Have you ever sat down and paid close attention to yourself? Stepped away from the day to day rushing around of life. To take a break from the mental load that so many of us carry around. And actually, considered WHO YOU ARE?

That may seem a strange thing to do; so many of us spend our lives just reacting. Responding to what is going on around us.  Maybe planning the microscopic detail for everyone else, but not doing this for yourself.

When you are looking to return to work after a career break or going back to your job after maternity or parental leave, it is a great time to take stock and reflect. To decide what you are good at, what you want to work on and, most importantly, what YOU WANT out of life and your career.

Anyone that has spent any time with me will know I bang on A LOT about control. About choices. Being comfortable in the direction you want to go in and standing firm and true to what works for you. This includes not being bound up in the “should” and “should not” of the world.

Taking a bit of time to reflect on YOU, can help you get closer to deciding what you want to do and why you want to do it. The two central parts of career coaching!

What is a SWOT analysis?

If you have spent any time in corporate life, especially in a marketing or business role, you may already know. For those that don’t it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. AKA SWOT!    Usually, it helps organisations understand the nuts and bolts of itself, then use that insight to plan bigger and better things.

When you apply this to your life, it means you can start building a 360 degree picture of your skills, your experience, your potential, but also consider the things that may  be holding you back and getting in your way.

personal swot how to

You also consider what is in your control and what is outside of your control; by giving yourself a “heads up” on all the things that can impact your career planning, it helps you prepare.

How to do a Personal SWOT Analysis

Like anything that I suggest, it always includes a nice cuppa and some cake.

Fact. You can’t do any type of personal development without refreshments.

Next, work out where and how you work best. You want to block out a bit of time to work on this

(WARNING: Personal SWOTs can be quite addictive, so you may want to come back to it several times!)

You may find you want to do it on computer. Maybe you prefer pen and paper. You may even want to go very abstract and work on visuals! Either way, this is YOUR reflection, so do what suits you.

I find mapping it out as a grid, ideally four “boxes” on one piece of paper helps (see below!).

Before you start, bear in mind that sometimes, your answers can belong in more than one “Part”.

Now ask yourself these questions:

Strengths (What do you do better than others?)


What do you do well?

When you are performing at your best, what do you notice about yourself?

What do you do others say you do well?


Weaknesses (Which areas do you struggle with?)


What area do you know you could use some additional knowledge?

What are you secretly aware of that you would like to improve about yourself?

What causes you most concern about yourself?


Opportunities (What could work in your favour?)


What opportunities would you like to create for yourself?

What is the most obvious opportunity that you could take advantage of?

What would your most trusted advisor tell you is an opportunity for you?


Threats (What may cause your trouble or is a risk?)


What is likely to cause you personal imbalance?

What external factors cause you concern?

What has created a threat for you in the past? How likely is this now?



Personal Swot what is





Don’t Stress about your SWOT

If you find this a difficult thing to do, don’t stress. Most people find it hard to pay this much close attention to themselves.  However, if you can’t identify what you are flipping brilliant at, how will you start showing other people?

When you have worked through all of this, you will start to build a picture. What you are good at, what you can get better at, what you can step up to do and what you need to watch out for!

Then the next step is considering what you will about it!

So, hop over to The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox and tell us what you have learnt about yourself! We are a friendly bunch, promise!

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