There are a few things I need to clear up before I get going because I can hear your judgmental eye-rolling. That's right, I can hear it. It's called bionic hearing--come at me, bro.
So first, I want to state that I am not--nor ever have been--a Belieber. However, I did date one. And since then, I've been committed to many a futile therapy session.
And number two... I'm not going to regurgitate how social media propelled him into the stratosphere and how--through careful career grooming by his handlers--he has amassed a net worth of over $160 million... Ok, so maybe that was just a bit of info-spittle.
Lastly, if you're reading this hoping that it's another "Follow your dreams because anything is possible" post then, sadly, you're mistaken.
Seriously. How many aspiring actors--some who can't perform their way out of a box--move to NYC to follow said dream and leave a few years later, tail tucked between their legs?
Or American Idol contestants who--probably encouraged by their "friends"--went through humiliating auditioning experiences?
Forgive me if this reads jaded. That's not my intent.
In fact, my intent with this article is the opposite. I want you to be aware of the importance of self-assessment and marketing your strengths... And if those strengths happen to coincide with your passion, then you, my friend, have the golden ticket.
Not everyone with a YouTube account is a ticking-viral-time bomb. It takes some talent and a lot of luck.
If your ambition is a bit more modest like--let's say--starting a business, finding a job, etc. Then learning about SWOT Analysis will do wonders for you.
Great. So tell me what is SWOT Analysis?
It is a structured method of evaluating a project or business venture.
Or maybe in this case... yourself.
Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats.
The first two elements assess the internal aspects of a respective business/project/product. And the latter two represent the external/environmental.
Making sense? Great.
How does the "Biebs" fit into this?
Well... One of the primary reasons for SWOT Analysis is positioning. Let's say you're a product. Now, there might be many products who look and act nearly exactly like you. The key word there is nearly. SWOT helps set the playing field for you to find something unique about yourself which you can market.
Ergo, positioning. And Justin Bieber, clueless as he might be, is a product who positioned himself using a social medium and--through consistent impressions--sold himself as an artist.
Ok... Sort of makes sense. So how do I apply SWOT to myself?
This is when it gets fun! Maybe...
Now, I'm going to warn you. Brutal honesty is required for the internal elements of SWOT. If that's hard for you to do--as it should be for most--then bring some friends who you can trust to be objective.
Take out a pen and paper and write out a list of your strengths. This could be anything from skills, talents, to personality traits. Are you emotionally intelligent, type A, a networker, planner, etc?
Anything you can honestly say to yourself, "Yes, I'm a boss at this."
Same principle here. What doesn't come so naturally to you? This doesn't mean that you can't develop these traits into strengths later on in life. But the point of the SWOT is to assess the current landscape.
No need to be hard on yourself, but just make sure these are things that you can admit, "I really suck at this."
I really suck at joking... See?
Being aware of your combined strengths and weaknesses will start opening up your eyes to opportunities.
Maybe it's a PR job you never considered until you realized you have strong social skills, a fluid command of language, and a deficiency in math--which isn't relevant in such a field anyway.
Or maybe you're not a social butterfly--maybe you have an anxiety disorder--but you're a wiz with numbers. The tech industries have a seemingly infinite number of options for folks like you.
Many factors can threaten you and your opportunities. Economic climate, government policies, etc. But I think the biggest hurdle is one that affects everyone--whether individual or organization.
Competition. How much is out there? And how tough would it be to overcome?
But don't let the threat of competition keep you from opportunities...
After all, Bieber wasn't the first child-artist to submit to YouTube.
You might be drawn to industries saturated with competition. But the important thing is--after an honest SWOT assessment--you position yourself uniquely.
And by positioning I mean niche yourself relative to your industry of choice.
What makes you unique?