A few weeks ago, I decided to try out doing a SWOT analysis on myself to see where I felt my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were. I have never done a SWOT analysis on myself before, and so I was delving into the unknown.
This exercise really opened my eyes to the huge benefit an individual SWOT analysis could have on other people’s lives too.
What I discovered by this analysis on myself was that my strengths lie in content creation, I have been creating content in various formats since 2002. I enjoy creating content, and I’m quite happy spending eight or nine hours in the office creating PDF files, videos for my YouTube channel, or writing blog articles. In fact I think sometimes I’m a content creating machine. However, when I looked at my weaknesses I saw I was terrible at marketing. So I find myself in a position where I can create a lot of content, content I think is worth sharing with you, yet I am unable to reach a large audience because of my lack of marketing skills and know-how.
I then looked at my opportunities and saw so many different areas where I can help others to become more productive and more successful. These opportunities I quickly collected into Evernote. Looking at my threats, I find I am in the fortunate position that there are very few threats out there, and certainly those few threats that are there are manageable.
What struck me most about this exercise was how it forced me to go into a deep analysis of myself. I know most people never sit down and analyse what they are good at and what they are not good at and they are missing out on something very powerful. I am fortunate that I am at an age now where I am fully aware of my strengths and weaknesses, but if I think back to my 20s it would have been very hard for me to be so brutally honest with myself about where I thought I was particularly weak. While doing this exercise, it occurred to me that self awareness, the ability to be comfortable with your own weaknesses, is something that develops overtime. But being brutally honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses is essential if you truly want to be successful. I know there are many definitions of success, and how I define success is likely to be very different from the way you will define success, but knowing what you are good at and what you are not so good at is one of the first steps you need to take to find your own path towards the success you define for yourself.
Following this SWOT analysis I realised I needed to start studying social media marketing. I determined that social media marketing was the area that would have the biggest impact on my audience numbers, and therefore allow me to reach many more people. Other areas of marketing I can come to later after I have mastered the area of social media marketing. The SWOT analysis meant I was able to start my studies very quickly. I could quite easily have gone on for years hoping someone with a large following would retweet one of my blog posts or share one of my YouTube videos, but hoping somebody with a large social media following would find my content and share it is not a very good marketing strategy.
Far too often I see people wandering aimlessly through life not knowing where their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are. Where we are now, technology is changing the way we work so fast that there are threats all around us. Doing this kind of analysis means you are you able to see how things are changing in your particular Industry. It allows you to better understand where your strengths are and where you can use those strengths by taking advantage of your own opportunities. It also means you are able to be fully aware of the areas where you are weak, and where you may be able to turn a weakness into a strength. I am reminded of the story about Warren Buffett, where as a twenty something year old young man, he identified public speaking as an area he was particularly weak at. He enrolled in a Dale Carnegie public speaking course and became one of the best communicators there is today.
It could be that you identify a weakness as something you do not want to change. If that is the case, you could team up with someone who is strong in that area.
To be successful today is hard, but to be successful in any era has always been hard. The people who make it, the people who become successful are the people who take the time to step back, look at their lives and analyse where they are strong, where they are weak and where they have opportunities. At the same time they have an eye on any potential threats that may come their way in the future.
It’s a very competitive world, but it is also a world with a great many opportunities for all of us. Taking time out to work out where you can employ your talents and strengths is one surefire way to set you on the path towards immense success. And all it takes is about one hour, a pen and a piece of paper. Surely you can find the time, a pen and a piece of paper and find your own path towards a better and successful future.
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Carl Pullein is a personal productivity specialist, presenter and author of Working With Todoist: The Book as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more productive and creative.