TIB #48: What a bicycle wheel can teach you about balance

Written by Arno Jansen

When the spokes in a bicycle wheel are all tensioned properly, the wheel is straight and does not wobble. That wheel is then called “true”.

In this issue, we’ll dive into a practical way to stay true to ourselves using the analogy of a bicycle wheel.

Just like a well-tensioned wheel doesn’t wobble, finding equilibrium in the areas of our life helps us thrive as Solopreneurs. It is so easy to believe that balance means pushing everything to the maximum, but in reality it’s about harmonizing the different ‘spokes’ in our lives to create a true, well-rounded life.

So, buckle up and get ready to ride towards a more balanced and fulfilling life!

To balance is a verb.

We often read about “finding work-life balance” as if it is a static situation that we’re looking for. It is not of course. We have many roles and responsibilities that pull is in different directions all the time. As a result, it is easy to slip into coping mechanisms to try and deal with it all:

  • We choose work over family or friends.
  • We always feel rushed in everything we do.
  • Yet, there is that feeling of never doing enough.
  • We keep comparing ourselves to others and push harder still

That is no way to live. It is also not why most Solopreneurs started on their journey in the first place.

Let’s look at a mental model to help you find more balance in your life.

Step 1: Create Your Wheel of Life: A Snapshot of Balance

The first step is to assess the various spokes in your life. Take a moment to evaluate important areas in your life. Draw a circle

For me, I separate life into these areas:

  • Health / Self-care
  • Work
  • Finances
  • Romance/Love relationship
  • Social life
  • Leisure / Hobbies
  • Personal growth

You can use these, but of course adapt it to your situation. Some people add religion or spirituality, education or travel as separate sections. Go with a way that works for you. You can download a free template by clicking this link:

👉 Download a free template for this exercise here 👈

Then assign each area a rating between 1-10 based on your level of satisfaction for that area. This is very subjective of course, and that is the point: Our truth is made up from the lens through which we experience our lives.

This exercise provides a visual representation of your life’s wheel, highlighting areas that need more attention.

For example, imagine Arnold, a Solopreneur who spends most of his time working. By evaluating his wheel of life, he discovers that his social relationships and health spokes are lacking.

Realising the imbalance, he decides to allocate more time to nurture these areas. As a result, he strengthens friendships, engages in regular exercise, and experiences increased overall happiness.

Step 2: Set Boundaries: Protect Your Time and Energy

One common pitfall in achieving balance is failing to set boundaries. Identify areas where you’re overextending yourself and learn to say no when necessary.

Respect your time and energy by prioritizing tasks, delegating when possible, and avoiding unnecessary commitments.

Imagine Arnaud, who used to say yes to every opportunity that came his way. However, he realized this left him exhausted and overwhelmed. By setting clear boundaries and focusing on what truly aligned with his goals, he regained control over his time and experienced increased productivity and fulfillment.

Step 3: Self-Care: Nurturing Your Well-being

Now, let’s talk about self-care—a crucial aspect of maintaining balance. Prioritize activities that recharge your batteries, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or simply spending quality time with loved ones. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish but essential for long-term success and happiness.

Consider Arnie, who neglected his well-being, thinking it was a luxury he couldn’t afford. However, after incorporating self-care activities into his routine, he noticed a significant improvement in his overall mood, productivity, and ability to handle stress.

These steps, combined with the previous ones, can lead to an incredible transformation. By finding balance and nurturing each spoke of your life’s wheel, you can expect increased happiness, improved relationships, enhanced focus, and a greater sense of fulfillment.

Remember, it’s not about maxing out everything—it’s about creating a symphony of fulfillment where each spoke supports the others. It also means if one area of your life requires extra attention, something has to give and the other spokes may need to loosen up a bit. That’s where the verb “balancing” comes in.

That’s it for this issue. I hope this helps you find and adjust the balance your life requires!

Take care, stay balanced!

PS. Needless to say that Arnold, Arnaud and Arnie are purely fictional characters to illustrate the exercises. Any and all resemblance to the author of this article is purely coincidental 😎

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