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I took a mini-break during the 4th of July week. But I am back – re-energized and ready to go!
As I mentioned when I started this blog, this is a sort of restart for me – a restart in health, exercise, and healthy eating. We traveled through the exercise search (it will continue of course) but now we are going to spend some time on self-development topics. It should be fun!
We all have specific reasons why we are on the internet – starting a business, expressing ourselves, passing on our experiences, the reasons are endless. But something that we all have in common is the need to believe in ourselves – that whatever we type or say has value and that others will be interested.
It can be difficult – but it’s important if you want to be successful!
Consider a SWOT Analysis for Yourself
When people create case studies on businesses, they often include a SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. If you can do this for business, why not consider doing one for yourself? It can help you gain insight about yourself and reinforce the idea of believing in yourself.
Setting It Up
The concept of SWOT is usually diagrammed in quadrants or squares – similar to the one above– representing each of the words of the acronym. It’s up to you as to which squares to place each of the words. By convention, the upper-left square is for Strengths, while the lower-left square is for Opportunities. The upper-right square is for Weaknesses, and the lower-right square is for Threats.
Fill up each quadrant with appropriate items relating to the heading of the quadrant. To take this a step further, ask family and friends to help you fill the quadrants. After you have them all filled, you can evaluate them to see what needs improvement.
Don’t let the negative aspects (Weaknesses, Threats) trip you up when creating your analysis. You’re listing them to gain perspective in areas that you need your focus. In fact, some weaknesses you may not want to tackle because it doesn’t interest you. Threats are merely items to be aware of and may help you try to overcome them.
Honesty in the Assessment Matters
The key to success is to be as honest as possible with yourself about all the items included in the analysis. If you aren’t, it isn’t going to help you much, and you may focus on the wrong items to improve. Further, you may not be as strong in some areas as you believed, which can lead you on the wrong path as well.
A representative SWOT analysis will give you a great foundation for your life, both personally and professionally. You can use it as a tool to advance your goals. You will learn about yourself and who you are. Don’t rush this process. You want it to be as representative of yourself as possible. It’s better to take several days or even weeks than to try to list items for the sake of filling up the quadrants.
Once you feel comfortable that you have the right items for your analysis, you can use it to help you believe in yourself. It’s all there for you to reference, and it can help you to refine your goals and tasks further.
Roadblocks to Believing in Yourself
Believing in yourself is often touted as the cause of success. But if you have low self-esteem, it’s not easy to believe in yourself. The SWOT analysis may help you identify some road blocks to your self-belief in the Weaknesses or Threat section.
Here are some issues that can interfere with your self-esteem.
Comparisons with Others
Do you look around and feel like everyone else has a handle on life but you? This is a common feeling, especially in our digital age. Maybe you have a friend on Pinterest who always seems to have a clean house. But you don’t see what her house looks like when the kids have the flu and there hasn’t been time to do any laundry.
Seeing your friend’s good days can leave you feeling like you’re a failure because your house doesn’t look clean all the time like your friend’s house is. When you’re on social media, you’re constantly exposed to the best side of someone’s life. You rarely see the ugly parts, too. It’s important to remember this when you’re scrolling through your news feed.
The past often shapes us and affects us far more than we realize. Negative situations in your past can make it hard for you to believe in yourself. Maybe you were in a toxic relationship with a partner who verbally abused you. Maybe you grew up with an alcoholic parent or maybe you were bullied in middle school.
Your past can be the biggest threat to your present if you don’t take action. It can take a toll on your self-esteem and crush your sense of confidence. If you’ve been in a bad situation in the past, you’ll need to re-train your thought processes. You may need the help of a therapist or life coach to help you deal with painful situations from your past that are keeping you stuck.
Are there current relationships with a dynamic that keeps you questioning yourself? Sometimes, other people can undermine your sense of self-esteem. They may do it subtly by making unkind remarks and dismissing these remarks as jokes. They may discourage you from taking action a project you were really excited about. They may tell you that you’re not good enough to reach your goals.
Few things are more painful than a friend or loved one that is unkind and unsupportive. If possible, try to have a conversation with this person about their behavior. In a healthy relationship, there’s room on both sides for honesty.
But if your loved one or friend still won’t be supportive, you should consider limiting how often you interact with them. If you do have to be around this person for some reason, try to have a nurturing activity planned for yourself later after your interaction.
Just like you can switch your iPod to a different song, you can change your thoughts about yourself from negative to positive. It takes a lot of work and it doesn’t happen immediately. But as you begin to focus on your positive qualities, you’ll experience a boost in your self-esteem and find it easier to believe in yourself.
I remember using SWOT analyses in business school, but I didn’t consider any other uses for them at the time. This is another instance when the tools we use in business school are coming in handy in other aspects of our lives. My SWOT analysis now is totally different from one that I would have done while in business school and drastically different from one in med school Meaning that your assessments will change over time.
Working on this self-assessment shouldn’t be rushed through. Take some time to think and get some feedback from people who know you. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses helps you better understand yourself and what drives you. And knowing the opportunities and threats can help you make decisions moving forward.
Have you ever done this type of self-assessment? Which road blocks are holding you back? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Loving Life—The Reboot!