>Analyzing and Leveraging Your SWOT 9.13.10

>You have had quite some time to look over your SWOT, possibly adding more and refining traits. Now you must do something with this. You must act, in order to leverage these traits and grow. Want to know how to begin?

Look at your SWOT and take the first one or two items in each category and put them into a separate document so you are only focused on those. Do not skip around and select one or two; just take the first one or two from each category. 

They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit; so let’s work diligently the next 21 days to build our weaknesses into strengths, increase and secure our strengths so that they do not become weaknesses, turn our threats into opportunities, and capitalize on our opportunities. Every single day we will focus on these items, and not detour until we have successfully mastered them. At that point we will progress by adding more items to our list until we have completed the entire SWOT.

Now I know some of you may try to convince yourself that you can take on the challenge of four, five, or even more of these at one time, but remember that there are four categories. Sure you could work at maintaining strengths and opportunities, but while you are doing that you have to work harder at turning weaknesses and threats in your favor. 

This is not a sprint. It is a marathon. We must pace ourselves, know when to stride, when to pick up speed, when to grab that drink, and when to let it all out and go for the gusto to win the race. Now let me clarify, we also are not running at a snail’s pace; this is a high intensity race where only the strong survive. There are no short cuts. 

Now get your running shoes and gear, make sure you’re well hydrated and ready for a light warm-up, because the race begins today…RIGHT NOW!

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>My SWOT: Family and Friends Provide Feedback 9.12.10

>Have you taken the time to share your SWOT with friends and family? What did they have to say? Did they share more traits that you hadn’t thought about? What did you discover about yourself? What did you discover about how your loved ones view and relate to you?

Here’s what I found out from a loved one who added to my lists (these are their exact words I copied/pasted from their email):

Family oriented
Loyal – this goes a little deeper than trustworthy
Go Getter
Independent Thinker
You stand out in crowd
Your presence is welcomed
You live loud yet conservative
Your character speaks for you
Hard Worker
Not complicated
Play well with others
Drama Free
Not afraid to speak up
Too afraid of creepy crawly things – haaaa
Loyal to those who don’t want to see you shine like the star you are
Helper to those who have selfish goals

This analysis opened my eyes to other qualities I had overlooked and hadn’t thought of as I made and reviewed my SWOT. Looking closely at this I’m more of a ‘people person’ than I thought I was, my presence does matter, and some of the things that make me special (a giver, loyal, and dependable) also leave me more vulnerable to being hurt and taken advantage of. Looking at this list of how someone else who loves me, sees me, reassures me that I’m not in this alone, that I’m doing something right most of the time, and that I always have another person in my corner who sees, knows, and appreciates me for me. 

That is deep! Now it is time to take things to the next level….

 Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Complexities of Relationships: Part Eight…Can You See Home Base?

>Today I sat back and reflected on the last seven parts of this series. I have received some incredible feedback over the past two weeks. What I want to make sure is that I bring things full circle, that our take away is complete, and not lacking. I’m not here to preach or stand on some soap box rambling about “the complexities of relationships”; I desire to explore with you the things that make each of us who we are today. 

Our circumstances don’t have to dictate our futures. You choose to be a testimony or a victim. You choose to be a leader or a follower; you choose to take counsel from those who are where you want to be, or you take the rocky roads and try to figure it out yourself. You choose to change for the better so that you can play an intricate part in a loving relationship, or you walk around professing to be “great the way I am” or ‘damaged goods’. I’m not sure which of those two are worse! 

We don’t need to walk around with invisible signs on us that say, “I’ve been hurt” or “I have trust issues”. 

In order to have healthy relationships both personal and professional we must look at ourselves first, not the other person…start with self. What are you really ‘bringing to the table’ and in what areas do you fall short of a ‘full deck’? What things about you do you acknowledge need changing, improving, or tweaking? What things are you adamant that don’t need adjusting? Reflect on the strengths and weaknesses you notice about yourself and then consider what your love ones see as your strengths and weaknesses. Have you ever sat down and written a list of your strengths and weaknesses? Have you ever included what loved ones had to say?

Those of you who know me, or at least spent two minutes reading my blog profile know that I am a Business Consultant; so it should not surprise you that I would find a way to sprinkle in business concepts into this series. A SWOT Analysis is a process performed in business to help an organization determine their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and Weaknesses may be easy enough for me not to have to elaborate, but let me briefly explain the Opportunities and Threats, and then explain how all of this ties in to today’s post and the series as a whole.

Opportunities are those things, areas, concepts that work as an advantage for the organization; what gives them that competitive advantage over another company, and potentially elevates them to levels of long-term success. Opportunities can also be broken down by sub-divisions  and departments within the organization.

Threats seems easy enough to figure out. Threats are all the possible ways the organization can mess up, lose or fail to gain a competitive advantage; all of the possible risks that could ultimately lead to the demise of a project, division, department, account, or the company as a whole.

This segment of the series we will draft our own SWOT Analysis and look at our personal Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities (for improvement, success personally and professionally, etc) and the Threats that put us at risk of not reaching our goals, overcoming fears and other obstacles, and having poor relationships with others, etc.

Here’s a quick example using one characteristic or trait in each category:

Natasha’s SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS: “get it done right” person 
WEAKNESSES: procrastinator
OPPORTUNITIES: being mentored by great business and civic leaders
THREATS: my fear of failing could cause me not to act

The idea is to have several things in each category. Shoot for 10-20. Don’t worry if you have more or less. Allow yourself to let things flow from you. The moment you get out of your way and out of your head you will experience a surge of information flow!

Once we complete our Personal SWOT Analysis we need to step outside of our comfort zone and share it with others that we love and care for, and who love and care for us. This person or persons must also be objective, willing to be open and honest with you without fear or concern of reprisal; and you must be open for healthy dialogue and analysis. Because once you finish sharing, they are to provide you an analysis of what they see as your SWOT. See how many traits and areas that you all agree, and be sure to rationally, calmly, and lovingly discuss those traits and areas where you disagree. It should be interesting what you discover.

Now wait a minute…stop rolling your eyes and sucking your teeth. Don’t give up before you even get started. The only way you can effectively perform a SWOT Analysis is to have other people participating and providing healthy, grounded, well-thought out feedback. You see yourself from one angle and point of view, while friends and family see you from varying angles and viewpoints. The only way to see and appreciate the whole picture is to look at it from different angles. You have to step back, to either side, turn slowly, then quickly, look at it standing then sitting, then in a prone position. You have to look at it from below and up high.

If performing this exercise is too stressful, I want you to ask yourself “why?” 

We’re talking about growth through healing, growth through exploration, growth through experience, growth through proper nourishment. 

The goal is to leverage our strengths, strengthen our weaknesses, increase and take full advantage of our opportunities, and reduce and control our threats so that they don’t overpower (and eventually rule) us. 

How many of you plan to create your Personal SWOT Analysis? How many of you will go a step farther and perform the analysis with one or more loved ones? How many of you will then share with me how things played out, how it felt, and what you learned about yourself and how others truly view you?

This exercise can be completed and results shared anytime between today and next week, preferably next Monday. I’m excited about this exercise and can’t wait to share my analysis and to receive feedback about yours.

Have fun, dig deep, want more, and dream big!

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.