One of the reasons I became a certified life & life purpose coach was because I wanted to help people find more purpose and fulfillment in life—to motivate them to take action—to make a difference—to wake up eager and inspired each day.
But the truth is, my desire to help people create more happiness didn’t stem from having my own deeply fulfilling life—but rather because I didn’t.
At the time I was working my “dream” job. I was earning an incredible salary of $100k+ per year with an attractive benefits plan and over six weeks vacation to boot. To many, I was living the dream.
Although I finally reached “IT status” (in my mind), I was deeply dissatisfied and probably the most miserable I had felt in my ten year corporate career.
One of the first assignments I did in my coach training was a life satisfaction exercise using the balance wheel or wheel of life as it’s commonly referred.
I recall looking at it wondering how such a simple tool could possibly help me create more happiness and fulfillment in life.
The short answer: a lot.
I learned that while I had a successful career and was doing well financially in life, I had little to no time for hobbies or creative pursuits.
I noticed that connections with friends and family was virtually non-existent.
The truth was, my life consisted of a monotonous routine of work—home—work and it was clear why I struggled to find peace and fulfillment even though I had succeeded in a few key areas.
Think about it.
Nobody strives to be rich and lonely, right? Or how about sick and successful? Of course not.
When we are clear about our priorities in life we can plan and take action towards our goals that contribute to our overall life success—in every aspect—because the intention of the wheel of life is to make it balanced (hint: it should look like a circle once you’ve plotted your points).
Okay, let’s dive in and look at how this simple and effective coaching tool can help you determine your priorities in life and increase your overall happiness and fulfillment, too.
STEP 1: DRAW A LIFE WHEEL
Grab a pen and a blank piece of paper (don’t forget to add the date so you can refer back and see how your life has improved).
Draw a big circle and divide your circle into 8 or 10 categories (like a pie). I’ve listed the common categories used for this exercise below, but feel free to modify them to fit your lifestyle. You’ll want to make sure that your categories are meaningful for you.
Career + purpose:
Are you happy in your job? Do you feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment with the work you do? Is your career meaningful? Are you making a difference?
Finances + money:
How happy are you with your overall finances? Do you have savings or the financial freedom to do the things you want to do?
Health + wellbeing:
Do you make time for regular exercise and a nutritious diet? Do you feel energetic and healthy?
Friends + family:
Do you feel connected and close with your friends and family? Do you spend quality time with them? Do you have a supportive group of friends or family and value these relationships?
Love + significant other:
Do you share a close bond with your partner? Do you have a partner? Do you want one? Are your needs being met and are you meeting the needs of your partner?
Personal development and learning:
Are you stretching beyond your comfort zone? Are you learning new things and expanding and growing as a person?
Do you feel supported or connected to a Divine source? are you growing spiritually? do you have a daily spiritual practice? do you want one?
Fun, leisure, + hobbies:
Do you unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby that brings you joy? Do you have fun and laugh often? Do you have a sense of adventure in your life or a sport that makes you feel alive?
Do you feel a sense of peace and happiness at home? Are you living where you want to be living? Do you feel safe and secure? Is your home comfortable and relaxing? Neat and tidy?
Feel free to split some categories or include others like, community contribution, accomplishment, philanthropy, emotional health, etc.
STEP 2: RATE EACH CATEGORY
Once you’ve created your life wheel, spend a few minutes and think about your most ideal situation for each category. What does success (a score of 10) look like for career + purpose, relationships, personal development and so on.
Once you determine success in each area, rate them between 1 and 10 with 1 being your lowest level of satisfaction and 10 being the highest. Mark 0 as the centre of the circle and 5 being the centre intersecting 1 and 10.
Mark your satisfaction level for each area with a dot and include the number next to it so it’s clear. Repeat this for each category.
Once you’ve rated each category, begin to connect the dots.
STEP 3: ASSESS IT
Great, now that you have your life wheel plotted, are you surprised by what you see? What story does your life wheel tell you? How do you feel about your life when you look at your wheel? Is it balanced or lop-sided? What changes would you like to make to create a more balanced view?
STEP 4: DETERMINE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR GOAL-SETTING
Don’t be too alarmed if your life wheel is not as well-rounded as you’d like or if you have a pretty small circle of balance (meaning your circle is closer to the centre line suggesting a low level of overall happiness and satisfaction in life).
This exercise is meant to bring your attention to the things you want to change and clearly illustrate where you can improve.
Now let’s make a list of 2 to 3 small steps you can take on the areas you would like to improve.
Ask yourself each question for every area you wish to increase your satisfaction:
- What changes would you like to see in the next 90 days?
- What does a score of 10 look like? What would you have to do or change to bring your score to a 10?
- List 2-3 small action steps you can take to make these changes.
It’s important to note that the changes you make are not drastic changes. These are usually small tweaks that can have a huge impact. For instance, an action step you might take to increase your satisfaction in health and wellbeing might be to go to bed an hour earlier or create a better wind down routine. Perhaps increasing your satisfaction with friends and family might be to organize a potluck that brings everyone together.
The objective of this exercise is to bring you closer to your definition of balance which is unique to everybody.
Keep assessing this over time to look for patterns and to help you get back on track.
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Was this exercise helpful?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:
- Was this exercise helpful in determining your priorities and giving you clarity about how to create more happiness in your life?
- What’s one thing you can do right now to improve your current situation?
- Which life area(s) are you going to focus on?