PODCAST

Enneagram Sixes – Ashton Brye on The Loyalists

On today’s peek behind the Enneagram curtain, we get to learn all about Type Sixes—the Loyalists—and what makes them tick. Graphic designer, Enneagram artist, and Disney cast member Ashton Brye shares how she discovered the Enneagram, applied her own artistic and pop culture spin on it, and voila! Her Instagram following @ashton.creates skyrocketed, all born out of her desire to learn more about all the Enneagram types. As a Six herself, Ashton breaks down for us how Sixes have a deep longing for safety and security, which they find through preparedness. Unfortunately, that need to be on top of things can often be mistakenly labeled as crippling anxiety and fear. Sixes are crazy loyal and responsible, and they value structure. As Ashton shares, when a Six goes in on something, they go all in (which is why they make excellent friends). Ashton talks a little bit about how it’s hard for Sixes to turn their minds off and relax without thinking about what needs to get done in the future, that for Sixes, it’s a balance of learning what can wait. In conflict, like in everything else they do, Sixes are all in, and they crave reassurance from others that you aren’t going to leave them. And PS: don’t forget to stick around until the end of the episode to hear composer Ryan O’Neal (AKA Sleeping at Last) talk about how he crafted a soothing, safe, and whimsical musical piece inspired by type Sixes. 

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Ashton: I think that’s what I’ve learned a lot as a Six, that all I need—as far as in conflict—is that reassurance that everything will be okay. 

Jen: Welcome to the For the Love Podcast with me, Jen Hatmaker. Calling all Enneagram Sixes, today we’re exploring your number with designer and graphic artist Ashton Brye

Hey everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your host of For the Love Podcast, welcome to the show. As you know right now, we are in a series called For the Love of the Enneagram, and it’s just gone bananas. We love it, and you love it, and it’s just so fun. I am endlessly fascinated with the Enneagram and understanding people better and knowing how to be in relationship with them better and be their friend and their wife and their mom and then, of course, understanding my own self. I literally cannot get enough.

So today’s episode is so rich and good, because we are finally to one of the most wonderful numbers today, the Enneagram Six. I love Enneagram Sixes. My assistant, Amanda, is a Six, and I would be 100% lost without her. I could honestly spend the whole podcast talking about how wonderful she is, but the fact is she shows the best that Sixes have to offer. She anticipates everything that needs to happen, and she works so hard to get it done in advance. She always has my back, always. A couple of my very best friends are Sixes too, and they’re so wonderful in the world. 

So today, I’m super pleased to welcome another incredible Six to the show, and her name is Ashton Brye. Now, let me tell you about Ashton. She’s a graphic designer who has created a ton of Enneagram artwork that you’ve probably seen on Instagram, because her account has blown up. It’s become so popular, it’s whimsical, and it includes every single type in the Enneagram. I mean, she has dialed in tight to the Enneagram and has been able now to express it in art form. I can’t wait for you to actually go look at her stuff. You’re going to lose it. You are going to go down the rabbit trail.

Okay, so Ashton kind of splits her time, generally speaking between South Carolina and Florida, because while she’s a full time graphic designer and owns her own business, Ashley is also a cast member a few days a month at Disney, because of course she is. We’ll ask her about this. This is pre-COVID, of course. We’ll talk about that. I love it so much. Ashton is so creative and interesting, and I think she does a beautiful job today of describing Sixes. So for all my Sixes out there, I know that you are going to feel really understood today. I think she just nails it right on the nose about what makes you tick, what you love, what motivates you, what worries you, what you look like in relationships. It’s all here, you guys. 

So whether you are a Six or you love one, you are positively going to love my conversation today with the absolutely delightful Enneagram Six, Ashton Brye. 

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Jen: Welcome you to For the Love Podcast. I’m so happy to meet you.

Ashton: Yes. Thank you so much. I’m so excited. I am just having a whole fit over here.

Jen: Guys, what you should know is that before we started recording, Ashton just told me—I get this a lot from some of my younger followers—“My mom’s been following you forever.” She was like, “I remember my mom talking about you and I was like thirteen.” I’m like so tickled. So now you’re a grown adult that gets to be in the community, not just via your mom. So welcome aboard.

Ashton: Thank you so much.

Jen: All right. So I’ve told our listeners a little bit about who you are and what your deal is, but I would like to hear more about you in your own words, because you have this really interesting and creative spirit, and also the way that you experienced the Enneagram which we’re going to get into. But can you talk first about you, tell us about you a little bit, who you are, where you are, and tell us specifically about your design business and what inspires you? Then of course, we’re going to need to hear some more intel on your double life as a cast member at Disney, we’re not going to get away without talking about that one for sure.

