Building a Better You

by Monique Beauchamp Doll

Happy New Year! What a great time to refresh, evaluate, and after a long, difficult year, take a deep breath. We often think of the new year as a time to make resolutions. The gyms fill up, and Google’s top searches include losing weight and healthy eating. Maybe a better way to think about the new year is less about “fixing what’s wrong” and more about understanding ourselves better.

 In business school, a fundamental tool is a SWOT analysis. This is where a company looks at its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. They do this to determine what’s working and what isn’t. So each year in January, I try to complete a personal SWOT analysis. I invite you and your family to join me. Grab a pen and paper and answer the following:

 STRENGTHS- What am I good at? What do I enjoy doing? This is an opportunity to try to objectively look at ourselves and discover in which areas we excel. Maybe you’re a great cook or an excellent public speaker. Perhaps you can put together a puzzle in record time. Do you love to write? Take some time to write down all the things you are good at, whether small or large.

 WEAKNESSES: Where do I struggle? This is the one area where many people probably get stuck. We’re often hard on ourselves and focus on our flaws. Use this as a way to focus on the things about yourself that you want to and CAN change. Is it difficult to learn new things? Are you a nervous speaker? Write a list of the top 5 things you want to improve over the next year.  

 CONVERT WEAKNESSES INTO STRENGTHS: How can I improve what I’m not good at? Rather than beat yourself up over your weaknesses, try to put together a plan to convert them into strengths. So it takes longer for you to learn new material? What about working with a tutor or studying with a friend? Do you get tongue-tied while speaking? Why not join a toastmaster’s class.

 TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES: Who can benefit from my strengths? Think about the world around you. Maybe you’re great with technology or developing personal relationships. Whatever it is, figure out how you can use your strengths to take advantage of these opportunities. Are you a great cook? Maybe bake some cookies for the school bake sale? Are you great with technology? Maybe help some non-techies with their computers or cell phones. Are you a good reader?  Perhaps volunteer to read to younger children. When you grow your strengths, they become even stronger.

 THREATS: What distractions can interfere with my growth? Time? Money? Social Media? These are often the most common uncontrollable threats we face. Brainstorm some ideas for how to overcome potential threats that may derail you.

 CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN: 

This is key in analyzing your SWOT. Focus on what you can change and let the rest go. Remember the beginning of the serenity prayer:

 God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Happy New Year from Lift2Enrich

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