Be honest with your strengths & weaknesses to grow
Any business orientated reader will be familiar with the SWOT analysis - the "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats" which may face opening or growing or changing a business. It's a great way to look objectively at where you are now, consider where you want to be, and decide - based on your reflections - the most effective way to get there.
I tell my students and clients to use the very same tool on themselves.
1. Identify your personal goals.
2. Now ask yourself:
- What are my personal strengths
- What are my personal areas of weakness (where have I been damaged in the past/where might I be vulnerable right now)
- What new opportunities may arise if I pursue these goals ie. What is my motivation for this end goal or outcome?
- What threats do I face in pursuing these goals, AND if I should achieve them?
- (additional) – who is within my support network?
The use of the SWOT analysis in this case is less about whether one should take action but a starting point for the direction in which to build strength when the decision to act has been made.
When it comes to resilience, being aware of your strengths and your support network becomes part of managing the threats or weaknesses, and the opportunities form a means of motivation.
It is the starting point for growth.
Then, with the weaknesses you have identified, consider them in the context of the future goal. There is no point trying to fix everything if things will eventually be redundant. Know what needs to be strengthened for the most successful or desired outcome bearing in mind the points of current and previous failure, as well as the possible threats you have identified. That becomes your starting point for effort.
Building strength which is targeted is the most effective means of applying (and conserving!) your valuable time and energy.
Developing the effectiveness of the SWOT
Instead (or as well as) doing a gratitude reflection at the end of the day (which always makes you feel good, as well as sets you up positively for a good night, and great day ahead), a reflection you can consider when working with the SWOT is as follows:
Today, how have I enhanced my strengths and developed my weaknesses?
It doesn't matter if you don't feel you've done all the much, but simply asking the question reminds you that personal development work is there to be done intentionally. You are always seeking an outcome - it's not just a thing that coaches like you to do.
So I challenge you to try the SWOT personally, and for a week, set your intention to showcase your strengths and improve on your weaknesses every day, and watch yourself start to flourish.
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience.