Enneagram Type 7s are the honeybees of the Enneagram. Rather than pollen from flowers, they pick up ideas from people as they go from person to person throughout the day. The creative process for Type 7 is like making honey!
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have. — Maya Angelou
Enneagram Type 7s are continually looking for the next fun thing to do which makes this type very open to ideas for new things to try out. This process of collecting ideas resembles behaviors of Type 5 along the 7s path of integration. The 7 can stay in this state as long as everyone is happy and having fun. When things become less positive, the 7 becomes determined and focused on restoring positivity. That determination can resemble behaviors of Type 1 which lies on the 7’s path of disintegration. Type 7s creative process tips back and forth between collecting ideas and promoting ideas.
Enneagram Type 7 brings tremendous positive energy to problem-solving teams. In Chapter 5 of my book Teamwork 9.0—Successful Workgroup Problem Solving Using the Enneagram, a playground seesaw represents the back-and-forth motion between inspiration and action for each Enneagram type. Each type has a distinct seesaw on the playground. The seesaw’s fulcrum represents each Enneagram type’s intrinsic motivation, and higher fulcrum height represents higher motivation and deeper swings between inspiration and action. Type 7 is in the Enneagram’s Thinking or Head Center, the underlying issue for which is anxiety. Type 7’s anxiety levels depend on their relationships with those around them, and specifically on whether or not those relationships are positive. To minimize their anxiety levels, Type 7s strive to create a positive environment so that they can be liked.
Enneagram Type 7 Motivation: Being Liked
As the 7 engages with others, they seek to make those around them happy. Type 7s are talkative, charming and amusing. They are always on the alert for ideas to make others happy. They collect these ideas and talk about them with others to see which ideas get the most positive reaction. This processing of ideas can very much resemble the thoughtful behaviors of the analytical Type 5, and the 7 has access to this dynamic especially when their anxiety levels are low.
Enneagram Type 7 Inspiration: Collecting and Synthesizing Ideas
Enneagram Type 7 Action: Dogmatically Promoting Their Ideas
Anxiety levels increase for the 7 when there is negativity in the environment, especially if someone is unhappy with them. This negativity prompts the 7 to reach into their beehive of ideas and start promoting those ideas that will restore a positive attitude towards them. They can become quite determined in their pursuit of positivity, a dynamic that can resemble the doggedness of Type 1. As the 7 succeeds in restoring a positive environment, anxiety recedes, and the cycle begins again, back and forth on their Creativity Seesaw.
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. – Steve Jobs
Type 7s often do not know from where a specific idea came. Like the honey in the beehive, it is often the amalgam of many different ideas picked up over dozens of conversations. As the 7 is constantly engaged with people, they are continuously synthesizing and promoting fun ideas, making people happy, all of which results in them being liked.
How do the 7s in your life come up with ideas? How do they react to negative situations? When do you experience them sharing ideas to get you excited?
For more details on each Enneagram type’s creative style, see the following series of blogs:
Enneagram Type 8 Creativity – Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. – Ray Bradbury