Do you sometimes feel as though you’re not at the steering wheel of your own life?
In fact, thinking about it, do you actually even know where you want to go on your journey?
Drifting through life or worse, feeling out of control, can cause a lot of damage to your wellbeing and self-esteem.
The good news is that getting back into the driver’s seat is easy, liberating and exciting! Here’s what you need to do:
3 simple steps for taking back the wheel in your life journey
1. Look at, print out or draw a wheel of life like the one below. If you want to, add to or alter the segments so that they are relevant to you (you might like to add ‘spirituality’, for example, or ‘study’ – whatever feels right).
For each segment, mark or notice your current satisfaction levels in that area, 0 being ‘as miserable as could be’ and 10 being ‘absolutely hunky dory thank you very much’. Think about, journal or discuss with a friend or coach what has led you to these scores.
2. For each segment, ask yourself the following questions:
- What would a 10 be like for me in this area?
- What would I need to see, hear, feel, have or be doing to know that I had reached a 10?
- How would I be if I had reached a 10 in that area?
- What else is there in this picture of total satisfaction?
Get really clear on your ideal situation in each segment. Close your eyes and visualise your ‘10’. Enjoy that future moment right now knowing that, just by getting this mental picture clear, you’re programming your personal satnav to get you there.
Again, talking this over or writing it down will definitely help the process.
3. Once you have a clear vision of the future, you can then start taking steps towards it. Pick one area that you want to focus on and boost or do an overview of the wheel (like a helicopter view), and ask yourself which segments need the most work and what improvements would make the biggest difference.
Commit to 1-3 things today to move forward which would boost your life satisfaction levels. There is something about knowing that you can trust yourself to take steps to move in the direction of your dreams and that you are in the driver’s seat that is a real boost to self-confidence.
Don’t get overwhelmed if it feels like there’s a lot to do! You’re merely looking at the map and plotting your course – you don’t have to travel the whole distance today, but it is important to plan the initial stages of your journey. Once you’re well and truly on your way, you can check the map again (maybe stick the wheel of life on your wall or tuck it into your wallet so that you can see it regularly). And get accountable! Tell people where you’re headed and ask them to remind you of that if they sense you might be veering off in a different direction.
Here are a couple of examples of using the wheel of life exercise, to give you an idea of how it could work for you:
Jo felt out of kilter in her life and couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong. Looking at the wheel of life, she realised that, though many areas of her life were scoring highly, she had a very low score in her friendship segment. It wasn’t that she didn’t have any friends – far from it! – but she hadn’t been able to spend much time with them recently and that had eroded her personal support system. Jo decided to dedicate Wednesday evenings to ‘friend time’, which could simply be chatting on the phone or going out for a drink or to see a film. She also arranged a monthly get together with a group of her friends and they all put actual dates in their diaries for a whole year rather than just talking about it. They all score highly in their friendship segment now!
On doing the wheel of life exercise, Sophie realised that the low score in her career segment was hugely affecting the rest of her life. Stuck in a job that didn’t satisfy her, with a boss who was distant and unsupportive, her confidence had shrunk. Talking it over, she identified her 10 as working for the same company but in a completely different department. Her commitments were to start to network with colleagues in that area and to register her interest in becoming more involved. Shortly after doing this, a position came up in that department, and Sophie was the first person they invited to interview.
As on any journey, there will almost certainly be unexpected obstacles. But with your satnav set and your wheel of life map to hand, you are much less likely to let these little surprises knock you off course. Just take it a mile at a time. And do get in touch if you need any help – doing this exercise with a coach not only puts you in the driver’s seat but also adds a rocket pack!