OK… so, you’ve got a SWOT Team… now what?
Well… it helps to know what you want to do.
Have you got ideas? Are you starting completely from scratch? Do you have direction? What’s holding you back?? It’s time to aim at another building. Are you ready? OK… you know what to do… let’s aim… shoot… and land!
Building #2 — Gaining perspective by taking inventory of yourself.
How does taking inventory help you gain direction? An inventory helps you better understand who you are… and not specifically the career side of yourself. You’re whole self. You’ll be able to determine visually from your findings what fits you and what does not.
We’ll look a few different methods.
Taking a personal inventory of yourself can take shape in several different ways. Some methods may work for you and some may not. I’ll share with you what works for me… as well as, some other methods to try.
First Method: Inventory Book
I’ve created an inventory book… including everything from my values to my ideal office. What works for me… may not work for you. When asked… it’s difficult for me to spontaneously make a list of my accomplishments, skills, values, etc. — my mind goes blank. I have trouble articulating quickly or generating a list of my talents. What I am not able to articulate via lists or stories. I can articulate through pictures and words found in magazines, postcards, and other paper media sources.
There is something special that happens when you allow yourself to tap into different parts of your brain. So, that’s what we are going to do. You DON’T have to be an artist to do this.
- Sketch book (mine is a 70 pg Academie sketch diary — 14″x11″)
- Glue Stick
- Scissor (specifically for cutting paper)
- Magic Markers
If you don’t have any magazines, most local libraries recycle magzines and offer them free of charge to the public. So… go crazy. Collect all types. Don’t limit yourself to only magazines you would usually purchase.
I like to have a variety of magazines covering: home, small business, money, backpacking, computers, etc. Look at manuals, post cards, newspapers, and brochures. I think that the post cards for local events offer great slogans and photos.
What to do:
- Rip, rip, rip!!!
- Tear out ANYTHING that stands out to you. If you find something that you linger on, rip it out. Rip out words, phrases, and best of all photos/pictures.
1. Once you’ve got a pile of clippings ripped out (ripped or cut, they don’t have to be cut perfectly), start to sort into piles the clippings. Like goes with like. For instance, I’ve sorted mine via: fashion, work, ideal office, values, personality, home, relationships, odds & ends, recipes, etc. Do what works for you.
Where to start:
I started with my strengths. I’d been working through the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” put on by the Gallup Organization… the book includes a special quiz you can take that will determine what your five primary strengths are. Plus a description of what that looks like. Mine included: Strategic, Relator, Individualization, Ideation, and Input.
You can start with anything: strengths, values, what you were like in junior high, your personality, interests, etc. It’s easier to let your book evolve naturally instead of planning it out per each page. You may realize that you want to add or subtract information.
My table of contents looks something like this:
- My Ideal Job
- Spiritual Gifting
- Fruits of the Spirit
- Top Three Values
- Life Values
- Natural Gifts
- Honoring Gifts (including realizations)
- What I don’t want
- Ideals (Career) — office, ideal day, wardrobe, etc…
I will add more as I continue to take inventory of myself.
2. With magic marker in hand… label your page in large letters.
3. Next, grab your glue stick, scissors for trimming (if you want), and clippings. Start placing them on your page. It’s up to you to determine the best layout/placement that will communicate what you are trying to say.
I found as I was arranging my clippings, insights would form. For instance, while I was creating my natural gifts page… it helped me to see visually all of my natural skills and talents. As I am on unemployment searching for a job (paying rent is good). I realized… by being able to “see”… visually seeing something I had physically created… this collage showed me that taking administrative jobs was not an answer! Yes, clerical jobs may be readily available… but, they don’t fit me. I also was able to see what natural gifts I was NOT honoring. And, from there… the realization of what I DID NOT want to do in the vision that I have. What a surprise that was! And… what a relief to realize it!! Now, I can better hone my role and my vision.
So, let your pages evolve AS you are doing them.
From creating this book, not only do I better understand myself… I better understand changes I want to make to my vision and how to present it. I know what my passions are and now I can see better what they are not. Very important in gaining ground and determining direction in your career.