When You’re Living Your ‘Whole’ Life

The last several years have seen lots of changes in our daily lives, so here’s a question for you: Have you revisited your Grid of Life lately?

Susan’s idea of the Grid of Life, also known as the Whole Life Grid in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, is to make sure that we are living full and rich lives. When our lives are well-rounded and richly developed, if one part goes away, losing that one part won’t gut us. For example, if all aspects of your life are fulfilling, if you lose a job or a relationship, you won’t be as devastated because you have your friends, your family, your hobbies, and more to balance things out.

To create your own Grid of Life, draw a nine-boxed grid, then ”In each of the nine boxes, write one aspect of life that is important to you, such as family, friends, career, relationship, contribution to community, spiritual growth, alone time and so on. Then commit to participating fully in every area of your own personal Grid of Life…and this is important…with the knowledge that you count,” wrote Susan in Life is Huge.

When you are finished, take some time to look at each box and consider what you need to do to make sure that you are committing to all the areas of your life. Susan recommended meditating and visualizing what each part of your life would look like. Then ask yourself:

If I were really important here
what would I be doing?

Susan said, ”Ask yourself this question for every area of your Grid…and then begin doing it, one step at a time. You might be asking, ‘Susan, what is the point of this exercise?’ As you look at your Grid of Life, you see relationship is an important part of your life…but it isn’t your whole life. In fact, your life is huge!”

The Grid of Life is an important tool in recognizing just how full our lives can be if we commit to making it that way. But it is not a one-and-done sort of thing. Priorities in our life change. For example, at some point in our past we may have put a lot of emphasis on work, but now we are raising our kids or spending more time volunteering. Perhaps we are no longer in a relationship, and not looking to get back into one, so we expand our Grid of Life to include more time for creative endeavors and friendships.

The last few years have seen huge changes for many of us. For some, we may now work from home, which can create imbalance between work and home life. Since there aren’t as many opportunities to visit family and friends, we might have let go of keeping in touch. Perhaps you’ve put a hold on working on personal growth and instead are binging TV shows (and that’s okay!). Things will have changed for everyone.

Change is a constant companion to us, no matter what is going on in the world, so we need to make sure that our Grid of Life is updated and filled up with what is currently important to us and that we are engaging with it. This can be done by Susan’s special technique, ”I call ‘knowing that you count’ and ‘100% commitment’ the Magic Duo. And, indeed, they create magical results.”

You can ”know that you count” by starting with Susan’s exercise, Act As If You Really Count. This exercise helps to show you that you can make a difference, no matter what the circumstance. As for the second part of the magic duo, ”The second ingredient you need to have is 100% commitment to all areas of your life that are important to you. For example, when you are with your family, be there 100%—not reviewing work, reading the newspaper, or wishing you were somewhere else. If you commit to giving 100% to all areas of your life, your sense of focus, excitement, participation, enjoyment, fulfillment, and happiness come alive.”

So, dig out that old version of the Grid of Life, or create a brand-new version. The important thing is to keep asking yourself, ”How whole is my life?” When you can honestly say that you are investing yourself in all the parts of your life that are important to you, you will know the answer. As Susan said:

You will create such richness for yourself
that nothing can ever take away
your basic sense of completeness.
Can you imagine then how little
you would have to fear?