Key Learning Outcomes

  • Identify areas in your life, as a business owner, that you may have neglected, and devise plans and goals for improvement.
  • Recognise that operating a small business can be hectic, but it should not be at the expense of developing your business skills and maintaining a balanced life.
  • Learn about the “wheel of life” which has its origins in Buddhism and was developed by Paul J Meyer.
  • Explore these key areas of your life: health, family and friends, significant other, career, money, personal growth, fun and recreation and physical environment.

Article

There is a great quote by Benjamin Franklin that a lot of small business owners would do well to think about. “Drive thy business, let not that drive thee”

Owning and running a small business can often be all consuming. Taking the steps to develop your business skills will certainly help but it is worthwhile to take stock occasionally and assess what areas of your life you might be neglecting that need some focus or attention. This tool is a type of gap analysis that will give you a snap shot of your current reality and will allow for you to plan and set goals for those areas that need improvement.

We have all had times in our life when things all seem to fit into place and likewise times when we have been so busy in one area that we have neglected another. This process is something that we would encourage you to do periodically to ensure you are staying on track with keeping your life healthy and balanced.[wlm_ismember]

Wheel of life

This simple tool actually has its origins in Buddhism and the modified version developed by Paul J. Meyer who was a leader of the personal development industry. It is now widely used in various forms in coaching across the world. We will use an example here that covers the general broad aspects of a person’s life. The important thing to remember is that the labels or areas that you want to analyse can be changed to suit your own personal situation.

Wheel1

Step 1 – Completing your wheel

Using our template or drawing your own simply grade yourself from a 0 to a 10 on the scale in each of the core areas. This is not a reflection on what you used to do or what you would like to do but the idea is that it is simply a reflection of your current reality.

Once finished you can join the dots and it will give you a very clear visual of where you are at in each area. The ideal is to have a nice large wheel that would roll quite nicely down the road so think 7 or above as a benchmark. If you have a balanced wheel but everything is at a 2 then certainly your wheel will roll but you are going to have to go like crazy to actually get anywhere. For most of us we find that there a few chinks in the wheel and that it is not going to roll very comfortably very far at all. This will highlight the areas that need some attention.

Some things to think about

These questions may help you to determine where you are sitting for each area.

Health – Are you generally well?  Are you sitting close to your ideal weight?  Do you exercise regularly? Do you eat a well balanced diet?  Do you drink alcohol, soft drinks and energy drinks in moderation?  Do you ensure that you drink enough water each day?

Family and friends – Do you have/want a circle of close friends? Do you value the relationships you have with your family and friends? Do you spend enough time with them? Do you remember important events?

Significant other – Do you have or want a significant other? Do you value the relationship and actively work on it? Do you involve your partner in important decisions? Do you have shared values? Do you spend enough quality time with them?

Career – Are you doing what you want to do? Does your work stimulate you? Do you feel that you are moving forward?  Does what you do reflect your values? Do you feel you are being rewarded for your level of input and effort?

Money – Are you earning enough to live a reasonable life? Do you live within your means? Do you have a savings plan? Do you have financial goals you are working towards? Are you protected if something happened and you could not work?

Personal growth – Are you working on your own personal development? Are you looking to improve your knowledge and skills? Are there things that you want to learn that you have never got around to? Do you take the time to work on you?

Fun and recreation – Do you take time out each week to relax? Do you have a hobby or interest outside of your work and family commitments? Have you been on a holiday in the last 12 months? Have you got your next holiday booked? Do you get together with friends and family socially on a regular basis?

Physical environment – Are you happy with the area that you life in? Does your living situation suit your needs? Is there work to be done that you have never gotten around to? Do you keep things like you car in good working order?

Step 2 – Analysing your wheel

Once you have scored each point join up each of the dots to create your wheel. Here is an example:

Wheel2

When we look at the wheel for our test subject we can see that there are several areas of his life that are working well and he is satisfied with. We can see that he works hard and is happy with the financial rewards it is bringing. He is happy with his relationship with his partner and also with their physical environment.

As you can see from this wheel often things go together or one area will have an affect on several others. We can see that our test subject has let several areas of his life go at the expense of working hard and earning a good income. Fun & recreation, health and family and friends all interlink. Perhaps health has suffered because he has given up playing in the local tennis competition, this in turn affects health and also potentially family and friends. Look for these types of opportunities to improve several areas at once.

Step 3 – Take action

Now that you have identified the areas that need to be worked on the next step is to decide what to do. Look at each area and think about the following:

Lets look at our test subject as an example:

Looking at the wheel from a coaching perspective, health is likely to be the most important aspect to work on. As mentioned earlier this might have a flow on effect to some of the other areas if exercise can be combined with time with friends. Conversely if health is not looked into further and worked on it could have a negative effect on his ability to be able to continue working at the same pace.

It is important for our test subject to really look at why he has scored health as a 2. Is it because he used to be physically active but has let it slip? Is it because he has put on large amounts of weight through eating convenience food and lack of exercise? Or there may be some other reason. Once the why is determined a plan of action can be put in place. It may just be a matter of re-joining the gym and using the ideal week to make sure gym sessions go in as a priority. Or it may be that a stricter diet and exercise regime might need to be put in place and an appointment with a professional fitness instructor or dietician might be the first step. Use the article on action planning and smart goals to help put your plan in place.

Step 4 – Review

Once you have put your actions in place it is a good idea to review your progress regularly. We would suggest completing the exercise again in 3 months to see how you are progressing. Once you get into the habit you will find that it is often a quick process and you will learn how to get yourself back on track very quickly and easily. Remember you can change the headings to suit your own situation and you can also use this tool for many other aspects of you life and business.[/wlm_ismember]

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