Know thyself - Your personal SWOT & limits / by Marlous Teh

always be a work in progress

You are the only person who will truly be able to make yourself happy. And if we want to be happier, be better at anything we do, we have to know our starting points. I love the SWOT in general because it’s a great framework to do a quick assessment for career, personal and relationship directions and changes. I highlight the SWOT approach here more in the context of direction setting for your career and personal growth, however, it can also be used for relationships. It works well when you have set your goal or direction first. E.g. “I want to be a professional paid coach and speaker.” I’ll highlight more about setting the right goals later.

Your personal SWOT

When you’ve set your goal, look at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

  • Strengths - What are my gifts, strengths, skills, talents, abilities? What empowers and energises me? What do I like / enjoy / find rewarding?

  • Weaknesses - What discourages me? What do I dislike? What are skills that are not at the level I want them to be?

  • Opportunities - How can I further develop my skills, talents, or improve my weaknesses? How can I make use of my gifts, strengths and skills to be of value to others in a way that it fulfils me too?

  • Threats - What rewards/expectations/fulfilment/essentials/imbalances do I have to mindful of?

Setting personal limits

If you’re anything like me, this is one that I always need to remind myself off. As a striving high performer and passionate opportunist, setting boundaries to ensure I can keep giving the best of me to the world and myself is always something I have to be mindful of. Six honest serving men have been my best help, where I highlight three core ones when it comes to setting personal limits; the what-why-and-how test.

  • What: content - what is the opportunity/project about? What is the content, the context, how many hours will it require? In what area of my life does it apply? Career? Personal? Relationships? What is expected of me? What do I need to prepare or what is involved from my end?

  • Why: motivations and needs - on both superficial and a deeper level. How does it meet my psychological, social and emotional needs? Are there challenges? Are there opportunities? Why should I do it?

  • How: resources - what does it require to do it/take it on? Three levels: Time Management, Prioritisation, Organisational skills. Do you have the time for it? Is it important/relevant to you right now? Does it fit your other priorities in your life right now?

Consider Limit Setting:

  • Alternatives - maybe after two months / revisit later?

  • Mix and match - Voluntary work? Or part time? Freelancer? One off project?

Goal motivation and achieving it

Set a destination/goal

  • Why does it suit me/Why am I doing this? What does your heart feel/say and what is the contribution you want to make?

  • Think about your SWOT. What skills, qualifications, experiences do I have now?

  • What further training / experience do I need? How do I obtain these? What steps do I need to take to become it? How do I get in?

  • Who can help me/connect me?

  • What timeframes do I need to consider?

  • What are the KPIs for my happiness/health/wellbeing/overall fulfilment at what markers of time? What criteria will I use to assess if things are on or off course? (Heart, hands, head)

  • When am I planning to take each step towards it?

  • Review every two months. If unhappy, what is the plan?


Hope you’ve enjoyed this! I’ve found this very helpful in my own journey when I was setting goals/limits, considering a change in career or deciding on taking on projects and still use it to date! Would love to hear if this was helpful to you and let me know if you have any other tips! Happy learning :)