Accentuate your positives - find your strengths

“You've got to accentuate the positive eliminate the negative and latch on to the affirmative. Don't mess with Mister In-Between. You've got to spread joy up to the maximum, bring gloom down to the minimum, have faith or pandemonium's liable to walk upon the scene” - Johnny Mercer & Harold Arien.

As human beings we tend to focus on the negatives. Positive psychology looks at what we are good at. If we play to our strengths instead of concentrating on disorder and stress, we tend to be negative. However if we focus on what we are good at we can learn to lighten up and give ourselves a break.

Find out what makes you happy, bring joy into your life and fulfilment will follow. Learn to focus on what you do well.

A simple SWOT/SLOT can be a useful tool in business. As a diagnostic it can help to analyse a business at a point in time. This is a simple tool that is often used in the world of work but it can also be used on an individual. I have used this tool with great effect with clients who have added to it over time and used it as basis for job applications or to help in building their confidence.

A SWOT/SLOT is also a great tool to use on yourself as well as your own business. It is a way of finding out where you are right now and what you may like to work on. 

This is a dynamic tool - it is not something that you do and then never use it again. It can be used to grow with you as you change and develop, and can be added too over a period of time. It can be used as a starting point for your future self if you want to make some changes or develop yourself in some way.

Start with asking yourself how are you at your best? And start to look at your strengths. Really think about what you do well, what you enjoy doing, what people say that you are good at. Once you have your strengths you can find your weaknesses or learning needs, you probably know these very well so don’t spend too much time here. Then look at what opportunities there may be for you and where are your threats coming from?

S   – Strengths.

W – Weaknesses or L – learning.

O – Opportunities (external).

 T – Threat (external).

Exercise: SWOT/SLOT

Say for example that you wanted to find a new job in a new field of work, you might start with a SWOT/SLOT analysis, and the ideas below are an example of how it might look. Strengths and weakness are about you, while opportunities and threats are external factors that may impact upon you either directly or indirectly.

Strengths

  • Established reputation - e.g. good with people.

Weaknesses/Learning

  • Acquire knowledge about the new area of work - e.g. find out about people in the field. 

Opportunities (external)

  • Are you properly informed and organised to deal with these issues, and are certain there are no hidden surprises?

  • Can any of your threats be turned into opportunities?

Threats (external)

  • Where risk is low ignore these issues and don’t be distracted by them.

  • Where risk is high assess your options to mitigate the risk.

A SWOT/SLOT can be a powerful tool. Once you have identified your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you can decide which ones you are going to do something about. Build on this over time. Ask your friends and relatives what they think too.

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