Trying to succeed in an area where you have close to 0 expertise it’s like trying to run against the wind, it’s hard. It’s not impossible but it’s going to be difficult for you to make solid improvements. You are most likely to make a positive change in your life if you focus on your natural talents. That’s why conducting a personal SWOT analysis might be the right thing if you lack direction.
There is no doubt you’ve come across the term SWOT analysis. Either in school or somewhere on the internet.SWOT analysis is a popular term that’s used mainly by companies to improve their craft, lower their costs and gain a bigger market share.
How they do it?
By finding what are their Strengths (S), Weaknesses (W); Spotting the Opportunities (O) and the Threats (T).
This strategic planning technique it’s not reserved by only big organizations though. It can also be used by regular guys/girls who are trying to make adjustments in their lives that will lead to something good (i.e. more free time, more income, more smiles on your face).
Even though there is a lot of information online about making a personal SWOT analysis, my head starts to hurt when I read what’s already written. That’s why I decided to make a less complicated guide to help you identify what things work in your favor and boost them. Also, what are the things that are trying to bring you down and purge them from your
This might be the thing you need, if you’re still wondering how to start your next project.
Just to mention one thing before we proceed, even though a SWOT analysis is a powerful instrument, it won’t help you a lot if you don’t know what you want from life. It can surely give you a bit of clarity but not all the answers. You might wanna check the article about finding meaning first, the article here.
What is a SWOT analysis?
By definition, SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used by organizations to establish their strengths, find their weaknesses, spot potential opportunities, and find threats related to their business niche.
This type of strategic planning can be used in every stage of the organization cycle and also by every department.
For example, the marketing team can make a SWOT analysis of a single product so they can come up with a message that can later be used in their advertisement campaign. The more they focus on the strengths (benefits) the more people will potentially purchase the product.
A manager can conduct a SWOT analysis of his team so he can identify his best and worst players and potentially figure out a way to improve both parties.
The opportunities are endless for an organization, as well as for individuals searching for improvements in their lives.
What is a personal SWOT analysis?
Taking into account the above, the personal SWOT analysis should be:
- Strengths: Understanding what you’re good at and using this quality (qualities) to thrive in the world.
- Weaknesses: Finding out what are your week points and see how you can do less of them.
- Opportunities: Identifying opportunities in your current position, home area, the town you’re living in, basically everything that can help you become a bit better.
- Threats: Understanding what are the potential threats that might hurt your lifestyle and find a way to avoid them.
An example of a personal SWOT analysis can also be done by an individual working in a cubical. He can make a SWOT analysis of his working space and the work that he does and he can stop doing certain things in favor of others that can help him become more productive.
Put simply, the SWOT analysis will give you some insights about yourself by asking the right questions.
If you never have done this before, grab a pen, download the worksheet I’ve prepared and
We’ll go through all four parameters, step-by-step:
What are your strengths?
Or in others words, what’s your superpower?
Consider yourself a superhero for a moment. What’s your greatest strength?
For example, Iron Man strength is his armor, besides his cleverness. Wonder Women is invulnerable and gorgeous. Hulk is green and he has unlimited strength. The Flash is fast. You get the point.
So what’s your power?
You can ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you do well?
- For what type of work people call you so you can help them?
- What do you do with ease?
Even if it’s only one thing, write it down. Write examples of this thing. How do you feel when you’re working/doing this?
Of course, avoid things like: I’m good at staring at Facebook; I enjoy watching movies. These are passive activities. Think of things you actually do.
Improve your strengths
Only knowing what are your strengths won’t get you far. You should also consider a way to improve, refine them.
If you’re good at math you can read more books on the subject so you can become even better. If you’re good with people you might take a few online courses so you can understand the fundamental principles of psychology, thus improve.
Don’t take your strengths for granted. Take them as a foundation. The moment you think you know everything on a particular subject is the moment you begin to rot.
Ideas to use your strengths
Once you know what are your powers, think of ways to use these things to your advantage.
Superheroes save the world from the bad guys by fighting them, what will you do with your own strengths?
You can actually do the same (saving the world) but in a different way.
- If you’re good with words and passionate about the environment, you can do the following: start a blog about keeping the world green > make more people conscious about the way they handle trash and the way they buy stuff > save the planet from becoming one giant trash bin.
- If you’re good at making things with your hands, you can create products that will help others in some way;
- If you’re good at selling stuff, you can share your knowledge with your colleagues so they can become better at their jobs. Doing this might get you a promotion.
What are your weaknesses?
Or in other words, what’s your kryptonite?
