The First Step to Feeling More Calm and In Control

Maybe you're feeling just the opposite of calm and in control right now. And maybe you've assumed this is just how things are — that with all the demands we deal with every day at work and at home, feeling stressed or anxious is just par for the course.

I get how you feel — I've been there, too. But I've also proactively used some simple solutions to help me come out on the other side, and I’ve helped my clients do the same.

The first step when you're feeling off-kilter is to look at the big picture, by identifying where things are in or out of sync in your life. I take my clients through a “wheel of life” assessment to help them quickly notice where they need to make shifts. Use the blank wheel below and label each of the six sections with one of your top priorities. Then rate yourself on each area using the 0 (low) to 10 (high) scale. See the completed example for reference.


If you rated yourself a perfect 10 in all areas, you would have a smooth, round wheel. Most of us, however, find that our wheel is bumpy and far from perfect. In this example, the wheel shows a very low score in health because this person is burning the candle at both ends and not getting enough sleep, rest or exercise.

If your self-assessment shows more than one area for improvement, start with the highest priority for you. Tackling too many priorities can set you up for failure. Likewise, don’t go overboard in trying to change too much at once. Simply identify the first step you want to take and exactly when you will take it. Once you have accomplished that step, define the next step. Trust me, I have learned the hard way that if you attempt to tackle it all at the same time, you will likely get overwhelmed or stuck. So, keep my mantra in mind: Small steps lead to big results.

This week, take five minutes to complete the wheel to help you take charge and start closing the gaps between where you are now and where you want to be. Giving yourself some time to check-in and map out some steps to self-care is a great way to reach success.