In today’s article, I’d like to share something called the(or Life Wheel) with you. It’s one of the coaching tools I use in my sessions with my clients. It’ll undoubtedly be a useful tool in your journey of growth.
What is the Life Wheel?
After my last post on putting parts of our life on hold, readers have been sharing interesting responses. It seems numerous readers can relate to that problem. However, while some of us may intuitively know that we’re putting parts of our life on hold, it can be a hazy perception.
The life wheel solves that problem. It is a wheel that gives you a snapshot of how you’re doing (a) overall in life (hence the name) and (b) the individual areas of your life. The wheel is essentially a circle divided into segments (usually 8 ) that represent different areas in your life. See sample diagram below.
The segments are not fixed – it’s up to the individual to define the areas that he finds important. The universal areas are usually career/studies, family, love, friends, finance and health. The remaining few are more subjective. They are generally either personal growth, recreation or spiritual.
Each segment has a scale from 1-10, representing how you’re doing right now. 1 being lowest, 10 being highest. (refer to diagram) You mark out your score in each area, then connect the dots. At the end, you get a web-like diagram that gives you an instant view on how you’re doing in life. (we’ll be doing a life wheel exercise later in the article)
The most useful part of the wheel is the visual representation and the overhead, “helicopter” view it gives. After you map out, you instantly know whether you’re doing very well, okay/normal, or you have problems fulfilling different areas. After all, it’s hard to tell how you’re doing in life when you’re so intently focusing on your day-to-day activities. You may sort of know you’re putting an area on hold, but it may not be obvious what it is, and there’s no real call to action since nothing major is happening. The life wheel helps you realize that. Just looking at the wheel lets you spot the gaps in your life instantly, so you can make the necessary interventions and work on the low score areas before it’s too late.
When I first used the Life Wheel with my clients, I used 8 segments, but after a while 8 segments felt limiting. The areas that are neglected in the person’s life would continue to be left out in the 8 segments, which defeats the purpose. After some thought, I created a 10-segment wheel with the following areas (in no order of priority):
- Business / Career / Studies – The key segment in most of our lives. If you’re running a business, business will be applicable for you. For working adults, career is your segment. If you’re still a student, studies is the one.
- Finance / Wealth – How rich you are. The amount of wealth, assets, material possessions you have
- Health / Fitness – Your state of health as well as your lifestyle. Diet, sleep, exercise falls here
- Social / Friends – How you’re faring in your social circle
- Family – Your parents, siblings, next of kin, relatives, or even your guardians.
- Romance / Love – Your relationship with your spouse / boyfriend / girlfriend. Your dating life.
- Recreation / Fun – Your recreation and enjoyment in life
- Contribution – How you’re giving back to the society. Social cause. Humanitarian activities.
- Personal growth – Your personal development
- Spiritual – Your connection with the universe. Some call it higher power / God / higher self.
I believe no matter who you are, these 10 areas will play essential roles in living your best life. Some people might feel only certain areas of the wheel apply to them though. For example, maybe they think spiritual is unimportant since they’re free thinkers (a common misconception as spirituality refers to your connection to the universe. It has nothing to do with having a religion or not). So they ignore the spiritual aspect and build on other tangible areas like career, love and health. However, after some years, they come to wonder their higher purpose in life is, why they’re here for, and a deeper meaning behind what they’re doing. Spirituality relates to our soul, which is one of our 4 core aspects (Mind, Body, Heart, Soul).
Some people disregard love, saying they have family and friends and they don’t need romantic love. However, love represents a unique part of our life that’s of a different level than kinship nor friendship (not necessarily higher, but definitely different). Block off love, and you block off a large part of your ability to connect and feel. You also block off your deepest emotions. Romantic love relates directly to your Heart.
