Human Design 101: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

What is human design?

What is human design? It’s a system that helps you understand your energy better and use it more effectively using a combination of Western Astrology, Chakras, I-Ching, and the Kabbalah Tree of Life. You’ve probably seen it all over Instagram and might wonder if it works. The truth is it’s complicated. I remember seeing my first human design chart and thought, what the hell is that? There are a lot of different parts to it, and it works really well. 

If you enjoy personality tests like Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, or Enneagram, you’ll love human design. It only requires your birth date, time, and location rather than a lengthy questionnaire. Yet, it’s still remarkably accurate. 

If not, it’s likely due to an incorrect birth time or location. Even a few minutes difference in birth time can alter the results, so if you’re unsure about your birth time:

  • Ask your parents if they know any details about when you were born; was it nighttime? Was there a special sports event happening? Play detective and see if any details can point towards a more specific time.
  • Check your birth certificate or call the hospital where you were born to see if they have the exact time. 
  • Pull the chart every 30-60 minutes before and after to get a sense of how much it changes. 

Get your human design chart for free. 

The core of human design revolves around:

  • energy type: how your energy works
  • authority: how to make decisions, and
  • strategy: how to use your energy and know when you’re in and out of alignment.

Once you’re comfortable with that, you can go deeper by understanding your profile (your personality), the different energy centers, and your gifts or gates. These add more flavour and uniqueness to your strengths and vulnerabilities. 

For this article, we’ll review the five different energy types and the strategies associated with each one. 

The 5 Energy Types in Human Design

Human design has five energy types: manifestors, manifesting generators, generators, projectors and reflectors. 

The Energy Types in Human Design

Manifestors

Manifestors make up 8-9% of the population and have that “King” and “Queen” energy. They have a big, bold aura. They can manifest what they want by talking it into existence. When they are in alignment, they’ll say things like “This is what I’m doing” and “This is where I’m going” rather than asking for permission when they are out of alignment. 

Manifestors are influential, very creative, and meant to greatly impact society. They are true trailblazers, so not everyone will like them. In fact, their aura is a bit repelling and offputting, and even if it’s a bit closed, it’s incredibly impactful. 

They create a big energy surge to follow through on whatever they want to do, followed by a long period of rest, relaxation, and recharging. They need their alone time and should rest 80% of the time. This is challenging for manifestors because they are usually conditioned to “hustle” and “do” in our society, which can lead them to burnout by 40. 

Their strategy is to inform. They tell people what they want, saying what they want out loud, their dreams, wants, thoughts, and struggles. They need to speak it out loud for it to happen; otherwise, no one will know and can’t support them. 

When in alignment, their signature is peace—a calm feeling of contentment with no expectations or pressure. They need to be in a spot of acceptance. 

When out of alignment, they will feel anger or even rage. This can manifest as doubts, feeling caged, strong annoyance, huge fear of failure, lots of tension in the body, and a lack of control. 

Challenge: As a manifestor, tell people what you want. Speak it out loud and notice what happens around you. 

Manifesting Generators

“You are never ‘off track’ because you’re not designed to be ‘on track’. You’re here to create a new one” – Jenna Zoe

Manifesting Generators make up 33-35% of the population and are almost superhuman. They can be either more manifestors, meaning they can speak things into existence as a response, or more generators, meaning they move quicker, are a bit more all over the place, and are master multi-taskers. 

Manifesting generators have a big, bold aura (manifestor) and big, juicy energy (generator). They are here to inspire others by using their energy to do what they love. They can be unpredictable at times and can spend hours engulfed working on something, forgetting to eat or take breaks. This is a good hustle. They crave variety and bounce from one thing to the next. They don’t always finish what they start. It’s the best when their life is unrealistic, and it’s not always going to make sense.

There is a lot of conditioning for manifesting generators that make them feel guilty about changing their minds or being multi-passionate. They’ll often feel pressure to say “yes” to things they don’t want to do but feel like they “should.” Manifesting generators will burn out if they are hustling and using their energy to do things they don’t love or that aren’t in alignment with them.  

Their strategy is to respond. They’ll have a big surge of energy and then have to wait for signs to respond by watching and listening to what’s around them. Using Yes/No or This/That questions can be really helpful in triggering a response for them. 

When in alignment, their signature is satisfaction—feelings of peace, calm, ease, and satisfaction. They’ll feel tired at the end of the day, but they’ll also feel productive and satisfied with what they’ve accomplished. 

When out of alignment, they will feel frustration that can turn into anger. This might be because something isn’t working, there might be feelings of being stuck, blah, unmotivated, and no one wants to hear from them. This is a signal to take a break or go for a walk. 

Challenge: As a manifesting generator, what do you love doing? Lean into that. Stop feeling bad about being multi-passionate and all over the place. That’s who you’re meant to be.

Generators

Generators make up roughly 37% of the population and are the worker bees. They have big, juicy energy. They are open, inviting, and very receptive to everything they encounter. You can think of them as the worker bees, dancing with life.

