Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?

So many changes have happened to me in 2020! To name a few:

  • I officially have no more babies! My kids are all considered as kids and not babies (bittersweet).
  • Both of my older kids are now middle schoolers (6th and 7th grade)
  • I transitioned from being part time working from home to full time working from home.
  • I started a new business
  • I re-organized a pre-existing business

With the many changes that have occurred, I decided to use my scheduled vacation time to organize my home and businesses. I’ll be honest, I originally had a travel vacation scheduled but COVID happened and instead of searching for a new destination, I decided to audit my life! This was perfect timing.

This week I started with a SWOT analysis. Outlining my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Your strengths and weaknesses are generally internal to you. Your opportunities and threats are external factors. The goal is to build on your strengths, improve your weaknesses, eliminate or lessen your threats, and explore as many opportunities as possible.

When writing my SWOT analysis, I realized I’ve had more opportunities that I thought! I recognize that when I’m hard on myself and give myself minimal credit for what I am capable of, I feel like that small piece of capability! Give yourself credit and take those opportunities!

In the past, people would always say “Erien, you’re such an optimist!” I never realized until I had multiple kids how powerful this trait was to my lifestyle. Being an optimist allows me to display all my strengths naturally. Because I am always pulling on myself to be the best, being optimistic has its downfalls. The thing is, while I know I can rely on my strengths and the opportunities ahead to pull me through the challenges, I tend to minimize my weaknesses and avoid my threats which is a huge no no. If you are a pessimist and tend to focus on weaknesses, I imagine a lot of stress is added to you. I would challenge you to highlight your wins more often.
Here are some reasons you may want to explore creating a SWOT analysis for you and your family:

  1. Insecurities
  2. Being unorganized
  3. Life changes
  4. School challenges
  5. Hardships

Like most children, my kids despise threats and thrive from recognizing their strengths which in turn allows me to point out how they can use strengths to work on their challenges/weaknesses. My kids love to see their wins so this is usually an easy and accepting fix for my older kids.

Kid Example: You are given an opportunity to play your favorite position in a sport but you’ve been really focused on talking on the phone. The threat is spending too much time talking with friends and missing the opportunity to practice and enhance your skills. As a consequence, you lose the “opportunity” of playing the position you really wanted.

Mom example: You are a planning pro! The opportunity is having your ‘ish’ always laid out in advance. Whenever you take a family trip, you have everything you need and nothing is every left behind. However, if you have a moment to be spontaneous to take a family trip, your weakness is feeling overwhelmed or not knowing how to enjoy your time.
*Both examples were used from my family experiences*

I have included two downloads to help navigate your personal and family SWOT analysis.

Strengths: I am very familiar with my family’s strengths because it’s the easiest to recognize. There are always strengths that surprise me which is always exciting. My husband and I recognize and reward good behavior so the kids know their behavior is valued.
Weaknesses: When we identify what our weaknesses are, we talk with each other to see what you can do to make it better. It’s a joint effort, a family effort. Of course sometimes it’s easier said than done but be intentional.
Opportunities: Are we taking advantage of our opportunities that are being presented? If not, what’s holding us back? I find that giving goal deadlines and follow up helps motivate our family.
Threats: I know it can be hard when emotions are high but staying connected helps during the times of threats. When a threat is more serious, please don’t sweep them under the rug. Ask for help. Get a counselor. The Dickens family is guilty. We can’t handle everything. We pray and have someone to confide in when we are facing a threat.

Okay so you’ve identified your family SWOT. What’s next?
Determine how often you will update your SWOT analysis and be consistent.

When using the downloaded documents (see the links above), look for potential connections between the 4 elements of your analysis. For example, could you use some of your strengths to open up further opportunities? And, would even more opportunities become available by eliminating some of your weaknesses?

Once you’ve completed your SWOT analysis please share if this has helped you and/or your family!