Tune in to my conversation with Ashton Whitmoyer-Ober of @enneagramashton!
This was such a beautiful episode, I hope you enjoy it.
You can find the full Show Notes on the blog here.
- Enneagram for Relationships
- The Enneagram Made Simple: A No-Nonsense Guide to Using the Enneagram for Growth and Awareness
- The Two of Us: A Three-Year Couples Journal: 1,000+ Daily Questions for Growing Closer
Follow on Instagram || @christianenneagram.coach
Get the Book || Enneagram For Beginners
Learn On-Demand + Get Coaching || Enneagram 101 Course
Visit the Shop || Christian Enneagram Shop
00:00:09 Hi, you're listening to the Christian Enneagram podcast. I'm Kim Eddy, your host and self-proclaimed Enneagram BFF. Every week I stop by with some Enneagram encouragement, motivation, and inspiration, and sometimes a special guest. Here, we ask the big questions about the Enneagram when it comes to your faith, we get to know ourselves a little better, and we grow in empathy for others. I hope you enjoy today's episode and I'm just so excited you're here. So let's get into it.
00:00:42 Hello, my friend. Welcome to the Christian Enneagram podcast. I'm Kim Eddy, all of that good stuff; I'm your host! You know me. Today is going to be a little bit longer because we have an interview. I'm going to be talking with Ashton Whitmoyer-Ober of Enneagram Ashton. She has authored three books at this point; she's a fabulous human being, a beautiful soul; and I don't want to take up too much of this podcast just doing this intro, so I think that's it! Let's get into it. Here's my interview with Ashton.
00:01:20 First of all, welcome, Ashton, to the podcast. I am so excited that you're here! I'm going to introduce you in a minute, but I, I, first of all, just wanted to say for people who are listening, you and I have kind of developed this kind of friendship over Instagram DMS, but we have never spoken in person. So this is our first time kind of speaking, well, almost in-person; face-to-face, let's say. Yeah.
00:01:47 So, so first of all, just welcome and thank you for being here. We're really excited.
00:01:52 Thanks for having me. I'm super excited to be here too.
00:01:56 Yeah. So, so if you don't know, as a listener, who Ashton is, Ashton Whitmoyer-Ober has a bachelor of science in psychology. She started her own retail business at the age of 22, and I think you ran that for like five years or something successfully, and then you decided to go back, she decided to go back for a master's of arts degree, a master of arts degree in community psychology and social change. And now Ashton is an amazing Enneagram coach, a teacher, an author; you have authored three books, all of which have come out during the pandemic. If I'm, you know, have been released during the pandemic. And two of them have been written during that time. And you have so many other amazing accomplishments. She is a beautiful soul, a wonderful person. I am so excited to be talking to her today. So that's who she is. Welcome, Ashton, to the Christian Enneagram Podcast.
00:02:54 I am like, I feel like I could cry, listening to you talk about me, but again, I'm an Enneagram Two; so I'm like, "Tell me more! Tell me more about how I'm a wonderful soul!"
00:03:03 Well, I consider you one of the people who has, I don't know if you would consider yourself this, but from the sidelines you have cheered me on.I have watched you, I've been inspired by you in my own, my own journey, I suppose, as an Enneagram coach. So, so yeah, I believe all of those things.
00:03:25 I just love being able to like, watch so many people, like, take that space as their own and, and create it to, you know, what makes sense to them. And so it has been like one of my favorite things, is cheering people on and being able to, like, watch their growth occur. So it's been an honor to do so.
00:03:45 Yeah. Yeah. And I can definitely feel that for my site, that that is a value that you hold and that's something that's important to you, is lifting other people up. And I, anybody who has come in contact with you, I'm sure the same as me is grateful for that.
00:04:02 So, so what we're going to talk about today is probably a little bit obvious. We're going to talk about the Enneagram, but I'd love to know a little more about you, Ashton. Like, how did you find the Enneagram? What did that look like?
