Getting life balance right with the balance wheel

Apr 1, 2016

The second part of the personal offsite is about double checking you are on course and assessing whether you need to make adjustments. This isn’t just about business goals, its much wider. Think life balance.

Its time to check back on your longer term goals. Are you on course for where you want to be in 3 years time? Both in business and personally? What might you need to correct?

Priorities change, and as we move our businesses forward things we never thought of come along. A key part of the personal offsite is to review whats changed in the last 90 or 100 days and reassess priorities.

Personal Offsite Session 2 – Make sure you are still on the right track.

We think of life balance as being hugely important. Much is written and spoken about work life balance. Truth is, we talk about it so much because we are all perpetually out of balance. Ive come to the conclusion that some imbalance is inevitable, but once you recognise that it becomes much easier to do something about it.

Did you know that, after it takes off, an aeroplane will be off course for up to 95% of its flight but it still makes it to its destination. All the way through the flight the pilots are making small corrections to bring it back on track. Reaching your long term goals is much the same. You are always heading in roughly the right direction, but you keep needing to make adjustments. The review you have every 90 or 100 days is your opportunity to make those minor course corrections.

Let me explain further. The way you make progress is by focussing on one or two things that matter for a period long enough to make a difference. Usually 90 or 100 days. When you make a decision to focus then you also choose not to do certain things. While that choice works over the relatively short time block of 100 days it might not be sustainable longer term. In short, as you focus on something sufficiently to achieve results you will by definition be out of balance and ultimately need to correct.

Each 100 days I think its worth doing two exercises, the first is looking back at your own personal vision for where you want to be in three years time and checking that this still feels right, the second is the balance wheel. The balance wheel gets straight to the heart of life balance and highlighting the areas yo might think about addressing.

Using the Balance Wheel to adjust your life balance

The balance wheel exercise is very simple. The exercise breaks your life down into 8 areas and you simply self assess yourself against each. Give yourself marks out of 10 to see how well you are doing. I’d suggest using the following 8 areas, but you can adjust these if you want:

  1. Health & Wellbeing. Are you looking after yourself? Its top of the list for a reason. Your own personal health and well being is the bedrock on which everything else is built. Are you looking after yourself?
  2. Immediate Family. A very close second to looking after yourself is your responsibility to those around you. Are you making time for them? Giving sufficient of yourself to them?
  3. Money. While I don’t believe money is a motivator, not having sufficient can be the root of all sorts of problems. Having a bad relationship with money can also be very damaging.
  4. Personal Relationships. What are things like with the people you come into daily contact with? Your staff? your friends? Are you networking effectively, forming the relationships that will take your business forward?
  5. Contribution. Yes you are busy, but are you doing stuff that actually makes a difference? that really matters? that plays to your strengths? The classic pitfall that many business owners fall into is thinking they have to do everything themselves and are too busy doing the mundane to really use their special talents properly.
  6. Vision. Are you moving from day-to-day just keeping things ticking over? or have you got a real vision for the future? Many businesses get stuck in a rut, doing the same things week after week, month after month. What does your long-term plan look like?
  7. Spirituality. Mindfulness is becoming a well regarded business tool, are you taking time out to reflect, think, and be in touch with yourself? Are you in touch with your life purpose? Why are you here? What are you meant to be doing? Whats the motivating purpose that gets you out of bed in the morning?
  8. Personal Development. I believe firmly in life long learning, the business owner in particular needs to embrace the need to develop both himself and the people around him. What are you reading? Do you need to book a course? Are you up to date with whats going on in your sector? Are you giving your team development space?

Once you have scored each area you will start to see whats out of balance. You then have a choice, live with the imbalance or do something about it. The process is simple. Look at where you scored yourself lower, ask yourself whether you are unhappy with that score, and also what the implications are from it somewhere further down the road. Is that a choice you are happy to make or is it something you want to correct?

If its something you want to correct, take it forward on the initial list of things you want to address in the next 100 days. If it isn’t, then forget about it completely for now. It isn’t lost completely, the balance wheel exercise is something you should do again at your next offsite at the end of another 90 or 100 day period. Plenty opportunity to correct course again.

Use the balance wheel every time you have a personal offsite or a goals review and you give yourself plenty opportunity

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