Type 6 Interviews: Lindsay O’Connor & Becca Briggs

“A Trusting Heart” – Melissa Kircher

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Enneagram Paths! Today, we have interviews with Lindsay O’Connor and Becca Briggs who are going to share their experiences as Enneagram Type Sixes.

Let’s take a quick look at the description of a Type Six by Dr. Jerome D. Lubbe, whose book, Whole Identity, outlines a brain-based take on the Enneagram. Click on the book title to check out his entire site and grab a copy of this groundbreaking Enneagram theory for yourself.

Dr. Lubbe uses the term ‘Loyalty’ to summarize Type Sixes. Of Sixes, he says, “The innate human capacity reflected in 6 nature is the energy of loyalty. What 6 nature seeks and is motivated by is guarantees. [Their] primary style of engagement is thought. Positive limbic attachments reinforce a sense of being in concrete and promised. Negative limbic attachments are triggered fastest by unpredictability or insecurity. When overwhelmed, fatigue expresses as anxiety. The primary and practical application for 6 nature is to breathe and practice silence. The healthy 6 nature in each of us is the most gifted at modeling our human capacity for courage.” (Whole IdentityDr. Jerome D. Lubbe, pg. 59)

Thank you, Lindsay and Becca, for being here today and sharing with us what it means for you to live life as Six!

Lindsay O’Connor

1. What has it been like being a Type Six during Covid, quarantine, and social distancing? How have you coped?

In some ways, I think being a Six has made the pandemic more bearable because I’m used to worrying and planning for the worst-case scenario. Part of me has felt like, at least for the first few months when everything was shut down, the rest of the world was finally catching up to the anxiety, planning, and concern for safety that I always carry. I often feel invalidated in my anxiety, so in an odd way, having the whole world prioritize safety was validating. The more control I felt I had over the situation, the more settled and safe I felt, so when my husband, children, and I were all able to be at home, I felt reasonably safe. However, I am an introvert and have a pretty sizable 5 wing, so one of the greatest challenges during the pandemic has been the lack of alone time. I’ve had difficulty finding space to decompress and feel my own feelings without worrying about how they are impacting family members.

One of my greatest needs is for certainty, which has been very difficult during this odd in-between time when everything keeps changing. Because I cope with anxiety through planning, I’ve struggled with not being able to plan very far in advance as so many things have been subject to change in this phase of the pandemic. I’ve had to learn to hold things loosely and to create my own routines (for myself and for our children) in order to feel some sense of security and control. Structure helps settle my anxiety because it allows me a small degree of predictability when so many things are out of my control.

As a rule-follower who looks to authority figures to offer a sense of guidance and safety, I’ve struggled with the lack of unity and consistent messaging from those in authority (in the government, healthcare, etc.). Deep down, I believe that rules for the common good keep us safe, so it has been frustrating to see everyone disagreeing about the best ways to protect ourselves and others during the pandemic.

2. What is the thing you like the most about being a Six?

My favorite thing about being a Type Six is our concern for and commitment to the common good. I generally want, can envision, and am committed to working toward whatever is most beneficial for everyone, including and especially people whose perspectives have often been ignored, dismissed, or invalidated. I believe in the importance of working toward a group consensus and everyone having agency to be involved in the decisions that affect them.

3. Tell us about fear or doubt. How do you engage with fear/doubt and calm it so that you feel internal peace and trust in yourself?

The first and most basic step for me in engaging and calming fear and doubt has been increased awareness. Enneagram work has taught me to practice non-judgmental self-observation. In the past, I had attached a lot of shame to my anxiety (in general but especially pertaining to postpartum depression and anxiety disorder), so for several years, I’ve been working on becoming more shame-resilient and developing self-compassion. This has helped me to have healthier self-talk. When I recognize fear creeping in, I try to talk myself through it with kindness. When I start second-guessing a decision I made, I remind myself of all the things I did to make the best decision I could. I’m working on really believing that making a decision and then changing my mind doesn’t mean it was a bad decision or that I should not have trusted myself; it simply means that at any given moment, I am making the best decision I can with the information that is available to me.

I use some regular practices and routines to lower my baseline of anxiety as well as tools and mantras that I use in the moment when anxiety is ramped up. Therapy, spiritual direction, Enneagram work, and contemplative practices have helped immensely over time as sort of preventative measures or “maintenance.” Contemplative prayer has been especially beneficial in quieting my mind and getting in touch with my inner knowing, which acts as an anchor I can return to when I get caught up in the stress of daily life. Being outside and moving my body (usually with walks or yoga) helps me integrate my body, mind, and heart. As a head/thinking type, I’m working on reconnecting with my body as a way to get in touch with my real feelings.

I love to write and have found that it allows me to process what I’m thinking. I try to notice when I’m overly concerned with checking in with others for validation instead of trusting my own inner knowing. When I’m feeling especially anxious, I often turn to my body and try to discover what it needs (water, movement, rest, etc.). Viewing my anxiety as something that I carry and can befriend instead of something I need to get rid of has allowed me to see myself as a whole person and not to over-identify with it. When I’m struggling, a mantra that I use is, “You won’t feel this way forever.” Uncomfortable feelings are like waves, and it helps to remember that if I ride them out, they will pass.

