In which Mike learns the power of using scales
Mike had begun to ask himself ‘What do I want?’ more often, especially about the small decisions; as John recommended. He’d found he was beginning to act more deliberately. In fact, he’d had a couple of strange looks from his mother and his partner when he’d unexpectedly expressed a strong preference over fairly small issues. Mostly though it was OK and he was enjoying the thrill of practicing being more decisive in meetings. His boss, Julie, had commented in a recent meeting on that. He’d realised how negative he’d got about a lot of things and had found the questions ‘What do I want, instead?’ really useful. In fact it was annoying because he rather enjoyed a good moan to himself and found that question got him thinking in a different direction. He’d found himself staring wistfully at pictures of boats in the past wondering how they could afford one and when John had challenged him to act on his wishes he’d spent a fun afternoon with a whiteboard freely brainstorming steps to make it come true. It felt different now, he had a plan.
At his next meeting with his coach Mike enthusiastically reviewed all this while John listened. “Sounds great” said John “What else?” Mike thought for a moment. “Well,” he paused “I seem to have done all the obvious things but I still have a feeling that there is more”. John looked at him, “Let me ask you a question, out of 10, how excited are you right now?”
“What a strange question?”
“Just stick with it. Quick as you can. Out of 10 how excited are you right now, right here in this room.”
“Dunno, about 4 out of 10 I suppose.”
“Great. Now, can you turn your excitement down to 3 or below?”
Mike thought quietly for a moment. “Yes I can, it’s about 3 now. This is weird.”
“OK. Now, see if you can take it from 3 to 6.” Mike thought again. “Yes, well I feel a little more excited but frankly this is a hard place to be excited in.”
John laughed. “Well done for having a go. Now let me ask you a different question, ‘What would 10/10 be like? If you had your excitement level at 10/10 what would your energy be like, how would you be talking, what would you look like?’”
Mike began to imagine this and was surprised to find that as he imagined it he actually became more excited. It was very strange.
“What’s all this got to do with figuring out what I want?” he demanded.
“Well” said John “When you said that your excitement level was 4 out of 10, I had no idea what you meant but you did, didn’t you? You had a very clear idea. Let’s break it down for a minute. In order to rate your current excitement level you needed to do a very fast comparison. You quickly ran the extremes of 10 and 1 in your head, did a rough comparison and came up with 4.”
Mike thought about this for a moment. “Yes, that is what I did although I wasn’t really aware of doing it.”
“This is a great technique for uncovering hidden ‘wants’.” John continued, “It works by getting you to score your life at the moment and compare that to what 10/10 is for you. The difference is probably something you want.” John began to draw a circle on the notepad in front of him, he divided the circle into six segments. “This is called the Wheel of Life and it’s a way of keeping score.
“Here are six life areas that apply to most people.” He continued labelling the segments as he talked “Health, Finances, Career, Relationship, Family, Personal Growth and Development, Spiritual. Let’s take Health as an example”
“Out of 10, how would you rate your health and fitness at the moment?”
“Five”. John drew a line and shaded about half of the health segment on the wheel
“Out of 10, how would you rate your finances at the moment?” “Seven” said Mike. Mike gave scores of ‘seven’ for job and career, ‘six’ for relationship, ‘four’ for spiritual and ‘three’ for personal growth and development.
John then began to plot these scores on the wheel and joined them together to make a jagged shape. He shaded the segments, making the scores more obvious. “What does this shape remind you of Mike?”
“It looks like a really bumpy wheel.”
“Exactly and a person with a wheel like this would experience life like this. Some parts would run smoothly together – see where the scores are similar? While every so often there would be a mighty bump as the parts of their life lurched from one thing to another.” “That sounds about right” interjected Mike. John carried on “The goal here is not to get to 10/10 in everything, it’s to have the whole wheel turning smoothly. That’s a life which is easier to manage than these great bumps.”
“Let’s go back to health and fitness. You rated it at 5. Now I want you to think about what 10/10 would be for you. I know I said the goal is not 10/10 but stick with it for a moment. Imagine 10/10 and really make it attractive – what would you look like? What would others say to you? What would you say to yourself? How would that feel? How would your clothes feel? Got that?”
“OK. Now think about the gap and see if you can identify one action that would take you a step closer to 10 in the area of health and fitness.”
Mike nodded again “That’s easy, I’m going to start weighing myself every day. It’s the easiest way I know to get motivated again.”
“Look what’s happened” said John, “We’ve uncovered a new ‘want’ I want to weigh myself every day. Do this for all six segments and you will have six clear wants that cover all areas of your life. Starting on them will help to bring your life into balance. Here’s the next worksheet and some instructions. See you next time.”