How Are You Faring In Your Life Now? – The Life Wheel

Life Wheel

In today’s article, I’d like to share something called the life wheel (or wheel of life). It’s one of the coaching tools I use in with my clients. It’ll undoubtedly be a useful tool in your journey of growth.

What is the Life Wheel?

After my last post on putting parts of our life on hold, readers have been sharing interesting responses. It seems numerous readers can relate to that problem. However, while some of us may intuitively know that we’re putting parts of our life on hold, it can be a hazy perception. The Life Wheel is a wheel that gives you a snapshot of how you’re doing (a) overall in life and (b) in the individual areas. It is essentially a circle divided into segments (usually 8) that represent different life areas. See sample diagram below.

The segments are not fixed – it’s up to the individual to define the areas he/she finds important. The common areas are career/studies, family, love, friends, finance and health. The remaining few are more subjective. They can be personal growth, recreation, spiritual or others.

Each segment comes with a rating scale of 1-10, representing how you’re doing right now – 1 being lowest, 10 being highest. After you rate each segment, you mark out your scores, then connect the dots. In the end, you get a web-like diagram that gives you an instant idea of how you’re doing.

The most useful part of the wheel is the visual representation, which gives you a helicopter view of how you’re doing – whether you’re doing very well, okay/normal or poorly. After all, it’s hard to know how you are doing in your overall life when you’re so focused on your day-to-day activities. You may subconsciously know you’re putting an area on hold, but this neglect may not be apparent.

Subsequently, there is no real call to action. The life wheel lets you spot gaps instantly, so you can intervene and work on the low scoring areas before it’s too late.

When I first used the Life Wheel with my clients, I used an 8-segment wheel. But after a while, I realized there were other important areas which were left out in an 8-segment wheel. I have since created an 11-segment wheel, as you can see in the diagram below. These 11 segments are listed in no order of priority as they are all important to live one’s best life:

Image © PE

  1. Business / Career / Studies - Usually the key segment in our lives. Business is for entrepreneurs, career for employees and studies for students.
  2. Finance / Wealth – How rich you are. The amount of wealth, assets, material possessions you have.
  3. Health / Fitness - Your state of health as well as your lifestyle. Diet, sleep, exercise falls here.
  4. Social / Friends – How you’re faring in your social circle.
  5. Family - Your parents, siblings, next of kin, relatives, or even your guardians.
  6. Love - The amount of love you feel in your life. While it can represent the status of your relationship with your spouse / boyfriend / girlfriend, it doesn’t have to be the case. Love here does not refer to romantic love – but about universal love.
  7. Recreation / Fun – Your recreation and enjoyment in life.
  8. Contribution – How you’re giving back to the society. Social cause. Humanitarian activities.
  9. Personal growth – Your personal development as a whole.
  10. Spiritual – Your connection with the universe. Some call it higher power / God / higher self.
  11. Self-image – How you see yourself.

I believe no matter who you are, these 11 areas are essential to living your best life. They are representations of the 4 core aspects of every human being – Mind, Body, Heart and Soul.

Some people might feel only certain areas of the wheel apply to them. For example, maybe they think spirituality is unimportant as they’re free thinkers (a common misconception as spirituality refers to your connection to the universe – it has nothing to do with having a religion or not). So they ignore the spiritual aspect of their lives and build the tangible areas like career, love and health.

However, spirituality relates to our Soul and it’s definitely an essential part of living a rich life. So for those who neglect their spirituality and entrench themselves in material goals, there comes a point when they reach a quarter-life or mid-life crisis. They start to seek a deeper meaning behind what they do every day, and wonder what their higher purpose in life is and why they’re here for.

Some people disregard money, saying money is not important and they just want to earn enough to survive. That’s a misnomer though and it’s unfortunate that people think that way. Money is merely a symbol for value in this world. To reject money means to reject giving value to the world. To reject money also means to reject receiving value for your contributions.

In the end it leads to stagnancy in life since this block prevents you from fully receiving and giving. Money also affects what you can do in this world. The more money you have, the more you can do for causes you are passionate in. Money also affects your quality of life.

