Unlocking Your Potential: Life, Balance and Fulfillment
Discover the power of levers and your interconnected roles – and learn how to achieve greater control, balance, fulfilment, and purpose.
The Concept of Life Levers
Life can be viewed as a complex system of interconnected levers, each representing a different role or aspect of one’s life, such as being a parent, employee, friend, or pursuing hobbies. These levers can be adjusted, reflecting the time, effort, and mental energy you allocate to them. The adjustments are often driven by intrinsic or extrinsic factors, such as a desire for better balance or external pressures. It’s common to feel a sense of imbalance or that something crucial is missing. The choices made in allocating time to these roles directly impact overall satisfaction, contentment, and the well-being of those you care about.
Life is an intricate web of roles and responsibilities, each akin to a separate but interconnected lever. These roles can encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from the roles we assume within our families as parents or children to our professional roles as employees, bosses, or entrepreneurs. They also extend to the roles we play as friends, community members, and even as individuals pursuing personal hobbies and passions. Essentially, every aspect of our lives that holds significance and to which we dedicate our time can be represented as a distinct lever.
These levers are not static entities; they are dynamic and ever-evolving. Each lever can be adjusted, much like tuning an instrument, to determine how much time, effort, and mental energy we allocate to it. This adjustment serves as a reflection of the importance we attribute to a particular role at a given point in time. The reasons for these adjustments are many, often driven by the interplay of intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Through understanding this fundamental concept of life levers, you empower yourself to take back control and explore self-discovery and self-management. It’s a journey that allows you to make conscious choices about where to invest your most valuable resource – time – to lead a life that resonates with your values and aspirations.
Expanding on the Concept:
- Recognise that life is dynamic, and the allocation of time and energy to different roles can shift over time. This flexibility can help you adapt to changing circumstances and priorities.
- Not all roles are equally important at all times. Sometimes, one role may need more attention than others, and that’s perfectly normal. Understand that achieving balance doesn’t always mean equal allocation but rather allocating based on current needs and priorities.
- Understand and explore the concept of “role satisfaction.” Assess how satisfied you are with each role and make adjustments accordingly. This approach can lead to a more fulfilling and purpose-driven life.
Areas to Focus On:
- Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors: Intrinsic factors stem from our inner motivations, desires, and values. For instance, you might feel compelled to spend more time on a hobby because it brings you personal joy and fulfillment. Extrinsic factors, on the other hand, originate externally and can be influenced by societal expectations, relationships, or external pressures. For instance, your partner may express their desire for you to spend more quality time together.
- The Perception of Balance: Achieving balance in life is a continuous pursuit, and the adjustment of these life levers is our way of seeking equilibrium. Clients often grapple with the notion that something vital is amiss or unbalanced in their lives, leading them to reassess their levers.
- Feeling-Based Triggers: These adjustments are typically prompted by feelings – the sensation that one area of life is demanding more attention than it is receiving. These feelings can range from guilt over neglecting family to the realization that work has overshadowed personal well-being. It’s essential to recognize that these emotions can be managed and influenced.
- Creating a Holistic Picture: Encourage your clients to view these life levers as pieces of a puzzle that collectively create a holistic picture of their lives. Just as a puzzle needs its pieces to fit together harmoniously, each lever must be balanced to form a coherent and fulfilling life.
Balancing and Managing Your Levers and Roles
Each time you adjust one of your life levers, it has a ripple effect on all the others, thanks to their interconnected nature. Even a small adjustment in one area can result in shifts in others, often in the range of 5-10%. This interconnectedness underscores the importance of mindful choices in how you allocate your finite time. Having an ample number of levers, representing different roles, is crucial for maintaining balance and psychological well-being. Too few or too many roles can both pose challenges and cause feelings of dis-satisfaction or stress.