4. How do you use your Stress Arrow to Type Three to help you these days? Are there any tips you’d give other Sixes about choosing some of the high-side traits of Three to be of service to you in stress?

The energy I tap into from my stress move to Three is very helpful when I’m feeling paralyzed by fear (on the low/unhealthy side of 6). When the move happens, I often notice that I’m able to set the fear aside and focus on taking the next step, and then the next, in order to keep moving and accomplishing. I get a burst of energy with this move and accomplish a lot. It also increases my confidence, which often shows up when I am teaching or leading a group in some capacity. Those are some of the gifts of the move to Three. However, we (Sixes) need to be aware of when we are too dismissive of others’ feelings in this space, prioritizing tasks over people/relationships, and we need to make time to circle back to our own feelings after we have set them down for a while.

5. Are you a Social, Self-Preservation, or Sexual/One-to-One Subtype? What does this instinct look like in your daily life? How does it drive some of your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings?

I identify the most with the self-preservation subtype. I’ve heard it described as the “warm” subtype (compared to social, which is cool, and sexual, which is hot). For Sixes, this means we are family-oriented, warm, and disarming. All Sixes deal with anxiety and a need for safety, and my subtype means that often the method I use to feel safe is to be warm and disarming towards other people. I think this (subconsciously) is a way that I try to endear myself to others in order to build a strong support system. My disarming behaviors look like avoidance of conflict, being (sometimes overly) accommodating of others, and moving towards others to fulfill their needs.

My subtype also means that most of my anxiety is around health and safety for myself and the people for whom I am responsible. All Sixes are concerned with being responsible and fulfilling duty, and as a self-preserving type, this is focused on practical, daily responsibilities involved in keeping my family and myself healthy and safe. I’m (sometimes overly) focused and intentional with practical physical needs like meal planning, keeping up with doctor appointments, paying bills, etc.

6. From the perspective of a Type Six, how can we best support each other during these difficult times? 

I believe that we can love and support others best when we feel healthy, whole, and loved ourselves. As I have worked on developing deeper self-compassion, I’ve noticed that I am more resilient and secure in my identity so I am in a healthier place to be present to the suffering of others. We can support one another by checking in, especially with people who might easily fall through the cracks, and listening and being present to people’s pain without trying to fix it. We can learn to recognize and own the privileges from which we have benefitted and make intentional efforts to listen to and follow the lead of those who have been marginalized in various parts of their identities. As we listen and develop relationships with people who have had different life experiences than we have, we can begin to see concrete ways to stand in solidarity with people who are suffering. For me as a Six, the support I often need and therefore the support I usually give involves listening to and validating people’s experiences without judging them. When we validate each other’s struggles, we can then find common ground where we can connect and work together to make the world a more just and compassionate place.

Lindsay O’Connor has been working with the Enneagram for about five years and is on staff part-time at Life in the Trinity Ministry, which was founded by Enneagram Teacher Suzanne Stabile and Reverend Joseph Stabile. Her favorite job is being mama to her two daughters. She is a writer, reader, former teacher, and most recently, a seminary student. Lindsay is passionate about cultivating spaces and conversations for healing, reconciliation, and flourishing in relationship with God, others, and self. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

Where to find Lindsay:

Instagram & Twitter: @lindsayloconnor

Facebook page: Rooted in Love https://www.facebook.com/yindsal
Blog: http://blog.lindsayoconnor.com


Becca Briggs

1. What has it been like being a Type Six during Covid, quarantine, and social distancing? How have you coped?

I will admit, the beginning months of Covid were TERRIFYING for me. I couldn’t even go to the grocery store without having a panic attack and felt like I needed to take every precaution necessary. I wouldn’t say it’s been an easy time, but once I quit focusing on the uncertainty and lack of control of everything happening around me, the change of pace and increase in introspection has been extremely beneficial. For years I was in a go-go-go mode, working constantly and extremely stressed on a daily basis. Being able to slow down and figure out what I TRULY want has given me the space and resources to live a simpler, more intuitively guided life instead of reacting to everything around me. I have coped by spending lots of time in nature, learning and starting my own business, and strengthening the relationships with the people closest to me. Having the mental/emotional support of my boyfriend, friends, and mom has honestly made the world of difference in how my quarantine experience played out.

2. What is the thing you like the most about being a Six?

Two things stand out the most. The first, although somewhat stereotypical, is the amount of loyalty given. Although at times it’s maybe caused more harm than good, I do take pride in my level of commitment. It’s hard to find people who truly put their dedication into relationships, jobs, projects, experiences, etc. and I would rather put my full heart and soul in than be half-in and half-out. Secondly, I like being such a deep thinker. As long as I’m not TOO caught up in my head, I actually do enjoy seeing many perspectives, putting puzzle pieces together, finding solutions, and the mental planning and organizing that occurs. I feel like I notice things others don’t, making this a valuable and appreciative skill.

3. Tell us about fear or doubt. How do you engage with fear/doubt and calm it so that you feel internal peace and trust in yourself?