Ashton: Oh, of course not. So I’m Ashton. I am a Six on the Enneagram. I feel like I have to preface everything with that these days. But I am all about neutral colors and my dog Oliver and I have a fiancé who’s wonderful. We love to travel and go places. A lot of those places are Disney related, but we have fun. I have had a T-shirt company for a while now, and it evolved into this Instagram account where I do all of my design work. So I do everything from tee-shirts to decals and logos and custom designs and portraits. It’s just kind of morphed into all of these different creative outlets and aspects, which I’m very thankful for because I know it is definitely a privilege to have that and to be able to do that as my job. I never imagined, like when I was graduating high school, that this is what I would get to do full time. So I’m super thankful for that because I love what I do and I love getting to be creative and create things and do new content and things that make me happy. So yeah, that’s what you’ll find me doing on a day to day basis. Then I try to go down to Disney. It’s been kind of weird this year, obviously.

Jen: Right, obviously.

Ashton: I try to go down once a month and work. I started with Disney in 2017 in a college program, which was such an awesome experience. I never expected it. So I’ve actually been with the company now for two consecutive years, but I was there previously. It’s all of my favorite things in one job.

Jen: That’s so fun. 

Ashton: When I got the job, I was [like], Oh, this’ll be neat. And I have no idea what went into it at all.

Jen: It’s fantastic.

Ashton: [It] t is cool.

Jen: Good for you that your fiancé’s down for the Disney stuff.

Ashton: Well, we met in Florida, so he didn’t have a choice.

Jen: Oh, yes. Okay. It’s just what it is. It’s just going to be like the third member of your marriage, Disney.

Ashton: Basically.

Jen: So, okay. You mentioned your art—of course you have created all this incredible art that marries pop culture and the Enneagram, which is so clever, so creative, really, really innovative. Can you talk about how you personally found the Enneagram and what that experience was like for you? How quickly did you understand that you were a Six and what were those sort of early discovery moments like for you?

Ashton: Yeah, absolutely. So I found the Enneagram because I never want to miss out on anything. So I felt really left out when all my friends were like, “I’m an Enneagram this, I’m an Enneagram that.” I was like, “What’s an Enneagram? I don’t know anything about it.” So I started doing my own research into it, and once I get into a topic, I am in a topic. I’m going to read everything. I’m going to get all the books. I’m going to know every single thing that I can figure out about this.

So when I first looked at the Enneagram from a whole [perspective], I always heard, “Four’s a creative.” So I was like, Oh, I’m a Four, obviously, I’m so creative, look at me go. Then when I actually looked into it, I was like, I am not a Four, my motivations do not line up with a Four at all. So I finally landed on Six, and it really clicked for me because I’ve always been that overly prepared, always thinking ten steps ahead, always wanting [type]. I remember realizing that not all of my friends thought that way, and my family members and stuff were not always like that, always on guard, ready to go.

So it really helped me connect with more of my motivations behind why I am, the way I am, why I do the things I do. It’s always really cool to find out—for me—more about yourself, so that’s been really fun to just get to dig in more to that type of thing.

Jen: Absolutely. So I like how you say, “I go all in on a thing that I’m interested in.”  So when did you start creating art around the Enneagram? And I’m sure when you started your Instagram account, you didn’t expect for it to explode the way that it has. So can you talk about your art and how that idea came to be and how you started flushing that out and what it’s been like for you to have it so wildly received?

Ashton: Oh yeah. It’s crazy to me. I still can’t wrap my head around it some days. So I started that Instagram account with no intentions of anything except somewhere to post the artwork that I was doing without annoying everyone on my personal page, I guess.

Jen: Tell everybody what it’s called really quick, so they can look at it up while they’re listening.

Ashton: Ashton creates, so it’s @ashton.creates.

Jen: Got it.

Ashton: So I just started it back in, I think, May of last year, just as a way to make things that I could post. I got an iPad for Christmas, the previous Christmas. So I was drawing things and living my best little life and I wanted somewhere to post it. I didn’t think anyone really cared about it. My first few followers were a couple of my close friends and my mom.

Jen: Sure, of course, right.

Ashton: And I got into the Enneagram shortly after that and started looking into it and I was really interested and I was just inspired to start making things about each type, because I wished—like back when I was learning about it, there were different things, of course. But I wanted to see more stuff about individual types and just learn more than what I was able to find right off, and I am in no way original in this idea by any means. But I just wanted to see more of the [stuff] related to me personally, for my type.

Jen: Yep.

Ashton: So I started creating a series of Instagram posts, and one account that I followed saw my stuff, and she’s like, “Oh my gosh, can I share it? I love it.” I was like, “Sure, if you want to.” I’m still not thinking much of it outside of, Maybe a few friends that are into it would be interested.

Jen: Sure.

Ashton: She shared it, and I gained 1,000 followers in three hours.

Jen: Right.

Ashton: This was in August, and then it went from there. I talk all the time, I’m like, “Oh, I hit 15,000 followers.” I was so excited in December. I just hit 150,000, and like, numbers aren’t everything.

