Can't see the wood for the trees? When we know we aren’t at our happiest, it can be hard work trying to figure out which bit of our lives to focus on first. We end up losing sight of the bigger picture because we spend all our time worrying about and focusing on all the different thoughts racing around in our heads. So how can we start to see the bigger the picture?
The Wheel of Life is a good exercise to start with. Draw quite a large circle on a piece of paper. Segment it into 8 sections.
In each section, write one of the following life areas:
- Friends/Family/Social Relationships
- Physical Environment (where you live, work, your daily surroundings)
With the centre of the wheel as 0 and the outer edge as an ideal 10, rank your level of satisfaction with each life area by drawing a curved line across each segment to create a new outer edge. When you’ve done this for each segment, the new perimeter of the circle will represent your Wheel of Life.
- The first question to ask yourself is how bumpy would the ride/journey be if this were a real wheel? What does that tell you about your life as it is at the moment?
- Which of the three lowest scoring areas do you have the most energy/enthusiasm to start working on? Which one excites you the most?
- For you to be scoring 8-10 in the area you’ve picked out, what would be happening? What would you be doing on a day to day basis, how would you be feeling? Research shows that those aiming for an 8 are happier in life than those aiming for the perfect ten as their goals are more realistic.
- What would need to happen for the scenario you imagined in question 3 to materialise?
- What three actions can you do in the next two weeks that will start you off on achieving the points you listed in question 4?
Hopefully this exercise has offered you a little clarity on your current situation and has helped you see your life from a ‘helicopter’ perspective, enabling you to see the ‘wood’ rather than being swamped by the ‘trees’.
You can continue this exercise by asking yourself questions 1-5 for each of the life area segments, building up a picture of the goals you want to achieve in each area.
Fundamentally, each area has a knock on effect on the others. The idea is to work on getting all areas to a similar number so your wheel becomes rounder and therefore your journey through life a little smoother.
I am now able to say what truly drives and fulfils me, and what my values are. I had spent so much time being flexible and slipping into roles, that I had lost track of what really satisfies me at work, and I now know that is. A truly supportive and caring person that I would recommend to anyone feeling at a crossroad in their careers.