Fear and Doubt feel like the Angel/Devil figures that sit on my shoulders, giving advice and guidance, except both of them can cause a chaotic mental spiral if I’m not careful. This has been a main area of growth for me in my personal development, and I’d be lying if I said they still don’t present themselves to me on a daily basis. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to find the balance in embracing them for what they are, instead of trying to repress or ignore them, yet not allowing them to control me or my life. Ultimately both fear and doubt are there to protect me, so I honor them as such, but know that just because they’re trying to help doesn’t mean that I NEED their help. They’re merely friends trying to give me suggestions for what to do. I take it into account, but at the end of the day, I make my OWN decision. A life hindered by fear and doubt isn’t a life lived at all, and more often than not pushing past our fears and doubts leads to the most AMAZING experiences that make it all worth it.

4. How do you use your Stress Arrow to Type Three to help you these days? Are there any tips you’d give other Sixes about choosing some of the high-side traits of Three to be of service to you in stress?

This is something I’ve been utilizing recently. I used to ONLY use it as a way to keep myself busy and distract myself from my worries and thoughts. But I’ve found that using it in an intentional and helpful way can actually be extremely beneficial. I either focus on projects that I can easily complete, especially if they’re collaborative or in a way that helps others, or do some strategic planning for myself; personal/professional goal planning, task management, scheduling, etc. – something to get me out of my head and into healthy productive action. The biggest tip I can give to other Six types is to make sure that the actions you take are intentional. Don’t just work to work. Don’t overload yourself just to prove something. Don’t get competitive to test yourself or others. It’s ultimately like a drug, that you never feel better after once you’ve “sobered up”, and trust me I spent YEARS chasing the “high” of overexerting myself. Instead, take healthy actions. Stay “busy” in ways that matter instead of distract. “Compete” with yourself by reaching goals for what you want. You don’t have to prove anything to yourself or anyone else, it feels so much better to stay focused on and true to you and your big-picture vision.

5. Are you a Social, Self-Preservation, or Sexual/One-to-One Subtype? What does this instinct look like in your daily life? How does it drive some of your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings?

My instinct is Self-Preservation, and it shows up in a variety of ways. Firstly, I look to an authority figure in my life. I like knowing I have someone there, helping support and protect me, and letting me know if they see any red flags in any decisions I consider risky. Although I’m currently working on not relying on outside validation as much, it’s nice to have it as a tool to ease my doubts. I’m also someone who prioritizes my physical/mental wellbeing. For example, in the past, I wasn’t able to date or pursue relationships until I had my work/financial/health/living situations figured out, because those took up most (if not all) of my mental capacity. In spending time with friends, if I don’t feel safe/comfortable (physically or emotionally), become too hungry or tired, or get too socially drained (as an introvert) I either won’t go or will leave immediately if I’m already there, and if I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I tend to go off the radar until I feel in a good-enough state to talk to people again. None of this is meant to be rude or uncaring to others, it’s simply a survival thing. Lastly, it’s also given me the unfortunate “worst-case-scenario”  thought process. Although I don’t always express it, in my head I’m usually ALWAYS playing out scenarios – especially the worst or craziest ones – down to the last detail. I’m always prepared for the worst, that way if ever it does happen I’ll be prepared to do anything and everything I can to get through it – both for myself and anyone else involved. Because of this though, I have a tendency to be spaced out in my head for a long time if I don’t have something actively taking my attention

6. From the perspective of a Type Six, how can we best support each other during these difficult times? 

I believe the best support right now is through community and compassion. There is an amount of personal responsibility that needs to be taken right now, but instead of focusing only on ourselves, I think people should look at the entirety of how their actions will impact others. We are all connected whether or not we want to admit it, and all of our actions have consequences, so being a contribution to the solution and taking any helpful steps will go far. The only way we can get through this without inflicting more chaos and damage is through having empathy and understanding for each other and taking actions to better ourselves and our world instead of focusing on things through a personal funnel of what we WANT to see.

Becca Briggs is a certified life coach and freelance artist, specializing in helping other intuitive creatives reconnect with their passions and purposes through personal development, organizational/strategic planning, and energetic/mindset work. She is dedicated to helping people develop deeper understandings of themselves using tools like the Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, and NLP so they can live their best, most confident, creative, and authentic lives.

Where to find Becca:

Social Media: @thebeccabriggs

Website: www.beccabriggs.com

One thought on “Type 6 Interviews: Lindsay O’Connor & Becca Briggs

  1. Nice interviews. 🙂

    I’m an sp/so 6w7 and I don’t aggressively plan anything, I do think “if this happens, what might I do?” but I don’t take active steps toward it. My 7 wing felt super pressured under quarantine — I hated not being able to go anywhere or do anything or plan anything fun or spend time with my friends. The pandemic actually never scared me that much. I had more anxiety over empty store shelves (it impacting me? sp-dom concern?) than the idea of getting sick, although I had maybe four or five days of anxiety as I wondered how seriously to take the illness, if I could transmit it to my pets, etc. The more people I knew who get it and survived — even with pre-existing problems — the more my fear deflated. But I do over think absolutely EVERYTHING. 😛

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