That’s the only weakness Superman has. Kryptonite it’s a green, crystalline material that emits a peculiar radiation that weakens and sickens Superman.
What’s the one thing in your life that hinders from achieving more in your life? The thing that interferes with your goals and vision in life?
Maybe it’s not only one thing, maybe there are more. Nevertheless, list all of them.
- What do you avoid doing?
- What task takes a lot of your time but don’t bring any value?1
- What are your fears?
- What kind of stuff trouble your mind for most of your day?
We all have weaknesses, that’s what makes us humans. A lot of times we don’t admit them to the world because we think that others will dislike us, which is a pity.2
When you state
Type of weaknesses
There are two types of weaknesses:
- Weaknesses you need to avoid doing: If you’re a bad swimmer and you go to the beach once per year you can simply stay away from the
- Weaknesses you need to improve on: If you’re a bad swimmer but you’re a member of the national water polo team, you definitely need to improve in this area.
So, look at your personal weak spots: What type of things you need to improve and what are the types you simply need to avoid?
Maybe you’re bad at sales but part of your job requires you to convince people to buy stuff. If that’s the case, you need to work to improve in this area.
It’s easy to say “I suck at selling stuff” and don’t do nothing to get better. It’s easy but it might cost you your job.
Ideas to lower your weaknesses
Once you know what’s your kryptonite, find a cure for the two mentioned weaknesses:
- You might need to read a couple of books, visit a few seminars to improve your selling skills. Or, swim more often if swimming is part of what you do for a living;
- if you don’t know a thing about internal combustion engines, you might wanna leave that to the mechanic the next time you have a problem with your car.
What elements around you can help you thrive?
If strengths and weaknesses are things that are inside of you, opportunities and weaknesses are things outside of your own existence. In other words, they are related to the environment surrounding you.
Opportunities vary depending on where you live, who you know, what are your possessions.
- You’re more likely to find a job that is paying you a lot of money if live in a big city;
- If you have friends that are photographers you might have very good pictures which you can upload online and find your next love;
- If you have a laptop and access to the internet from an early age you can learn to code and create your own website where you can sell stuff.
So ask yourself the following things:
- What are the opportunities surrounding you?
- Who do you know who can help you get better at a specific craft?
- What are the current trends and how you can take advantage of that?
- What do you own that can help you get better at something?
The answer to the last question is probably a laptop and an internet connection. Nowadays pretty much everyone is connected, whether we like it or not. You can use the information online to upgrade your skills.
How can you take advantage of these opportunities?
It’s the important question.
Opportunities come and go. If you don’t act in time you’re only wasting potential.
Probably you’re interested in writing a book and you know a friend who works in this area. Why not talk to him about your plan? He can surely answer a few important questions that are troubling you.
You wanna get fit and your best friend is a fitness maniac, ask him to keep you accountable. Once you know what you want, ask yourself what are the things around that can help you achieve your goals.
Potential threats surrounding you
By mentioning threats I don’t mean being attacked by a bear. Even though that it’s possible if you go often into the woods. If you do, then yes, it’s a threat and you have to have a plan for that.
By threats, I mean something that can go wrong and have a negative impact on your life and on the life of your loved ones.
So, threats might be:
- You’re living in a bad neighborhood and there is a possibility that something bad might happen to you, your family, your car;
- You’ve invested in stocks but the prices are unstable these days;
- Someone is competing with you for an open position as an art director.
Thinking about this will help you find a solution to the problem.
You might be clueless about how to overcome a specific threat but that’s why we listed the opportunities first, probably someone you know can give you a hand when you need it.
How to overcome these threats?
As you can imagine, the solution will vary depending on the danger.
Some threats can be avoided, others you need to face. As the old saying goes: “If you are afraid of the wolves don’t go into the woods.” But what if the wolves brake inside your house?
Be prepared for the worse.
Here I will use the definition of the Murphy’s Law: “If something can go wrong, it will.” So, if there is even a small possibility for a wolf to enter your cabin, you need to be prepared for this. Obviously, it won’t happen if you’re living in NYC, but if you’re somewhere around the woods you might wanna consider this scenario.
Once you list all possible threats, think of ways and ideas to overcome them.
The end goal of this SWOT analysis thing is to get to know yourself a bit better.
What you want is to focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take advantage of the possible opportunities while
It might seem like a dull exercise and something that only companies need to do but in reality is a great way to get yourself moving in the right direction in your life.
Share below what’s your experience with the SWOT analysis system or if you have any questions:
- Cover photo by Picjumbo.com.