Hello from Italy! You haven’t heard from me in a while. Three years in fact! After launching my youth program ‘Inspiring Teens’ and winning SA Women’s New Woman on the Block award in 2020, I was surprised, yet honoured to be invited to work for the Leaders Institute of South Australia!
It wasn’t part of the ‘plan’, but it was an excellent opportunity. My role included managing the highly regarded Governor’s Leadership Foundation Program for Senior Executives and developing the award-winning Zonta Club of Adelaide’s Young Women’s Leadership Program. It was, however, designing and launching the inaugural Youth Governor’s Leadership Foundation program, that I am most proud of.
Yes, it was a busy couple of years so when the opportunity arose to spend a year’s sabbatical living in my husband's hometown in Italy - we jumped at the chance! We now live in a tiny agricultural town called Marzeno, surrounded by rolling hills, fruit orchards, and only a hop, skip, and a jump from Ravenna, Bologna, and Florence. The one-year sabbatical was a much-needed pause from our hectic Adelaide life, and invaluable to spend time reconnecting with my kids, my husband, and myself.
Learning about the rich history, immersing ourselves in the wonderful culture, enjoying the incredible food and wine, and seeing my kids finally converse with their relatives and school friends in Italian is priceless. Hence we have decided to stay! As the one-year sabbatical came to an end, I began to feel the strong desire to restart my business Spire Coaching - and so here we are- back with a vengeance.
People may imagine that life in Italy must be amazing. And it is- a lot of the time, hence why we extended our stay here. However, it has not all been smooth sailing, and we’ve had our fair share of dark stormy times. The adjustment to a new language and culture was especially difficult for my son in his first year of school. Then in May this year, we experienced catastrophic floods which affected many low-lying areas near where we live (we were safe but many lost homes, and cars and a few even lost their lives.)
But it was during the thick of winter, just after Christmas, that was an especially hard period for me. Probably due to the mix of dark, cold, rainy days, and a feeling of loneliness since I didn’t know many people here at the time. It is through these tough moments that we can learn so much about ourselves. I spent a great deal of time reading, writing, and reflecting on what was important to me and the family and investing time in cultivating my inner joy, and wellbeing. To help get me out of the slump.
I started to ask myself some really important questions, which I also invite you to consider:
What fills my cup? (that figurative metaphor for what we do that brings us joy and keeps us feeling buoyant in life). Am I consciously and actively filling my cup, or at least making plans towards doing those things?
Is my job filling me up, or depleting me? And it may be a mix, so consider what parts of the job fills me up, and what fill depletes me.
Why is being happy or joyful important?
How does cultivating happiness and joy relate to leadership?
Well, what I came up with is, if we aren’t happy and doing what we love, then how are we going to inspire others to want to work with us, spend time with us, or as a leader, to have people follow us? How can we lead and positively impact others if we are miserable?
The Happiness Wheel: Life Satisfaction
Leadership must always begin with ‘thyself’ = self leadership. We must be self aware and self constructive, to be the best versions of ourselves if we are going to inspire others…do you agree?
As a coach, I can see a common thread amongst my clients, the feeling of being overwhelmed, lack of time for self and others, and often feeling stressed, stretched, and/or guilty (amongst working parents especially).
Life is HARD and BUSY and we give so much of ourselves. But is it serving us? What use will we be if we are burnt out, exhausted, and miserable? These are the feelings of our cup being empty, or running on empty and not getting enough joy in our lives.
My role as a coach is to support you to flourish and not flounder in life 🙂
To assist my clients in discovering and increasing their general happiness levels, I created the “My Happiness Wheel.”
A happiness wheel, similar to what some may call a "well-being wheel" or "life satisfaction wheel," is a visual representation that helps individuals assess and improve their overall well-being and happiness. It typically consists of different life domains or aspects that contribute to a person's happiness and satisfaction.
The Benefits of Using the “My Happiness Wheel”
Completing the My Happiness Wheel is a valuable exercise for you to gain clarity about your life satisfaction, set meaningful goals, and work toward a more fulfilling and balanced life. It can be especially helpful when used in combination with coaching to guide personal growth and well-being.
This is a valuable tool that will help you to:
1) Self-reflect on different life aspects
A happiness wheel prompts you to evaluate various areas of your life, such as career, relationships, health, personal growth, and more. By rating your level of satisfaction in each domain, you gain a clearer understanding of where you stand in terms of your well-being.
2) Prioritising areas for increased happiness and life satisfaction
The visual representation of the wheel allows you to quickly identify areas of your life that need more attention and improvement. It highlights imbalances and areas that may require more focus.
3) Setting and tracking happiness-related goals
Once you identify areas of low satisfaction/or rather low amounts of energy spent in this particular area of life at this moment in time, you can set specific goals and action plans to address those aspects of your life. This process encourages personal growth and a proactive approach to enhancing your overall happiness.
4) Encouraging a holistic approach to well-being
The happiness wheel emphasizes that well-being is multifaceted. It encourages you to consider various dimensions of life, promoting a more holistic approach to happiness that goes beyond just one aspect, such as career success or wealth.
5) Guiding better decision-making for a happier life
A happiness wheel can assist in making important life decisions. When faced with choices, you can refer to your wheel to see how a decision may impact different areas of your life and well-being.
A balanced happiness wheel indicates that you are generally satisfied in multiple areas of your life. Achieving balance can lead to a greater sense of contentment and well-being.
Ultimately, a happiness wheel serves as a tool for personal development and positive change. It helps you take proactive steps to enhance the overall quality of your life and happiness 🙂
How to fill in your Happiness Wheel
It’s an activity that is easy to do (shouldn’t take more than 1 hour) but is incredibly powerful as it highlights what joyful activities we love to do, and what may be missing from our lives.
You will need to download and print the PDF “My Happiness Wheel”.
Step 1: First you need to make a list of EVERYTHING that brings you joy and happiness in life under each of the different sections. Be as specific as possible (or if there isn’t a particular section add it to ‘other’).
Step 2: Then rate each section in terms of how much attention/energy/time you spend in this area of your life (higher score = more time). You will quickly realise where you are out of balance!
Step 3: Write down the three lowest-scoring areas
Step 4: Brainstorm actionable goals for each area, and START taking steps towards fulfilling your true joy and happiness!
We all deserve to be happy! 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions.
PS - If you feel you could benefit from some life and leadership coaching please book in for a complimentary 20-minute discovery call.
PPS - I’m designing a new leadership program for young professionals! If you know anyone aged between 25-35 who is destined to change the world, please send me their email and I’ll let them know about the new program in the new year to invite them to join “The Impactors!”