I believe all colleagues of mine have a lot of experience of using the S.W.O.T analysis tool for Marketing, Business, Development or any other “Whatever plans”.
The question is if we can and how to apply S.W.O.T in our Personal Life?
The answer is YES. After studding a lot of articles I will try to give you a summary.
Let’s first refresh our memories with the basic definition, professionally uses, and the aim of the tool.
S.W.O.T is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
It’s a tool for auditing and analyzing an organization, environment, it can be applied to the level of a selected product, place, industry, entire organization or many other dimensions. It’s the first stage of planning which helps professionals, managers and marketers to focus on key issues. The aim is to turn our weaknesses into strengths, and our threats into opportunities.
How to use S.W.O.T in personal life?
Doing a S.W.O.T analysis of our life we can have a clear picture of who we are and the opportunities we have for our life. It will help us identify where we need to improve, and more importantly allows us to identify our internal strengths, that we can capitalize on to grab our opportunities and prevent any external threats.
Strengths and weaknesses are our personal attributes that we bring to our life, are considered as internal factors on which we have a direct influence and which we can change (or influence) by investing time and energy.
On the other hand, opportunities and threats are what the outside world brings to us, considered as external factors we have less influence on or maybe even none.
Nevertheless, it’s also very important to consider external factors when preparing our strategy.
When analyzing strengths and weaknesses, we are analyzing internal personal factors such as personal traits, competences, financial situation, knowledge, skills, personal network and so on. It’s the area that we have influence on (see my privies post), and we should act as proactively as possible, not reactively.
Strengths, are internal factors that positively influence our ability to achieve our objectives. It’s the area of our life where we are strong, where we are better than the “competition” and where our forte lies. It’s important to further develop our key strengths and make sure that they stay in the long term and keep developing them.
Some question in order to identify our personal strengths are like: What are my talents, what can I do better, which things I am naturally good at, what personal resources I can access, which knowledge certifications and skills I have developed, where do other people see my strengths, which of my achievements I am proud of, am I part of a network, do I have connections with influential people?
Weaknesses, on the other hand, represent all the areas where we are lagging behind, where we have shortcomings and gaps in skills. Some of our weaknesses are easily seen while others are not; some must try to get rid of or improve them or convert into strengths.
Some questions that can help us identify our personal weaknesses are like: Where could I improve? Where I am not talented enough? What tasks I usually avoid because I don’t feel confident doing them? Which resources am I lacking? Am I feeling confident with my education and skills training? Which is my weakest point? Do I have a short temper, manage my time efficiently; do I have negative work habits? (Often late).
Opportunities, are external factors that have a positive influence on us achieving our goals. Opportunities are where we can go with the flow of the environment based on our strengths.
Understanding opportunities is a big leverage we have to count into our life strategy.
Questions to see opportunities are like: Is there any new technology can help me, which are the new changes in the country and the environment, is the business I am working for growing and if yes how I can take advantage. Where I can see the biggest favorable circumstances for achieving my objective, do I know people who can help me achieve my goals?
Threats, are external factors that have a negative influence and can prevent us from achieving our goals. It’s about analyzing external factors on which we don’t have much influence and which can prevent us from going forward.
When analyzing threats, we should think about possible alternatives and how to stay as flexible as possible.
Some questions to identify threats are: Is my job changing? Does changing technology threaten my position? Which obstacles I am facing at the moment and why? Which is the biggest external danger to my goals? What are the biggest risks I am facing? Are any of my colleagues competing me for projects or roles? Could any of my weaknesses lead to threats?
Before the end
Conducting a personal SWOT analysis is a fun way of getting to know our self and analyzing our situation all in itself. But what counts much more is building your strategy and a decision-making system based on the conducted SWOT analysis either by matching that means connecting internal strengths with opportunities or by “converting” which simply means transforming weaknesses into strengths and transforming threats into opportunities.
See the SWOT analysis as an input to our superior life strategy. It will help you come up with better insights, analyze your current position, brainstorm possible directions, highlight opportunities and flag possible threats.
Know that you have to test some assumptions and do regular updates. A SWOT analysis should help you get to know yourself, but conducting only a SWOT analysis is not real progress in life. Building a superior strategy and executing it is.