Enneagram 8w7: The Guide

Written by Tim Branch

If you have ever:

  1. Heard “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way” and deeply resonated,
  2. Passionately started something, but then struggled to manage it,
  3. Been confused by the term “Less is more”,
  4. Equally long for depth and authenticity, and avoid vulnerability

…you might be an 8w7. But what does that mean?

What is a Wing?

You may have noticed results from an Enneagram test you’ve taken, or seen your friends mention their type, but with two numbers with a little “w” between them. That “w” stands for “Wing”.

Your wing will be the Enneagram type directly on either side of your core type. So wings for an 8 are either 7 or 9. Your wing is not your next highest score or another type you feel like you may be.

For example, you cannot be an 8w3 or 8w4.

Your wing will be like an accent to your core personality. Beth McCord (Your Enneagram Coach) describes wings as salt and pepper, to your entree. It adds some flavor but doesn’t change the type at its core.

So you will see traits of your wings type in your personality, but it does not change the core motivations behind your actions.

Unlike your core Enneagram type, your wings can change. You will likely have a dominant wing while having the ability to access the other when needed.

Your dominant wing can change in different seasons throughout your life, and both wings will look a little bit different as your level of health and awareness increases, or decreases.

What is an 8w7?

Often referred to as “Challengers”, Enneagram 8’s are strong, confident, assertive, and generally unafraid of conflict.

At their core, however, they really just want to know that they will not be betrayed. There is an incredibly tender side to them that was once wounded and they thought “never again”.

So they subconsciously, often beginning in childhood, set out to take care of themselves by having an incredibly tough exterior.

When this core type meets the “flavor” of the excitable, fun, energetic Enneagram 7, you have an intense combination of tenacity, energy, and excess.

The Unique Gifts of an 8w7

Enneagram 7’s are fun, excitable, outgoing, and full of joy. They especially love people and new and exciting experiences.

Enneagram 8’s, as we know, are powerful, enjoy being in control, are independent, confident, and assertive.

When these types come together in the 8w7, you find someone who is passionate. They will be the most of whatever they are. The most loyal, most empathetic, most generous, or most loving.

They have the ability to persevere with tenacity more than any other type or subtype on the enneagram.

When they are in a healthy space, they are able to focus more on others than on themselves. When they live in this space, they can truly change the world.

The Struggles of an 8w7

In seasons of stress or struggle, you may find yourself being extremely…extreme.

In the same ways that an 8w7 will be the most of the good, you are able to be the most of the bad. You may find yourself being self-centered, focusing your attention on power and control, lacking in compassion, being impatient, demanding, and impulsive.

How to Grow as an 8w7

Though it may be hard to believe at times, enneagram 8’s really do have an incredibly gentle spirit. One of the greatest things you could do for yourself and those you love and trust, is to let it show.

Be vulnerable enough to show the strength of tender emotions, fears, and wounds. It may feel like a weakness, but in reality, it is one of the bravest things to do for those who love you.

Living in a Genesis 3 world, there really is no way around being hurt and betrayed by others. As an enneagram 8, the most painful thing that could happen is betrayal.

Know that God is always with you, loving you, and has already paid the ultimate price for your freedom, even in the face of betrayal.

Practice naming ALL of your feelings, making room for them, and communicating them to “your people”. This will create deeper trust and connection for you.

You can have really high expectations of others and ideas that they may need to “tough it out” or “just keep going”, but in reality that may not be the right thing to do.

Give grace to those around you and know that not everyone, in fact, most people won’t be able to, keep up with your pace of life or work. And not only is that okay, but it’s also a really good thing!

We are the body of Christ. Each part of the body has a very different and very important role, and wouldn’t be able to do its job well without the others doing theirs.

Learn to encourage, listen, and support people where they are.

More Resources

On the other side of Eight is the 8w9. An eight with a nine wing is more tender, appreciates comfort, and longs more for peace than intensity. They tend to bury their anger a little more than an 8w7, and are able to do life at a slower pace than someone who is an 8w7.

To learn more about yourself as an Eight and how your Seven wing may present itself, check out my guide to Type Eight and guide to Type Seven.

And lastly—if you want to dive deeper into what it looks like to grow in your Enneagram type, check out The Enneagram Growth Guide, which you can download for free.

This is a guide with a Christian perspective—it’ll show you how to overcome the struggles and temptations of your number, discover the incredible gifts hidden inside you, and use that knowledge to go deeper in your relationship with God.

You can grab a free copy by clicking this link.