The shape of a circle is elegantly simple. With no beginning or end, it reflects a continuous journey, where “endings” are preludes to “new beginnings.”
It’s the perfect visual aid for helping you brainstorm and explore abstract concepts and tap into your creativity. Simultaneously, it is a visual metaphor for setting boundaries that can help you make thoughtful, balanced, and comprehensive choices – about what happens both “inside” and “outside” of it.
Viewed as a shield, a circle protects what’s “inside” and keeps “outside” what you don’t want inside.
Its simplicity in revealing how you can learn from past decisions, adapt to new information, and adjust your game-plan when circumstances require, is often undervalued.
And this is precisely why the Financial Wheel Framework starts with a circle. It gives you a chance to:
- Look at the four things, very broadly, you can do with your money, on an individual level; and
- See the relationship between all the quadrants (save, invest, spend, and earn), and how you cannot make a decision in one area of your money without it having a ripple effect on one or several of the other areas.
Fundamentally, the Financial Wheel Framework is a way of saying, “this is how I want to experience money; this is what I want money to do for me.”
Everything is Intertwined, pt. 1
When you draw the Financial Wheel, you are creating quadrants for the different areas of money. It can be illuminating to draw a circle and create quadrants that reflect different dimensions of your life, as well:
- Social (friends, peers/colleagues),
- Business/professional, and
- Well-being (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, if relevant).
Let’s refer to this as your “circle of life.”
This circle also gives you a chance to say what you want to have, do, and experience in each domain, along with what you don’t. It helps you to look at each domain on an individual level, as well as collectively. It also gives you a chance to define your boundaries and expectations – those you set for yourself and for others.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners would benefit from drawing another circle – one that reflects your different offers and types of clients/customers. Again, this will help you “see” aspects of your business model on an individual and collective level.
However, things get very interesting when you set two or three circles side-by-side. Because this is when the “flow” between them is brought into sharper focus.
And once again, it makes more tangible the ripple effects of how making a decision in one area (say your business) is bound to show up in one or several of the others (say personal finances, family, and social).
In fact, if you really want to geek out, I’d suggest you, first, create a high-level Venn diagram to explore the intersection of money, business/profession, and life. And second, map out any upcoming decisions you’re contemplating, and draw lines illustrating all the areas you know or anticipate will be impacted by said decisions.
An exercise like this will show the areas of commonality in terms of shared goals, as well as the areas of conflicts and stress. And, there’s nothing like “seeing” this vs. only knowing it conceptually in your head.
The Power of a Circle
For such a simple image, circles are powerful, metaphorically and practically.
As I mentioned earlier, the shape reflects a continuous journey, which is analogous to the process of making decisions and making choices.
Here’s what else the circular shape does; it:
- Sparks creativity by inviting you to consider multiple options and possibilities (which may lead to better decisions and choices);
- Reminds you that while a circle is a defined shape, it can accommodate movement within it. As a result, it invites you to be adaptable and flexible based on how your circumstances and needs change;
- Encourages you to take a holistic approach to your decisions and choices;
- Reminds you to protect what’s inside the circle from what you don’t want to have, do, or experience;
- Helps you to better prioritize your resources of energy, time, and money as you choose the trade-offs you’ll need to make; and
- Helps you to better manage your expectations, as well as those of others.
Everything is Intertwined, pt. 2
Why all this talk about circles?
Well, for starters, it takes a lot of courage to claim what you want, be deliberate about your decisions and choices, and to set boundaries – with yourself and for others.
I think of this as the ultimate form of self-advocacy.
Something you might need more of especially at this time of the year, when the ramp up to year-end is in full-on effect. Because this is when the rubber really hits the road. For any one of the goals not yet achieved, you now have less time to do so. And this may have an impact on how strong you finish the year – whatever that means to you – and your self-confidence.
Similarly, the holidays are fast-approaching. Even if you, personally, don’t celebrate any of the “traditional” fall holidays, you may have other family members or close friends who do. Thus, travel and hosting may have an impact on your personal finances.
Additionally, the holidays may have an impact on your business and your business finances (cashflow, sales, profitability).
This concatenation can bring about a heightened level of stress for even the most prepared amongst us.
Especially since you don’t really have, as the calendar says, eight weeks until year-end. It’s more like five-weeks (gasp!!) because November and December are abbreviated months.
Given this convergence, I suspect you’re going to need to say your fair share of “yeses” and “nos.” And not all of them will feel as straight-forward, comfortable, and/or guilt-free as you might prefer.
Enter the power of circles, and why I believe they can serve as your best shield.
Circles are a great way to center your awareness, anchor your responses, and acknowledge your capacity in as clear-eyed a way as possible.