Imagine each of your life roles as a distinct lever, all interconnected by invisible cables. When you make adjustments to one of these levers, it’s essential to understand that the other levers or roles are not isolated; they are all affected to some degree. Even a seemingly small adjustment in one area can trigger a series of changes throughout your life. These interconnected levers underscore the critical importance of making thoughtful and intentional choices in how you allocate your limited time and resources.
Consider life as a dynamic balancing act. You have a finite amount of time, and how you distribute that time among your various roles has profound and ongoing consequences. This allocation directly influences not only your overall satisfaction and contentment, but also the well-being and happiness of those who depend on you or are close to you.
By understanding the dynamics of these interconnected levers and the compromises, choices and trade-offs, you can make informed choices and take control of your life. This awareness empowers you to lead a life that is not only balanced but also resilient in the face of change and challenges. The goal is not a rigid work-life balance but a holistic and psychologically fulfilling balance that adapts to the constant changes of life.
Expanding on the Concept:
- Identify your core roles and assess whether you have enough levers to achieve balance and fulfilment. It is worth considering your ‘backup’ roles or hobbies that can provide respite when primary roles become demanding or less satisfying. It is possible to juggle several roles effectively with the right mindset and strategies.
- Recognise the importance of perspective and resilience in dealing with life’s challenges. When you feel in control of your levers, you are better equipped to navigate difficulties and view them as opportunities for growth.
- Shift from a passive mindset of things happening “to” them to an active one where you see yourself as influential in your life. This shift can empower you to take control and make conscious choices.
Areas to Focus On:
- Ripple Effects: The interconnectedness of these levers means that every decision you make has a ripple effect. For example, choosing to dedicate more time to your career might lead to less time for personal hobbies or family. Similarly, prioritising self-care through exercise and mental well-being activities may necessitate adjustments in other areas of your life.
- Understanding Trade-Offs: Life is a constant trade-off and full of compromises. By choosing to invest more time in one area, you may need to sacrifice something elsewhere. This doesn’t imply that achieving balance means equally distributing your time among all levers; rather, it’s about allocating based on your current needs and priorities.
- Know your Core Values: Understanding your personal values improve self-awareness and knowledge of what is most important to you. This knowledge can create a deeper level of self-acceptance. It helps to identify how you act, what motivations drive you and why you react to particular events or situations more than others or in certain ways.
- The Role of Flexibility: Embrace flexibility in managing your levers. Life is not static, and circumstances change. Sometimes, a specific role may require more attention due to unforeseen events or personal goals. Flexibility enables you to adapt to these shifts without feeling overwhelmed.
- Maintaining Resilience: Resilience is a vital trait in navigating the ebb and flow of life’s demands. When you understand the interconnectedness of your roles and levers, you can develop strategies to maintain emotional and psychological resilience. This resilience helps to stay grounded and adaptable in the face of challenges.
- Avoiding Extremes: While having a variety of roles or levers is beneficial, it’s essential to caution against having too few or too many. Too few roles can leave you vulnerable to imbalance and dissatisfaction when one or more areas are not going well. Conversely, too many roles can lead to feeling stretched thin, impacting the ability to manage time effectively and create negative stress.
Reflecting on Your Levers for a Fulfilling Life
Understanding your own levers and reflecting on your roles is a critical step in achieving balance and fulfilment. Take time to assess where you currently allocate most of your time, where adjustments are needed, and whether you feel content and satisfied with the mix. Recognise that you have the power to influence your life by making deliberate choices to adjust your levers in alignment with your core values.
Taking the time to reflect on your life levers is an essential step in the pursuit of balance and fulfilment. Each role you play, whether it’s as a parent, an employee, a friend, or in any other capacity, contributes to the overall picture of your existence.
Understanding and reflecting on your life levers is a useful exercise in self-discovery and self-management. It enables you to align your actions with your values, make conscious choices, and create a life that brings joy, purpose, and contentment. It’s about recognising that, to a large extent, you have the power to make effective choices and find fulfillment in the roles you choose to play.