Jen: Of course.

Ashton: I’m thankful for them, but it’s not the make or break necessarily, and what I’m doing, I do it because I love it. But I’m overwhelmed and I’m so thankful because I’ve been given such a platform to tell people what I love and show them my art and stuff. So it’s overwhelming, but it’s a good kind of overwhelming.

Jen: Absolutely. I understand that entirely. You know, all you have to do is keep doing what brought you here. You don’t have to be a bigger or a louder version of the you that people have started to follow, the good news is that you get to just stay in the exact capacity that got you all the way to this moment, which is great to know that just because there’s more eyeballs on it does not mean that all of a sudden you have to inflate it in such a way that starts to feel like pressure. This is an Enneagram Three trying to coach you right now.

Ashton: Yeah, please coach me.

Jen: Let’s just let the pressure valve release and just continue to be who you are and do what you love in the way that you do it authentically, and do not let the watching eyeballs start to feel crushing. So obviously, I’m a Three.

Ashton: Yes.

Jen: Let’s talk about being a Six.

Ashton: Okay.

Jen: This is the Six episode in the Enneagram series—which by the way, you’ve pegged Chandler Bing from Friends as a Six, that feels really important to mention. I like him and I like that. I like that typing. I know we’re not supposed to do that, but I don’t care, I like it. 

All right, so this is what I’d like you to do really quick for everybody listening, because you’ve done a lot of work around this at this point, obviously kind of in every way. Can you—from a really high level—tell us about Sixes? Tell us what makes a Six tick. Tell us, what’s the motivation behind and underneath the Sixes work? What is her fear? What is her hope? Just say to somebody that’s new to it, “This is more or less what a Six looks like in the world.”

Ashton: Okay. So Sixes are prepared. Their motivation is to be safe and secure. They want to do everything they can to just find that security. You want to be safe. You want to be secure. I think the way that we do that is through our preparedness. It gets pegged as anxiety around those things, but I tend to think it really is just being ready for whatever may come.

So Sixes are loyal. That’s a huge part of what a Six is. They are loyal to their people. They’re responsible. They are caring for others. They care about their people. I’ve seen a lot of times, they’re the best friends just because that loyalty ties into that. They have structure and they’re devoted to their people. Like I said, when I jump into something, I jump into it. I’m devoted to that topic. I tend to be very much more practical. I’m very committed to a cause, to people.

I think Sixes are a lot around like that community aspect, community is very important to me. I tend to see that being important to a lot of Sixes in general, because community builds security. So when you have those people, you have that security around you, which is what we’re looking for at the end of the day anyway.

Jen: That’s good connective tissue there.

So I think you maybe just touched on it, but on your Instagram, I noticed that you’re not a huge fan of the reputation that Sixes have sometimes among the other Enneagram numbers. Talk about that a little bit. What do you think everyone is missing about Sixes? Where do you think sometimes that caricature—which, listen, I am so with you, there’s a caricature of every number and I hate the caricature of a Three. I just hate it. I just want to burn it to the ground. So I kind of understand what it feels like to seem sort of reduced and then thus misunderstood. So what does that look like for you as a Six?

Ashton: So I really don’t love that a lot of times I feel like Sixes are painted as being scared and anxious and…

Jen: That’s true.

Ashton: …bowing down, not wanting to stand up and just being so fear-ridden that they can’t do anything else except be consumed by that fear. When in reality, I tend to think that Sixes can be the bravest of the types, because they overcome that fear and they overcome that anxiety and that need for preparedness and security and whatever to face whatever comes their way, whatever they’re brought. So I think that sometimes at an overview, we see them, and we’re like, “Oh, they’re just really scared and anxious,” instead of saying how that can be such a great thing. So that’s my biggest thing that I don’t like to hear, because people will be like, “I don’t want to be a Six because I don’t want to be considered scared all the time.” I’m like, “Well, that’s not what a Six is.” We do have fears, we do have things, and I’m a counterphobic Six.

Jen: Talk about that a little bit. What does that mean?

Ashton: So counterphobic Six—with Sixes, there’s like a fight or flight. A lot of them are flight, I tend to think counterphobic is fight.

Jen: Got it.

Ashton: So I will be the one, I have no problem standing up. I have no problem speaking out much. But I think that I’m not scared of confrontation. A lot of things that play into Six, too, is the authority. So you can either go against them, not really trust it, or you really look to them for the guidance and security. Counterphobic Sixes go against authority. Like, you want to find your way because you want to make sure you’re doing the best thing, the right thing.

