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The Wheel of Life

As a Life Coach, one of the first things I do with a new client is introduce them to “The Wheel of Life.”

The Wheel provides a real-time snapshot of how satisfied you are with your life. And since an emotion like “satisfaction” can ebb and flow, this exercise will help you see how satisfied you are right now (even though we know it might change tomorrow).

Before we start, keep the following in mind:

a. Think about how you feel right now--not yesterday, or last week
b. Be honest with yourself. Try to avoid answering how you wish it would be.
c. This is not a judgment on the success of your life. It’s just the way it is. Instead of judging yourself, get curious about what you see on the wheel.

So, are you ready? Print out the wheel, and let’s begin. (If you don’t have access to a printer right now, use your imagination. But be sure to print it later, because you might want someone else in your family to give it a try!)

The eight sections in the Wheel represent the balance of eight basic categories of your life: physical, career, fun and recreation, personal, money, health, significant other, friends and family.

First, look at each section and ask yourself, “How satisfied am I with my life right now?”

Rank your level of satisfaction for each area on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being “not satisfied” in the center of the circle, and 10 being “totally fulfilled” on the outside of the circle.

Draw a line across each section that reflects your level of satisfaction. Be honest. If your level of satisfaction is a 2, let it be a 2. No one is looking over your shoulder. The first step to creating the life you want is to be honest with yourself about the life you’ve got! It is perfectly normal to see big differences in the numbers from section to section.

Once you have answered each section, draw a line connecting them all together. If this were the wheel of your life, how smooth or bumpy is your ride? Are there any major surprises or upsets? Does it feel like it is an accurate reflection of your level of satisfaction in your life?

If all the numbers are very Low (under 4), don’t panic. You are probably being overly hard on yourself. And, the good news is that now that you’ve taken notice, you can start the process of moving those numbers up right now.

For some of you, that’s enough for today. Pat yourself on the back for your honesty, and go do something nice for yourself. The train of change has begun to roll forward, and you are on board. Relax, and settle in for the ride of your life.

If you’re ready to delve a little deeper, read on (don’t worry—you’ll get to do something nice for yourself, too). Choose one of the sections of the Wheel you’d like to pay more attention to for the moment (you can come back to all of them, in time, if you wish). Do not feel that you must choose the lowest number--any section will do.

Now, ask yourself, “What would my life be like if this number were a 10?” Take your time with this. Get a sense of how it feels, what might look different. How would a 10 in this area affect your mood on a daily basis? What impact might it have on your family, your work? Try to put yourself there, really embody your vision.

Then, once you have a strong sense of how that area of your life could be as a 10, ask yourself, “What would that be worth to me?” And maybe you’ll be ready to ask, “What am I willing to do or give up to make that happen?”

Again, take some time with this. What other thoughts or questions come up for you? What are you noticing now about how your body feels right now—anxious, relaxed, excited, at peace?

At the moment, try not to make any radical changes or major commitments. For now, it is enough to be aware of where you are in your life and imagine how it could be different. Most of the work of coaching happens in between sessions. You are rolling forward on this train of change, so relax and enjoy the ride.

And now, it’s your turn to take a break and do something nice for yourself!

This blog also appears as part of my regular column on ShareWiK.com.

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