perspective
Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert
To settle a SIX, allow them to work through all their doubts and misgivings. If you let them spin through all the worst-case scenarios, they will often reach a point of agreeing with you; but they won’t jump on board right away.
If your SIX is tail spinning and is freaking themselves out, don’t say, “stop worrying, it’s gonna be okay,” that won’t help. Say something similar to, “Hey, I see you have a lot of concerns about this; let’s work through them.” Making a SIX feel heard and understood will probably win them over.
Leveraging type SIX strengths and struggles in travel
SIXES tend to be great planners. Because they want to be prepared for any circumstance, they will research and prepare for their travel adventures. This means you will have what you need and know what you need to know to succeed in your travels.
SIXES can also be fun to travel with if they are comfortable and feel heard. They are loyal and dependable and will be aware of those around them. Doing their best to make sure everyone is enjoying the trip.
As we’ve mentioned above, SIXES carry around an ever-present low level of anxiety, which increases whenever they are activated. This can make the unknowns and continually changing plans of traveling difficult for type SIX.
No matter how hard they try, no one can be prepared for every eventuality. However, SIXES will do their darnedest to do so, and they often get close. But there will always be a last-minute change, something forgotten, someone having a bad day, and messing up the status quo. All things that throw a SIXES equilibrium off just enough to activate their anxiety.
“The biggest problem for SIXes is that they try to build safety in the environment without resolving their own emotional insecurities. When they learn to face their anxieties, however, SIXes understand that although the world is always changing and is by nature uncertain, they can be serene and courageous in any circumstance.The Wisdom of the Enneagram
Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
To manage their anxiety, SIXES may attempt to control their situation, the people around them, and their environment. This signifies that a SIX feels anxious, thinking they won’t have what it takes to get through things.
Type SIX and vacation
What does vacation mean for type SIX?
Vacation is an opportunity to set aside the constant flow of responsibilities and take a break. To let go of meeting others’ expectations and do some self-care and self-reflection. This can only happen if the SIX is intentional and self-aware enough to make these things a priority.
“Learn to cultivate quiet time yourself. y this, we do not mean sitting around in front of a TV for hours, but time in which you get to be with yourself in a simple way. You benefit greatly from contact with nature. Take walks, garden, swim, meditate – and above all, do not use these times to worry, fret, and strategize about your work and relationships. They are times for you to become more comfortable with Being. Getting in greater contact with your surroundings and with the sensations in your body will do much to soothe and quiet that busy mind of yours.”The Wisdom of the Enneagram
Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
When traveling with family, especially with children, it can be challenging for a SIX to relax and recuperate genuinely because there are still people relying on them and responsibility always wins out for the SIX. Being mindful of this and setting aside some space to take care of themselves is essential.
What is the ideal vacation for type SIX?
To rest and recuperate, a SIX will often gravitate to a vacation location they know well. This eliminates unknowns and uncertainty.
If a SIX travels to a new location or a vastly different culture, they will want to be prepared by proactively researching. They will want time to acclimate and take the journey slowly to be present and process everything around them.
The ideal vacation for a type SIX is going somewhere or doing something that allows them to let go of as many responsibilities as possible and have space to tend to their needs and desires.
Traveling relationally for type SIX
SIX traveling with others
Traveling with others can be a challenge for anyone. For type SIX, traveling with others is a double-edged sword.
While being with those they love gives a SIX a sense of security and courage, it also means they are always carrying around the responsibility of maintaining the common good.
No one else has given them this responsibility, but without a concerted effort, SIX has difficulty not owning other people’s feelings, needs and experiences.
When traveling with others, even with a spouse or children, a type SIX needs to make a concerted effort to own their emotions, needs, and thoughts. And to allow those around them to take responsibility for themselves.
Traveling with a SIX
When traveling with a SIX, be aware that the whole experience will probably be challenging. At home, SIXES have learned to manage their anxiety by creating routines, setting up systems, and knowing their surroundings well to know what to expect.
