I completed the Wheel of Life self-assessment for the first time in 2011 when I was trying to figure out what was next in my life. I found the exercise in the book 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller (which I highly recommend). Since then the Wheel of Life has taken on a life of its own and is the foundation of nearly everything I write and coach about.
The first version of this post was published in 2015. A lot has changed over the last three years so I felt it was time for an overhaul. In this update, I cover the original Wheel of L
Both my husband, Jer and I regularly do yoga to try and stay on top of this aging thing. Jer is super flexible and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to loosen up. On the other hand, I have incredible balance and Jer can barely hold a tree pose.
I find this interesting because when it comes to our personalities, I have an innate knack for balancing all of life’s forces and bringing them together in a neat little package. And, Jer could be the poster child for adaptability. Whatever life throws at him, he just flows like water and keeps growing stronger.
When it comes to balance, I’ve found that it’s easier for some of us to achieve and maintain than others. And that’s okay. If you’re someone who struggles to find balance, I’m certain that you have other strengths that make up for it. Go easy on yourself.
Before moving on, I would also like to point out that no one has it all. Throughout our lives, we’ll encounter challenges. We might lose loved ones, jobs, friends, or fall ill. So I encourage you to examine WHAT you are, not necessarily WHERE you are. For example, if you’re a health conscious person recovering from an injury, that doesn’t mean you’re no longer healthy.
The purpose of this tool is to bring awareness to the most meaningful areas of your life. From there, you can take baby steps to live intentionally in the areas you choose to focus on. As you begin to take action in one area, you will find that the positive effects will spill over into other areas of your life.
Let’s say you set a financial goal to pay off your student loans. Not only will you improve your financial future,
THE WHEEL OF LIFE SELF-ASSESSMENT
The Wheel of Life is a personal development tool that I’ve traced back to Zig Ziglar. I’ve adapted the Wheel of Life to be a better reflection of today’s modern world. In this new world, our community involvement and volunteer efforts can contribute to our career fulfillment. Our social lives are often tied to hobbies and recreation. And with the advent of air travel and the internet, our relationships stretch far beyond our immediate neighborhood or small town.
As I mentioned, I completed the Wheel of Life for the first time in 2011. And I’ll be the first to admit that my results were unimpressive. I scored myself below a five in Social and Hobbies, Health and Wellness, and Spirituality. My wheel wasn’t out of balance, I had a flat tire!
More than seven years later and every category has improved. I’m not a ten in any category and I imagine that I never will be. That’s the thing about personal growth, you can keep getting better each day. As you journey through life, your wheel will have ups and downs. The goal is to strive for self-awareness; be honest, hold yourself accountable, and take action.
USING THE WHEEL TO ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE
In each section of the Wheel of Life, rate yourself on a scale of one to ten. One is the lowest, and ten is perfect. You can print it now and begin working as I explain each section. Or you can read about each category and complete the entire Wheel of Life after.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Health and wellness refer to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Consider how you feel in your body. Do you feel whole? Are you tired, or do you feel well rested? Are you getting enough physical activity? How about water and nutrition? Do you generally feel content or are you often depressed?
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your overall health?
SIGNIFICANT OTHER AND FAMILY LIFE
In this section, I’m talking about your significant other and immediate family. This could include a spouse, partner, children, or anyone who is a part of your daily life. Relationships with the family we live with are different than
How satisfied are you with these relationships? Think about how you communicate, cooperate, support each other, and enjoy life together.
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your family life?
SPIRITUALITY AND CONNECTEDNESS
Not to be confused with religion, spirituality is our sense of connectedness. It’s the connection between our mind, body, spirit, nature, the universe, God, and others. For some people, this is manifested through religious practices. Other people consider themselves spiritual, but not religious. The feeling and relationship are unique for each of us.
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your spirituality and connectedness?
CAREER AND CONTRIBUTION
Feeling like you’re making a difference is said to be one of the greatest factors when it comes to job satisfaction. Making a contribution to this world goes beyond our day jobs. This is especially true for retirees who find fulfillment in volunteer work and community involvement.
Consider how you use your gifts, talents, and passions to serve others. How do you feel on Sunday evening before your work week begins? Are you depressed and anxious or excited for a new week to begin? What do you do on a weekly basis that makes you feel like you’re creating positive change in this world?
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your career and contribution?
Financial fitness stretches beyond income and encompasses how you save, spend, and give. Financial fitness also includes how you feel about and respond to money. Think about how you felt when you’ve had extra money. How do you feel when times are tight? Are your overall feelings about money positive or negative?
How does your income align with your talents, strengths, and passions? How happy are you with your ability to budget, give, and invest? Are your finances a point of tension or a source of freedom?
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your financial fitness?
HOBBIES AND SOCIAL NETWORK
As you think about your relationships and social network, consider your overall satisfaction with the people who play important roles in your life. This might include friends, neighbors, co-workers, or extended family members. Do you have at least three people you can talk to about important life issues?
