How a Bicycle Can Help You Reflect on Your Business…and Life

I regularly apply the Wheel of Life concept to my life, to see how I’m doing with various aspects of my personal life. It’s an effective tool in gauging what areas of our lives are being neglected, and where we might be placing too much emphasis.

Bicycle Wheel of Life Personal Pillars
Personal Pillars

The simple but profound message is that if one area is being neglected, our lives won’t be in balance. For example, too  much time spent on financial pursuits might be done at the expense of our personal relationships or physical health.

If you think of your life as a wheel broken into 5 key areas, it’s something you want to keep in balance as much as possible, or in harmony, as James Arthur Ray says in Harmonic Wealth.

When I read Zig Ziglar’s Born to Win, and saw how he applied the same concept to business, I was struck by it’s usefulness for entrepreneurs. In his business wheel, he identifies 5 areas that we need to be paying equal attention to in our businesses in order to prosper: Leadership, Sales, Marketing, Operations, and Administration. If one of these areas is neglected, other areas of our business suffer. If too many are ignored, the business ultimately fails.

Bicycle Wheel of Life Business Pillars
Business Pillars

The bicycle metaphor is a simple reminder that we should be striving for balance in order to keep the bicycle upright and ensure as smooth a ride as possible. The rider of this bike, i.e you, is  steering the bike and benefitting from a smooth ride.

The reality though, is that we’ll never truly be in balance. James Arthur Ray, in his book Harmonic Wealth, writes that “in perfect balance, nothing’s happening. There’s no dynamism, no life or vibrancy”. He advises living a harmonious life instead, one where different parts of your life and business will lead at different times. With these temporary bursts of energy in different areas, you will find yourself living a more dynamic, vibrant life. It might feel like steering your bike through a challenging patch of road, and then it smooths out again after a time. But the point is, you’re steering it!

So here’s where I think the true value of the bicycle metaphor comes in. It serves as a guide and reminder about the areas we need to be paying attention to. When we don’t feel good physically or emotionally, when we’re stressed, or getting into arguments with colleagues or loved ones, these are indicators that it’s time to reflect and see what needs our attention and devotion.

I’m writing this blog post as we near the end of 2018. Although, like most business owners, I am constantly reflecting on my business, on what’s working and what’s not, where I want to take it, etc., I find I am even more reflective in December.

As the holidays near and 2019 is just around the corner, I look at the bicycle illustration hanging in my office (feel free to copy and print these blog images for your own office wall) and think about the areas of my business and life that are working well, and areas that need more attention. What areas need to be LEADING more, for a more dynamic and vibrant life?

What about the WORK?

The big “WORK” letters in the picture remind me that everything is work. Our relationships, our businesses, our spiritual pursuits. Everything takes effort. But the effort in living a harmonious or balanced life, whichever terms resonates with you, is where the action is! That’s where you’ll have the fun. The results are the bonus rewards.

Whether you do this reflection alone, with your team or family members, here are some questions to ask:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, where do I rate each category on the wheels, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent.
  2. For the categories where I’m scoring high, what I have been doing to make me feel so positive about those areas. Do I want to continue doing those things?
  3. For the categories where I’m scoring low, why am I giving them low scores? If I want to improve the scores, what do I need to do?

Pretty simple stuff right? I find it’s often the simple concepts that have the greatest impact.

Have questions? Are you open to sharing how you’ve applied the bicycle wheel to your own business? Your comments are welcome below.

All the best for a prosperous 2019. I wish you a great ride!

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