Brené Brown is a researcher known for her work studying and teaching courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She’s the author of several bestselling books including The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Braving the Wilderness. 

Based on an analysis of her observed behavior and motivations, Brown is likely an INFJ personality type and Enneagram One. 

Brené Brown’s Myers-Briggs Personality Type: INFJ

INFJs have a gift of understanding and breaking down complex topics. Brown is passionate about doing that — in fact, she’s devoted her life’s work to understanding the complexities of emotional experiences like shame and vulnerability. Through careful research and a deep intuitive understanding of these concepts, Brown is able to explain her work to other people in ways that both educate and inspire. 

Thoughtful and insightful, INFJs focus on understanding other people and helping them meet their needs. They possess an intuitive understanding of complex social structures and unspoken social contracts. Brown exhibits this understanding through her work on empathy and leadership. 

"Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives."

 — Brené Brown

I / Introverted: Introverts gain energy by focusing on their inner world. Although her work requires her to speak to thousands of people, Brené is a self-described Introvert. In an interview with Susan Cain, Brown states, “Most people find it hard to believe, but I’m an introvert... My restorative time is alone time or time with my family and a couple of close friends. I don’t function well without serious doses of solitude.” 

N / Intuitive: Intuitive personality types have a talent for exploring ideas and perspectives. Brown exhibits this in her life’s work, which seeks to understand complex emotional experiences. In an interview with The Good Life Project, Brown discusses her experience learning to value herself as a “weird” and “pattern-seeing” person. Like many Intuitive types, she says that she grew up feeling different from many people because of these traits. 

F / Feeling: Like many Feeling personality types, Brené is a charming and charismatic people-person. In interviews, she is extremely attentive to the person she is speaking with and focuses on maintaining an engaging and friendly conversation. She speaks often about her values of kindness and community, and she is passionate about using storytelling as a tool to understand ourselves and other people more deeply. 

J / Judging: Decisive and organized, Judging types approach life in a carefully calibrated way and focus on short- and long-term plans to help them achieve their goals. In her work on leadership, Brown emphasizes the importance of productivity and thoughtful decision making. 

Cognitive Functions

Ni / Introverted Intuition: Introverted Intuitive types are skilled at seeing what’s beneath the surface and often challenge preconceptions and assumptions. Brown is fascinated by the mind and has devoted her life to furthering research and understanding of complex concepts and ideas. Rather than accept things as they are, she challenges herself and others to think more deeply about our shared emotional experiences.  

Fe / Extraverted Feeling: Extraverted Feeling types are warm and gregarious, often putting the needs of other people above their own. Brown is a natural in interviews and conversations with other people. Like many Fe types, she even mimics the behaviors of others during conversation. Through her work, Brown aims to help people understand themselves and others more deeply, to form more meaningful relationships. 

Ti / Introverted Thinking: Introverted Thinking types make decisions based on accuracy, data, and logic. Brené Brown is a researcher who relies heavily on data and science to inform her opinions and theories. For INFJ and ISFJ types, Ti can show up as perfectionism, which is something Brown admits to struggling with throughout her life. 

Se / Extraverted Sensing: Extraverted Sensing types possess a strong awareness of the physical world. As an inferior function, INFJs can become easily overwhelmed by sensory input and struggle with overindulgence. Brown is extremely outspoken about her past struggles with addiction. She likes to stay present with physical activity and hobbies like photography

More Facts About INFJs:

  • Make up approximately 2% of the general population
  • Among types with the highest college GPA 
  • Most likely type to deal with anxiety by seeing a therapist 
  • Values include spirituality, learning, and community service
  • Interests include writing, reading, art appreciation, and socializing in small group settings 

Brené Brown’s Enneagram: Type 1 (The Perfectionist)

Brené Brown is an Enneagram Type One. (According to Truity estimates, roughly 10 percent of people share this type.) Ones are motivated by a desire to be good and honorable. They seek the best way to do things and fear being seen as imperfect. 

The major theme of much of Brown’s work includes understanding the experience of perfectionism and its relationship to vulnerability and shame. This work is largely rooted in her own personal struggles with these emotional experiences as a Type One. 

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown writes: “Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

Brown has confirmed on Twitter and in interviews that she is an Enneagram One. 

Enneagram 1: Inwardly 

  • High internal standards: Brown sets high standards for herself in all areas of her life. She quit alcohol and avoids other unhealthy vices. 
  • Strong sense of justice and fairness: Brown is outspoken and passionate about the causes that are close to her heart. She advocates for equality and justice for all people. For example, Brown provides anti-racism resources on her website. 
  • Passionate about helping others: Brown’s life’s work is dedicated to helping people become more comfortable with shame and vulnerability, so they can lead more purpose-driven lives.  
  • Need to have control over their environment: In her book, Dare to Lead, Brown speaks about her personal struggles with letting go of control of her organization and learning to have more trust in other people.  

Enneagram 1: Outwardly

  • Serious and direct in conversation: Rarely long-winded and rambly, Brown gets to the heart of what she wants to convey. In Dare to Lead, she writes, “Direct, honest, straightforward communication is kind. Sidestepping the truth doesn’t serve a useful purpose for anyone involved.”
  • Extreme focus on their work: Brown has devoted her life to her work. Not only is she a hard worker — the lessons she shares in her books are ones that she applies to her personal life, as well.  
  • Can struggle to adapt to change and take on risks: In her Netflix special, Brown recalls her past struggles with taking risks: “The fear of criticism was so great in my life up until that point, I mean just paralyzing, that I engineered smallness in my life. I did not take chances.”

With her Myers-Briggs and Enneagram types, Brown is an empathetic, passionate, and motivational leader who inspires people around the world to understand themselves and others more deeply, to challenge the status quo, and reach their highest potential.

Megan Malone
Megan holds an MS in organizational psychology and manages content and brand marketing at Truity. She is passionate about helping people improve their relationships, careers, and quality of life using personality psychology. An INFJ and Enneagram 9, Megan lives quietly in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and two pups. You can chat with her on Twitter @meganmmalone.