The Identity Wheel

John Davidson
7 min readSep 9, 2020

A simple but effective tool to consider where you are, and where you’re going

Even in a tightly packed slum, we have our own identities — Kolkata © 2020 John Davidson

The stocktake

No matter how fast you progress in your career or develop yourself , if it’s in the wrong direction then you’re not going to achieve anything. Likewise, if you run in the right direction, but you’re weighed down unnecessarily, then you may not reach your destination.

On the other hand, you may have a lot of bitterness for the position you find yourself in. Perhaps you’ve been passed over for promotion for a younger person, or you’ve been made redundant whilst younger, less experienced (but cheaper) people stay on.

The fact is that life happens, good or bad, so taking a step back and investing some time to think about yourself as a whole human being, living in an ecosystem of relationships, family, friends, career, hobbies and ambitions is critical.

The Identity Wheel

How do you construct a language and framework for assessing yourself?

It needs to be something that is consistent over time and allows you to focus on different elements of you at different times, yet it adds up to who you are. I struggled at first. I found myself randomly thinking about my family one minute and my career the next. When I looked back at the first 30 years of my career, I had done so much in so many areas. I had two children who appeared, grew, and then left home. I had moved several times and was now in a home I loved, but in a community where I didn’t know anyone. So, I needed a tool to help me construct me.

Mrs Davidson and I sat down and devised between us a tool called the Identity Wheel, which covers all the areas of your life that need to be maintained. In a way, it’s not revolutionary — there’s no magic ingredient that we found that hasn’t been covered elsewhere, but it became very useful to have it all in one place. It also became useful as a way for us to discuss our lives together using a common reference point. I hope it helps you too.

What it looks like

Here’s a blank Identity Wheel

John Davidson

John leads a large global practice of program managers and agile coaches, and coaches every day.