00:04:21 Yeah. So like you said, I decided to close up shop in 2017 to my retail business, went back to get my master's degree, but working full time in the "helping field" like I, I like to call it, while I was getting my master's, and so it took me a little bit longer than your traditional two-year program. But it was during that program that I obviously was learning about personality-typing systems and was introduced to the Enneagram. And what I loved about it was that it could be used as a tool to better understand other people and that it wasn't just,
00:05:01 and you know, I'm speaking to the choir here, but it wasn't just, "Oh, this is who you are." It was, "This is why you do things the way that you do." And that was so impactful for me to really witness the changes that I saw in my relationships with other people, and just to be able to understand each other deeply more deeply and to offer empathy, which are like some of my core values. And when I came out of my master's program and was still, I'd always worked in the field of sexual and domestic violence prevention, I tried to do both. I tried to like, be like, "Oh, I'm gonna, you know, help people on the side."
00:05:52 But creating Enneagram Ashton and how kind of quickly it grew, I really just wanted to focus in my efforts on helping people become the best version of themselves and helping people really to strengthen their relationships with other people. And so that's what took me down that path and allowed me to be able to meet so many incredible people and just develop relationships. And I'm so thankful for the journey.
00:06:23 Yeah. Okay. So, so you found the Enneagram as a part of your, your own education and your own learning. I think that is so, I think a lot of people come to it that way. I think there's about half and half, or maybe, maybe there's a couple of thirds, I don't know. But you know, whether you're learning it kind of as a part of an overall education strategy like you did, or people who are introduced to it by enthusiastic friend, you know, "You need to learn about this!" And then there, I think there's people like me who came to the Enneagram in a crisis moment, like "How do I find something that will help me where I'm at?" And, and I, I just think it's so fascinating how we come to it in these different ways. So, so thank you for sharing.
00:07:11 And in reality, like I could have been coming to it in a crisis moment, as well.
00:07:16 You could have found it when you needed it.
00:07:19 Yeah. And I think that is the truth for a lot of people, right, is, is we receive the information that we need often. And that's my hope for really all of us who are on that platform and sharing about the Enneagram that we are sharing the things that people need to hear and see.
00:07:42 No, that is so true. That is so true. Like getting to the deeper truth is that you find it; just like everything, wisdom that comes to us through people or through us deciding we need to seek it or, you know, things like that. And, and it, the vessel that it comes in or the package that we find it in isn't as important as us needing to find it. So I think that is so true like that. Thank you. Because I think that people sometimes think, "Well, the Enneagram is just fun." And it is; there are fun things to it! But there is this deeper knowledge, like you said, of why: why we do what we do, what are some important layers that we can uncover and not just accept our behavior as who we are and get to the core, the core of who we are so that our behavior becomes just one of the ways that we show up and manifest who we are.
00:08:50 And we get to become a part of adjusting or influencing how we see the world and how we, how we respond to the world is really, really what it is. The behaviors that come out become more under our control if we know why they happen and we can help our needs be met in healthy ways when we understand how, "Oh, maybe we aren't doing that in the most healthy way." Yeah. Without, without belittling the need itself; that's the important thing. Yeah. Yeah.
00:09:25 So, so we talked about how the Enneagram shows us a lot about ourselves, and I think that is so true, but if you're willing to go there, what's one of the most important or impactful things that you've learned about you, about Ashton, while, while on your own Enneagram journey?
00:09:47 And it's actually is so fascinating because I think people assume that us that are on a very public platform talking about it and helping other people, people assume that like, we must have our entire journey figured out, right? And like, we are the healthiest versions of our type. And one of the, one of the key things that I realized about being an Enneagram Two, was just how much I wanted to feel needed. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, but I have a hundred percent been able to see it go that way in my life, right? And to a lot of people--my family, my husband, my friends-- would have sworn up and down that I was a Three.
00:10:39 And you know, I look a lot like a Three, I have a lot of behavior characteristics like a Three, but for me, it always came back to those messages, really, of wanting to feel loved, wanted, needed, appreciated... all of those things about a Two. And, you know, it's, it's a journey that I'm just constantly on.
00:11:04 My best friend, my best best friend in the entire world right now has breast cancer, and she has just completed her third chemo treatment yesterday. And usually on Thursdays when she has her chemo, I teach in the morning and then I go straight to her treatment center to be with her for the last leg and then drive her home. And yesterday she didn't need me. And I was like, "What do you mean you don't need me?" You know? And so I just say that because for a little, like I had that moment of, "Oh yeah, this is my Enneagram a hundred percent." Right. And that's part of the reason why we learn, is so we can start to recognize those feelings!
