The Wheel of Life
Overview: This article will provide a practical explanation of the Wheel of Life. After reading this, you will understand the basics of this personal happiness concept which brings balance to your life.
The Wheel of Life Exercise is a popular coaching assessment tool because it’s a simple yet powerful diagnostic tool.
The Wheel of Life is based on the notion that there are specific categories—or what I call Areas of Focus—that form the cornerstone of your overall life experience. Let’s walk through the process …
The Wheel of Life Categories
Although the name you give these Wheel of Life categories may vary, these areas themselves are generally the same for each of us.
The Wheel of Life categories include:
Health: Your physical health and well-being (can also include your mental and emotional health).
Relationships: Includes your primary intimate relationship, family, and friends.
Social: Includes religious/spiritual communities and other group activities. Things you do for fun, recreational activities and your contribution to society.
Financial: Your ability to manage your money effectively, save, budget, and invest.
Career/Professional/Business: This is your work category, which can break out into a Wheel of Business.
Personal Growth: Although not everyone might have an Area of Focus for personal development, anyone interested in Self-Actualization does.
Spirituality: This can be its own category or simply the driving force behind all of your Areas of Focus.
These are the basic categories of most people’s Wheel of Life.
Additional Wheel of Life categories might include:
- Mental State
Or anything else that might play a dominant role in your life.
How to Select Your Wheel of Life Categories
The key is to determine the areas that are most important to you.
However, we all have a tendency to focus on certain areas at the expense of other areas.
So your Areas of Focus should include both your strengths AND your weaknesses.
The reason why all of the key areas are important is that many of them hit on basic human needs. And as Maslow highlights, when we don’t address these basic needs, our lives fall out of balance (that is, we exhibit neurotic behaviour).
Assess Your Current Level of Fulfillment
After you’ve identified the major categories for your Wheel of Life, the next thing is to visualize the Areas as pieces of a pie.
The entire circle represents your overall life and each piece represents a different Area of Focus. It might look something like this:
Now here’s where it gets interesting: We all tend to have certain areas we’re more proficient in and we all have a tendency to spend time in these areas, neglecting our areas of weakness.
You may, for example, do an excellent job eating right, exercising, and staying active (your Health category), but you are horrible at living within your means, paying off your credit cards, saving for the future, and finding more ways to add value (your Financial category).
The Wheel of Life exercise brings these discrepancies to your conscious mind.
Challenge Your Beliefs
Generally, the reason why we fail to grow in particular areas of our lives is due to subconscious limiting beliefs and a fixed mindset.
Before you go through this process, it’s important to address your mindset about your intelligence, your skills, your abilities, and your personality.
Before Your Start the Wheel of Life Exercise
The reason why many people fail to get traction with these types of coaching exercises is that they start off with lots of preconceived notions.
They answer questions based on what they think they “should” answer as opposed to what’s true for them.
The key to overcoming this tendency is to clear your mind before you do this exercise.
Using the Wheel of Life Assessment
If you’d like to create your own Wheel of Life right now:
- Identify the primary Areas of Focus in your life. You may use the list above to start.
- Rank how you’re doing in each area from 1 to 10, where 10 is excellent and achieving mastery, and 1 is you couldn’t be doing any worse.
- Determine two or three actions you can take to make improvements in the areas that you’re weakest in (and ideally, do the same for all your Areas).
A fulfilling life is marked by a sense of inner balance and growth.
The more effective you are in each of your Areas of Focus, the more life fulfilment you’ll experience.
The Wheel of Life is a Useful Tool
No matter how accomplished or happy you are in life, there are always areas of your life that could use some improvement.
Think about your health, career, finances and relationships. Where are you currently thriving and where could you use some work?
Do you feel energetic and full of vitality, but struggling to make real connections with people? Are you on track to achieve financial freedom, but you’re stuck in a job that gives you no meaning?
What parts of your life have you ignored in order to focus your attention elsewhere?
The Wheel of Life can force you to examine your blind spots and own up to where you need to make major improvements to support yourself and your loved ones.
The Wheel of Life is a way to take a good, hard look at each facet of your life, and rate its relative quality level, so you can uncover which areas need more attention than others.
Consider each area like a spoke of a wheel: When one of the spokes is shorter than the others, it can throw the whole thing off balance.
By getting this “helicopter” view of your life, you can identify where you are excelling and where there is room for improvement – to discover where the gaps are between where you are today and where you want to be.
Used on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, it can help you build positive momentum and make course corrections as needed.