Without the comfort of these well-known routines and surroundings, they can begin to feel overwhelmed by all that is new. The fear of not being adequate to handle the situation can start to stress your SIX out.
Being supportive without discounting their feelings is essential to a SIX. Take them seriously and be patient, but encourage them by reminding them of times that things went well and were handled well.
Type SIX and traveling the world
Skills for type SIX tool belt: improve travel experiences
Skill 1: Take a risk
Life often feels like a risk for type SIX. So asking SIXES to take more risks seems like adding insult to injury.
Trying new things feels risky. Going to new places feels risky. Meeting new people feels risky. Tasting new cuisines feel risky. Having to depend on yourself to get through something feels risky.
But taking risks often leads to great benefits and personal growth.
Every time a SIX does something new and can go through it and come out on the other side without great catastrophe occurring is a chance to reinforce the idea that “you have what it takes.”
Building this courage can be painful but can grow into abundance in relationships, experiences, and positive self-reliance. SIXES are incredibly courageous, but sometimes they don’t know it.
Skill 2: Do your research
SIXES already have the planning superpower. Continue to grow this by learning how to research and plan for your vacations.
We have a series of posts all about planning and preparing for your travel. Check these out to grow your skills in researching, learning about, and preparing for the new locations you want to experience.
Skill 3: Practice small spontaneous acts
SIXES struggle with spontaneity because, by definition, you can’t prepare for it. A significant growth opportunity for type SIX is to make an effort to do small spontaneous things that will build the courage to learn to handle the unknown with more optimism and confidence in themselves.
When at a restaurant, order food you’ve never had before. Or go to a restaurant that is unfamiliar to you.
Do something you’ve never tried: hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, snorkeling, or any other new activity.
The goal is to grow the confidence that you will handle yourself and be adequate to face whatever circumstance you find yourself in.
Here’s what one type SIX said…
Interview #1: Kristen of Gen Y Mama
What is your favorite part about traveling? Planning, the trip itself, looking back at memories, all the above, something else unique to you?
I enjoy all of the above. I tend to plan trips far in advance, and I enjoy that part of it (usually lots of spreadsheets are involved), and I enjoy myself while we are vacationing, and then I always look back on them fondly through photos and souvenirs we may have purchased. I am a person who takes a lot of pictures when on a trip and always have to go back and edit down the number of photos!
What do you think vacation means to your number?
I think a vacation to a SIX means going somewhere where you feel safe, secure. Maybe it is traveling to places you’ve already been to take some of the guesswork out of it. I think I am tending to lean that way now, wanting to take my kid’s places I’ve already been; I already know how they operate. Not too much unknown, not too much risk involved.
What is something you struggle with when traveling?
I have a hard time when things do not go exactly according to plan. Suppose the weather is poor if traffic is heavy and delays us if lines are long and cause us to miss a planned item on our trip (show or dinner reservation). It takes a bit for me to readjust.
What is something you think your Enneagram number struggles with the most when traveling?
I think sixes may think of the “what could go wrong” more so than all of the things that I could go right. I know I struggle with that. I think that’s why I put so much time and effort into planning and figuring out all of the worst-case scenarios.
What is your biggest hurdle when preparing for a trip?
Feeling confident in all of the decisions I made about the trip. For example, the hotel choice, flight times (if flying is involved), or restaurant choices (if reservations are needed ahead of time). I tend to second-guess myself A LOT as we are gearing up for a trip.
How do you go through the process of choosing where to travel?
These days it is based on if there are things for my kids to enjoy. I want to make sure everything is family-friendly, and that also may mean that it is easy to get there. Right now, I’m more inclined to drive somewhere than take two children on a plane.
How often would you travel if you didn’t have work or budget restraints?
I enjoy going on short trips, so perhaps I would go on an extended weekend trip at least once a month.
How often do you think your number would travel?
Hmm..if it’s a big, week-long, or more trip, probably once a year. Shorter trips, maybe 4 times a year.
The Road Back to You
The Path Between Us