When it’s all said and done, life is like a big, gigantic wheel. It’s like the wheel of a bicycle. You know the kind. When you walk out to the garage to go for a bike ride, the wheels (tires) look fine. However, when you sit on the seat and get your feet placed on the pedals, you realize that your wheel is flat and the rim is sitting on the pavement figuring. It’s frustrating because you’re ready to ride. Ready to roll, however, no matter how hard you pedal, your bike will not go at the speed you wish it to because of the flat tire.
How does this relate to life? Imagine your “wheel of life” is supported by different internal spokes. Each spoke is an important piece of your life…i.e. career, financial, location of where you live, your children, your relationship with your spouse, etc. The “wheel” is the perceived life. How others perceive your life and even, how YOU perceive your life. Like a bicycle tire, your life may be perceived as inflated, but you may or may not realize that there are spokes broken internally.
To explain, I’ll use a very personal story of my own. Almost two years ago exactly, I had a very major life event happen in my life. A devastating life event that flipped my world upside down. Prior to that life event, I viewed my life as being a fully inflated tire! I perceived my life as being, not perfect, but pretty darn close. I mean, there was always a need for more money, or more time, but for the most part, my life wasn’t where I thought It’d be at that point in my life, but I also thought that life didn’t always happen the way one planned. Although I thought life was pretty good, what I realize now, is that I was settling.
Now, I also worked very hard to make people perceive my life as perfect. I had a nice house. I had two kids and a marriage that we had friends say they wanted to emulate. I had a good job, friends, etc. My life was perceived as ‘fully inflated.’
Without going into details, when this life event occurred, NO ONE and I mean no one, knew anything about it except my husband because I had to keep up the ‘perceived life’ that was my “wheel of life.” It would break me for people to know my ‘perceived life’ was actually a mess.
That said, this life event turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I have learned in the last two years what is really important. I started to really look at the ‘spokes’ of my life and identify the ones that were broken without me realizing it. What I realize now, is when one or more spokes of life are broken, the tire is, invariably, flat and can not move forward.
Spoke #1 – Location – We lived in a place where we were surrounded by beauty everyday. We lived near friends and family, however, there was something always a little ‘off’ for me. That said, my perceived life was good, so I just went with it. After this life event, we decided as a family that things had to change. The location wasn’t truly serving us, so we moved across the country to a place that we believed would serve us better.
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Spoke #2 – Career – I had a good job. That’s it. There was no room for growth. I was comfortable, but knew deep down, I wasn’t going anywhere with the company. I was a number in a file in Human Resources, however, I did the things I needed to do to put myself ‘out there’ to get noticed. I did the extra projects, I did presentations, etc. to add one more thing to my resume in the hopes that I would actually get promoted. I transferred with the company out to California, and four months later, told my husband that my job no longer served me and I was quitting.
We were in NO position for me to quit, nor do I recommend that, however, I will say that this life event made me have a ‘no matter what’ attitude. I was going to make whatever decision work because it wasn’t an option to stay in my perceived life anymore. I had to fix each broken spoke, hard decision by hard decision.
I had wanted to pursue a business from home for years. It was a conflict of interest working for the company I was employed by so I had to quit. It was the hardest decision I have ever made, but I knew it was either stay at the job, or continue to lose myself one day at a time. So, with that finished, the spoke of my wheel containing my career was now fixed and now growing stronger each day.
Spoke #3 – Relationship with Spouse – This one is the hardest one to admit out loud (or in public for that matter, but I’m working on shedding the perception of a ‘perfect perceived life’ so here it goes…) After my life event two years ago, I realized how life had taken its toll on my marriage. I didn’t even see it happening. I didn’t even feel it. I just went through each day thinking, “this is life!” Everyone always says how hard life is, and I believed it. Juggling a home, career, kids, marriage, being everything to everyone. Well, it was hard, but the one that always went on the back burner was my husband. This life event made me identify a lot of things that were broken and realized how badly broken our marriage was and is.
So, my husband and I recently took a trip to Hawaii. The trip came out of a bittersweet desire to spend one week together and get to know each other again. To really be honest about the direction of our marriage and see where we were headed. This spoke is still a “work in progress,” however, we’ve identified what is broken and now work daily on fixing what we can. Time will tell where we go, however, the first part in fixing something is identifying the problem, then continuing to work on it each day.
My hope in sharing this personal challenge with you is that you start to identify those spokes that may be broken, or even bent. By identifying these spokes, you can start to fix them and build a solid foundation for your Wheel of Life. Don’t turn a blind eye or you truly will go through life miserable and not achieving things you set out to achieve. How sad. Don’t be a victim. Be someone who takes on challenges and makes them blessings!
‘You must do it now, immediately.’
With all that said, you will now understand where to go with each “spoke” of life. No matter how weak one is, a weak one will deflate the entire wheel making it slower to spin. When a wheel spins slower, it takes longer to get to its destination. So, whatever your life goals are, you will have a slower time achieving them unless you strengthen your spokes of life. You must do it now, immediately. The “wheel of life” can only go as fast as you allow it. Recognize it, fix it, and only then will you truly live the life you desire!