I work with business owners and entrepreneurs, helping them achieve their business goals. Inevitably, that means we work on other areas of life, too. You see, we bring all of ourselves to our work. If we are dissatisfied with any other area of life, it will inevitably impact our ability to meet our business goals.
The Wheel of Life (see the picture to the left) is a great tool for exploring our level of satisfaction with eight areas of life and deciding where to increase our investment of time, energy and money.
Here's how you can use the wheel in your life.
Download a full size copy of the wheel [PDF, 125kb] and print it out. Then, follow along on your own copy as we use it to direct our personal development.
Step 1: Rate your level of satisfaction in each area of life. A ten (the outer ring) indicates you are completely satisfied with that area. A 1 (inner ring) equals a very low level of satisfaction. Draw a line in each segment to show your rating, something like this example:
Step 2: Write out what a "ten" would look like in each area. I often just handwrite this on the wheel next to that segment. Be really clear what perfect satisfaction would look like. For example, I might say a ten in health would include daily exercise, a waist size less than 40 inches, and eating breakfast every day. Since I only manage one out of three, I rate health relatively low at this point.
Step 3: Decide which segment to improve first. I recommend tackling one segment at a time, and targeting small improvement actions that you can accomplish and sustain. We are after long-term, permanent change, and that happens a few small steps at a time. Let's choose health for this example.
Step 4: Develop three actions you can take to improve your satisfaction in the chosen area. Let's say a) get up 30 minutes earlier and cook a nourishing balanced breakfast for myself daily, b) move my treadmill in front of the TV so I can enjoy walking while feeding my news Jones, and c) weigh myself each morning.
Step 5: Tell someone else what you are committing to do and ask that person to check with you regularly (weekly?) to see how you are doing on your commitments. Remember, the chances of achieving a goal improve dramatically when you commit to someone else and setup an accountability system. Here's where a coach can come in handy - helping you design actions in Step 4 and then acting as an accountability partner in step 5.
Step 6: Check your wheel regularly. Celebrate the progress you make, and notice how improvement in one segment tends to increase satisfaction in other areas, too.
Step 7: When the actions you set in step 4 are sufficiently bedded down, go back to the wheel and find three new actions - either to continue improving on the original area, or on a new area of life.
Enjoy the process. May your wheel steadily lose its bumpiness, giving you an ever smoother ride through life!
For more information:
- My favorite reference on the Wheel is Co-Active Coaching, 2nd Edition: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and, Life, by Laura Whitworth, et al. See pages 134-136 for their approach.
- One of my clients just turned me onto Noomii. It's an on-line version of the wheel, designed to be used with a buddy. I haven't tried it yet, so I can't tell you if it is any good. If youhave used it, please add a comment with your thoughts (but no Noomii publicity hacks, please).