Some have the impression that I reject money (probably because I quit a well-paying job in the past to pursue my passion from scratch), but that can’t be further from the truth. I quit to achieve the end outcome of passion AND money (which has since manifested itself in my personal development business since I quit), not passion without money. Money is important in my cause (and any other cause you have). With more money, I can kick off more projects, invest in my business (to grow it further) and engage more resources to help more people.

Know that there is abundance in the world. No matter how much money you have now, there’s always room to earn more and achieve more. Simply imagine you have double or triple your wealth now – What would you do with that? It may seem hard to imagine, but that literally means you now have double to triple the resources to achieve your goals. This subsequently means you can achieve at least double to triple the results you currently have in life.

The same goes for people who deny needing recreation/fun, friends, success, family, health, etc. Ultimately all areas on the wheel are important because they are all parts of your life. Disregarding any one area may help you gain headway in other areas initially, but it’ll eventually it’ll put your life on hold. Because by disregarding an area, you disregard a part of yourself and hence your life. I’ve discussed this in detail in the previous post Are You Putting Any Parts of Your Life On Hold? , so if you haven’t read it, do check it out.

Self-image is a new category I added to the Life Wheel. I realized self-image is something which many people lack and something which many have sorely neglected today. Do you respect yourself? Do you love yourself? Do you believe in your capabilities? Do you value what you do? You are the one person who will be with yourself the entire life. If you don’t have a healthy self-image, then who’s going to respect you or appreciate you? If you have a poor self-image, everything will suffer. If you have a strong, healthy self-image, it’ll provide the foundation to excel in life.

Life Wheel Exercise: How Are You Faring in Your Life?

It’s exercise time! :D Let’s now assess how we’re doing in life. Get your pen and paper ready.

Step 1. Assess Where You Are (30 min)

  1. Rate your life on each segment, on a scale of 1-10 (1 = lowest, 10 = highest). Below are some questions to think over:
    1. Business / Career / Studies – How are you performing in this area? Are you achieving your best?
    2. Finance/Wealth – How much is your income/monthly cash flow? How much do you save from there? How much are your current assets? Do you have any passive income streams?
    3. Health/Fitness – How healthy are you? Is your life style healthy? Do you have enough sleep/rest? Are you eating healthily? Are you exercising regularly?
    4. Social/Friends – Do you have a good social circle? Friends to hang out with, talk to, confide in, have fun with? Do you have deep connections with these friends? Are you meeting new people?
    5. Family – How are your relationships with your family members? Your relatives? Do you talk with them freely? Do you communicate with them openly?
    6. Love - How much love do you feel in your life now? Love here refers to universal love, and not necessarily romantic love. It’s possible for someone who is single to rate this area highly, just as it is possible that someone is attached and rate this area lowly.
    7. Recreation/Fun – How much fun are you having?
    8. Contribution – Are you giving back to the society and the world?
    9. Personal Growth – Are you growing? Are you achieving your highest potential? Are you being the best you can be?
    10. Spiritual – How in tuned are you with the universe/your higher self?
    11. Self-image – Do you respect yourself? Do you love yourself? Do you believe in your abilities? Do you value what you do? Do you appreciate yourself?
  2. Describe why you gave that score to each segment.
  3. Draw your life wheel like the one below.
    1. Mark the scores for each segment on the life wheel diagram.
    2. Connect them. You should have a continuous line, like a web, that links across each segment and finally loops back to the original point.

Part 2: Reflection… (30 min)

Now that you have your life wheel drawn, it’s time to do some reflection.

  1. What is the shape of your wheel? How does it look? The bigger the web, the better you’re doing. There are 4 general shapes that each represents how you’re doing.
  2. Why does your wheel look like this? (List 3 biggest reasons) Whatever your life wheel looks like, it’s not a coincidence. If you had done this assessment a month or two ago, you’d end up with a similar shape. The bigger question is: Why? Read the analysis for your wheel shape above, then reflect that to your situation. What are the 3 biggest reasons why your wheel looks like this?
  3. Which are your lowest scoring areas and why? All 11 segments are equally important in living your best life. Some people may think they can just ignore 3-4 segments and score a 0-1 there – but it doesn’t work that way. Whenever there’s a part of your life that is blocked (or put on hold), a part of you is blocked too. Which segments have the lowest scores? Have you been putting off? Why?
  4. Are you happy with your wheel? What if you have to stick with these scores forever? How would you feel? Is this what you want? The first step toward getting somewhere is to first decide that you don’t want to stay where you are. The bigger your level of dissatisfaction, the better.

