A SWOT analysis is a self assessment that can help you figure out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats so that you are in a better position to make decisions about your life. It's often carried out by companies or businesses to figure out what their next move should be or where they can make savings or changes that will benefit their business or customers. However, it can very easily be used as a tool in your personal life to figure out what you have going for you in your life and what is holding you back.
A lot of people do a SWOT analysis on themselves before they go for an interview so they know that are ready with a list of what they are good at and what they are not great at so they are ready for the strengths and weaknesses question that so many recruiters love. It can tell a lot about a person!
For years, whenever I came up against something difficult in life or had to make a huge decision I would speak to my parents. They would encourage me to look at the choices from all angles but it always came down to one thing. "Did you do a SWOT analysis?"
I would usually roll my eyes and say "Oh for goodness sake!!" and think "here we go again!" because I wanted them to tell me what they think I should do and not have to over think it myself. But as usual mothers (and fathers) are always right and they know from experience what is best for us. Rather than give their opinion or sway me in any way they would help me figure out what are my personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and how does this affect my decision or choices.
The SWOT analysis is also used widely in coaching because it makes you consider all aspects of your life and gives you the confidence to be happy with your decisions or the knowledge you need to move forward.
I am going to teach you exactly how to carry out a SWOT analysis on yourself. It's so simple but really powerful for giving you a boost when you need it.
First of all it's important to know that some things are completely out of your control and that's okay. It's perfectly normal and you can't have control over every aspect of your life.
The strengths and weaknesses are about you as a person and what you consider to be your personal strengths as well as any positive factors or influences in your life. Weaknesses are the same. They are about you and the negative points or influences in your life or things that you need to work on. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors in the SWOT analysis while opportunities and threats are considered to be external as we have very little control over them.
Opportunities and threats are more about your environment than you personally. When doing a SWOT test you need to be really honest with yourself and answer what is true at this moment in time and not what you would like to be true in a few months or years.
*If you are using the SWOT analysis for pre interview preparation or before asking for a promotion your answers should be more business orientated. Look at yourself as a product that you are trying to sell and assess what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are with that in mind.
Here's how to get started:
Get a notepad and write down the words Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats at the top of four separate sheets. Start with your strengths and list all of the things that are positive about you. Ask yourself the following questions.
What are your best attributes?
What do you love about yourself?
What do others love about you?
What are you really good at?
What qualifications do you have?
What makes you stand out from others?
Examples: great listener, degree in marketing, good at saving, fun to be around, experience in giving presentations and public speaking, great at sales
What do you not love about yourself?
What do you think needs to be improved?
What do others think your weaknesses are?
What are your bad habits?
Do you have the necessary skills or qualifications you need?
Examples: poor time keeping, can get over emotional, bite nails when nervous, need more experience for the job I want, disorganised
TIP: It's usually easier to fill in your threats first before your opportunities and then see how you can turn the threats into opportunities.
Is there a new position opening up for you?
Can you learn or improve on a skill-set?
What weaknesses can you improve and how?
Whats happening in the near future that could be positive for you?
What will give you the competitive edge?
Examples: new job opportunity has opened up in my dream career, can go to night classes to become better qualified, can research tips on becoming more organised or get a productivity coach to teach time management, young enough to start over if necessary
Who is your competition?
What can they do that you cannot do?
What personal traits are affecting your current position?
What are the obstacles standing in your way or preventing you from being successful?
Examples: others are more qualified than me, I'm too shy to outshine others, my time management will let me down
Now that you have those down on paper consider what you can make changes to and what you need to accept that you have no control over. Are your strengths longer than your weaknesses? What weaknesses can you work on and improve? How are you going to grab he opportunities you have? Can you turn the threats into opportunities?
Competition in our lives is good as it makes us want to better ourselves and work harder. Don't see competition as a reason to give up on what you want out of life.
There will always be someone who is better at something than us but there will always be someone who can't do what we can do either. Work with your strengths to bring your weaknesses up to scratch and turn your threats into opportunities.
The glass is never half full or half empty, it's refillable.