A self awareness strategy for authors to set goals for 2022 and beyond.
“Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes. It enables you to keep growing.”Lawrence Bossidy
What role does self awareness play in your author goal setting?
Being the inventor of author solutions that I tend to be, I’ve recently come up with a method of self awareness that you can use to guide your plan to grow as an author this year and beyond. It can also help you make key decisions in your writing career because you’ll be working from a more informed place of who you are as an author.
I based my model on the traditional SWOT analysis used by many businesses for similar purposes of assessment, growth, and decision making. SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. I also chose the SWOT analysis to play with, since as authors, whether indie or traditionally published, we are all businesses.
But rather than SWOT, I’m calling this author self awareness strategy: SWOS. Replacing the T for threats – with S, for stories.
Because as authors, I think we’re more adept than most people at handling threats, career or personal, based on the lessons we’ve learned from our own life stories and the stories of others (like through reading books). Guessing which threats are coming our way can lead to overthinking and becoming paralyzed in worry from obstacles that might or might not ever show up.
Humans learn from stories, especially those of us who are the storytellers. Stories are our life navigation language.
Here are some things to consider when creating your own SWOS self awareness strategy:
Strengths: In addition to your own intuitive awareness of your strengths, what do others say about you? Are there any patterns in the compliments you frequently receive, whether personally or in your career? What do people find valuable about you? If you are building your author brand, consider interviewing or surveying your audience and ask them these questions. The best surprises are the answers that never occurred to you!
Weaknesses: Since, outside of critics, most of your audience generally isn’t telling you about your weaknesses, this tends to be more of an introspective process. Start by making an honest list of things that you’re not particularly good at – skills related to being an author that are outside your wheelhouse.
Then, rather than wasting time unnecessarily trying to force weaknesses to become strengths, approach your “W” box from the standpoint of minimum viability. Be just good enough to avoid causing actual harm to your author career. Then, explore options for delegating your weaknesses to those who call them strengths. Don’t over invest in your weaknesses. Reallocate that time to making your strengths even stronger.
Opportunities: Make a list of all the things you don’t know about being an author but would like to learn – from idea development through writing, publishing, sales, marketing, and branding. Now add what will be required to learn each thing. Create a clear action plan with tasks, resources that can help you, and dates. The action plan is what turns things to learn, to actual career opportunities for you as an author.
Stories: As authors, we’ve hit the jackpot here! We are veritable story sponges, reading books and watching real life unfold before us, constantly spotting the people, places, and plotlines of life that can be translated not only into story ideas, but also into lessons and learning opportunities for our author careers. Tune your self awareness strategy radar to these life stories and train yourself to mine valuable lessons for your author career, from book ideas to content inspiration and more!
By the way…
If you like my “SWOS” strategy for authors, you’ll love hearing NYTs bestselling author Chris Brogan and I exploring the model together in episode 1,000 of my daily podcast for authors, Your Daily Writing Habit. Check out our conversation!