What’s on Your Radar?

What’s on Your Radar? 150 150 Ben Coker

What’s on Your Radar?

I was thinking of calling this ‘Losing the Plot’ but until you know what the ‘plot’ is it could be difficult to ‘lose it!

I’m talking here about plotting your position on the radar screen of your life – more of which later.

My friend and colleague of some years ago, Mike Gribble, used to talk about ‘losing the bubble’ whenever the projects we were managing started to go astray.

This was more of a tactical point of view rather than the strategic positioning of the radar screen.

Mike is a qualified pilot and ‘losing the bubble’ indicates losing orientation of the aircraft while flying – ‘losing the plot’ however is more about forgetting (for want of a better word) where you are going.

But where are you and I going?

What do our radar plots look like?

And why should we care?

I believe that not really ‘knowing the plot’, not being fully aware of where we are ‘going’ is one of the main factors leading to stress and anxiety in our lives.

It may be very mild, but everyone suffers from time to time with these feelings and sadly sometimes some people allow them to take over.

They ‘lose the plot’ and head into depression and frustration and lots more ‘bad stuff’.

I know, I’ve been there more than once – all because I forgot where I was going or didn’t know where I was in the first place.

You’ve probably at some time or another, done an exercise called the Circle of Life or the Wheel of Life where you plot various aspects of your life within a diagram a bit like a radar screen.

The aspects that you plot and what you do with the results rather depends on whose coaching programme you are participating in as this useful concept can be used in many different ways and for many different purposes.

The number of parameters also varies – I’ve seen from 8 to 20. It all depends.

The thing is that most of these exercises are used to determine, not where you are going, or wish to go, but where you are.

Which is great but it’s only the starting point.

It’s great to know where you are, although sometimes that’s in quite a bad place, as I found with a client I worked with recently.

My own experience of depression and stress usually related to my not knowing what to do next, or what I wanted to do next, where I was ‘going’ or why.

And I did get into the state that although I might have had a vision or dream about where I wished to go, I couldn’t possibly start from ‘here’ – where I felt myself to be.

Or at least that’s what I thought.

Because I had no ‘plan’, no ‘plot’ – I didn’t really know where I was so how could I possibly get to anywhere else?

As I’ve mentioned before, Mary Morrisey defines four ‘domains of life’ and some others identify five key areas of knowing who and where we are.

In my mind there are four areas: The Self, The Community, Contribution and Lifestyle.

The Self is how you see your self and includes physical and mental wellbeing, the mind and the spirit or Soul – your personal relationship with the Universe, who you believe you really Are. It’s what you say after the words “I Am” – excluding what you ‘do’ or your ‘role’ in society.

The Community is all about your relationships with everyone else and indeed everything else. It’s the ‘You’ outside your Self. How you relate to people, individually and collectively, how you relate to the environment, locally and globally – but again, not what you ‘do’.

Contribution is about what you do, how you spend your time, how you give your time to others, to the environment and so on. It’s about your ‘output’ – what you give – whether that be doing a job, creating art, writing, gardening, or playing sport that contributes to other people’s enjoyment of life.

Lifestyle is the ‘input’ – it’s what you and I ‘receive’ and to an extent is the ‘result’ of the other three. Mary calls it ‘time and money freedom’ and I’d add a few more ‘freedoms’ to that as well. It’s where all the ‘material’ things and the ‘bucket list’ go and feeds back to how you and I ‘feel’ about ourselves and the communities in which we exist.

Back to the radar screen.

You can plot all of this on a template that you can download (see below). First to discover where you are now, and then to define your vision or dream – where you wish to be.

You can then see which aspects of your life you wish or need to work on and prioritise what you do.

A word or two of warning though.

You’ll probably find there are lots of things you wish to work on but I can assure you from personal experience that it’s not really possible to effectively address more than three things at once and if you do then it’s better they come from different domains or ‘quarters’.

For example, you can work on your physical fitness at the same time as writing a book and planning a holiday.

Don’t get too involved with just one segment of the plot. You need to maintain balance as far as you can between all four and grow in all four at the same time but not necessarily at the same rate.

If you get out of balance, if you lose the plot – or the big picture – then that’s where anxiety starts to creep in because you’re not paying attention to the other areas.

And that leads to stress and depression and you lose the bubble as well as losing the plot.

Do download the template and discover what’s on your radar. Check out your ‘now’ plot and create your ‘new’ plot.

Happy plotting!