Some people disregard money, saying money is not important and they just want to earn enough to survive. However, money is merely symbol for value in this world. To reject money means to reject giving value to the world. To reject money also means to reject receiving value for your contributions. In the end it leads to stagnancy in your life since there is a block that prevents you from truly receiving and giving. The amount of money you have also affects your quality of living. Money relates directly to your Body (the physical world).
Some have the impression that I reject money (probably because I quit my previous well paying job in ’08 for my passion and also how some past media features angled my story), but that can’t be further from the truth. I quit to achieve the end outcome of passion AND money (which has manifested itself too since I quit), not passion without money. Money is important in my cause (and any other cause you have). With more money, I can kick off new projects, invest in my business (to grow it further), hire people and get more resources so I can help more people. I can do so much more than what I’m doing right now.
The same goes for people who deny needing recreation/fun, friends, success in life, family, their health, etc. It can’t be further from the truth. Ultimately all areas on the wheel are important because they are all parts of our life. Disregarding any one area is precisely what leads to the problem of putting your life on hold, because by disregarding one, you disregard a part of yourself and hence your life.
Life Wheel Exercise: How Are You Faring in Your Life?
It’s exercise time! Let’s now assess how we’re doing in life. Get your pen and paper ready.
Step 1. Assess Where You Are
- Assess your life on each of the 10 segments below on a scale of 1-10 (1 = lowest, 10 = highest). Below are some questions to think over:
- Business / Career / Studies – How are you performing in this area? Are you achieving your best?
- Finance/Wealth – How much is your income/monthly cash flow? How much do you save from there? How much are your current assets? Do you have any passive income streams?
- Health/Fitness – Are you healthy? Is your life style healthy? Do you have enough sleep/rest? Are you eating healthily? Are you exercising regularly?
- Social/Friends – Do you have a good social circle? Friends to hang out with, talk to, confide in, have fun with? Do you have deep connections with these friends? Are you meeting new people?
- Family – How are your relationships with your family members? Your relatives? Do you talk with them freely? Do you communicate with them openly?
- Romance/Love – Are you single? Attached? Have you found your life partner/soul mate? Is this the most fulfilling relationship?
- Recreation – Are you having fun? Are you engaged in leisure activities outside of work?
- Contribution – Are you giving back to the society and the world?
- Personal Growth – Are you growing? Are you achieving your highest potential? Are you being the best you can be?
- Spiritual – Are you aware of your connection with the universe? Are you in tune with the universe/your higher self?
- Draw your life wheel like the one below. (If you have a printer, print the life wheel (pdf) and paste it into your workbook.)
- Then, mark out the individual scores for each segment on the paper.
- Finally, connect the marks with one another. You should have a continuous line, like a web, that links across each segment and finally loops back to the original point.
Part II: Reflections……
Now that you have your life wheel drawn…
- Reflecting on your life wheel.
- Shape of your web: How does it look? The bigger the web, the better you’re doing. There are 4 general shapes that each represents how you’re doing.
- Your scores. How your life is at the moment is where your actions in the past few months have brought you. How do you feel about it? Are you proud of them? Satisfied? Or dissatisfied? Why so? Pen down all your feelings and thoughts in your workbook. There is no limit on how much to write. The more you write, the better.
- Understanding why you are here. It is not a coincidence that you have these scores right now. If you had done a life wheel assessment a month ago, 2 months ago, or one month later, 2 months later, you’d end up with similar scores too. (I know I would) The bigger question is – why?What are the 3 biggest reasons your life wheel looks like this?
- Knowing the lowest points. Fact is, all 10 segments represent our life. Some people may think they can just ignore 3-4 segments and score a 0-1 there – but it doesn’t work that way. Whenever there’s a part of your life that is blocked (or put on hold), a part of you is blocked too. Which segments have the lowest scores? Have you been putting off? Why?
- Coming to terms with your scores. Are you happy with your life wheel? What if you have to stick with these scores forever? How would you feel? Is this what what you want?
- Envisioning your ideal life. What does your ideal life wheel look like? What will be the scores for each segment? We’ll be discussing more about your ideal life in Day 2.