Part 3: Action (30 min)

  1. What are your biggest priorities moving forward to achieve your ideal 10/10 wheel?
  2. What are your biggest actions that will help you achieve your goals?

Set your goals and use the Successful Goal Achievement Series: ESPERto help you get started – complete with strategizing, planning, taking action and review. Spend as much time as you need to reflect on your current status. Don’t rush this process. The more you reflect and understand how you came to be where you are, the better you’ll be able to address it moving forward.

Different Life Wheel Shapes

1. A constricted web with low scores on most fronts.

This reflects you’re facing a lot of limitations – which are more self-limitations than anything. If you don’t do anything about this, you’ll keep drifting until your life eventually caves in. This is also the day when people suddenly wake up and realize they hate their life.

But I’m sure you don’t want to wait for that day to come. If you have a constricted web, your immediate step should be to select your priority areas and take action on them

2. A lopsided web that’s high on some areas but low on some.

That’s great – you’ve made good headway in some areas. However, you’ve neglected other areas in the process. As we’ve learned, all 11 areas are essential to living your best life. Neglecting any of them only limits your life experience in the long run.

First, mark out the 3-4 areas in which you’re severely underperforming in. Understand why that’s the case. What can you do to bring them back up? Next, identify how you are going to maximize them as you continue to do well in the high scoring areas. We don’t want to neglect the high scoring areas just to bring low scoring areas up – That will just be switching from one problem to the next! The long-term, sustainable solution is to form a plan where you can maximize all areas together.

3. A broad web with general high scores.

This means you’re doing very well! Congratulations!! At the same time, there’s always room to maximize your life. How can you bring it a notch further and max out all your scores to a full circle?

4. A complete circle with full scores.

The ideal life. I see full 10 scores as an ideal to work toward, not a final state. That’s because there is always room to be better. Whenever we get to a 10, we can always find new ways to make it better. This is the beauty of life – there are no limits! What 10 means to us now will be different in a different time. We are the ones who define our limits.

One common misconception people have with the life wheel scores is that low scores represent unhappiness. This can’t be further from the truth. The gaps between our scores and full 10/10s reflect opportunities to grow, not unhappiness. If someone has 9s and 10s, the person is either (i) doing supremely well or (ii) unaware of the possibilities in his/her life – usually the latter than the former, simply because there is infinite potential for betterment in life.

A possible trap someone with 9s/10s will face is a perpetual state of non-growth (because he/she is very contented with the present state). How do we address this then? A simple method is to multiply what you have in your life now (achievements, wealth, productivity, fitness level, quality of your relationships, etc) by a factor of 5 or 10 and ask yourself whether you prefer the magnified scenario or your current one. If you reply the former, you got your answer.

Does it mean that it’s impossible to get full 9s/10s then? Not quite. The 10s represent our highest vision of where we want to be – from our current state. As long as we constantly breaking new grounds and grow, we can perpetually remain in the 9s/10s. This is also known as being in the state of flow.

Life Wheel Video Tutorial

I have created a video with clear step-by-step instructions on how to use the life wheel to live your best life (essentially a condensed, video version of this article): The Life Wheel [Video].

Other Exercises For You To Try Out

If you found the life wheel exercise useful, be sure to check out:


Email This Post Email This Post



« Are You Putting Any Parts of Your Life On Hold?
 
8 Important Personal Development Lessons To Learn From Inception »

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.com Stephen Borgman

    Celes, thanks for sharing this resource. I work through a guide called “Best Year Yet” every single year, and it has this very same wheel. It serves to put our roles into perspective, and it really does help us keep on track for balanced success. I have to most often re-balance my schedule to work on relationships, since I love my work so much. It won’t do any good if I get to the end of my life wishing I had put more time into my relationships than into my work :)

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Thanks a lot for sharing Steve :D . I may have seen the wheel you’re talking about before – is it the wheel where, instead of life areas, it’s filled with your roles such as being a son, husband, teacher, mentor, employee, friend etc etc? I think that’s a great tool to get an assessment on how we’re doing too – I’ll put it as a to-write topic for the future.

