Of all the tools and techniques I’ve learnt throughout my time coaching people, this, by far, is one of my favourites. It is simple enough for anyone to use, including teens and students and effective in its ability to clarify thoughts and personal strategies.
If you use it and love it, share it with others. If you don’t use it, then give it to some who can benefit from it instead.
How it works.
Consider each of the eight elements and give yourself a rating in terms of where you are now, not where you want to be. A score of 0 would indicate you have not started or perhaps neglected that element. A score of 10 indicates that you have achieved all your goals in that area so far.
It is not related to religion but rather questions how much joy you have in your life. For some, that means spending time in nature, being artistic or reading a book. For others, it could be the time in prayer and meditation or taking a yoga class.
It is something you do to feed your soul.
When the mind stops learning and problem solving, it is at risk of premature ageing and mental atrophy. However, too much intellectual stimulation can be exhausting and draining and may take away from other areas. It is up to you to determine what is too much and what is not enough. During periods of exams or studies this element spikes and can often become our only focus. In cases like this, consider element 8.
The same applies to the physical aspect. It includes exercise and movement, but more importantly, strength, endurance and flexibility. Again, too much, and you’ll deplete yourself, not enough, and you take away from the other elements due to lack of energy and vitality.
Not all of us are social butterflies, but our connection with people is important to our wellbeing. Ask yourself, “Am I making time for the people I love?”
Something to consider here is the difference between seeing people out of obligation and investing the time because you want to nurture the relationship. Do not do something if it’s not serving you or if there’s peer pressure.
It constitutes your work goals and aspirations. It also allows you to consider whether you’re giving your best, have the right attitude towards your job and if you are remaining marketable.
The key to financial wellbeing is education. The better informed you are, the better your money decisions will be. There are many excellent resources to up your financial savvy, help you get out of debt, or guide you in investment decisions. ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki is an essential read for everyone at any age. A local book to consider is ‘Use Some Common Cents to Build Financial Independence’ written by Chris Sloane, a tax consultant and specialist based in Bryanston. This book was reviewed by Bruce Witfield’s Money Show on 702 in April this year.
- Social Investment
It is the element that connects us to our environment and community and asks, “What am I doing to give back?”.
It can include giving our time, giving our money through donation, supporting a cause, helping a neighbour or planting a tree.
Helping others through empathy and love has proven to reduce depression and anxiety.
I’ve purposefully left this for last as it is the most important element. We cannot give from an empty cup, and yet many of us are. Performance at work is directly related to wellbeing. If rested, we are in a far better position to make smart decisions and to think clearly. Taking time out is vital and often overlooked or outright dismissed. What’s important to remember is that rest and restoration are all about your preference. If you get it from TV games, a night out, alone time, the beach, the bush, a book, a glass of wine or a dance class, who’s to tell you you’re wrong.
Discover for yourself what you need for self-replenishment, and then permit yourself to do it.
Once you have established your baseline score for each element, you can make changes where necessary by asking four questions about any or all of the elements above.
“What do I need to…”
- Do more of
- Do less of
- Start doing
- Stop doing
By writing down your results and plans, you’ll have a far higher success rate. There is more efficient stimulation to the brain by seeing something on paper than keeping it in your thoughts. Thoughts, much like data, can easily become corrupted, erased or lost.
Not all of the elements may be a priority in your life right now, but they all form an integral part of it. The key to a healthy, balanced life is to become consciously aware of all the elements and how they play out in your decision making, planning and doing and ultimately, a purposeful drive.
I’d love to hear from you. Any question, comments or suggestions on what you’d like to read more of, please feel free to contact me.