00:11:57 So I started to have those feelings of "Why am I, you know, feeling unneeded in this moment?" And, you know, I, I was able to move through that and recover; whereas previously, before having the knowledge of the Enneagram, I would have really just, you know, not been able to move past those feelings. So to answer your question, I think the awareness of some of those moments has, has been the most impactful for me, the awareness of "Why am I doing this for somebody else?" Right. "Am I doing this because I want to feel needed, or I want the gratification that I'm getting? Or do I actually want to be the helper in this instance?" and really just learning how to say no. And I'm not great. I'm not perfect at that. I'm getting better. But I think that's, again, part of the, part of the growth.
00:13:07 Yeah. No, and I thank you for sharing, 'cause I think that a lot of times you're absolutely right; people think that we have it altogether, as the people who kind of guide or teach or coach around the Enneagram. But, but I, I, I think that self-awareness piece that you talked about is just really what it is, because that gives you the ability to be intentional. Without the awareness, we can't be intentional; we're kind of just tied to our motivations, driving the car, like we're, we're in the passenger seat.
00:13:40 And I think what's interesting, and just to some perspective, for some, for some people as well, is I always assume that people won't tell me what they need, because I'm horrible at that, right? And so I was talking to her sister, my friend's sister yesterday, and I was like, "I just need you to tell me it's okay for me to not go." Right. Like, and she was like, "She would tell you."
00:14:06 And I was like, "Oh, she would tell me if she needed me. Right." And so I assume that I need to go because she wouldn't tell me if she needed me, because that is a Two's tendency, right? And just so recognizing, I think that's part of what's been so impactful about the Enneagram, too, obviously, is realizing that other people do things differently than you and learning that my natural reaction is going to be different than somebody else's.
00:14:39 Yes. Oh, that is such a big piece. The awareness that our perspective is one valid perspective and how we, how we come up with the expectations of others is really based on what we know about ourselves. Even if we aren't aware of, or have language around what we're doing, we still think that other people will react or behave or have the same longings and desires that we do and, or the ones that we put the most emphasis on. Right. And, and that becomes the way that we interact with people, which is a faulty lens. Like it's a foggy lens to look at people through because they are whole people in and of themselves.
00:15:21 So I agree. Being able to see other people a little more fully and clearly is such a beautiful gift, because not only does it allow us to, like you said, work through the things that are ours to work through, but it doesn't put any of that expectation on other people to have the same things they need to work through, or they need to grow. And they're going to have their own set of things to grow in. And, and that gives everybody in the whatever relationship it is this beautiful freedom to be themselves, and allow others to be themselves and work on their relationship when it needs to be worked on, of course.
00:16:01 But knowing that you're free to be you, and I'm free to be me; that has been one of mine, my most freeing things with the Enneagram as well. So, so thank you for sharing all of those. Like I know that that is going to speak to a lot of people, no matter where they're at, like on their Enneagram journey: brand new; consider themselves, like, seasoned experts; I think that all of us can relate on many levels, no matter what our, what our personal type is to, to what you said. So thank you. Thank you.
00:16:33 I like to go just a little bit deeper, you know, talking about you and thank you for being so open with us. Like we, we want to know how it works and, and you're giving us some insight into that. I'd love to know, on the spiritual side of things, here at the Christian Enneagram Podcast, we know that, or we believe that, a lot of our spirituality is impacted by our Enneagram type and our motivations and vice versa. Like, how we grow is very tied to our spirituality, is what we believe here. So we'd like to know, I'd like to know, how has using the Enneagram in your personal life, like in your journey, you've talked about some of that; has it affected your spiritual journey as well? And if it has, in what ways?
00:17:27 Yeah. So my spiritual journey has been an interesting one, I will say, and I feel like, like many people, it's definitely been impacted over the past several years. And the Enneagram has almost been a tool to remind me of things, if that makes sense. So, remind me of the way that I was created; remind me of my gifts and you know, what I have to offer people; and really to demonstrate Jesus's characteristics and ability to understand others and, you know, looking at others in really the image and the way that they were created to be, and to value that, you know, and to respect that about other people. And so I don't, I don't think that it has been my entire journey with the Enneagram, but I think that it has been a great tool to remind me of who I am.
00:18:41 Also the, the key about needing to be loved and needing to be wanted is really how I have always kind of viewed my relationship with God, is that I didn't feel worthy of love and acceptance. And so being able to tap into that and understand like, why I felt that way and then to really embrace His love for all of us, I think has tied together as a whole that yes, He loves me. He sees me for who I am, and then look at all of these other people that He has gifted them with different things than I have been gifted. Does that make sense?
