The Faulkner Life Balance Map is a well known and often used method to help individuals refocus to create a more fulfilling, healthier and happier life. The map is based on the idea that practice and integration of small changes can transform your life.
John Faulkner’s Map has six key areas or ‘containers of life’ which it suggests you need to fill in order to achieve a richly harmonised way of living. The key is making each of these ‘containers’ work together – the better they work together the more success you can achieve.
So the containers are: Mental, Physical, Emotional, Social, Spiritual and Symbolic. But what do they mean?
Well, broadly speaking –
Mental is the ability to use your brain for both logical, rational planning activities as well as creative fun filled activities – Left and Right brain activity.
Physical – basically looking after you body! Doing a bit of cardio exercise, filling your body with the best foods and not junk, being able to relax and be strong.
Emotional – knowing yourself and facing your emotions. Learning that it is ok to be happy, sad, to love and be loved.
Social – belonging to a group, whether that is family, friends, work colleagues or other we all need to belong somewhere.
Spiritual – what you personally believe in and value. This is your sense of right and wrong and could link to a religion or a particular approach to life.
Symbolic – the things that inspire you to dream and achieve, stories, myths, people that are meaningful and inspiring to you.
To rebalance your life the idea is to draw six boxes or ‘containers’ on a plain sheet of paper and give each a label according to each of Faulkner’s map. Now for each container mark a line to represent how full or empty that part of your life is. Focus on the one which is least full – this is the place to start to rebalance your life. So if the Social container is lowest you need to start thinking about how to belong to a group – this could be doing voluntary work, joining a community group for the environment or your local church. The beauty of Faulkner’s model is that he actively tries to make connections between the containers so that by taking action in one area you inevitably are achieving in another!
Lets’ imagine you’ve just changed jobs and are in a new city. Your old networks are more remote and your social life has definitely taken a dip. Faulkner would suggest you look at what you like doing, see where there is group that you might join and rebuild or ‘fill’ that container. So you like running, you join a local running group, make new friends, keep fit and feel better. Each container has been topped up in some way even if the immediate need was for Social fulfilment.
Repeat this exercise every six months or so to keep your life in balance.