Before you can plan effectively, you need to take a look at yourself and answer several questions so that you can understand your present situation and make important changes. If you set out blindly and try to achieve your vision without understanding your situation, you may have to go back to the starting line several times to get things right. You’ll just waste your time. So better start by checking up on yourself.
Corporations and organizations have regular monitoring and evaluation sessions. They use a variety of methods for looking at their present positions and understanding their situation. They conduct environmental scanning and internal analyses tools. They engage in SWOT Analysis together with other tools for organizational development. SWOT analysis takes a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the organization. This tool can also be applied to an individual and it will also greatly help in giving momentum to a vision.
Before using SWOT, however, you will need to answer several questions that can help you accomplish SWOT analysis later on. These questions point out to your personal identity, your skills and your abilities, your directions and then your SWOT.
1. Who are you?
This first question relates to your identity. It is not only about your name. More than that, it involves how you view yourself, your personality, your character, your family and even your country. How do you describe yourself? How can you make the best out of your personality and your identity? How’s your attitude to yourself?
By taking a look at all of these influences, you can map out where you stand and you become more sure of who you are.
2. What can you do?
You should list down your skills, your abilities and all the things that you can do. If possible, you should also rate your level of expertise in each of these skills and abilities. If you are a student, you can go to your college’s Guidance Counselor and ask to take some tests about your talents and skills and the best career path you can take. A lot of these tests are also available online. It’s just a matter of Googling it.
Knowing what you can do also helps boost your confidence and your self-esteem. Even if your identity is not determined by what you do, it sure helps in establishing your character and your reputation.
3. Where are you going?
This is where your personal vision comes in. What is your direction in life? What are your priorities? How do you view yourself ten years from now? A well crafted vision will give you the answers to these questions.
4. Where are you today?
You should be able to map out your present situation in relation to your vision. How do you describe your present situation? You should also take a look at your finances, your health, your family affairs, your career and your emotional and spiritual health. When you have a good grasp of where you are today, you can start planning how to achieve your vision.
This is where SWOT analysis comes in. You also need to devote at least one hour in doing this exercise. At first, it might be a little tedious but the rewards of discovering more about yourself will give you immense satisfaction. You can print out the next section and answer it by yourself.
At this point, I suggest you start keeping a journal to record your thoughts, your vision, your SWOT Analysis and the plans that you will craft later on. A journal will help you observe your progress and point out areas of concern that need more work.
Personal SWOT Analysis
Write down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the boxes below. If you’re more comfortable with bullet points, then by all means write in bullet points. But you can also write in complete sentences if you prefer that. Some examples have been provided in the table.
You can also take a look at what you wrote in the brainstorming session in the previous chapter. This way, you can pick the words you wrote and put them in one of the boxes below.
After you’ve completed your SWOT Analysis, you now get a better picture of your present situation. You might have realized by now that there are a number of areas that you need to work on. You need to answer the next question so you can start planning how to achieve your vision:
What do you need to do to achieve your vision?
Dealing with this question is more complicated than the previous four ones because this involves personal planning and crafting a personal development plan.
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