Expanding on the Concept:
- Regular self-reflection and assessment of role satisfaction is key to making this a reality. Journaling or dedicated reflective time can help to gain clarity on your priorities and areas that require attention.
- Happiness and satisfaction can be achieved by aligning time allocation with your values and aspirations. Identify your core values and how they can be integrated into your roles.
- Making adjustments to life levers is an ongoing process, and it’s normal to recalibrate as circumstances change. This flexibility ensures a fulfilling and adaptable approach to life.
- You have agency and the ability to shape your life according to what brings joy and fulfillment. Empower yourself to take action in realigning your levers to create a life that resonates with desires and values.
Areas to Focus On:
- Identifying Your Roles: The first step in this process is identifying and acknowledging the various roles you play in your life. This might include your role within your family, your career, your community, or any personal passions you pursue. It can be useful to create a comprehensive list of these roles, as it provides clarity on the various facets of your life.
- Complete the Circle of Wellbeing Assessment: Once the roles are identified, it’s crucial to assess how much time and energy you currently allocate to each one. It allows you to gain insights into where your resources are primarily directed and levels of comfort and satisfaction across all of your roles.
- Role Satisfaction: Role satisfaction is a key metric to consider. Ask yourself how fulfilled and satisfied you feel in each role. Are there roles that bring you joy and a sense of purpose, while others feel draining or unfulfilling? This self-assessment can highlight areas in need of adjustment.
- Aligning with Values: Align your time and role allocation with core values and aspirations. When your roles are in harmony with what truly matters to you, it becomes easier to find contentment and meaning in your life.
- Taking Purposeful Action: Reflection alone is not enough; it should lead to action. Once the assessment is completed, explore what specific adjustments you can make to their levers to create a better and more rewarding balance across all roles.
- Empowerment and Control: Ultimately, this process is about empowerment and regaining a sense of control over your life. By consciously adjusting your levers based on reflection and your reality, you will feel that you are not simply reacting to life but actively shaping it.
- Daily Satisfaction: The goal is to feel satisfied on most days with what you give to and receive from each role. This is a realistic and attainable aspiration that doesn’t require perfection but rather ongoing self-awareness and adjustment.
Circle of Wellbeing: Roles & Levers
Our concept is based on the popular Wheel of Life resource. We see it a little differently as the roles or levers are intertwined and impact each other, rather than being independent as can be construed by some. This is a powerful coaching tool used to help you assess and consider the various dimensions of your life, providing a holistic view.
When focusing on contentment and work-life balance, it’s crucial to ensure that each segment is given due consideration. Understanding the depths and interconnections of these themes can lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life.
They serve as guideposts in the journey of personal growth and well-being. If you wish to change any of the themes/levers you can, however we have found the listed 10 to be quite comprehensive for most people.
Instructions, additional background and a copy of the assessment can be accessed via the image to the right.
After completing the Circle of Wellbeing, we recommend that you reflect on and answer the questions below. Your responses and subsequent action will lead to more deliberate action and a greater sense of control.
- What do you want that you don’t seem to be able to achieve?
- What levers need immediate attention? How much should you adjust your levers at this stage?
- What would be the benefit of adjusting your levers right now?
- What would you be doing if you were living the life that you wanted to live?
- What prevents you from having this balanced life?
- Do you really want to change your life to become more balanced?
- What activities did I used to do but haven’t done for a while?
Don’t judge what you write down. Also, consider as many different aspects of your life as they can – areas like relationships, work, community, hobbies and so forth – and to write down
whatever comes up.
Nominate the top 5 activities that you feel you would like to put energy into on a regular basis. If 5 feels too confining, you can list 8-10 , but I suggest that this needs to be the upper limit. This list could be a mixture of activities and actions you feel you ‘need’ to do on a regular basis and those that you feel you would like to devote time to again. The point here is that while you may feel that you still need to devote more time to your career, for example, there could be other levers that have not had enough prominence and now potentially will be given a higher priority in your daily or weekly routine.