Jen: Okay. What you’re saying about Sixes is exactly how I experience the Sixes in my life. I have some really close people to me who are Sixes. My assistant, Amanda, is one of them and I mean, when you say preparedness, she is ten steps ahead of everything at all times, and I really mean that. I’m not exaggerating. She has this ability to helicopter way high above our work and look down on it and know what needs to be done now for later. She sent me an email this weekend, and she sends me [them] at the beginning of the week, “Here’s everything on your calendar this week. Just making sure you have it, making sure you’ve got your day’s rhythm.”

So she sent me the next four weeks, all my stuff for the next four weeks, and she’s like, “I’d like you to see where I’ve noted I’ve built in some downtime for you.” I’m just dying laughing, like, okay, that is amazing. She just literally carved it out. “I’m not going to schedule anything from here to here. This is downtime, use it well.” I’m just dying. It makes me laugh so hard.

Ashton: Can I have an Amanda?

Jen: Right?

Ashton: Wow, I need an Amanda.

Jen: Everybody does, everybody does. Because I am a Three, I will work myself into the ground. I will, literally, until my fingers are stumped and then I fall apart because that’s what happens. So Amanda is the Six who goes, I wonder if we could consider structuring your life in such a way so that doesn’t happen. It is possible. I’m like, Oh, well look at that. Look at that approach to life. I wonder—because that is a super power that you have—if you Sixes to look down the road to be ready, to be prepared, to head things off at the pass, to be proactive so you’re not always just reactive, like a bunch of the rest of us. So I wonder if that super power ever gets exhausting or if it ever leads to a bit of anxiety or control, I’m curious what the shadow side of that amazing ability looks like for you?

Ashton: Yeah. So Sixes do go to Threes in stress. I definitely see that preparedness and wanting to be on top of it all of the time, while it is a wonderful trait to have and it is very helpful and it has done great things for me, it also can wear me down a lot quicker. I feel other types might not go that far. My brother is a Seven, and he doesn’t think about—I love Sevens. I want to be a Seven sometimes.

Jen: Is that your wing? What’s your wing?

Ashton: I’m a wing Five. I am a true wing Five. Now, you can lean on both, and I do see myself leaning sometimes—you need two wings to fly—but I am very hardcore Five right now. [My brother] doesn’t think ahead like that the way that I do, and that could be personality, Enneagram, they could come together, but sometimes I envy that. I’m like, “Holy cow, I just want to be able to sit back and not think about the next three and a half weeks and just relax. I want to watch a Netflix show and not think in the back of my head like,  Oh, my Lord, I have seventy-two things that I need to be getting done right now in order to be prepared for the next month and a half.” I think being aware of that is important so that you can kind of reel yourself back in and ground yourself in the fact of, Yes, I need to be prepared, but certain things can wait.

Jen: That’s good. There’s always a way to sort of work on self-mastery for every number, to notice the places where, If I was going to slip, it’d be right here. When I start disintegrating, this is what it looks like. So I want to talk to you about what that means primarily for Sixes, which you just mentioned for Sixes that when you were growing, when you were in health, you look something like a healthy Nine, which I’d like to hear you talk about.

Then, sometimes in stress you just mentioned, you become a little bit more like an unhealthy Three, which obviously I deeply, deeply understand. Can you talk about those two directions of both growth and stress in the life of a Six, particularly in your own life? What does it look like for you when you are accessing that kind of healthy Nine and what does it look like for you when your stress is pushing you toward the shadow side of a Three?

Ashton: Yes, absolutely. The best way I can explain it to you and it relates directly to my life is when I’m working at Disney, I punch a clock. I clock in, I am on that entire time that I am there, but then when I clock out, I can kind of cut it off and I can go enjoy my life and I can go relax and just be, which I feel like is very Nine. Nines are so good at just being in the moment.

Jen: Yes, they are.

Ashton: I feel like they’re just embracing where they are and who they are and what they’re doing.

Jen: So true.

Ashton: I can really do that when I am at Disney or when I have a job that can be on and then off. Now, as a business owner and as someone who’s always wanting to do the next best thing and always staying a step ahead, I can see myself more often than not slipping into that Three of, I will work myself into the ground. I will stay up all night long doing things, and it’s not that I have anyone telling me outside of myself that I have to be the best.

Jen: Right. Oh, right, totally right.

Ashton: I want to be the best. And I want to achieve all of these dreams and goals and things that I have, and I feel like the only way to do that is to just work, work, work, work, work. You have to be able to find that at five o’clock at night, I need to cut my phone off. I need to cut my computer off and just be, but I see myself when I am super unhealthy in that Three. By the way, I think Threes are fantastic and the drive, just how great they are at encouraging other people to reach their best potential, I think it’s awesome. But what I’m seeing the shadow side—as you called it—of that Three, I’m not hurting anybody necessarily but myself.

Jen: That’s right.

Ashton: But I am definitely digging a hole that will just continue to be harder to get out of if I don’t stop myself before I’m just completely buried at that point.

