“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver
Taking stock of where life is leading us isn’t something we usually make time to do. In our busy, inter-connected and inter-dependent world, it is easy to become consumed by the urgency of day to day stuff and we lose sight of where we are going.
Recent times have reminded us of how wild and precious life is. It is wild in the sense that there are many events, like a pandemic, that we can’t control. It is precious, because each life is unique and finite. Our life’s journey is also unknown and uncertain. We don’t really know, for certain, what our purpose is, where to find it and how to live it.
It is in the classroom of silence where we can ask honest questions of our life. The door to self-discovery opens inward. That is where we can learn more about our true self and then plan to live our best life.
What really matters to me?
What do I truly want?
How best can I go after it?
What kind of life do I want to live?
What type of person do I aspire to be?
The questions are challenging and we may not find answers, but if we don’t genuinely ask we will never know.
The Wheel of Life is a useful Coaching technique that helps provide an overview of our life, at any given time. It helps to clarify how we feel about different aspects of our lives. It will highlight areas we feel positive about as well as areas that may need more attention. Spring beckons.
However you wish to define the quality of your life, give yourself the gift of silence. Stop for a moment and take stock.
Imagine your life as a wheel made up of 8 component parts. Choose areas of life that hold the most meaning for you, personally. Every life is unique, but typically it might include things like: your Health; Well-being; Attitude; Family, Friends; Relationships, Social Life; Working Life ; Finances; Personal Growth; Emotional or Spiritual Development.
Choose 8 areas that are most relevant, then imagine the 8 spokes of the wheel are graduated, 1 to 10, as shown.
On a scale of 1 to 10, ask yourself how satisfied you are with each area in your “Wheel of Life”.
(1= very dissatisfied at the moment; 10 = very satisfied at the moment.) Don’t think too much about this, just put down intuitively what you feel. Be completely honest with yourself. Your assessment is for you alone. Think of your Wheel of Life as a true compass that will guide you to a happier and more authentic you.
• Health and Well-being: are you getting enough sleep; eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise?
• Family and Friends: how would you describe the relationship with your parents? How content are you with your
• Working Life: what are your career aspirations? Do you enjoy your work? Does it reflect the person you are and does it
respect and recognise your skills and abilities?
• Finances: Do you live within or beyond your means? What is your relationship with money?
• Relationships: how life affirming are your most significant relationships? Are there recurring themes or patterns? Do
you truly love and respect yourself? How assertive are you?
• Attitude: how do you cope with life’s disappointments? How resilient are you? Is your self-talk positive and affirming?
Are you open to change?
• Social Life: how do you switch off and relax? How do you spend your leisure time? Who do you share your interests and
• Personal and Spiritual Development: are you committed to achieving your full potential? What is your sense of
purpose? What are your inner or spiritual values?
Being open to question and honestly assess important areas of our life is challenging and few people do it on a regular basis. But seeking to live our best life is about discovering what makes us come alive. It is about having clarity around what we love and value and a sense of what our life’s purpose might be. It is about acting on that knowledge to live those values and to enrich our life and those around us. As we begin to become more in tune with our purpose and where we might place more attention, our lives begin to change. Where attention goes, energy flows.
Do not be discouraged by low scores nor become complacent with high ones. Our lives are continually in dynamic flux and we need to be making regular adjustments. No life is ever completely balanced. In all my life coaching experience I have yet to see a Life Wheel that is in completely harmonious and in perfect balance. Nor have I ever seen a wheel with low scores in all areas. There will always be areas to improve and strengths to build upon. As each month goes by, priorities change.
A Wheel of Life completed in January, is likely to be very different from one in June. Reviewing our Wheel of Life monthly provides an up to date overview of what is working and where the focus should be.
The nature of reality is that our lives are wild and precious. Our time here is not infinite. So, how best can we spend our precious time? What difference can I make? How can I live my best life? Intriguingly, I find the more I turn to these questions; the more I confront them, explore them, welcome them – the more my life seems to expand, deepen, and ultimately, move toward the ever-elusive inner peace.
By breaking life’s challenges down like this, in a Wheel of Life, we start to feel calmer as we bring things into perspective and identify priorities. The feeling of overwhelm begins to ease. We gain appreciation of the things to be grateful for and a greater awareness of the things that could need more active attention.
Life becomes more manageable when things are broken down and priorities are clearer. We have more peace of mind when we have a clear direction in which we are moving. Our Wheel of Life will bring us clarity, confidence and commitment to moving forward positively with our “one, wild and precious life.”
BEYOND PERCEPTION’S REACH is a collection of brief thoughts and reflections on the complexities and challenges of life’s mysteries. The weekly blog will explore some of the questions and personal challenges we face in our uncertain and confusing world. How do we bring a bit more joy, purpose and fulfilment to our “one wild and precious lives”?
© Denis McBrinn 2021