Circle Size Comparison

Circle Size Comparison

With the start of the sixth calendar month in 2023, we are about halfway through the year. It can be a time when goals are assessed.

If you find yourself frustrated when you compare your current status or progress with another, I invite you to try a “circle-size comparison” exercise.

First, try to think of a person you admire and perhaps even want to emulate.

I invite you to be curious:

Why do you think so highly of that person?

What traits/qualities are commendable to you?

Then, think of the different roles/domains in their life?

Are they succeeding and achieving incredible success in each of these areas?

It is not likely. Or, perhaps there is a façade if it appears so.


It can be overwhelming to think of being the best at everything at all times.

Let us explore further…

Maybe you wish you were like that that guy who runs multiple businesses, makes mad money and goes on vacations all the time. You realize he was never married, nor did he have kids.

Perhaps there is that mom who seems to be at every school event, volunteers, takes fun adventures and posts about the many hands-on activities with her kids. She inspires you, yet you feel an itty-bitty bit of shame that you are not doing all of that with your children. Perhaps she is not working a different demanding, full time job outside of the home right now.


Mother Theresa and Oprah never had/raised their own children.

Steve Jobs struggled with his romantic and family relationships.

Elvis Presley battled addiction.

Vincent Van gogh suffered with mental illnesses.

John Travolta has experienced insurmountable losses in losing a child and wife at young ages.

That neighbor with the pristine house does not have pets.

The co-worker with the killer body is waking up at 4 AM to hit gym and declines the wine tasting.

Those people driving the new cars, wearing the fancy jewelry and bragging about latest and greatest device may be drowning in debt and too embarrassed to seek help.

Who knows, right!?

It is difficult to speculate and not necessary to make judgments about anyone or need to understand their roles/relationships in their life. However, if we feel guilt or inadequate when we compare ourselves with others, it is natural to think THEY have it all figured out and, somehow, we missed the memo.

Let’s take a few minutes out for an exercise. Please think of the different domains in your life. Draw a large circle on a piece of paper. Within the large circle, draw circles of each role, relative to the size of the consumption of your time in this life chapter.

As you compare yourself with your past self, or others, try to have compassion that we can only fit so many circles in our circle. Some circles need to be larger as some duties take precedence over others right now. We all have different priorities.

We can do anything in this life, but we cannot do everything ALL at the same time.

When we can have clarity and pride with our life choices, demands and roles, we can shift our perspective to understand we are all living in unique chapters. We go through different seasons and in how much time we can realistically spend with ourselves, our education, friends, family, home, environment, career, finances, creative outlets, hobbies, traveling, philanthropy, spirituality, fill in the blank…

It is helpful to reflect on the expectations we place on our self. As we compare, perhaps we can gladly surrender to this chapter so we can be fulfilled with each of our circle sizes.

I wish you comfort in the reality that you are doing your very best in your life circles right now. May you feel proud of your progress over the last six months and have clarity as you look ahead to what the next six months will bring.

Earlier in the year I wrote about life tradeoffs, which correlates with this concept of the choices we make within our chapter’s circle:

The Taxes We Pay

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