The Wheel of Life

Recently, in a conversation with one of my mentees, I suggested she might use the Wheel of Life exercise in her Life Coaching business. It is an exercise I often use myself in my Workshops. I got the basic idea for this exercise from Jack Black, but I adapted it for my own purposes because I wanted it to fit in better with what I was teaching, particularly in relation to the 7 Habits.

The Wheel of Life is an analysis tool and the idea is simple. Take a look at the picture and imagine that each of the radial lines are axes representing a scale from zero (the centre of the wheel) to ten (the perimeter). For each of those scales, you need to think about how you feel and then give yourself a mark somewhere between those figures on each axis.

To complete the exercise – a very useful thing to do – you could print out this page and then give yourself a mark for each of the categories. Let’s briefly discuss them.

On a scale of 0 – 10, give yourself a mark for each of the following:

Heath: are you a perfect human specimen in the peak of condition (that would be a 10) or a complete couch potato who is overweight (or underweight) and completely out of condition (a zero)? Actually, nobody is a 10 and nobody is a zero. So give yourself a mark, somewhere between those figures.

Expertise: ask yourself how you feel about your professional expertise. Do you need to go back to school, so to speak, to upgrade your knowledge and skills or do you feel you have all the ability and knowhow you need to accomplish your goals?

Friends: what is your relationship like with your friends? Do you participate in a large network of mutually supportive inter-relationships or are you a Billy No-mates? Again, these are the extremes of the scale – you will be somewhere in between.

Purpose: do you feel you have your Life Purpose worked out yet or do you think that we are all here by accident and it does not matter, one jot, what you decide to do with your life? How do you feel about the prospect of living your life according to your calling?

Energy: when you get home in the evening, are you still brimming with energy and ready to get stuck into whatever else you want to do or do you feel completely exhausted and always seem to be ready to chill-out with that glass of wine?

Integrity: what is the opinion you hold about yourself? A person with high integrity is one who’s actions are consistent with their beliefs. Generally, we feel much better about ourselves when we can do this. Are you the kind of person who walks their talk or are you an unreliable witness? Do you say ‘yes’ when you really mean ‘maybe’?

Family: how do you feel about your relationship with members your family? I think it is well to recognise that all families are, to some extent, dysfunctional. But how do you feel about yours: do you feel loved and do you, in turn, love unconditionally?

Vision: have you got it worked out? Related but distinct to purpose and mission, but essentially, do you know where you are going with your life?

When you have marked yourself on all of these scales, join up the dots and you will be looking at a visual representation of how you feel about your life. Ideally, it would be a large round circle. But, often it is not. You would be amazed at how often I get results like the one below at my Workshops.

If your wheel looks a bit like the one above, don’t worry too much – you are perfectly normal. But, if your wheel does look something like that, perhaps it may be an indication of why you are having such a bumpy ride as you make your way in life.

There are two things to particularly take note of, in your own analysis:

  • The Roundness of the Wheel – indicates balance
  • The Size of the Wheel – indicates happiness

An unbalanced life is a life that is very likely to be full of stress. Getting  the balance right in these dimensions is a wonderfully effective way of proactively dealing with stress. A happy life is the result, not only of living life in balance, but also putting the effort into each of these areas. So your wheel should, ideally, be both round and large.

You remember that I mentioned I had designed my version of the wheel to fit in with the teaching on the 7 Habits? Well, here’s how that works: the four straight lines represent the four dimensions Stephen Covey mentions in his books on The 7 Habits and The 8th Habit.

They are the three dimensions that constitute what it is to be human (body, mind and spirit) and the fourth dimension represents our interaction with other people (interpersonal).

  • Body (Health and Energy)
  • Mind (Integrity and Expertise)
  • Spirit (Vision and Purpose)
  • Interpersonal (Friends and Family)

Once you have your analysis complete, you can then begin to work on your weak areas. Perhaps we can discuss how to do this in future posts.

This exercise is a very good starting point for personal development. If you are a life coach, please feel free to use it in your own life coaching sessions. You need not attribute it to me (though a link to my blog is always very welcome).

2 thoughts on “The Wheel of Life

  1. Will Edwards Post author

    Think of it this way John: what kinds of activities are usually suggested as ways of dealing with stress? If you make a list, you will find that you can categorise them in terms of body, mind and spirit. Stress is the consequence of living your life ‘out of balance’ and stress management is what you do when you begin to suffer the consequences. However, when you are living your life in balance, you will not need stress management.

    Will 🙂

  2. John Paton

    A very clear exercise. I do wonder how balanced your life has to be though. In my experience it can be hard to keep all areas of life going at one time. Sometimes, you just need to let your friends go and focus on your health or work instead. Perhaps the average of your scores over some period of time is more important, and some downward fluctuations are occasionally okay.

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