Discover Self

Personal development planning is all about creating a long term goal for you career and then planning how your will get there.

However, before you can know what you want to do in the long term, some serious reflection is in order. What are you good at ? What are you not so good at ? What opportunities are available ? And are there factors beyond your control that could impact you goals?

To answer these question what we studies is management Gurus have accepted two classic tools, SWOT and PEST which can be applied in personal situations. Through this analysis you will gain a solid understanding of where are you now, and where you would be well suited to go with a high chances of success.

Personal SWOT
Fig 1 SWOT Analysis

In business, we use SWOT analysis to to identify the strength and weakness of any organization and the opportunities and threat it is facing. Just like that for single person the strength of an individual say what are you good at, the weakness say what is minus point and where the improvement is required. If person start know where he is not good, he understand that someones help can be taken.

Taken together, you strengths and opportunities help you to identity potential long term career goals. Your weakness and threats you face are the things which you need to manage, mitigate or planned to ensure the goals remain achievable. Management Gurus use four Quadrant to write the question and answers show in Fig 1.

Strengths :
Do not limit your self up to work skills, think of all the experience you have had, opportunities you have ad to grow, which may include your education, aptitude, personality factors, interests. Answers the following type of questions.

  1. What are you really good at ?
  2. What skills do other people recognize in you ?
  3. What do you do better than most people you work with ?
  4. What do you get recognized or rewarded for ?
  5. What, about yourself, are you most proud of or satisfied with.
  6. What experiences, resources, or connections do you have access to that other's don't have.
Remember to ask friends, relatives, partners, neighbor, your peers if required.

Weakness : 
We all have weakness, the trick is to identify and work upon as an improvement area. Use the following question to identify the same.
  1. What do you try to do that you are masters of it.
  2. What do you do just the sake of doing or just to fill the job requirements.
  3. Are there any personality aspects which hold you back by going forward.
  4. Where are you vulnerable.
  5. Where do you lack of experience, resources or connections where other go more.
Unlike the S section, limit your self to the weakness which actually may affect your career progression.

Opportunity :
Now that as you have looked inside your self, you turn your attention to outside and identify the elements that can build on or take advantage of that will improve your chances of success. This is best done by setting aside some time and brainstorming in an attempt to uncover new and innovative ideas that may not have occurred to you before.

  1. In what ways you can maximize your strengths
  2. What are the opportunities open to those who do things well.
  3. What would you love to do that you are good at ?
  4. How can you minimize your weakness.
  5. If you weaknesses did not hold you, what could you be.
  6. Where do you see the most potential growth for your self, Within your company, in different company, in same industry, different industry or a different career altogether.
Threats :
If the threats are not in control they can be planned for. It is called mitigation plan. That's why it important to identify all possible threats and do a mitigation plan. The more you know about them, the less you are to be "blindsided" by something unexpected. Now you  might feel that you would rather avoid looking at threats as they can cause worry, fears and stress. The reality is you will encounter much more anxiety if you do not think about potential threats.

Remember, a threat loses much of its sting when it is managed and prepared for. Ask your self the following questions.

  1. Do you have a weakness that need to be addressed before you go ahead.
  2. What problem your weakness cause if remain unchecked.
  3. What set backs may I face.

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