They are natural caregivers and fill other people’s cups. They love to start and finish things. As they light up, their aura magnetizes, and it doesn’t always make sense. They are meant to do work that they love, so if they spend time doing work they don’t want to do, it won’t work, and they’ll burn out. 

Their strategy is to respond. They need to observe the world around them and what is being presented to them. It’s like an intuition hit. Their body will likely react before their voice, with their head nodding or moving forward / backward. 

When in alignment, their signature is satisfaction—feelings of peace, calm, ease, and satisfaction. They’ll feel tired at the end of the day, but they’ll also feel productive and satisfied with what they’ve accomplished. They enjoy the simple pleasures of life. 

When out of alignment, they will feel frustration that can turn into anger. This might be because something isn’t working, there might be feelings of being stuck, blah, unmotivated, and no one wants to hear from them. This is a signal to take a break or go for a walk. 

Challenge: As a generator, follow what lights you up! You make people happy when you follow your aligned “yes.” Practice saying no. 

Projectors

Projectors are like the wise owl from Winnie the Pooh, making up 17-21% of the population. 

Projectors are made to spend their time learning, observing, processing, refining, and developing their talents, gifts, and superpowers. 

BEING is important for projectors, even though our world is conditioned towards DOING. Many projectors burn out around 30 years old because of the generator hustle in the world. 

Projectors aren’t here to trade time for money; they are trading wisdom for money. Projectors should only work 2-4 hours a day on average because they get way more done in small bits of time and need much more rest to rejuvenate than other energy types. 

Their strategy is to wait for the invitation. Wait for the verbal, physical or energetic invitation. They need to wait for people to ask for advice or invite them in to do something, which is challenging because they are so wise and good at giving advice and seeing things others don’t. 

Taking the initiative without waiting for the invitation creates a repelling energy for others, turning them off or shutting them down. The person needs to be in the right place to receive it. This can also be challenging because, as a society, we’re conditioned to take initiative, but in a projectors world, this can have the opposite effect. 

However, projectors can share what they are doing in their life, their story, and their joys, passions, or feelings. 

When in alignment, their signature is success. They’ll be recognized for their contributions by others. It might feel fun, light, easy, airy, delightful, powerful, or just like being on top of the world. A tip for projectors is to self-recognize their achievements instead of waiting for others. 

When out of alignment, they will feel bitterness. Things might not feel fair or that they aren’t being recognized. It might also look like jealousy, being overlooked, judgment, resentment, irritation, or focusing on the faults of others. They may even want to fix everything and everyone around them because they think they know better. 

Challenge: Wait for the invitation or ask for permission. Notice how the insights you provide are valued much more when waiting. 

Reflectors 

Reflectors are the ultimate empathic mirrors, but they only make up 1% of the population. They can experience the most human behaviour and have the most wisdom and understanding of any of the other energy types. 

They reflect on what others are seeing and doing through mood, energy, words, etc. The risk is that they may identify too closely with it, not realizing it’s not actually them. They are meant to share, share and share some more, amplifying what they see in others. 

Reflectors aren’t made with a defined purpose or passion. They are made to ebb and flow and follow nudges that might completely change their direction. They aren’t made too concrete or fixed, which can be hard for reflectors conditioned to “know who they are.” The key for reflectors is to stay detached to gain from whatever the universe throws at them. 

Their strategy is to wait through the lunar cycle (28 days) for each gate to be activated for big decisions. Reflectors don’t need to wait that long, though, for smaller decisions. 

When in alignment, their signature is surprise. It’s childlike wonder and playfulness, and it does not feel stuck in a container. 

When out of alignment, they will feel disappointed—having a big question of WHY – feeling meaningless, chaotic, mundane. Only see things in a greyscale instead of the full rainbow. A depression/melancholy / blue that everyone has it better, which might even turn into compulsive cramming instead of flow. 

Challenge: As a reflector, give yourself lots of space and alone time to clear your energy. Notice your environments and how they impact you. 

Integrating your human design

Every energy type is slightly different, and each has different strategies for aligning with and using their energy. The first place to start with human design is just to notice. Become aware. Practice using your strategy and see what happens. 

Notice how you feel when you’re in alignment or out of alignment. 

For manifesting generators and generators, you have it a bit easier; the world is geared towards your energy types as long as it’s a good hustle. The key for you will be to learn to say “no” and protect your energy.

Manifestors, projectors and reflectors have the most conditioning around hustling and “doing” all the time. Instead, focus on getting more rest and doing less.  Each of these energy types have their nuances and there will be a lot of exploring and unlearning to do.  Be kind to yourself as you explore your human design!

Human design is another self-discovery tool to help you become more grounded in who you are. Have fun with the process! If you’re interested in energy work, learn more about the chakras or how neurolinguistic programming can support your growth. 

I love doing human design assessments. It can teach us a lot about our energy and conditioning and raise awareness about using our energy better to be in alignment. I use them at the beginning of a coaching relationship to set a solid foundation for who that client is and help us build a more effective coaching relationship. To learn more, email me at jenn@thepracticespace.co

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