Archive for June, 2011

Keeping Balanced – The Wheel of Life06.12.11

This is one of my favorite representations of the wheel of life.

Every time I do goal-setting –
Every time I start to feel a little lost –
Every time I just need some forward movement –

I look this thing up in Google images and go through it.

Wheel of Life

Wheel of Life

Here’s how to use it (or, here’s how I use it):

1. Print out the wheel (or re-create it on a blank piece of paper) with all its categories. The categories are:

-Physical Environment
-Business / Career
-Family & Friends
-Personal Growth
-Fun & Recreation

2. Without putting too much thought into it, just allowing your intuition to do some work, draw a line in each section that represents how you feel you are doing in that section of your life, from 1-10.

So if you’re feeling pretty bad about your romance, for example, you might put a 2 or 3 in there. And if you’re feeling pretty good about your health, you could put a 7, 8, maybe even a 10 there. Whatever your hand gravitates towards for that category.

Once you’re done, for effect, fill in the areas you’ve marked. The goal here is to have a nice, round wheel – but what USUALLY happens is…something a little more ‘rough’.

And what I often find is that when one area is especially low, it tends to pull all the other areas down with it.

Once I get a quick feel of how I’m doing, I like to write down some basic goals for each area. Nothing fancy – I just place a few “perfect” situations next to each category. Here’s what would make the family & friends category perfect. Here’s what would make ‘romance’ perfect. Get it?

Now, I’m the ‘semantic map’ type – so I like to draw lines coming out from each category, and to enter my thoughts there…but you might prefer to actually write down the categories in an outline. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you’re able to interact with it.

As an example, I might draw a line out of the ‘family & friends’ category and write “visit my sister at least twice a month.” For health, I’ve put things like, “do a free-standing handstand” and “drink green juice at least 3x per week.”

Your ideal situations might be very different (probably should be – I don’t know many other people who like blended greens and care whether or not they’ll ever do a handstand)…



So the thing is, your life always goes towards balance, and it’s a sort of wave. It’s not 100% balanced all the time; instead, things go up and down. As an example, I might focus on my business for a month and really get my finances in great shape…but in the meantime, I ignore my family and that category goes down. So the following month I make an effort to focus more on my family…

A wave.

And even if you’re not doing this exercise, even if you’re not manipulating your balance – you’re naturally going to get more balanced – just in a very rough way.

Someone whose health might be at a 3 or below…will eventually get into a situation (i.e., heart attack) that FORCES them to stop, relax, take a break from work, eat better, spend more time with family…and for them it’s more like one of those huge roller coasters.

I get sick on roller coasters and prefer the kiddie rides 😉

roller coaster

Roller Coaster

And if you think about it, someone whose life is very well balanced – who has, say, an accident of some sort and ends up in the hospital…they’ll have an easier time getting well because of their existing health, support system of family and friends…and the ability to afford the hospital bills!

So…that’s pretty much it.

Print yourself a copy of the wheel of life, mark down where you feel you are at in each category (quickly, no thinking!)…then decide what would make each of the categories a perfect ’10’.

What’s next? Well, work towards that 10. You can write down a list of milestones you’d need to reach in order to get to the goal…or you might just keep them in mind. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get you moving in the right direction.

And remember – one really low category pulls the others down…and the opposite is true as well – one really high category can help pull the others up.

When you find yourself looking at an especially low number…do what it takes to improve it. You’ll likely notice improvement everywhere else as well.

…So instead of worrying about whether I’m going to get work done this week while I’m vacationing in Kauai, Hawaii – I’m just going to soak it all in, practice yoga every morning, snorkel every day, go hiking, explore, relax…and build up my ‘recreation’, ‘health’, ‘family’ and ‘romance’ categories.

And when I get back next week…I’m sure all the other categories will naturally rise up one level as well.

After you try the exercise, leave a quick comment here – did you notice anything interesting? Learn anything about yourself?

Here’s to balance!

🙂 Liane


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