Reflecting on yourself: an easy guide to get your life on track!
Okay, Okay, you may be thinking, what the heck is this about right? Well I have learned so much as a student in the last 8 years and I want to pass on some of the knowledge that I found to really be useful outside of the business world. There is absolutely the possibility to use some business strategies on your own life. There are so many times we just live our lives almost on repeat. Same things every day right? Get up, go to work, get home from work, go to bed…repeat! We can at times feel stagnant. We forget purpose, we forget what a meaningful life is, or you may even forget about meaningful goals you had. What if I could tell you there was a strategy that is commonly used in strategic management that helps a person reflect upon their life and create a plan or a goal that lifts their spirits. That strategy is called a SWOT analysis, an ultimate process of reflecting on yourself.
What is a SWOT analysis?
Albert S Humphrey developed this analysis in 1960. I am sure he never knew it would turn into a widely used strategic planning and evaluation too. This is a very interesting method to analysis an organization. It can be used on small businesses or large corporations. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are more internally based whereas opportunities and threats are external factors that affect your life. Lets break it down further. Use this free template to help you work through your own SWOT analysis.
Please note that you can use this for personal development as well as in the workplace. Many employees find it helpful to proactively conduct a personal SWOT analysis to share with their supervisor.
Strengths are internal factors that you have that you are proud of, that you excel at, or those that you find a great asset of your own being.
For instance, some of my own strengths are my ability to listen, rationalize my thoughts and respond with clarity and deep meaning.
Strengths within yourself could be:
- Strong communicator
- Good listener
- Education, certifications, skills
- Values and morals you have that others do not.
It is important to really reflect on yourself to understand what factors or skills you have that are strong, ones that you can be proud of! Uncovering these factors will open doors to helping you find happiness within yourself!
Now this is an interesting part of the analysis. Essentially you are facing unpleasant truths about yourself that you already know exist or those that others see and you don’t.
Some weaknesses that I face is anxiety and my Obsessive Compulsiveness.
Examples of weakness can be:
- Do you not like what you see when you look in the mirror?
- Do you suffer from uncomfortable social situations?
- Are you addicted to things whether that be substances, alcohol, shopping, etc.?
- Do you find it hard to state your feelings?
- Do you feel guilty often?
The key here is to note that although these may be weaknesses, they can also be opportunities. Which naturally leads us to our first external factor, being opportunities
Opportunities are those factors that are external or factors that are not within you, but ones that can be changed.
For me some opportunities would be to find hobbies where I can meet other people and potentially create friendships. The external factor here is to locate activities or events that would allow me to be more social!
More examples would be:
- Are you not happy with your job?
- Do you not have many friends?
- Is there a new class like art/ pottery/ photography that would you like to take?
- Do you want to get healthier but are unsure how?
These are examples of opportunities, things that you can change or work on that will help you in your life! Another key point here would be to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses that you listed above, could any of those turn into an opportunity?
For instance, you may look in the mirror and not like what you see; lets turn that into an opportunity by maybe looking into a yoga class. Yoga helps unlock the beauty within and in life that surrounds you. It will help you look in the mirror and finally find characteristics about yourself that you can love! Plus it helps you get healthy and fit!
This is the last of the 4 factors in a SWOT analysis. Threats will describe those external factors that can pose more harm to you.
A threat for me would be my social anxiety. Which means I have a hard time putting myself in a social environment where I would feel uncomfortable.
Other examples of threats may be:
- Are you surrounded by people that do not support you or put you down?
- Are you unhappy with your job?
- Do you suffer from substance abuse?
- Are you uncomfortable in social situations?
The key factor to note here, is that it will help put problems into perspective for you!
How do I use this information?
This is simple, you will look at these lists and it will uncover areas where you can improve or change. This will unlock happiness, get rid of factors that make you feel bad or affect your life in a negative way. Seek help if your threats or weaknesses would require it. But most importantly, do not look at this analysis as a opportunities to look at all things that are bad in your life, look at the strengths, look at the opportunities and grow as a person. Stand strong, get ride of bad relationships, grow new ones and smile because you have a right to love your self and be as successful as you want to be.
You can also use this in the workplace. What strengths to you bring to your job, what are some of your weaknesses, are their areas for opportunity and do you notice any threats? You can take your findings to your supervisor when they conduct performance reviews. This shows a supervisor that you know your strengths but you also know what opportunities you have to become a better team player or performer.
As you work towards your new goals and a better life; use a journal like this one for motivation, clarity and as something to write your thoughts down. I find jotting down my thoughts can help clear my mind and allow me to release anxiety. Maybe you will find it useful as well.
Don’t forget to download your free pdf template below!