11 April 2020
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SWOT yourself - but don't forget the D-factor

One of the greatest revelations that hit me like a eureka-moment was when I realised that one of the greatest business assessment strategies — the SWOT analysis — is also a valuable tool for assessing us as individuals who have goals.

But before you SWOT yourself — looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — you have to have mastered the D-factor to ensure the efforts for self-realisation are worth it.

D-factor? Desire!

If you want to lose weight, increase your wealth, get that promotion, build your business, make the sporting team or whatever, you have to really want it. As Napoleon Hill of that famous book, Think and Grow Rich, said: “The starting point of all achievement is desire.”

To take it to a more spiritual level, let me share what Confucius counselled: “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal success.”

Gee I wished I’d said that!

Serena Williams (pictured) shared what powers her and it’s something that we all could relate to: “I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.”

And Billy Connolly showed desire can power more than winners in business and sport and that it works for those in the arts too. “For me, it’s about the desire to win. My audience becomes a crowd of wild animals and I have to be the lion-tamer or be eaten.”

OK, we get it — desire is unbelievably important — but how does someone who has difficulty with the D-factor change themself?

Former NFL player, Israel Idonije, wrote a piece in entrepreneur.com and pinpointed 5 ways to get that desire to win by beating your physical and mental barriers.

This is what he recommends:

  1. Understand what you bring to the game. Write down your gifts and abilities. Understand what assets you have.
  2. Understand the rules of the game. Understand those rules and have goals that help you eventually come through as a winner.
  3. Define your win and put together a game plan. Israel says you need to know what your big win is but you should set yourself small goals so you can get better daily. I always argue that you don’t get better in a day but daily!
  4. Be disciplined but flexible. Do what has to be done to ensure success and be fixed on this big goal. However, he says you must be flexible on the little goals along the way. For example, I was once striving to do 100 push ups a day in one go but an expert in physical exercise suggested 5x20 done really slowly would be better. I happily changed to a more enjoyable but better training regime!
  5. Mentors — find one! “Receiving feedback, advice and support from someone you trust, who is where you want to be someday, is invaluable to accelerating the execution of your game plan.

The famous Aussie chef, Neil Perry, once told me his mentor made him do a SWOT analysis of himself as a leader in his business. The process showed him he was wasting time doing stuff he wasn’t great at, such as running the books and administration.

As a consequence, he put all the jobs he wasn’t good at and that he found boring aside, and went looking for someone trained for boredom — an accountant!

Luckily he found his cousin, Trish Richards, who was a CPA. She took on those jobs and Neil was able to market his business, write books, do his Qantas stuff and build his brand. He had the desire but the SWOT and mentor showed him how to win.

Babette Bensoussan of Mindshifts.com.au says SWOT analyses are often misused.

The first step in using a SWOT analysis is to understand each of the elements. She recommends writing all your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats down, listing as many as possible.

The second step should see you match each of the SWOT boxes with possible strategies you could undertake to maximise your strengths and make your weaknesses irrelevant.

To show you how, Babette says you need to match say your Strengths with your Opportunities and, out of this, you should come up with some activities/strategies you could develop to help you win.

What might shock many of you is that experts argue that boosting your desire to win can happen via the adoption of new, daily processes.

Writing in entrepreneur.com, Tim Sykes says there are eight habits to lift your game. Here they are, with my takes on the subjects:

  1. Get up early
    Create time when it's quiet to do stuff to enhance your competitive advantage.
  2. Read
    You should be reading every day but not just news. Look for people who teach you stuff like me in Switzer Daily and Weekend Switzer!
  3. Exercise
    Tim says: “Even if it is just for 30 minutes, it is important to start exercising daily. Exercise can help release endorphins that can naturally boost your mood and your energy levels. Not only will you feel happier and more energized but those who work out regularly report lower levels of stress.”
  4. Practice gratitude
    “This can be a hard one for some people and it’s something that unfortunately many of us need to consciously practice,” he suggests. “When our lives get consumed with work and personal demands it can be hard to remember to show gratitude to those we interact with. “Try to make a conscious effort to practice this and as it starts to become more natural, you will be surprised by how many doors open and how many new relationships you can form by showing sincere gratitude to those around you.”
  5. Schedule your day before it start
    Treat every day professionally and set out what lies ahead. Little changes like this to your daily regime eventually have a big impact on you and changing you.
  6. Focus on high-priority tasks first
    Tim argues it’s good to tackle important tasks first so get these done so you can then focus on smaller things.
  7. Always go the extra mile
    Don’t be comfortable doing what’s expected — over-deliver! And become an over-deliverer.
  8. Improve in one area each day
    When you plan your day, single out one thing for improvement. Run a little faster or a little longer or maybe show more interest in one of your colleagues or customers. “No matter what it is, take the time to really try to improve one small thing, and before you know it, the improvements in your personal and professional life will surprise you,” Tim wisely argues.

What I’ve gifted you is a great pile of things you can do to lift your game but the one question you’re going to have to ask yourself after you read my last sentence is: “Do I have the D-factor to improve my game?”

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