Spend as much time as you need to reflect on your current status. Don’t rush this process. The more you reflect and understand how you came to be where you are, the better you’ll be able to address it moving forward.
- A constricted web with low scores on most fronts. This reflects you’re facing a lot of limitations – which are more self-limitations than anything. If you continue not doing anything, you’ll keep drifting until the web eventually caves into you. Your key priority now should be select your focus areas, then channel all your energy in realizing your goals on those fronts.
- A lopsided web that’s high on some areas but low on some. That’s great – you’ve made good headway in some areas. However, you’ve neglected other areas in the process. As we’ve learned, doing so is only limiting your life experience. It might also reflect you’re blocking off/denying those areas. Don’t do that – all areas of your life are important in making you, you. Mark out the 3-4 areas where you’re underperforming. Your priority should be to understand why you’ve been blocking off those areas and take actions to bring them up. Remember it’s not about neglecting the other areas you’re doing well in to bring these areas up. That’s just changing from neglecting X areas to neglecting Y areas, which doesn’t solve the problem. It’s about learning how to maximize every part of your life altogether.
- A broad web with general high scores. This reflects you’re doing generally doing well. Great job! There’s always room to maximize your life. How can you bring it a notch further and max out everything?
- A complete circle with full scores. The ideal life. I see full 10 scores as an ideal to work towards than a state to remain in. That’s because there are always things to improve on and be better in. Whenever we get to a 10 for that moment, we’ll realize there are new opportunities it can be better. That’s what it means to be endlessly growing, and this is the real beauty of life – there are no limits. We are the ones who define the limits. In the end, the gap between our scores and the full 10 should reflect opportunities for it to be better, vs. dissatisfaction/unhappiness in the areas. If someone does have full 9s/10s, the person is either really doing supremely well or unaware of the possibilities beyond where he/she is at – usually the latter since life is limitless.A possible trap that someone with 9s/10s might have is that he/she will remain status quo (being perfectly happy in the state), which prevents further growth/development. Does it mean that it’s impossible to get full 9s/10s then? Not necessarily. The 10s are our envisionments of where we should/can be at a certain point in time. As long as we’re constantly breaking new grounds, moving forward, it is possible that we’ll remain in the 9s/10s state. For that to happen, it means we’ve to be at a high level of self-awareness and driven to action.
Set your goals and use the Successful Goal Achievement Series: ESPER to help you get started – complete with strategizing, planning, taking action and review.
My Life Wheel
I thought I should share my life wheel with you so we can learn and grow together. At the end of the article, I invite you to share your life wheel results with us too via the comments area. Doing the wheel is one thing; actually posting/writing about it will bring more clarity in your mind and future understanding of your scores/wheel.
At the point of writing this post, I’m not particularly proud of my wheel – I can definitely be doing better. I’m glad that I did this exercise because it helped me recognize the areas I’ve been neglecting (which I was subconsciously aware of but didn’t do much about them), and what I should focus on moving forward.
Here’s a brief description of the scores:
- Business / Career – 7/10. The highest rated area of my life now, together with Contribution. In the past period, I’ve been focusing on this building my personal development business/blog, so it’s not a surprise that it’s the most highly rated area of my life. I’d say the past 1.5 years was more of a trial/learning phase, and now is the period to move full speed ahead. The blog is definitely the centerpiece of my business so expect to see a lot coming on this front (my best advice in the form of free articles as always, information products, courses, forums, community, books, etc). I really excited as to what the next few months/one year will bring as I focus my energy on these key goals.
