“No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunnelled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined”.

Harry Emerson Fosdick

This has been a year like none other. As it year comes to an end, there are people with regrets, some grief while many can sigh with relief yet many others are more than grateful.

We acknowledge the importance of annual medical check-up for the sake of our health, but do we recognise the importance of taking stock of our lives?

Sound businesses grasp the value of scheduling annual SWOT analysis to ensure optimum business health. Similarly, conducting a personal SWOT analysis allows you to assess where you are today, where you want to go and the integral factors of a working personal plan.

SWOT stands for Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats. It is used to assess the competitive position of a product and in our case, a person. It acknowledges talents as strengths and utilising them to exploit opportunities that can drive career or business ambitions forward. By analysing weaknesses one is able to take action to manage them and minimise problems that would present themselves as possible threats and setbacks.

Customarily, SWOT analysis is conducted at the organisational level. However, it need not end at organisational level but rather, be extended to the personal level. In each category there are sample guiding questions that you need to answer as you carry out a SWOT analysis of yourself and on your own.

Here is a guide.


Here, you acknowledge what you are good at by asking the following questions:

  • What do you do well or better than others?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • What resources or connections do you have that you can draw upon?
  • What do colleagues and friend say you are good at?

This enables you to fully utilise strengths and resources you have.


  • Is your professional knowledge up to date?
  • What tasks do you find difficult?
  • Is there any training you need?
  • What do colleagues and friends say you are your weaknesses or bad habits?

This helps you identify weaknesses that need to be corrected.


  • What are your ambitions and goals?
  • Looking at your strengths, what opportunities could they lead to?
  • Are you doing something others are not?
  • Can you utilise any of your current contacts or resources?

This information will enable you to take advantage of particular opportunities.


Revisit your weaknesses and consider how these could become threats and hold you back or cause you problems.

  • Is there anything that could be a barrier to achieving your goals?
  • Consider your competition. Are any of these threats?
  • Would there be any professional standards you cannot currently meet?
  • What new legislation, social change and economic cycle may affect you? How?

By identifying these factors, you will be in a position to minimise and avoid threats.

Once you have conducted the SWOT analysis, you are able to define your current position then set goals to help you to be where they need to be.

Goal setting promotes proactive thinking and planning instead of reactive thinking and random decision making.  Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said failing to plan is planning to fail. Thus, when you plan – in our case, conduct a SWOT analysis – you take control of your goals and use the resources that you have identified.

Therefore after conducting a SWOT analysis you need to follow up with goal setting which will be covered under a different article. Consequently, you need to focus on the strengths you possess, formulate corrective action for your weaknesses, dedicate your resources towards opportunities and be disciplined in avoiding and minimising threats.