  • http://myradventures.com Myra

    Hi Celes,

    I’ve always thought myself to be a balanced person — I work hard at work, I put friends and family first and I constantly monitor my personal growth and leisure time. But I realized that I live too much in the present that I’ve failed to see the big picture in life. Doing this life wheel exercise has shown me that it’s okay to take time off from being so social all the time in order to focus on two very important life areas that I ranked 1 – finance and health/fitness. Now, I’m going to re-evaluate my life and figure out why I neglect those two so much. And once I figure it out, I’m going to fix it!

    Thanks,

    Myra

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Myra, that’s fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing; I really appreciate your earnesty. I’ve a couple of questions: Why do you rank them as 1? What is a 10 to you? It’s great to understand why you neglect them. At the same time don’t focus too much on the lack but focus on your envisionment of what you want those areas to be. It’s a more aspirational guide forward :D Please update us on your progress!

  • http://www.improvedconfidence.com Kate

    I love using the wheel of life, and what a brilliant explanation of it:)
    When I first saw it I wondered how such a simple tool could have any effect, but as I started to use it I realised that it wasn’t so simple. In fact, it was very thought provoking!
    I always ask if I had a wheel like that on my car how comfy my ride would be……usually it’s a bit bumpy and I know there is work to do….

  • Shayne

    Hi Celes!

    This was a fun and interesting exercise. I loved the concept of breaking down all key areas of my life into one and how each are somewhat interconnected and DEFINE me as a WHOLE. I’m pretty pleased with my results and how broad of a web I got.

    High point 10/10: Health/Fitness
    Low point 4/10: Business/Career

    None of this is really new, but it is a nice wake-up call. I know that I live a fairly healthy lifestyle and I am more active now than I ever was. I take great pride in taking care of myself and doing active things that I find FUN! So, I can see this as being the strongest point in my life. On the other hand, my career path is not really aligned with my passions. I know this. I’m just in a career that financially supports me yet there is no motivation, satisfaction, or growth. I think the health/fitness area compensate for the lack of drive I have in my career path. I know what I should do, yet I made this choice, because it’s the most safe and comfortable. I don’t have the luxury to be too picky as far as careers due to the economic slump and my financial obligations. I just try and focus on the positive aspects and that I at least have a job unlike most. Even though it’s not something I am passionate about, I do other things outside my career that keep me happy and motivated (i.e, fitness, self-growth exercises, meditation, yoga, quality time with loved ones).

    In the long-run, I hope to make some dramatic changes to my lifestyle..baby steps first…I’m sure the ideal 10/10 ratings on all areas would be FANTASTIC, but I’m being realistic right now and just really taking my time balancing everything out. Thanks Celes for this and best of luck to you! =)

    ~Shayne

  • Jeannette Morris

    The life wheel was a reality check, of the life that I know I have but I so desperately need to change. I’m not saying that my life is a mess but there are areas that I know I need work, and I am trying my darnest to improve I just realize that I have this stuck to the ground feeling at times that just immobilizes me! The exact places that I know I need work are the ones that came out, my circle basically cave in on itself, LOL! I have to work on the spiritual and then all things will follow I believe. I have to create a habit of ready the Bible, I have a very investigative and challenging mind and I want to have a serious talk with God when I hopefully get to heaven about somethings that I just do not understand, in the mean time I have to make the best of the life I have because it is the only one that I have! As my grandfather said when came int the world with nothing and we will leave with nothing, at least while I am here I want to make myself and others happy!

    In line with spirituality are wealth and health, unless running behind my one year one is considered exercise that’s about all the movement I get! LOL! so i need to find a hobby? imagine i used to play tennis, and loved it and wealth, as my 22year old brother told me a couple days ago you sticking, you need to find a way, before Christmas. Cause he is now working on creating his own studio to create advertisements and music tracks in his room that he has converted! Actually he is my inspiration, not any other person and for that reason I will make myself proud because he knows I have faith in him and he in turn wants to have that faith in me so, he I come.

    Otherwise I love this site! I thank my frustration for helping me to find this site and I will share it with the world.

    bye

  • http://www.cultivatingheroes.com Jarrod – Cultivating Heroes

    I had an interesting time using the life wheel as you described.