Jen: Of course. It’s just like with every number, there’s a beautiful side of every single number, and a healthy Three is just usually a wonderful force in the world. But you’re right, there is that underbelly to it, which can be mastered. I mean, to your point, every single one of us with the places that we are going to be prone to disintegration, that’s not a life sentence. It is not as if we are beholden to those tendencies or that we cannot learn to overcome them, as you mentioned earlier.

A Six is usually typecast as really afraid. Even if that’s true somewhere internally, even that, as you said, could be really faced and really dealt with and worked through and potentially even overcome, and so that’s the good news. That’s to me, one of the great gifts of the Enneagram. It doesn’t put us on paper and say, “well, here you go…”

Ashton: “There you are.”

Jen: “That’s just it. I mean, make your peace.” It provides so many paths for us to grow and to heal and to recover. It also provides a path in relationship, which I want to talk to you about, because as you mentioned, you’re getting married this year. Huzzah!

Ashton: Yes.

Jen: When is your wedding?

Ashton: It’s November twenty-first.

Jen: That’s great.

Ashton: So it’s about six months away, and I am melting down internally.

Jen: Of course you are. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s the bride’s work, to melt down. So let’s talk about this. What number is your fiancé? And I’d like for you to talk about your numbers, how they relate to one another. What is like, “This is the way that my number and his number are fantastic together, and these are going to be our tension points that we’re going to have to work through because we see the world differently”?

Ashton: So my fiancé is a One. I had initially thought that I might be a One at some point, like when I was first starting out. But the reason we work so well is we both love to have a plan.

Jen: Totally.

Ashton: We both like to be prepared.

Jen: Yeah, that’s compatible.

Ashton: We always want to be prepared. We always want to have a plan going into it, which plays into my need for preparedness, but it plays into his need for “That’s the right thing.” That’s the way he wants to be, it just feels right to have a plan and be prepared for him. It feels necessary for me to be like that.

Jen: Got it.

Ashton: So it works really nicely together. The only thing is sometimes when I am maybe more healthy, I don’t really need a plan so much, and I really just want to kind of lay back and go with whatever happens and ride it out and see where we go from here, and he always really needs that plan, he always needs to be prepared. So learning how to roll with that together has been interesting, and it’s very minor. 

The biggest thing as far as conflict is for us is—and this makes me sound awful—I want to brawl. If you’re going to fight me, I want to fight.

Jen: Like, let’s go, let’s go toe to toe.

Ashton: Yes, and I’m not talking like a screaming match.

Jen: But you want a high engagement.

Ashton: Yeah. I need an engaging conversation as to “Why are we having this conversation?”

Jen: Got it.

Ashton: “Why are we in this conflict?” Where he is—and maybe he’s just a really smart man—he’ll be like “Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry,” and I literally want to explode internally.

Jen: Oh, that’s so interesting. He probably thinks he’s giving you what you want. 

Ashton: Yeah, and he does. He is leaning heavily into that Nine wing.

Jen: Yeah, that’s true.

Ashton: Not wanting conflict, where I don’t mind conflict. I would rather talk it out fully, any kind of conflict that we have, than just kind of sweep it and just be right. I don’t want to necessarily be right. I want to get to the root of the problem.

Jen: That’s your Five wing there, too.

Ashton: Yes, and he just wants to have peace, and I need to just mind my business, go draw on my iPad, and not do this right now. Not that it’s a bad thing, he is so kind and gracious towards me where I am not always so kind and gracious.

Jen: That is so interesting to hear. I mean, you’re right that he must be drawing from some pretty serious Nine wing energy there to kind of want to just lay the thing down. “That’s just fine, you’re right. I’m wrong. That’s just the end. Tra la la.” 

Ashton: If I push him too far, he’ll just walk off. He’ll be like, “You know, we’ll talk about this later,” and I’m like, “No, we can talk about it now. I am ready.”

Jen: Oh yeah. I’m a Three, and so I don’t love conflict, and I struggled to access emotion, which is weird because I’m at the center of the heart triad. You would think I’d be drowning in feelings because I have feelings on either side of me and I’m in the middle, but weirdly, it pulls me out of it even more. Some of my work that the Enneagram has taught me, which is similar, is that “Guess what? Conflict will not make you die. You will live, you’re going to go ahead and live it. It’s not going to take you out, so know that.” I’m married to a person who likes a good high solid engagement. He’s like you.

Ashton: Yes, and that’s what I mean, like not so much a brawl fight type thing, but I want that engagement, that conversation.

Jen: He sees it like you see it probably, which is, “This is just us working something out. This is a thing. We’re going to examine it. We’re going to really turn it all over. We’re going to talk about it.” I read it as aggression, and I’m like, Oh no, we’re doomed. Everything’s doomed. So I have this catastrophic approach sometimes to conflict, and as it turns out, that isn’t helpful. So it is work for me also.