Part of creating a fulfilling life and healthy relationships can be connected to our involvement in hobbies and recreation. Think about how your hobbies, recreation, and relationships work together to bring value and satisfaction to your life. Do you have hobbies that bring you joy and give you something to look forward to? Do you have hobbies that connect you to other like-minded people?
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your hobbies and social network?
PERSONAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
The final section of the Wheel of Life is personal growth and development. This includes the daily activities that help you grow into the best version of yourself. As long as we live, we should be learning how to live, and growing better each day.
How are you making contributions in this area through the books you’re reading, lectures you’re attending, and classes you’re enrolled in? How are you working to improve your emotional intelligence and self-confidence? Are you working to be more disciplined and accountable?
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your personal development?
Once you complete your self-analysis for all seven sections, take a look at your Wheel of Life as a whole? Where are you excelling? Which of your qualities have helped you shine in these areas? Where do you need to focus attention? What is one small thing you can do today to begin making improvements in that area?
All it takes is one small step. Pick one thing and start.
THE FOUR PILLARS TO LIVING LIFE ON PURPOSE
As I’ve refined my message over the last three years, I began to feel like the Wheel of Life was a bit overwhelming. I mean, who has time to focus on all seven areas each day? To simplify the model, I threw the wheel out the window and created the Four Pillars for Living Life of Purpose.
This pillar promotes a healthy whole life. That includes your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. When all four of these are in sync, you’ll feel whole.
Good health is the foundation for each of the other three areas. You’ll be better equipped to serve others in supportive relationships when you are serving from a full cup. You’ll have more energy to improve your earning potential and reduce your current and future healthcare costs. And when you’re well rested and have a clear mind your personal growth will jump to a new level. Learn more about how to make healthful choices in this post.
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, there are two types of relationships you’ll need to nurture. The first is your relationship with yourself. Next, you need to have at least one relationship with someone who will support you no matter how bad you screw up. This could be a spouse, family member, friend or a combination.
Human beings are wired for connection and supportive relationships help boost you and your work to the next level. Living a healthy lifestyle is a cinch when it’s part of your family’s values. You can achieve your financial goals much faster when you and your spouse work as a team. We also need others to share their knowledge so we can keep growing and vice versa. You can learn how to nurture these relationships here.
It’s difficult to make progress in the other three areas if you’re constantly worried about how you’re going to make ends meet. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds of Americans fall into this category. According to a survey by bankrate.com, 63 percent of Americans said they would not be able to cover a $500 car repair without borrowing money.
Just like the other elements, taking control of your finances will help you in other areas. You will improve your health by reducing stress. Your relationships will flourish when money is no longer a tension point. And you’ll be able to accelerate your personal growth by taking calculated risks.
Financial fitness comes down to one simple idea. Spend less than you make so you have the freedom to save and give. You can learn five simple steps to improve your financial fitness here.
Once you’re able to cover your basic health, relationship, and financial needs, it’s time to invest in your personal development. This includes your emotional intelligence, self-education, integrity, and accountability. Personal growth is an exciting lifelong journey. Each time you grow and learn something new, your potential and opportunity expand.
Personal Growth has a clear connection to the other three pillars. As you learn more about what good health, supportive relationships, and financial fitness mean, you can apply these lessons to become your best self. Learn the five keys to personal growth here.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START
Before you dive into the world of self-improvement, let me share a few important lessons I’ve learned on my own journey. I want nothing more than for you to enjoy the process. These tips will prevent you from burning out.
Remember that choices are always more powerful than circumstances. Where you came from and where you are today have very little bearing on your future opportunity. Although you may feel stuck, you CAN change your environment, your health, and your financial situation.
YOU DESERVE TO LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE!
As babies, we instinctively know what we need and do what we can to get it. We cry when we’re hungry, wet, cold, and lonely. But on our journey to adulthood, many of us internalize a different message. I’ve heard from many people who worry that taking care of themselves will be seen as selfish. This is especially common with women and part of the reason the whole self-care movement took off in recent years. You cannot give your best to others unless you first take care of yourself.
Still questioning if you REALLY deserve it? Take a look around you. Look at the oceans, the forests, the stars, and the sunrise. The mere fact that these things exist is all the proof that I need to believe that we were put on this earth to enjoy them. Then if you consider the fact that we have eyes to see them, brains to process them, and emotions to feel them, I conclude that there’s no way we were given this life to merely survive. We’re here to enjoy, contribute and thrive.
Last but not least, you are already good enough, just as you are. Pursue personal growth because you want to be better for you, not to please someone else. Enjoy personal development to improve the unique and wonderful you, not to change who you are. Your natural wiring is part of the gift you bring to
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October of 2015. It has been completely revamped for accuracy, comprehensiveness, and readability. Please enjoy and feel free to share this newly revised content.