    I noticed that the values I gave for each of the areas was related to how well I perceived myself to have done all that (‘I think’) I need to do.

    For example, I had finances as 10/10. Because I have a plan that is easy to follow and I think it will keep my finances in great stead. I certainly don’t have all the money I could want but because my focus is on fulfilling my plan I feel my finances are great!

    On the other I had things like personal growth at -50. Not because I am neglecting the area (actually it is probably my major focus) but rather because I am consistently presented with the absolutely incredible potential that each one of us has the ability to experience. I see the misty peaks of possibility and feel like the pinnacle is beyond even sight.

    All purely a matter of my perception and focus :D

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Jarrod, I love how you stretched the scales and put yourself at -50 in personal growth! Possibilities of growth is indeed infinite – the only limits are us and it’s about how we unlock the limits :D .

  • http://freedomonlinetraining.com Katie Brandt

    WOW! Very insightful article – I love the connecting the dots part of it – I have seen the wheet before but never presented like this – awesome material!!

  • Delaynee

    I really like your articles Celes, but I think family should be everyone’s number one priority. If it isn’t, that’s a serious, serious problem. I hope you also improve your relationship with your family. Great article, like always :wink:

  • Min

    Hi Celes!

    (I’ve been learning English, but I’m not good yet. please pass some(or frequent :mrgreen: )mistakes.
    I really want to share my thinking.)

    I’m your fan and it’s first time to leave you a comment.
    I had already heard the concept of balanced life.
    But this diaram is so remarkable! I was shock for visible state of my life.
    All area was overall low.
    In fact, I lost my passion 4~5 years ago for some reasons.
    My life wheel was exactly reflecting my past life.
    The thing I had to, because I chose to do, like club activity (undergraduates’ speech club) and school life was ruined. But I wanted to hide the facts so I lied to my family, freinds.
    For few years, I have been seen like I’m doing my best. But It was revealed.
    Now my relationship with my family and friends is not really good.
    You said ‘prioritize weak area based on your life wheel’
    So, I decided to put my full effort to study for dean’s list and appliying exchange student.
    I think these two goal makes me have good relationtion to my family , friends and my self.

    I felt stuck and likely forgot how to start. Your articles including detailed steps and tools
    are extremely helpful to me. Thank you~ :wink: :) :-P :mrgreen: :lol: :-D

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Hey Min, here’s an official welcome to the blog and congratulations for your first comment :D I’m glad the life wheel brought awareness to how you’re doing in areas of your life and what you should start focusing on. I wrote a 3-part series on How to be a Dean’s Lister earlier this year which will fit just nicely with your goal – http://personalexcellence.co/blog/deans-list/.

      Keep reading and sharing your thoughts Min! Look forward to connecting with you more here :D

  • Pingback: Carousel — 08.06.10

  • Pingback: #405 : first Day of 30DLBL Challenge ~ Life Wheel « Unlimited Creandivity

  • Pingback: 30LBL Day 1 – Your Life Wheel | a journey on wheels

  • bayu

    when i think about it further. the best score for the life wheel is actually a balanced score at all area, and any number will do. there’s no reason having a high score in some area, when you realize that the number is objective, fluid(keeps changing depending on your conscious/awareness level), and the main reason of putting other areas on hold.

    if my theory is correct, there should be 2 ways to balance it, the common one is to improve the area you are poor in, the other one is to WORSEN the area you are good in. both of the method is equally hard to do, but when the score is balanced it should be easier to increase the quality of all area you balanced…

    and of course most of us is greedy, and not ready to sacrifice what we earned from hardwork in order to balance life, so the first option will be more popular.

  • Lana

    OK I have an issue with romantic love. I’m a single 64 yr old woman. I don’t have anyone special in my life now. I don’t expect to find anyone at this late date and don’t want to obsess over it. My love life is all in the past.

  • http://anoddodetolife.blogspot.com Rachana

    I did it ! :)

    Have a very weird web ! Will take me a while to sit and see why exactly it is the way it is!… Isn’t it amazing that you seldom realise that there is so much to do with your life! :)

  • Aimee w

    This is an eye opener!
    Definitely will be taking action
    Great motivator :)

    Glad I found your site at just the right time.