Ali Wren

whole-hearted living, healthy-minded eating

Type Two with Joy McMillan

Joy McMillan is a speaker, writer, graphic designer, podcaster, artist, and coach.

Hailing from Southern Africa, she has a burning passion to see women wake up to their purpose and step out boldly into their unique circles of influence. Little delights her more than seeing women break free from the shackles of fear and shame, and walk out the extraordinary life they were created for.

She founded Simply Bloom in 2007 as a means to connect women in the trenches of motherhood and share her love of photography and graphic design. It was here that she discovered a love for writing. Simply Bloom has evolved from a mommy blog into a multifaceted creative outlet through which she speaks, writes, coaches & consults, designs and creates hope-inspiring products for the Simply Bloom shop.

Find her online at, and

FB: @simplybloom
IG: @simplybloomjoy

How long have you known about the Enneagram?

I had heard about it a couple of months ago, but didn’t really engage with it until I decided to read The Road Back To You in September.  As a self-professing personality assessment junkie, I went in with a semi-smug “I totally know I’m a 7” attitude, only to discover – much to my chagrin – that I couldn’t relate to much of how the Seven thinks and feels about life.

The Two, however, split me wide open. I felt totally exposed and a little shocked.  In fact, I was irritated enough about it all to stick my fingers in my ears, walk away from the book for two weeks, and pretend I hadn’t discovered any of it. But it gnawed at me, and the more I chewed on it and talked to the Lord about it, the more my initial shame turned to a sweet sense of feeling known, which brought with it a promise of freedom and growth.

It’s interesting because at first glance, I couldn’t relate to the title of the Two. The Helper?  No way!  I had visions of people quietly working behind the scenes, serving anonymously and shying away from the spotlight, which – as dreadful as it may sound – is just not me…I love both the stage and the spotlight (which could be why I gravitated towards the personality of the Seven).

As I listened to podcasts and read more about the core fears and desires of the Two, I found some of the deepest parts of my heart, my story, and my childhood tucked in there. It made perfect sense!

When I listened to Annie Downs’s interview with Beth McCord, an enneagram coach who so stunningly wraps up the enneagram in biblical wisdom and hope, I was utterly undone. She shared the heart message each number longs to hear, and the message of the 2 was exactly what I’d cried to my counselor two years before. That sealed the deal!

I struggled to nail down my wing, because I have a distinct perfectionist (1) streak in me, but I can also relate to much of how the performer (3) processes life.  At the end of the day, the Three’s core weaknesses and desires more accurately reflect me than the One’s do.  So I’m a 2w3.

What do you wish people knew about being your type?

That I truly love people and love being able to step in and help in whatever way I can – but that often tucked away behind the prolific serving, hidden from the public eye, is a cry to be seen and acknowledged for who I am…and not what I do or bring to the table.

I’ve spent my life finding worth and value in activity, directly linking my significance to how much people needed me.  I’ve silenced my own struggles and needs for fear of being a burden to others, while being ever on the ready to show up for them (this speaks to the ‘deadly sin’ of the Two: pride). I’ve wondered whether a lack of performance – be it in service, support or tangible things – might result in a lessening of one’s affection for me.

Someone’s need for my contribution feeds the approval addiction I’ve struggled for so long with, and makes saying “no” to people excruciatingly hard.  But I’m working on it – so know that when I tell you “no”, I’m not being mean or selfish or callous…I’m being brave, building healthier boundaries, and practicing the detachment of my value from my service.

What do you like about being your type?

I believe it’s the most people-centric number of the enneagram, which makes a whole lot of sense to me…I’m a real lover of people!  I love the uncanny sensitivity of knowing where people are struggling, and being compelled to love them and serve them where they’re at.  I think it’s a beautiful, needed gift in a hurting, armored-up world.  I love the enthusiasm, expressive personality, affection and generosity of the 2.

I’m also fascinated by the fact that when a Two is healthy, they exhibit some of the great characteristics of the Four…and I can so relate to that.  When I’m in a healthy space, I’m very creative and think and feel deeply.

What challenge(s) does being your type bring?

I struggle with silencing the guilt of not solving everyone’s problems – I sometimes panic if there’s a need and I’m not able to help.

I struggle to say “no” and to keep healthy boundaries, which can lead to resentment and anger (Twos exhibit the less redeeming traits of the Eight when unhealthy).

Only recently have I truly allowed others to love me well – letting the walls down, not pretending to have it all together, and just allowing my soul to be loved…simply for being me.  God brought the most amazing mentor into my life two years ago, and she’s been absolutely instrumental in this redemption journey.

This is part of a 31-day series: The Enneagram. To read all posts, head here.

About Ali

I'm Ali. I write about my journey of living a full and healthy life with food allergies, overcoming the comparison trap, and cultivating authenticity.

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  • Tara Ulrich

    Oh man yes…I’m such a lover of people too. And do much THIS: “That I truly love people and love being able to step in and help in whatever way I can – but that often tucked away behind the prolific serving, hidden from the public eye, is a cry to be seen and acknowledged for who I am…and not what I do or bring to the table.