Overall happiness, both in business and in life, could be greatly increased if you improved your self-awareness, according to experts.

“Some people think of self-awareness as a ‘soft skill,’ but I’m convinced that conscious living and self-awareness is not only a key predictor of success in business, it’s a key predictor of success in life,” said Ian Morgan Cron, a psychotherapist and author of The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery. “Research shows that companies where self-awareness is both taught and valued have far better bottom lines in the long run than ones that don’t.”

Cron, who travels the world facilitating workshops for the Enneagram – an ancient personality test recognizing types – said his goal is to help bring awareness to what motivates each individual, so they become better communicators and collaborators. 

“Smart people are creating cultures of empathy and understanding,” Cron said. “The research supports this. Cornell University’s Business School did a study of 72 high performance CEO’s of companies ranging in value of 50 million to 5 billion dollars, and what they discovered was the key predictor of success for leaders was self-awareness.”

Jenniffer Weigel | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Jenniffer Weigel | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Seeing the world through other peoples’ lenses can be helpful in marriage, at the office and in friendships.

“The key to the Enneagram is that it’s not what you do that matters so much as why you do it,” Cron said. “So it’s getting at the underlying motivations that determine type, not just the characteristics and traits.”

To find out your number, Cron designed a 90 question quiz with true/false, yes/no questions that range from “I want to avoid conflict at all costs” to “I have a voracious appetite for new experiences and adventure.” http://exploreyourtype.com/details But often, Cron said, people will “just know” where they fall by hearing the basic list of each type.

Here are Cron’s descriptions of the 9 numbers of the Enneagram:

1 – The Reformer. “Hard working and meticulous, these people are reliable and motivated by a need to perfect themselves, others and the world.”

2 – The Helper. “Warm, caring and giving, they are motivated by people with a need to be needed.”

3 – The Achiever. “Success oriented, image conscious people who are wired for productivity.”

4 – The Individualist. “Creative, sensitive, and motivated by a need to be unique and special.”

5 – The Investigator. “They are the most analytical number on the enneagram. Sometimes they’re emotionally detached, and very private, they are motivated by a need to gain knowledge and conserve energy.”

6 – The Loyalist. “Committed, practical, earthy, loyal, and often very funny. Every great comedian is a 6. They are also motivated by fear and the need for security.”

7 – The Enthusiast. “Fun, spontaneous, adventurous and motivated by a need to be happy and plan stimulating experiences to avoid difficult or uncomfortable feelings.”

8: The Challenger. “Commanding, confrontational, overly blunt at times, and motivated by a need to be in control and insert power to avoid revealing weakness or vulnerability.”

9: The Peacemaker. “Pleasant, laid back, accommodating people motivated by a need to keep the peace and avoid conflict at all costs.”

Not all households or offices will have all numbers, Cron said. But just having the awareness could be a helpful first step.

“I was working in a Fortune 500 company and they brought me in to work with the top 65 people from the CEO down,” Cron said. “After I left, I went back a couple months later for a follow up and I noticed that each office had each person’s Enneagram number on the door. So now when people walked into another person’s office, they can ask themselves, ‘What is this person’s motivation and how can I communicate effectively?’ You realize that not everyone sees the world the way you do, and when you know that, your ability to communicate, to empathize, and extend compassion goes way up.”

Jenniffer Weigel is Director of Community Relations for the Sun-Times and has had a lifelong interest in wellness and related topics/ She’s a frequent contributor to the Wednesday Well section.