Design Your Life: What Stories Are Your Circles Telling?

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. – James Dean.

Pic credit: aeu04117, Flickr.

(This is a post by Zivana Anderson).

You are juggling a lot.

You have work, family, self care, friends. Dreams, healthy eating plans to shop for, try not having your gym membership gather dust. You have a diary, checklists, goals with dates and milestones.

Overall, it is working.

Things are (mostly) on track and you can see progress in the different areas. Yet, inside you feel overwhelmed and some days – just downright tired from juggling it all. You feel that you should be split into different pieces to give the right amount of attention that everyone is asking from you.

Sound familiar?

So why is it when we’re doing things by “the book” that we still feel this way? There are a number of factors – one of the key ones being that we get so locked into “doing” we don’t always remember to balance it with “being”.

What simple and easy exercise can you use to help visualise and reframe where you’re at?

Welcome to the circles!

This exercise will quickly help you to visualise where you’re at and where you feel you are losing your focus. Let’s start with 3 popular ones – work, home and friends. You can add more if you wish but to get the hang of this, let’s start there.

Get yourself a piece of paper and a pen. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Reflect on these 3 areas – work, home and friends. How do they feel for you? Heavy, light, fun, boring, caring, overwhelming, constricting, flowing?

Here are a few thought sparkers for you.

  • Your work circle

How does work overlap with home? If you bring work home every night (either physically or mentally) – how much is it eating into your family circle? Or do you mentally cut off before you get home so it stands apart from the family circle?

  • Your friendship circle

Reflect on the meaningful friendships that you have. Do you have a healthy mix of friends outside of work or are the two closely connected? Are your social engagements closely tied to what happens with the office or are they separate events? If you have alot of friends from work then draw these two circles with more overlap.

  • Your family circle

How much meaningful time are you engaging with your family? Are you struggling to find time to be emotionally present for them or do you spend alot of your time with them as your primary focus? Can it stand apart from the other circles or is it interlinked with friends and work and if so – to what degree?

Making your circles work for you:

Draw your circles as you FEEL them. Not as you have the activities planned but what you feel when you reflect on these.

Look at their patterns. Are the 3 circles interlinked? Are they all balanced or is one larger than another? Which circle is the smallest and how do you feel about that?

Now colour in the circles that light you up and give a spark to your energy levels.

Choose a different colour and shade where you unconsciously spend most of your time. Does that circle feel energy enhancing or draining for you?

Great, now that you have your 3 circles in front of you – are you happy with the picture they are showing you? Remember there is no right or wrong answer – it’s what feels right for you. 

Action steps for your circles:

Take a minute to reflect on which circle feels closest to your heart and enhances your energy.

What daily action can you take to keep in that shape? The action may be as simple as practising gratitude at the end of the day for the circle or being mindful when engaging with the circle to be fully present.

Which circle feels the heaviest or is dominating the others?

Reflect on what is driving that behaviour. Is it fear or a too-serious approach to responsibility? Draw yourself a dotted line for that circle so you know what shape you want it to become.

And now – what daily action can you take every day for the next week to shift its shape?

Congrats! Keep your circle drawings in a special place. Review these at least once a month – or weekly if you are going through alot of change. In time, you will be able to reflect on the past weeks and months to see where your energy was invested.

Because ultimately – if it’s not meaningful – then why let it overrun the other areas that are, right?!

If you enjoyed the article – please share, thanks!

Zivana Anderson mentors women who wonder what lies beyond the day-to-day hamster wheel of life at She’s passionate to guide them get clarity on how to invest time and energy meaningfully. You can get a free copy of her latest ebook “The Essentials Toolkit” where she’s summarised “the best of” her learnings over the years to get clear about what’s meaningful to you. Connect with her on twitter & facebook!


** Want MORE BLISS and less stress in your life? Inner Sparkle: The 21 Day eCourse is made for you. Click here to get inspired. Happy. Sparkly. **


Facebook comments:



  1. says


    What a cool exercise! Right now my circles feel pretty well-balanced, but this is a great way to visualize them and keep them feeling that way. Thanks so much.


    • says

      Awesome Deonne that your circles are round and happy! Thanks on the visualisation – I find it’s a quick way to “check in” where things are at.

  2. says

    The idea of the circle is really great. I would probably suggest looking at it daily. It should give you the energy and drive to change. I can imagine it is a great boost to push yourself forward:)

    • says

      Hi Tania – daily would work too! You could draw them in a notebook in your handbag and update them at the end of each day. At the end of the week – voila – a visual summary of your week 🙂

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