Probably every chef I’ve know is fearful about what they neglect because of the busy ‘chef life’ – relationships, finances, their health, etc. When you are engaged in the pursuit of one single goal, your capacity to oversee how you’re doing in other areas of your life can be compromised. This is why I want to share with you a very effective personal development tool that will help you gain a more rounded view of your life.

It’s called the Wheel of Life. It’s a simple diagram of a wheel with 6-8 spokes that you complete based on what’s true for you. You choose what each spoke represents, for example:

  • Career
  • Finances/Money
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Education/Personal Growth
  • Entertainment/Fun/Relaxation
  • Contribution/Giving

Prep: Set the scene for some deep contemplation. Make sure you’re completely relaxed (this is not a cigarette break task!) and can devote time to it. Got your print-out of the Wheel of Life or some paper and a pen to draw yourself a copy? Fab. Got your favourite music and beverage handy? Great! Assign a life structure to each spoke on the wheel. Now you’re ready to complete the Wheel of Life in three easy tasks.

Task 1: You’ll notice that each spoke is graded from 1-10. For each area of your life, mark where you are on a scale of 1-10. Happily married? Maybe that’s an 8 for you on relationships. Got big debts to pay? Finances might look like a 3 at the moment. Go over each spoke and pick a number honestly, without overthinking it.

Now, join all the points on the wheel to create a web. Don’t worry about the shape – we’re human, so the web is not going to look perfect or pretty. But this task will show you:

  • What’s working well
  • Where you are now
  • What needs attention
  • More importantly, how far you’ve come

Task 2: Now this task relates to your goals. Where would you like to go this year? And if you achieve your goals, how does your rating for that spoke improve? Maybe having the courage to end a relationship will give you a 9. You decide to focus on your health this year and do fewer shifts, which means your career might stay at 6. Want to finally go on that holiday of your dreams that you’ve been putting off? Maybe that’s a commitment to get to 8 on your ‘Fun’ spoke.

The trick is to be completely honest about what you really want, what you’re prepared to go after, how much you’re willing to sacrifice for the progress. It’s okay if you only move from 2-3. It’s also okay to be only at 2 when everyone else appears to be at 9. This will give you a clear idea of what’s true for you.

Again, draw a web connecting the ‘where you want to go this year’ points on each spoke.

Task 3: This is the important part. Colour in the space in between the two webs. You’ll see instantly where your priorities lie this year. This is a great decision-making aid because you’ll see what to say yes or no to.

Next, go over each spoke, and assess what you’ll need to do and who you’ll need to be to bridge the difference between where you are now and where you want to get to. Make note of any resources that you will require. Going from 3 to 6 on Finances might mean paying your rent on time every month and not feeling small about your financial situation ever again. What will you need to do? Put aside the rent when you get paid. Set up a direct debit to your landlord’s account so you can’t access it and blow it away. Want to stay happily married at 8? Make it a point to nurture your relationship no matter how crazy busy it gets at work. Now you know what deserves your energy this year. Give some thought to how you will make time and space for the things that will get you to your destination.

I hope you enjoy this process and appreciate how valuable it is to take a 360º look at your life. Before I finish, I will add these caveats:

  • This is not a competition. You get no prizes for a 10 on each spoke. After all, it’s your perception of a 10. Someone else might have a completely different set of parameters for a 10.
  • Be kind to yourself! Don’t punish yourself for a score you don’t like. Don’t push to strive a higher number. Remember that you’re doing this exercise only for clarity.
  • Maybe it’s not possible to focus on many things at once and still get results. Choose what calls to you.

You can access the Wheel of Life here. Page 2 of the document contains an example (from my life, actually – please don’t judge me!) that illustrates how it’s done. If you have any queries or come across any difficulty in completing the exercise, leave a comment and I will help you.

Chefs in 2017: Wheel of life

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