The Wheel Of Life

It was hard not to get emotional as I looked at the ten pieces of paper in front of me that represented the past ten years of my life. One year I was super depressed; another year, my health was way out of whack, then I noticed one year I was deeply in love, but then another year, I saw my finances were rock solid.

I could see and compare when I had good or bad moments with these ten papers. For example, I noticed that I was physically my best self one year; however, financially, I was not. Another year, I noticed that my fun/adventurous self needed improvement; however, my career was blooming. 

With these ten pieces of paper, it was easy to see what areas of my life I was getting worse and which areas hadn’t changed. But, while it’s easy to focus on the negatives, I also could not believe how much I’ve grown over the past ten years of my life. As Bill Gates once said, “People overestimate what they can do in one year, but underestimate what they can do in 10 years.”

The only reason I’m able to have such amazing reflections on my life is that every year, for the past ten years, I’ve carved out half a day to do an activity called, The Wheel Of Life. 

The Wheel of Life has ten sections to fill out about your life. 

  • Career – Reflect on your career and work situation.
  • Spiritual / Purpose – Reflect on your higher purpose for being alive.
  • Personal Growth – Reflect on your personal growth in talents, habits, thoughts, etc.
  • Contribution – Reflect on your giving to others through service, money, etc.
  • Fun / Adventure – Reflect on your moments of fun and adventure.
  • Romance / Love – Reflect on your relationship situation.
  • Family – Reflect on your children, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc.
  • Friends / Social – Reflect on your friends and social life.
  • Health Fitness – Reflect on your health and fitness.
  • Finances / Wealth – Reflect on your finances.

Here are the four steps to filling out your yearly wheel of life:

  1. Your Perfect Ten – For each section, think about what it would look like if you had everything you wanted in this area. Then, fill in a brief description of what that looks like for you for each section.
  2. Reflection Time – For each section, ask yourself the following questions to understand where you are doing great and where you have room for growth.

In the past 12 months…

  1. How did this area cause you stress?
  2. How did this area help you feel more connected to yourself?
  3. Were you inspired in any way in this area?
  4. What is your favorite memory of this area?
  5. What is your least favorite memory of this area?
  6. How does this area make you feel overall?

3) Ranking 1-10 – For each section, give yourself a ranking on a scale of 1-10 on how close to a perfect ten you are in that specific area. Fill in, or mark, your ranking on your wheel and note the year the wheel was created.

4) Yearly Review – Repeat the three steps from above every year. Then take some additional time to see how your wheel changed over the last year or several years.

After I had finished one of my yearly reflections, I shared it with a friend of mine who also showed me his. What I saw shocked me. In my opinion, my friend seemed like he was crushing life on all fronts. He had his professional and personal life together. However, when I glanced at his wheel, I was puzzled. Most of his scores were very low. So I asked him why he scored himself so low in most categories. He then explained to me that even though things were going well in his life, he was still so far from his “Perfect 10” in most categories, so he had to score himself accordingly.

The Wheel of Life isn’t a comparison game.

Because everyone will have a different set of criteria for a Perfect 10, it’s almost impossible to compare your scores to anyone else. The only thing you can do is compare your scores this year to prior years. It’s current you against past you for the sake of future you.

While it is valuable to have just one year of reflection to look at, I challenge you to make a tradition to do the Wheel of Life every year, and the value will exponentially get better.