Whole Life Model
Excerpted from Personal (R)evolution by Allison Task
What is the Whole Life Model?
The Whole Life Model is one of my most popular coaching assessment tools. You can use it to take inventory of 10 areas of your life as they are today and prioritize the areas in which you’d like to set goals and create change.
You can use the Whole Life Model to identify what’s going well — and what’s going less well — in your life, based on your level of “satisfaction” and “importance” in the different areas.
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How it works
As you complete the Whole Life Model, you will thoughtfully review the 10 key areas of your life: health, spirituality, friends, family, love/partnership, personal development, fun & creativity, physical environment, finances, and career.
Then you will rank each of these categories on a scale of 1-10 based on two scales:
1. Your satisfaction with this area of your life at present.
2. The importance of this area of your life to you at present. Those that you rank as
most important are what you value most.
After you score yourself, please provide the “gap”, which is the importance minus satisfaction. In some cases, you will have a negative number.
To follow is a more in-depth explanation of each of the ten areas. After the explanation, take a moment and scale yourself on each of the two parameters: satisfaction and
importance. Then, please take a few moments to explain the rationale for your scaling.
This area (as well as the many insights you’ve had in the sections above) refers to your physical health and mental. Are you content with your level of fitness and exercise? Do you consider yourself healthy, and if not, are you receiving the medical care you need? Do you sleep and eat right? Do you have health insurance, so you can get care if you need it?
Are you mentally OK? Do you consider yourself at or above baseline, or do you need some help to get to baseline? Do you see a therapist or would you like to? Are you taking medication and is that working for you? Do you feel you need to increase or reduce your medication?
Spirituality, in this book, refers to your spirit and your place in the larger scheme of things; the ways that you are connected to other people, beings, thoughts or nature. It's how you connect with the world at large, a larger sense of belonging, peace, and life. Some people tend to their spirituality with a regular yoga or meditation practice. Others go to church every Sunday, birdwatch, or volunteer regularly.
You don’t need a huge network of best friends to feel a sense of satisfaction here. Do you have a couple of friends who you can turn to when you want to connect? Are you satisfied with these relationships? Who do you have in your life who knows your story and thinks you’re terrific? Do you see these people with a frequency that’s satisfying to you? Do you have work friends, high school friends, college friends? Friendships you’ve nurtured throughout your life? Who is your newest friend? Do you like your friends? Are you able to shed the friends you’ve outgrown?
“Family” can refer to your family of origin, your current family, or both depending on what’s important to you right now. How are your relations with your parents? Your children? Do you want and have children? Do your parents need support and are they able to get it? How are your relationships with your siblings? Do you want to improve them and can you?
Love / Partnership
is refers to your primary relationship. Do you have one? If not, is that okay with you, or do you want to find a partner? For some people, this might not refer to a spouse but a best friend, someone who looks out for them, a witness to their life. Others might be happily single.
According to Daniel Pink, author of Drive, one of the key components of satisfying work is working toward mastery in an area where mastery is achievable (more about this in Chapter 6). Are you working toward mastery in an area? My local postman is also a triathlete; his job is a satisfying way for him to earn a living, and his need for personal development is satisfied by his hobby.
Some corporations focus on giving growth opportunities like leadership training or management development for their employees, which helps their staff gain mastery in a way that ultimately helps the corporation. How are you developing, personally, and moving your mastery forward? This may be as simple as reading satisfying novels, or as complex as learning a new language.
Fun & Creativity
A fun, creative outlet is something you do for the sake of doing it. This could mean playing an instrument, making a bonfire, taking an adult cooking class, playing charades, or watching stand-up comedy. It could mean dancing in your living room or dressing up for a costume party. It’s active. Many clients overlook this area, or see it as frivolous, but fun and creativity is an opportunity to recharge. Middle Age courts had their jesters; every major network has their late night comedy shows. Everyone needs to have some fun and an opportunity to create and contribute.
When you think about the physical spaces you inhabit; your home, your car, your office, how do these spaces impact you? Do they add to your calm, peace and inspiration? Or are they cluttered and burdensome? One of my clients refers to his physical environment as your “third skin” (first is your actual skin and second are your clothes). How do the spaces you inhabit contribute to your well-being? Are they good for you or not? What do you need to do to improve them?
Are you comfortable with your money, or are you in debt? The majority of adults, especially those coming out of college, are in deep, deep debt, and unfortunately many have chosen not to deal with it (or don’t know how).
Now is the time to take a good long look at your finances; where they are and where you want them to be? Are you on track? Deep in debt? Have extra money? Have a huge trust fund but are stressed about the possibility of losing it? Are you realistic about spending the money you have? Do you consider yourself financially healthy?
Since I’m a career and life coach, most of my clients come to me to talk about career; this is the one issue they know they want to work on. I find that people are willing to invest time and money in addressing their career needs; in fact, your career may be the reason you picked up this book in the first place.
Is your career satisfying? Does your career satisfy your need to earn a living? Does your career satisfy your desire to contribute to a society in a meaningful way? To you feel appreciated in your workplace? Are you able to do your work the way you’d like to? Does your job make use of your skills and talents? Can you see a path to continued job growth?
Whole Life Model
The Whole Life Model will help you take inventory of ten areas of your life as they are today, and your general state of satisfaction with those areas.
Rank each of these categories on a scale of 1 to 10 based on two scales:
1. Your satisfaction with this area of your life at present
2. The importance of this area of your life to you at present. Those that you rank as most important are what you value most.