To create plans for how we are going to achieve our goals, we need to know our starting point. SWOT Analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is a tool used by organizations and people to evaluate their current positions.
SWOT analysis can help elucidate information that would otherwise be hard to uncover and provide a baseline assessment for evaluating progress. Here are a small sample of questions to think about when filling out each category:
What are you good at?
What do those who know you personally think you are good at?
What do your co-workers think you are good at?
What helpful resources do you possess or have access to?
What do you think are some areas you could improve upon?
What do other people who know you personally see as your challenges?
What do your co-workers see as your weaknesses?
What have you struggled with in the past?
In what do you lack confidence?
What are some resources that could be beneficial to you?
What else could you be doing right now to improve your career?
What might you be able to do in the future to improve your career?
What are some risks to achieving your goals?
What are some internal barriers to reaching your goals?
What are some external barriers to reaching your goals?
Here is an example of what a SWOT analysis could look like for John in evaluating his career:
After you have completed the 2 X 2 matrix, look at the relationships between the categories. For example, John is intellectually curious and enjoys learning (Strength #3) which could be used in conjunction with the opportunity to take free online classes through his company (Opportunity #4), in order to mitigate the effects of automation on his job security (Threat #3). When everything is in writing it is easier to see our gaps and how we can leverage our strengths to take advantage of opportunities and manage threats. Also, keep in mind that an item could be both an opportunity and a threat. For example, doing the presentation next month in front of 100 people (Opportunity #1) could also be perceived as a threat by John if he does not think it will go well.
Doing the SWOT analysis enables you to create an optimal strategy for creating and achieving your goals. Since our lives are constantly changing, it is best to do a SWOT at regular intervals. If we know what we are working with, then we can focus more on what we are working for.
If you would like to talk to a licensed therapist, reach out to Symmetry Counseling. We offer a wide range of mental health services and can meet with you in-person or through online counseling in Chicago and beyond.