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Wheel & Compass

A method for gaining perspective on where you are, and where you could be

I want to make a change but I don’t know where to begin…

Sometimes when we want to make a change in our life, it isn’t always clear where to start — we are all multi-faceted individuals and the different parts of our life interact with each other in different ways. In the busy-ness of daily life, it can be easy to fall into a default mode where we go about carrying out the day-to-day responsibilities of life without paying much attention to the dynamics at play. And before we realize it, we sense a misalignment or a sub-optimal state in some aspect of life.

If you have sensed that there is a change you want to make, you’ve already become aware of a future state that you are wanting for yourself. So the question is: What is the future you want to create for yourself?

A tool to get the bearings on your life

Wheel & Compass is a method for gaining clarity as you consider where you would like to make a positive change in your life. The purpose of this activity is to give you a concrete way to look at your life, to help you decide where to focus your time, attention and energy.

The Wheel serves as a map: it provides a visual “lay-of-the-land” that maps out different directions you can take. The Wheel also orients you to where you are today, and hints at where you can look next.

The Compass is about pointing you in the right direction to take you to where you want to be.

Quite simply, this is a way to turn what can be a vague and fuzzy picture into something more tangible.

With the Wheel & Compass, you:

  • Take the mental model of how you view and approach your life
  • Make this model something more concrete by laying it out visually
  • Step back and look at your life on a whole
  • Gain perspective by looking at the ins-and-outs of your life in a methodical way

Prompts for Reflection and Action

On its own, the Wheel & Compass offers a starting point for the broader work of setting goals in focused areas for growth and change.

After creating your Wheel, the next steps are to:

  • Engage in some process of reflection to better understand how the different areas of your life interconnect
  • Set a focus for where you can devote some of your energy to make shifts in the direction you seek

These are some of the questions I explore with my clients in 1:1 and group coaching engagements:

Prompts for Reflection

  • Where am I thriving? Where am I lagging?
  • How are the different areas of my life connected? How does a change in one area affect another?
  • What would I like this wheel to look like?

Prompts for Action

  • Which area will I focus my attention and energy?
  • What is the change I wish to see?
  • How could I make this area of my life a 10/10?
  • What is the first step I can take towards this change?

A tool for reflective practice

The Wheel & Compass is simply a tool — the real value is in the awareness you gain in the process completing the self-assessed ratings, the meaning you make from what you see, and then the steps you take to act on the insights you gain.

As a tool, this will also only ever capture a snapshot in time — completing your Wheel & Compass really marks the beginning of a new process and journey, not the end! For greatest effect, you can do periodic check-ins to see how different areas of your life may have shifted over time. Your Wheel & Compass can become a tool you can use as a benchmark to help gain some perspective on where you could devote your attention to next.

Interested in more?

To learn more about this or any other resource here, reach out for a 30 min intro call.

Coming Soon: I will be offering Wheel & Compass workshops this winter and spring in an online format! Sign up for updates at Summit Academy.


Topics: self-awareness, work-life balance, personal and professional fulfillment, prioritization, first step