Okay. So let’s talk about this. We’re kind of right on the edge of it already. So for the people listening, we love a Six. We’re married to a Six. We’re engaged to a Six. We parent a Six. So we have some really important Six. When we find ourselves in conflict with that person, as a Six what would you suggest are some of the best strategies to get to resolution, to solve conflict with that person, and sort of move that relationship into a healthy place? How would you suggest that?

Because Sixes, as you mentioned, one of the greatest characteristics of a Six is a fierce loyalty, so strong. I mean the loyalty of a Six is ferocious. That can also look like if you sometimes get on the wrong side of that, if there’s betrayal introduced into the relationship, it can be hard to win a Six back over.

Ashton: Yes.

Jen: So I wonder if you can sort of walk through conflict with a Six and here’s your best tips.

Ashton: I’m learning as I go. I will say that loyalty is huge to me. I am loyal to my people. If I love you, I love you and I’m going to do whatever I need to do for you and I’m going to do my best to make sure you’re taken care of. But trust is earned from that. So I don’t just walk in trusting anyone. I am very leery of people and it takes time to build that relationship of trust and if that relationship or that trust is betrayed, it’s very hard for me not to just cut off all ties and be and walk away. Which is not the way to be, I acknowledge, but that’s my first instinct to be like, I can’t trust you. I need to leave.

Because community is so important to me, and my community is where I get my security from. So in order to have that security, I need that trust. So my biggest thing, advice-wise, for conflict is mostly talking it out, because a lot of times communication is key for every relationship, but communication in conflict to the Six, explaining your side, apologies that really are meaningful to me matter, and then finding ways to earn that trust back or to reassure.

They need the affirmation that you’re still there for them, you still support them, you’re still their community, especially if the Six is the one in the wrong, like, “I still love you. I still want to fight for you. I still want to be with you.” That affirmation, I think probably you see that more in marriage relationship, just that affirmation of, “You are loved. You’re seen, I want what is best for you. I want to walk alongside of you and yes, this is not ideal, but I’m still going to be here for you through it.” So that assurance that nothing has necessarily changed, you actually might have things to work through, but that doesn’t change the core value and the basis of the entire relationship, whether that be friendship or marriage or parent relationship, that type of thing is just that reassurance that you can work through it. Trust can be earned back and you can restore relationships.

Jen: That’s incredibly helpful and correct, because the truth is most people think that. That’s exactly what they think. The relationship is not in jeopardy; the wall is not crumbling. So it’s good for us to hear, those of us in tight relationships with a Six, that you just need to hear that even though it wouldn’t even occur to us that we’re about to walk away from you, the fact that you think we might is worth…

Ashton: In my mind I’ve prepared ten scenarios of how you’re going to leave me.

Jen: Totally.

Ashton: …and I’m going to be stuck standing there. Which sounds so ridiculous saying it out loud, but in my head it makes total sense.

Jen: Sure. It’s the way you’re wired and there’s nothing wrong with that, because it has a beautiful upside of loyalty. I’m not ever afraid to be in conflict with the Six that I love and that I know who loves me because they’re not going anywhere. They’re so loyal. We could weather almost anything together…

Ashton: Yes, they are loyal.

Jen: …as long as a deep betrayal is not on the table and it’s just like an ordinary run of the mill conflict. I’m like, “Well look, we’ll get to the other side of this and we’re stuck together because you’re Six.” So it’s a fantastic trait to have. 

Let me ask you this. If somebody is listening and they are a Six and they are interested right now in considering a path of growth, like, Maybe this is one area in my inherent makeup that I could work on, that I could consider, that I could reach for for a little bit more of a healthier and integrated self, what would you suggest to them?

Ashton: My biggest advice always, because I think we are harder on ourselves than anyone else might be—I think it stopped seeing your anxiety and your need not to be like repetitive, but stop seeing that as such a burden and start seeing it as a gift, and start embracing what you’ve been given with this set of tools that you have. I mean, embrace the ability to plan things ahead and to be prepared for something because you can only help others through that, and you can help yourself, too. When you stop seeing it as a burden and start seeing it as a blessing, I think that there’s a lot that can come out of that as a Six.  

Jen: Sixes are so great to be in relationship with. There’s just such a competency to it, which inspires confidence and the people who love you, because I 100% see that preparedness as a blessing and I am the recipient of some of that incredible energy from people that are close to me and I find it a wonderful characteristic. I wish I had more of it. I wish I could draw on that a little bit more and I can. I go to a Six in strength and so I do have that capacity to be more centered and be able to look down the road a little bit longer and not so like manic and it’s a wonderful, wonderful number.

Okay, we’re going to wrap this up. These are questions that I’m asking everybody in the Enneagram series. So you just fire it off. Here’s the first one. Not that you would want to, we love who we are, we are not wishing away ourselves.

Ashton: Absolutely not.

