4 Books to Help Identify Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
Have you ever really sat down and thought about what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are in real life? And I'm not talking about the fake, "humble" answers we give in job interviews and when we brush off compliments... I'm talking about an honest look at who you are, what you're about, and where you can grow.
Here's the thing—you need to.
As often as possible.
Because you are a combination of every strength you may be taking for granted, every weakness you may be running from, every opportunity you may be overlooking, and every threat that you're unprepared for and avoiding this candid look at yourself is keeping you from the life you truly want to live.
Think of it this way—
When growing, changing, or bringing anything new to their operations, businesses and organizations use S.W.O.T. analyses to identify their internal and external strengths and weaknesses, as well as their opportunities and threats to make sure they have the right people and resources in place.
By implementing this "business" tool to your own life, both at the macro- and the
micro- levels, you give yourself the opportunity to take stock of where you currently stand in
the pursuit of your goals and what you need to tackle in order to make those goals a reality.
Here's what The Big Four (as I refer to them) look like IRL:
So now that you know how this tool can be applied to your life, how do you use it?
Here are some reflection prompts to help you start identifying each area of The Big Four as it relates to you, your experiences, and the goals you're working towards:
Strengths: How and why you're uniquely equipped
What advantages do you have (education, skills, networks, etc.) that will help you achieve your goals and/or complete this steps necessary to achieve them?
What past experiences can you leverage for this?
What values do you have (that others may not) that might help you reach your goals?
What do other people see as your strengths?
Weaknesses: Your Achilles' heel
What tasks do you avoid doing because of a lack of confidence?
What personality traits might be holding you back ?
What disadvantages do you have?
What fears do you have that might be holding you back?
What are your negative habits or traits?
What resources, skills, or abilities are you lacking?
Opportunities: What you can leverage
How can you turn your strengths into opportunities?
How can you turn your weaknesses into opportunities?
What support systems, connections, and resources can help you complete this step?
What tools do you have that you have not yet tapped into?
Threats: Potential roadblocks and enemies of progress
What obstacles do you face?
Could any of your weaknesses prevent you from succeeding?
Do any of your strengths hold you back?
Do you have any obligations (work or otherwise) that might slow your progress?
Are you competing with others for what you want?
There are plenty of ways you can begin answering these questions, from internal reflection and speaking with the people closest to you, to taking personality tests and working with a coach (hint, hint), but just in case you have additional time on your hands, these books will help shed some insight into who you've been and who you are so that you can become the version of you you're looking to be:
The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive by Brendon Burchard
I usually listen to audiobooks for the sake of time, but this is one that I had to order a physical copy of about half-way through so I could have a personal copy to revisit over and over again. Burchard provides tangible, actionable insight into how to show up fully in the world by discovering and activating exactly what we already have inside of us.
StrengthsFinder by Tom Rath and Gallup
Quite possibly the OG in the strengths-identifying game, StrengthsFinder is a tool I find myself revisiting and being affirmed by time and time again. The premise is that there are 34 possible ways that our experiences, innate skills, and specific talents show up in our lives, 5 of which are our primary "strengths". The book includes an assessment that allows you to identify exactly what yours are. There's also an online version of the assessment, but I love having the physical book to refer back to as I enter different chapters in my life (spoiler alert: my strengths have remained the same for nearly a decade which is a testament to just how central to you your skills are).
Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott
For as much as we like to talk, doing so effectively takes work and Susan Scott offers some ways to make it easier. Grounded on seven principles including "Master the Courage to Interrogate Reality,” "Obey Your Instincts," and my personal favorite, "Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting," Scott provides concrete strategies to improve the relationships in your life one conversation at a time. If you have any trouble articulating who you are and what you need with certainty and clarity, this is the book for you.
The Ultimate Must Read:
The Clarity Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting What You Really Want by Diana Morris
If you haven't grabbed your copy of my workbook yet, what are you waiting for??
The Clarity Workbook takes you step-by-step through my signature Define, Align, Decide framework to help you identify where you've been, where you are, and where you want to go with over a dozen activities and 100+ reflection prompts. There's even an activity specifically dedicated to doing a personal S.W.O.T. analysis. If you aren't sure how to take a look at yourself with a honest, curious lens, this is how to start.
So there you have it—a way to dive into who you are, where you've been, and the lessons you've learned along the way. As you go through these resources, I encourage you to be honest with yourself, both in terms of celebrating the strengths and opportunities you recognize, as well as having compassionate curiosity for the weaknesses and threats you may want to shy away from.
If you need some assistance navigating this self-discovery process, let's talk. I've helped dozens of individuals get to the core of who they are as they look to start their businesses, apply to new jobs, begin new relationships, and more. I'd love nothing more than to help you, too. Book a free consultation to learn more.
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