Men are fascinating in the way they go about analyzing, attacking and solving problems.
From a woman’s point of view, it looks a little like a real-life “game of thrones,” only in a suit and tie. Bless their hearts.
If you are not familiar, SWOT is an official-sounding acronym which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and last but not least-threats. It is a technique used for evaluating risk, how to handle an existing problem, and planning for growth.
In any situation, it’s a good idea to understand the opportunity at hand, what your skills are, what you truly enjoy, where you are lacking, what level of risk is involved, and, what could prevent you from succeeding.
Masculine or feminine, it just makes sense.
In a business setting, the process is usually to analyze what you’re dealing with, analyze the analysis, and then start setting goals from there.
Wow! I understand it, and it’s a very organized, disciplined and valuable process, but I have to say I am glad I was able to use a little softer approach in discovering where my heart was and what I truly wanted out of life.
From my vantage point, it’s OK to simply ask yourself “what is my pressing problem? Am I dissatisfied with my career and looking for a change? How can I stay at home with the kids and have a nice balance between family life and a meaningful career?”
I’m poking a little fun at the stiff corporate approach to problem-solving, but it really is important to ask yourself what you value and what you believe in. Good things evolve from that as long as you are as honest, respectful, and as giving with yourself as you are with others.
To be fair, having honest conversations with yourself and reaching out to friends for advice and encouragement isn’t all that much different from performing a mini-SWOT on yourself. Everyone is looking for answers to problems and asking questions like “where am I at, how did I get myself here, and what’s the best way out?”
I did the same thing when I began thinking about going into business. I was addressing the problem of going back to work after being at home with 3 kids for quite a while. I loved those kids and wanted to stay a mom for them and didn’t want to lose that precious connection.
In my case, the chance to start a business presented itself uniquely, but that didn’t exclude me from inherent risk and made it all the more important that I understand what my strengths and weaknesses were. I might be creative, and great with customer service, but my grasp of small business accounting may need help from Uncle Artie, for example.
It was equally valuable to be clear on what the scope of the opportunity was out there for this business to fully appreciate what I had in my grasp. You can’t know exactly, but it helps to understand your target customer and the potential popularity of your service.
Honestly, I didn’t give much credence to the threats part of the equation. You handle that by studying the competition, choosing your niche, believe in yourself, and go.
So, SWOT has a softer side but the same effect of clarifying and defining what the opportunity is, how to pursue it, knowing what you do best and getting help where you need it. I’m grateful for having done it. I chose to stay a mom and have a fulfilling career.
It has made all the difference in the world for me and my family, and it just might for yours too!
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