Part 3: Finding Your Unique Advantage
We’ve examined your life thus far and have looked into your future and established what direction you want your life to take from this point forward. You now know what you stand for (your values); you know the mission you will crusade for (your actions); and you’ve clarified the vision for your life (the outcomes you want to realize).
Before it’s possible to formulate the strategic life plan, you must first take inventory of your assets and liabilities. What are your distinct advantages? Where do you have unique leverage? What weaknesses do you need to shore up and what hazards do you need to avoid?
This is where I always start when preparing a plan to perform a turnaround on a company. Before you can make a plan of where to take the organization, you first have to figure out where it stands—you must know its current assets and liabilities. What are its current weaknesses and where might its most damaging threats come from? You need to be aware of its unique strengths as well as any unseen or underdeveloped opportunities. This is the same assessment necessary to do a turnaround on, or to accelerate, your life.
Your Personal S.W.O.T Analysis
STRENGTHS: We know we are most likely to succeed when we use our innate talents to their fullest extent. The problem is most people don’t do enough due diligence on their skill sets or introspection on their unique talents to discover their significant advantage so they can thrive—easily, joyfully and prosperously.
WEAKNESSES: Similarly, if you identify your weaknesses and build your strategic plan to work around those traits, by either improving, covering for or circumventing them entirely, it’s possible to avoid painful (and expensive) difficulties and potential setbacks.
OPPORTUNITIES: We are constantly surrounded by opportunities; unfortunately, they go unnoticed by most people. I will challenge you through a series of questions to identify and recognize some of the tremendous advantages and opportunities you have at your feet, but are not maximizing or might have missed altogether.
THREATS: It’s critical to identify where the landmines are before you march into the battlefield of life. In my mentorship of high-growth companies, I have witnessed that it is not lack of opportunity, lack of growth or lack of success that kills most companies, but the unplanned and unprepared for problems that arise which throw the organization into an unrecoverable tailspin. This is true for individuals as well. Our lack of threat assessment leaves us off guard. Problems seem to come out of nowhere and blindside us, resulting in disaster. I’ll help you identify your potential landmines so the course we chart for your strategic plan avoids those lurking dangers.
Using the S.W.O.T. framework you will come to better understand yourself. You’ll see the tremendous advantages you possess and how you can leverage them to begin to separate yourself from your peers. You’ll also discover special talents and abilities that you may need to further develop to achieve your most ambitious goals.
Now I have a scary challenge for you. How committed are you to your personal growth? This part of this installment will test your mettle. If you want to break out of your rut and take your life to the next level, do this—I dare you.
I want you to ask three friends to answer a few tender questions, essentially asking them how you “show up” in the world. We all think we know ourselves and how we appear to others, but our perceptions might be one of our greatest constraints and limitations to doing better.
One year, a while back, I asked several people in my life how I was “showing up” to them. I was flabbergasted by what they told me. Wow, I had no idea I was “doing that!” I thought I was behaving one way, but I was being perceived completely different than I imagined. At first I was hurt; then I grew defensive. After receiving the same response more than once, I knew I was busted. I then realized why I was having difficulty advancing in certain areas of my life.
This could be happening to you… without you even knowing it. While it might be a scary and possibly painful process, it might also help you break through barriers that could be holding you back from your greater potential. It is well worth it.
Download and complete the S.W.O.T. ANALYSIS Questions and Worksheet. The 360˚ VIEW questions and tips are included on that document. (NOTE: The link to the download is sent via the e-mail feed. If you are just registering now, it will go out again with the next feed. E-mail feeds typically go out the same evening following the published post.)
This process will help you assess your internal and external advantages, as well as hindrances you might encounter so you can more effectively build your plan. Thursday I will guide you through the process of totaling your life’s current balance sheet. Where are you really in all the areas important to becoming a whole-life success? I think you might be surprised by the result.
Please feel free to share any “ah-ha’s!” you discovered going through this installment process with the rest of us in the comment section below.