Do you want to understand yourself better so as to prepare for the world out there? If YES, here are 7 steps to conducting a thorough SWOT analysis on yourself.

A SWOT analysis is an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. SWOT analysis was initially used in the business industry by businesses that needed to understand the market and environment that they were operating in, or planning to operate in so that they can know how to strategically position their businesses for success.

These days, SWOT Analysis is now being used for personal development. When a person has a clear understanding of the strengths and opportunities at their disposal, it helps them to grow and achieve their personal goals faster. Similarly, if a person understands their weaknesses and threats, they’ll improve on these weaknesses and threats so that they can become better versions of themselves in their lives and in their careers.

A SWOT analysis is a personal tool that can help you understand who you are, what you should be doing, the things that can deter you from achieving your goals, and the opportunities around you that you should take advantage of.

7 Steps to Conducting a Thorough SWOT Analysis on Yourself

Step One: Get a piece of paper and divide it into four separate sections.

  • Section A: Strengths
  • Section B: Opportunities
  • Section C: Weaknesses
  • Section D: Threats

Step Two: Analyze Your Strengths

You need to ask yourself a few questions and the answers will help you have a clearer understanding of what your strengths are. You need to ask yourself questions like;

  • What are those things that you can do better than other people?
  • What are your natural gifts or talents?
  • What are those things that other people (bosses, family, friends) have mentioned as your strengths?
  • What are your best achievements so far?
  • What are those advantages that you have that others don’t have? E.g. education, skills, knowledge, connections
  • What values do you believe in that others don’t?

It is important to be very objective and see things from a personal perspective here. Don’t try to analyze your strengths the way others see it only, but through your own eyes because no one knows you better than yourself. Those advantages, values, resources and talents that you have that others don’t, are your strengths.

Step Three: Analyze Your Weaknesses
Every single individual on earth has a weakness and you are not an exception. It helps to be honest and open with yourself about your weaknesses so that you can know how to stop them from being a problem. Some questions to help you analyze your weaknesses include:

  • What personal traits have held you back in your life or in your career? For instance, are you always scared of speaking in public even though you have to make presentations a lot?
  • Do you prefer working alone even though your job involves a lot of group projects?
  • What are the weaknesses that other people have identified or mentioned to you in the past?
  • Which tasks do you hate doing?
  • Which education, certification or skills are you unsatisfied or not confident with?
  • What negative work habits do you possess?
  • Do you procrastinate a lot? Short-tempered? Disorganized?

It’s important to be realistic here and write down the weaknesses that other people may not even have noticed in you.

Step four: Analyze Your Opportunities

There are always opportunities available for everyone, you just need to know how to identify and take advantage of them.

  • Is there any new technology or emerging trend in the industry? How can learning these new technologies boost your career prospects or performance at work?
  • Is there anything vendors or customers are always complaining about?
  • Can you find a solution to these problems?
  • Will providing solutions to these problems create a growth opportunity for you?
  • Who are your competitors and what do they have that you lack – skills, certification, experience? How can you catch up with them?
  • Who are your mentors?
  • Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help or advice you?

The most important thing here is to try to see how your strengths can create opportunities for you.

Step five: Recognize Your Threats

Here you want to have a clear picture of the obstacles that may be getting in the way of your growth now or in the future. You need to ask questions like:

  • What are the obstacles you are currently facing in your career or job position?
  • Is the demand for your job changing? Will you be qualified enough to handle these new demands?
  • Are there any emerging trends or technology that may affect or threaten your position in the future?
  • Do you have any competitors in the workplace, and how poised are you to compete with them?

Step six: Determine the Outcome

There are two major ways to determine the outcome of your SWOT analysis.

1. Matching: This method involves connecting two of the categories together so as to determine a course of action.
Match your strengths with opportunities to help you see where you need to take quick actions, and match your weaknesses with your threats to show you the areas where you need to immediately work on, so that you can defend your position.

2. Conversion: This method involves converting the negatives into positives. You will have to convert your weaknesses into strengths, and your threats into opportunities.

For instance, if you hate public speaking, presentations or group work, you can identify positions or career alternatives that are related to your current one, that allow you to work in an isolated environment. Weaknesses don’t have to be a bad thing, provided you can figure out how to turn them into strengths.

Step seven: Take Action

A personal SWOT analysis is nothing but a personal brainstorming session, and won’t really make much difference except you make use of the things you learn to improve yourself.

The idea is to use your strengths to create opportunities for yourself, use your strengths to reduce your threats, and then have a clearer understanding of your weaknesses so that you can work on them or harness them in a way that would be beneficial to you.