- Finance/Wealth – 4/10. Up until the launch of TPEBook I haven’t tried to generate any revenue at the blog. I was earning income through my 1-1 coaching work and speaking engagements, but not my blog. I wanted to focus on building awareness for my work first than get bogged by monetization goals. It worked – I generated a good level of awareness for the blog, but the problem was I wasn’t earning anything at all for all the endless hours I spent in my blog, which made it an unhealthy, lopsided relationship. Survival needs came into the picture. So then it was time to work on creating high value products/setting revenue streams as to make this sustainable.The TPEBook launched last month was a first step in this area. At least now there’s a passive income stream to justify working on my blog from a business POV. I’d say my original rating for Finance/Wealth was a 1-2 and the launch of TPEBook shifted it up to a 3-4. I look forward to integrating the revenue aspect into my business.
If you found the articles at the blog useful but haven’t got the book, do check it out. There have been really powerful reviews coming in from readers who have gotten their copy. There have also been readers saying that it’s way underpriced for the value that’s in the book, so I might look into some price revision moving forward.
- Health/Fitness – 5/10. My diet tends to be neglected when I’m busy with work. I just pick and eat whatever’s available (that’s vegetarian). Sometimes my exercise sessions get forgone too. Lately I’m getting back in the gear, exercising every day and eating healthily.
- Social/Friends – 5/10. I try to attend gatherings with friends whenever they come up, and at times organize outings where I can. I’m also meeting a lot of new people through my workshops, my 1-1 coaching and business. That said, I think I can do more on the social front – like join more interest groups, meet-up with good old friends more often, etc. This week, I’ll be arranging to spend a full day with one of my best friends I haven’t met in a while.
- Family – 3/10. I’m on good terms with my parents, but I feel it can be better. I can definitely be spending more time with them, talking to them more, and showing more appreciation, etc. I plan to do that more from now on.
- Romance/Love – 1/10. While it has the lowest score, I see this more as a binary score e.g., for a single who hasn’t found the right person, it’ll probably be a 1. When the right person comes along, it’ll probably be a 9 or a 10. For now I’m not in a rush to get into a relationship. It’s more important that I’m with the right person than be with someone whom I don’t feel is a match. That said, that doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing in this area. I’m being more open to the people who ask me out and less closed off as I used to be. Look forward to meeting the right person one day .
- Recreation – 6/10. I love doing what I’m doing so much that it’s just like play to me. What I feel is lacking on the recreation front though is the leisurely/entertainment type of fun, like going on vacation, recreation outside of work, getting on an adventure, and so on.
- Contribution – 7/10. I consider my work a contribution / giveback, hence it’s the same score as my business. The long days, late nights I spend writing articles on the blog are not done with an intention of getting a return, but truly to help all of us grow and take action to live our best lives. I’d say the score is tied to the people I’m reaching with my work. As my blog/business expands and I reach out to more audiences, it’ll score better.
- Personal Growth – 5/10. Where I’m now vs. my true potential. All of us have unlimited potential so it’s always a journey to further ourselves. In November I’ll be joining MMI (Millionaire Mindset Intensive), a 3-day seminar. I look forward to learning new things about myself/unlocking limitations surrounding money. This will help in my Finance/Wealth too.
- Spiritual – 5/10. My connection with the universe and my higher self. I meditate on an ad-hoc basis these days – Regulating it into my daily schedule will increase this score.
This exercise really helped me clarify on the areas that I have been neglecting and bring a call to action to work on them. For the next few weeks/months, I’ll be focusing on getting the neglected areas on track. I look forward to seeing how the wheel is like at the end of the year. Like in 2008 and 2009, I’ll do a end of year round-up of how my year has been, my reflections and goals/plans moving forward.
Other Exercises For You To Try Out
If you found the life wheel exercise useful,
- Writing A Letter To Your Future Self
- Create Your Life Handbook
How did you fare? Please share here
I’ll love to hear about how you’re doing in your life wheel at the moment. Please share your scores in the comments area. Some questions I invite you to think over:
- How do you think you’re faring
- Why do you rate yourself in that manner?
- Have there been any areas you are neglecting?
- What is a 10 to you and how do you plan to achieve that score moving forward?
All the best,