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  • Writer's pictureChelsi Myer

Janeal > 5

This brilliant friend and I met at church seven years ago in Abilene, Kansas. She was another young adult woman in our family-filled church. Janeal was and continues to be a valued friend; I am finding out many friends I deeply admire are 5s. There is something unique about our Investigators.

Fives are called the Investigators; they are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. (Riso-Hudson)

How did you first hear about the Enneagram? Were you immediately interested or did it take some time?

I first heard about the Enneagram a couple of years ago from some friends who read "The Road Back to You" by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile. I thought it was interesting and did a couple of the online quizzes to begin to learn my type. This past year I finally read "The Road Back to You" and that grew my interest so I have a couple more Enneagram books in my to be read pile. I also have listened to several podcasts about the Enneagram including Ian Cron's Typology podcast, Suzanne Stabile's The Enneagram Journey, and Annie F. Down's That Sounds Fun EnneaSummer series. I am continuing to learn more about myself and others through the lens of the Enneagram.

What about the 5 description resonated with you the most?

The description of a 5 on the Enneagram Institute's website has the following explanation of the motivation of a 5: wants to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment. I describe myself as a life-long learner. It has only been since I have learned about the Enneagram that it makes perfect sense why I love learning. I like to have a plan and be prepared for whatever might come my way. In some ways this is having a knowledge base to solve every problem that comes my way, and as a wing 6, I also like to be prepared for any potential situation that might arise. These two factors help me to be a prepared, organized teacher and to think on my feet to solve problems (which is what teachers actually do most of the day--some big problems, some small problems).

When describing your Enneagram number, what do you focus on?

5's collect knowledge and prefer to observe first before participating. 5's are self-reliant and independent. Being around people can be draining for 5s, so we need time alone to recharge and refocus.

The 5 is know as the Investigator, do you see yourself as an information junkie? How do you see that in your everyday life?

I wouldn't self-identify as an information junkie, more of a life-long learner; however, I think I absorb/seek out more information than most people choose to in a day. I am more of an auditory learner so I love learning from podcasts. I start my mornings by listening to the Daily Audio Bible, Pray the Word with David Platt, Retropod, Up First, and The Daily podcasts as I am getting ready. I like to focus spiritually first and then I need my news updates so I can discuss what is going on with my students. In the evenings I find myself listening to more podcasts as I cook dinner and do chores around my house or while I'm driving to the gym. This year I have tried to get into the habit of reading before bed instead of streaming a show. So yeah, you could probably call me an information junkie :)

Share a story of when you saw yourself integrating (growth) to 8 and/or disintegrating (stress) to 7.

I am thankful that I grow up around many strong, decisive women. My parents also helped me to grow into more leadership roles through my experiences in 4-H and FFA. Because I have those skills, I am able to lean on them if no one else is leading. If I am around someone who makes good decisions I am happy to sit back and let them; however, I have found myself integrating to an 8 when no one else is taking charge. I can become a strong leader when I need to be. As a teacher, I do this often in the classroom and in meetings. I am generally confident and more spontaneous when moving to the more positive side of 8.

When I am overly stressed, I do struggle with focusing on what is right in front of me. I can bounce from problem to problem in my head without just tackling one thing at a time. Through prayer and some mindfulness breathing, I can usually refocus and get back to the issue at hand. I also can disintegrate into not wanting to truly feel pain that is part of the 7 description. But if I avoid emotional pain, it will eventually manifest so I try to deal with it sooner rather than later.

Do you feel like you have a limited amount of energy every day? If so, What does this look like in routine?

Yes! I make sure that I have some alone time everyday. When I am traveling and am with people all the time, I try to go for a walk by myself or even just put on headphones and listen to a podcast or music for about 30 minutes can help me recharge. I have learned that I need to say no more often and make sure that I make time for myself to recharge. Because my job as a teacher is very people focused, I find that during the school year I need more time to recharge than during the summer.

Traveling is something you’ve done quite a bit of! Tell me about those experiences and how you anticipate the unknown.

I love the challenge of visiting a new place and learning about new cultures. I enjoy traveling overseas and using my summers to help others around the world. As a 5, I see travel as an opportunity to learn about a new place. I like to figure out the public transportation systems, try new foods, meet people, and learn about daily life in other places. I embrace the unknown and the adventure; however, I think this works for me because I know it is for a finite amount of time. As long as I put myself in the mindset going in that I have to be open to new things, it works for me. What I struggle with is when I haven't planned to have an adventure, but I am working on being more spontaneous.

Do you consider yourself secretive or isolated? Or do you see it more as independent?

I used to think that I was more independent than isolated, but as I have grown more into my career, I can isolate myself easily if I don't purposely avoid it. I enjoy being around people to a certain point, but I have learned that too much alone time is not healthy for me. It is all about finding a balance. Sometimes even when I am with people I feel somewhat isolated because I can be distracted by my own thoughts. I have worked to be present when I am with people. I have also learned that I do not like having to rely on someone or not knowing how to do something myself. In social situations like church I like having a defined role. On Sundays when I volunteer making coffee, I am more comfortable interacting with people because I have a task to do.

What is your favorite quality of the 5? What’s your biggest challenge?

My favorite quality of the 5 is that I love learning! My biggest challenge is balancing my need for some isolation without becoming too isolated. I used to struggle with being present in some situations where I would prefer to just be thinking about other things. I have learned that I can show people that I care by focusing on them and being truly present instead focusing on the great idea I have or the other things on my to-do list in my head.

About Janeal

Janeal Schmidt is an Enneagram 5 with a 6 wing. Because she loves learning, she has two degrees from Kansas State University (Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education Social Studies and English as a Second Language and a Master of Arts in History degree). She has taught social studies (AP US History, AP US Government and Politics, US History, and Geography) at Abilene High School since 2009. Janeal coaches Scholars Bowl at AHS and sponsors the Read and Discover Book Club. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cycle class, cooking, podcasts, reading, and good coffee. Janeal also loves being an aunt to her niece Jordy! Janeal is a member of Abilene First Christian Church and helps sponsor the AFCC Youth Group.

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