Hello, and welcome to your 2018 Series on “Finding A  New Direction In Life”. We hope you get a lot out of it. 

It can be difficult to find a new direction, but some simple exercises and inspiration can help. Let’s start with a basic SWOT analysis.

How a Personal SWOT Analysis Can Help You Find the Right Direction

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SWOT stands for:

* Strengths

* Weaknesses

* Opportunities

* Threats

It is usually a form of business analysis that entrepreneurs use to determine whether or not a deal is worth pursuing.

The strengths and weaknesses are internal issues that need to be assessed, and the opportunities and threats are external issues that need to be examined.

Assessing strengths and weaknesses in an honest way will help keep you on track for success, because these are the factors you can actually control. If you’re sure you’ve done your best, then you can do well in the face of anything that you might encounter in relation to your career or personal life. 

Not all of us are good at appreciating our strengths, however, and we might sometimes have real, or imagined weaknesses. 

Areas to consider when you are looking at strengths and weaknesses include:

* Things you love doing

* Things you are good at

* Things that you can make money doing

* Skills you have that are in high demand, such as PowerPoint decks or making videos 

* Relationships with people / a good network of contacts

In terms of weaknesses, you might consider:

* Things you hate doing

* Things you are bad at

* Things that you struggle to do that you really need if you wish to be successful 

* Skills you are lacking that are holding you back from success 

* Competition

* People who drain your energy

Once you are able to make the most of your strengths and think about ways to minimize the impact of your weaknesses, you can start to look at the opportunities. What opportunities do your strengths give you? How can you pursue them? If you do pursue them, what risk or threat might be involved?

For example, imagine you are great at PowerPoint presentations and decide to set yourself up as a freelancer/virtual assistant online, helping clients. You have all the equipment, skills and some free time. It should be a great opportunity. But there is competition, and you might end up wasting your time marketing yourself if you don’t get a lot of clients. One of your weaknesses might be staying organized, so you would need to work on that if you are going to be successful.

There will also be some threats you can’t control:

* Market trends, like new products and technology or shifts in needs

* Economic trends such as local, national and international financial trends; for example, the recession of 2008

You may not be able to control these things, but you can control your response to them and come up with new directions that will enable you to succeed. 

In the next article, we will look at some people who did a SWOT and changed careers completely. 

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