00:19:23 No, that makes so much sense. Like, and I, and I totally agree again, like I think that it's so important, the Enneagram can show us where we are on some level, believing some lies, telling ourselves some lies, reinforcing those lies about what I need in life to be okay. And the, the hierarchy that I've made for myself of the things that I need in life, for me as an Enneagram Type One, I need to be right. I need to be perfect. And okay, if I love some people or feel some love, alright, you know; but I can, I can put that into balance. Like, no, it's good to need these other things too. And like have this, the way that I was created was to embrace and embody this balance of needs and meeting other people's needs and being in community and, and showing love, not just in the way that I understand it to be based on my motivations, but in the ways that, that, like you said, that Jesus embodied and Jesus showed and, and that other people can experience, you know.
00:20:35 Cause what, what I experience as love might not be what somebody else does. And then if we clash on that, then everybody's confused as to why there's conflict. And so, so yeah, I think that, I mean, I agree, thank you for sharing that. I think that that is so relevant.
00:20:54 And really, like my, my favorite thing about the Enneagram; boy, I should say my, my biggest goal is to seek to understand others. I say it all the time: I just want to understand other people. And I really feel closer to Jesus when I want to do that, because I feel like that is one of, that is one of His major goals as well.
00:21:19 Yeah. Yeah. The way that Jesus showed compassion , through action, but it came from empathy and understanding. Jesus was like, "I'm going to help you, but I'm not going to judge who you are; I'm not going to judge why you're here; I'm just going to be like, here's help." And, and that does come from a fullness of understanding so that people that He interacted with felt known, even in ways that confused the people that were witnessing it, they're like, "Why, why are you doing that? They're just a bad person." And Jesus was like, "No, I love them. I understand them. I know what, what is going on in their heart."
00:22:02 So, so yeah, I mean, and yes, understanding others. I love that as a, as a kind of an overarching goal of your Enneagram work and how you teach and coach and, and write about the Enneagram. I love that so much because that is what it is. As you understand yourself and other people better, intentionality becomes an actual possibility; whereas when you don't seek to understand, or you just can't understand, then being intentional becomes kind of out of our reach because we're just tied to doing our patterns, like just living as we have been living, without being able to really understand the inner workings of what's going on. And the Enneagram can help so much with that.
00:22:53 So speaking of how you, how you have this goal and this reason for how you approach the Enneagram, you have at this point, I'm not going to assume you aren't writing right now, but you have written, okay, you haven't written three books so far. Two, one on the Enneagram and relationships; one on, one, which is a, three-year kind of guided couples journal, right? A journal for, for moving through and understanding each other, if I understand that right?
00:23:25 And then your latest one, which is "Enneagram Made Simple: A No-Nonsense, No Nonsense Guide to Using the Enneagram for Growth and Awareness." And that came out last month, I think. Right?
00:23:41 Okay. So I love that "no nonsense guide" part, but I'd love to know, like the readers, or the listeners want to know, like, what, why did you write this book? What about it felt important to you?
00:23:56 I feel like everything that I produce, there has to be a level of importance and passion for me to actually do it. And I felt like, you know, people are constantly coming in to my DMS, sending me emails, asking me questions. And that's really what this book is about. Like, let's answer some of those questions; let's talk deeply about what the Enneagram is; let's learn about all of the types. Right. I know it's always, people's instant reaction is just to, you know, you don't have to worry about that, cause Ones are always first! But people always want to flip to their number, but really let's, you know, read all of the numbers, learn about all of them.
00:24:47 And then my favorite part of the book is that there are actual exercises in there for each of the types, because I felt like we're not just learning this stuff to be like, "Okay, great, I know this about me. I'm gonna move on with my life." Like, it's, it's a complex tool, it's a complex system. And now, we have to know how to use it in our life to continue to grow. And really our growth levels are fluctuating all the time anyways, and so, you know, one year you might feel like you're the best version of yourself and you're super healthy, and then next year you might be going through a challenging season. And so really just being able to have this book as a reference guide, not just for now, but for the future to refer back to it, to look at the mantras, go through the exercises and just have it to share with people who, you know, need assistance.