Jen: But if you could choose to be another Enneagram number, even if just for a day, what number would you pick?

Ashton: See, I would want to be a Nine. I feel like the world needs more peacekeepers.

Jen: Yeah, that’s true.

Ashton: I would love to be able to sit back and enjoy the moment. I feel a lot of Nines can be very present in where they are.

Jen: It’s a nice gift.

Ashton: They can be where their feet are.

Jen: They can.

Ashton: I do wish that I had that more often than not.

Jen: I love those Nines, man.

Ashton: I love a Nine. I think all of the numbers are great. I get a lot of questions about what’s the best number, and there is not a best number.

Jen: That’s right.

Ashton: They’re all wonderful.

Jen: Yes, they are.

Ashton: But I do admire the Nine. I admire their ability to—like, they get pegged as peacekeepers and peacemakers, which is true, but there are a lot more than that.  I really admire that trait of them just because I think it’s so important in our world, today especially, to just have that peace.

Jen: Totally. In this series, my Enneagram Nine episode guest is Sarah Bessey, who’s my really, really close friend, and I told her—I just released a book, and I told myself the day before it came out, because as you know, a Three energy is just going to go through the roof, absolutely through the roof on it.

Ashton: Yeah, absolutely.

Jen: I was like, I am going to be Sarah Bessey. That’s what I’m going to be. I’m going to be present. I’m going to sit in the moment. I’m going to feel it. I’m going to let it be what it is. I’m going to be grateful for it. I didn’t know how else to channel it except I’m not even going to try. I’m going to be Sarah Bessey tomorrow. That’s what I’m going to be. I’m going to be her with her beautiful Nine energy. It’s so admirable.

Ashton: I love that.

Jen: I know. Me too. I love a Nine.

Ashton: I’m going to repeat that to myself on my wedding day.

Jen: Yes. “Just be Sarah Bessey,” that should be your mantra. Okay. How about this? Here is kind of the opposite of that question. Which part of your Enneagram Six personality do you love the most?

Ashton: The loyalty. I feel like it’s such an important part, because it’s hard to find that loyalty in your day to day person.

Jen: It is.

Ashton: I feel like that loyalty is so important in everyday life and stuff. That I really, really love that aspect of my type. Just knowing that we’re reliable and there for friends, we’re there for you.

Jen: Totally. You are, you are, you’re there for us and you’ll go down with our ships. You just will. You will not leave the burning house. You’ll stay in it with us. It’s a crazy gift. 

Okay. This is the last question we ask every single guest in every single series. It’s a question I learned from Barbara Brown Taylor. You can answer it literally however you want. So you take it big, you take it small, you take it serious, you take it silly. What is saving your life right now?

Ashton: Diet Dr. Pepper and my dog. My dog. Yeah.  

Jen: Your dog is what kind of dog?

Ashton: He is an Australian labradoodle, and especially with being at home and the stay at home orders and stuff that we’ve been on, it’s just been so much fun because I’ve had something to entertain me, taking them and doing things with them and stuff, and I can’t live my life without a Diet Dr. Pepper. It’s just a weird thing, but that is my vice.

Jen: It’s not a weird vice. I stopped drinking Cokes a few years ago, probably to decade ago, but if I’m having one, which I have one a couple of times a year, I reach for a Diet Dr. Pepper. That’s the one, and I like it from Sonic over that ice. Why is it so good?

Ashton: Yes. Oh, my gosh. I like Chick-fil-A one. Chick-fil-A has the good ice, too.

Jen: Oh, yeah.

Ashton: And you know what the good ice is, like that’s my favorite thing. You don’t even have to explain it. They’re just like, the good ice.

Jen: The good ice is crucial to the pleasure.

Ashton: I say all the time I’m going to be a better person and not drink them all the time, but then I get stressed out and I’m like, You know what? I’m just going to fall back on what I know.

Jen: Let’s be honest, if your worst vice is Diet Dr. Pepper, you’re doing okay. Let’s just let that one breathe. Just have it. Okay. Okay. Ashton, I loved talking Enneagram stuff with you today. Will you tell my community where to find you, where they can find your incredible artwork, all the things?

Ashton: Yes, absolutely. So I am mostly on Instagram, so you can find me there at @ashton.creates. I have a website that is just ashtonbyre.com if you’re interested, but if you want to see a lot of my art and just see what I’m doing day to day, I love connecting with people on Instagram. I love talking to you. I would love to have you over there and I would love to get to know you.

Jen: Fantastic. Thank you for coming on the show today. Thank you so much for your authenticity, for talking about who you are and what’s underneath it all, that is just a very generous offering to the community and helps us understand the Sixes in our life so much better. So just absolutely delighted to meet you, cheering you on in every possible way. Thank you for putting your incredible work out into the world. It’s really powerful for people to feel seen, as you know. So your particular brand of work right now is such a gift for people to even look at a beautiful piece of art and go, Oh, there I am. That’s how I feel like somebody understands me. That means something right now. So this is me clapping for you. Bravo. Bravo.

Ashton: Oh my gosh.

Jen: Thanks for coming.

Ashton: Thank you so much.

Jen: You’re welcome.

Ashton: Yeah. Thank you so much. This was so fun, and I’m just like over the moon. I told you I’m having a whole fit, so I really appreciate it.

Jen: Okay. Ashton, thank you.

Ashton: Thank you so much.

Jen: And now to tell us more about the music you’ve been listening to in this episode, we hear from composer Ryan O’Neal, AKA Sleeping at Last, about the inspiration behind this piece. 

Ryan: Maybe I’m totally wrong, but in my research of the type Six, I couldn’t help but feel like they are the most misunderstood type in the Enneagram.

So it took a real long time, and a lot of conversations with type Sixes, to have any sort of clarity on who exactly these courageous people are. So after recognizing the weight that fear plays into the type, I wanted this song to sound like relief. I wanted it to sound like an exhale. So my goal here was to sort of write a song version of going to the spa. I wanted it to feel like there is zero tension and it is just relief, just a way to offer type Sixes a few minutes of a break from worry.

So even the drums sound like a gentle shushing and the piano and the woodwinds have a sort of Disney idealism in them, sort of nodding to escapism that I was hoping to offer here. And I wanted the melodies to feel like safety, even, in the structure of the song. I have a very traditional A-B  A-B-C structure. And honestly, I had a lot of difficulty writing the words to this song, because I really didn’t want it to be all about how scared type Sixes might be or how fearful they are. So I got stuck for quite a while. 

And one of the moments that helped me recognize the gift of the Type Six and sort of the direction that I wanted to take in the song was when I was out on a walk and I noticed some bunnies that were just a few feet away from me, and they were standing perfectly still, keeping a very close watch on me. And then later that same day, I saw some deer in my backyard whose ears were kind of twitching and they were also keeping watch. And it occurred to me that these beautiful creatures are so courageous, they’re not hiding or cowering away somewhere. They’re out there well aware of the risk involved and are living life out in broad daylight. There’s something so beautiful about that, which is, of course, not at all to compare Sixes to those animals, but they helped me to see that there is an immense amount of courage in every type Six that goes about their day, well aware of all of the dangers. And that is such a gift that they give to everyone around them. They truly are a sanctuary in that way. And musically, it felt right to be a waltz as a nod to the loyalty of the type Six. So a waltz is with a partner, and I just loved the idea of this song implying that togetherness. 

I certainly have a much deeper appreciation and admiration for type Sixes after writing the song. They are incredibly strong people and they’re complex, which I think is why so many of the writings about type Six in everything I have found can sometimes feel like it’s contradictory or all over the map. So I wanted to write a really clear song about the type Six strength and their courage, and I wanted it to feel like a token of gratitude. 

Again, the letting go of the type Six seems to be showing up in broad daylight without any guarantees. So it was an utter joy to get to write the song, and I truly hope that for any type Six that hears it that you feel some sort of relief in these words. 

Jen: There you have it. I mean, love, that makes me want to run to all my Enneagram Sixes and gather them in my arms. Ooh, so helpful to learn about each other’s numbers. It’s not just Who am I, how do I know about me? It’s also Who are you and how do I know more about you and what do we look like in a relationship together? I have learned so much from this series, you guys.

Brandon and I have a debrief every single week where we talk about what the guests have said that week, and we talk about that episode, what it meant to each of us, how we want to add to it. The Enneagram is such a great tool for health, both personal and relational, and of course spiritual. I am super grateful to my guests for bringing their full selves to the table. It can be really overwhelming to talk to this many listeners about the inner wiring of your heart, mind, and soul. So the fact that these guests are willing to do it with this much transparency and authenticity means the world to me, and I know it does to you too.

Next week, get excited for those fun, incredible, lively, sparkly Enneagram Sevens. Next week we have the Seven episode, and you are going to love it. I have said this over the course of this series several times, that if I had to pick another number to be just for a day, I think I’d pick a Seven. That’s what I actually was hoping I was when I took the test, but it turns out I am completely not. However, I do love me a Seven. I have some Sevens in my life that are so dear to me. I parent a Seven. I can’t wait for you to hear that episode. So come back next week, and we will dive into those absolutely delightful Sevens. 

All right everybody. Thank you for loving this series with us. Thank you for sharing it. Thank you for downloading it. Thank you for reviewing it. Thank you for subscribing. Go do that by the way, if you haven’t already done it, and you’ll get us right on your phone every single week without even trying. 

So on behalf of the incredible Enneagram Six Amanda and my producer Laura and her whole crew, which is a fantastic company, we are delighted to bring you this series and this podcast. 

All right, you guys, see you next week.