00:25:54 Yeah. Yeah. And I highly recommend this book. Like it is, it is; I love the exercises in it. That, that's one of the most important things, things. You know, there are heavy, meaty books about the Enneagram, which I think are very valuable, but how do you ( and you talked about that) like, how do you apply this? How do you know what you need next? How do you know where to go with this? And so being able to put the Enneagram into this concise, relatable way of, of really filtering yourself in the world and others, I think is so important. And I agree, I think it's needed in the world. So thank you for this book and the Enneagram and Relationships--sorry,"Enneagram for Relationships" I think it is. Did I get the title wrong?
00:26:49 It's "For" you're right, "Enneagram For Relationships."
00:26:53 "Enneagram for Relationships" was, was the, obviously the first book I read that you wrote, and that one is so helpful, too. Like it's, it's no-nonsense; it is, this is, this is what it is. This is how you can apply it. These are some things to watch out for, and these might be some areas to grow. And I think that that is so, so needed by people who might be overwhelmed by the number of available Enneagram resources and teachers. And, and it can be confusing and overwhelming just to know where to start. So if you're listening and you haven't read Enneagram-- I called you Enneagram Ashton! If you haven't read Ashton's books--
00:27:34 You're not the only one
00:27:36 That, isn't your name? That isn't your given name?!
00:27:40 I know, I was at Target the other day and looking at a Valentine's Day card for Derek and the girl next to me goes, "Oh, you're Enneagram Ashton!" And I was like, "Hey, I'm Ashton, like..."
00:27:53 "Ashton's my actual name."
00:27:55 But it's so funny.
00:27:56 So if you haven't read Ashton's books, I highly recommend that you start there because, because it is such a great place to start. And it, it, it gives you this way of viewing the Enneagram that's so accessible and so deep at the same time. And I think that that is a difficult balance to achieve. And I think you have so, so that's really beautiful. Yeah. Yeah. So Ashton, where can our listeners find you?
00:28:27 Yes. So you can find me on Instagram at "Enneagram Ashton" and also my website is enneagramashton.com. So it's super easy to remember, and I would love to hear from people.
00:28:40 Yeah, absolutely. If you, if you are listening and you're encouraged by Ashton and what she shared here, definitely go let her know; like Enneagram Two, like, she wants to know if you were positively impacted by what she shared here! I certainly was. I'm always encouraged by what Ashton shares and how she teaches and everything like that. So, Ashton, do you have any final thoughts for our listeners or an encouragement for them kind of breaking down what you shared with us into one thought, which I know is, is, is a hefty task because you've shared a lot of, a lot of wonderful things.
00:29:21 I think, you know, I always just remind people to remove the pressure, right. And really just take the time to sit with the information that you're learning. You don't need to figure out your type in 10 minutes and move on with your life; you don't need to, you know, become the healthiest version of yourself in 24 hours; just take the time, be patient with yourself, care for yourself, give yourself grace and recognize that, you know, you were created to be this way. And that's a true gift.
00:29:57 Yeah, absolutely. I have nothing else to add. That was beautiful. Ashton, thank you so much for being here and, and we'll talk soon.
00:30:07 Yes. Thank you for having me. Thanks everyone.
00:30:10 And there you have it. There is my conversation with Ashton. I will put all of her links in the show notes for you, so you can go find her, find her books, let her know what you thought of the episode. I really hope you enjoyed it. I got so much out of this conversation with Ashton and it was just a really, really fun to be talking to her face to face. So I hope that you enjoyed that as well.
00:30:36 If you have any suggestions for other people, you'd like for me to talk to, I would love to hear that I'd love to bring you more interesting people that you want to hear from all about their experience with the Enneagram, whether they teach on it or not. And finally, I do want to let you know that something really, really exciting has happened. Enneagram 101, which is the first course inside Christian Enneagram University is ready for you. I'm not going to talk about it too much right now because you can just check the show notes and click the link and all of that good stuff, but it is ready. The community forum is ready and it, depending on when this episode comes out, we're either getting ready to have our first alumni coaching call, or it just happened. So, but if it just happened to, there will be another one next month and every month following.
00:31:29 I'm so excited about this course, it's all about a foundational faith centered approach to using the Enneagram to grow. And like I said, you'll be able to find the link to all of that in the show notes. Well, that is all I have for you this week, friend. I can't wait to see you or rather talk to you in the next episode. Bye.