The SWOT matrix is a tool used in the business environment that allows for a more in-depth understanding of the state of companies and the development of an intervention plan when problems are encountered.

Thanks to its effectiveness in the business world, this technique has been transferred to the personal sphere, with the aim of helping people to better understand their reality, as well as helping to develop strategies to achieve their vital goals.

In this article we will see what this technique consists of, what its components are and how to apply it in our lives to achieve everything we set out to do.

What is a personal FOD matrix?

The DOFA matrix, in its most general sense, is a tool that allows us to analyse the current and real state of a company, organisation or person.

Thanks to this, and through the detection of strengths and weaknesses, it is possible to develop strategies aimed at achieving goals or make a diagnosis of the organization, with the intention of intervening and improving it.

The personal DFPD matrix is a variant that focuses on the characteristics of an individual . It facilitates being able to fulfil both personal and professional goals that we set, and in recent years it has been gaining popularity due to the emergence and rise of personal brands.

This tool allows us to know ourselves more deeply, as well as to detect those aspects of our environment that will help us to improve our lives.

With DOFA matrices we can look for and solve problems that hinder our path to success, whether they are related to our working lives or to more personal aspects. By means of this we can improve both in the professional and in the psychological field , since we lay the foundations to promote self-esteem and relationships with others, as well as discover what it is about our personality that can make it difficult for us to achieve what we have set out to do.

The fact that it has been used in the business environment does not mean that it is a difficult tool to apply. Quite the contrary. It is enough to have a sheet of paper, a pen and half an hour to elaborate a personal DOFA matrix, besides not requiring much imagination to detect what influences us when we reach our goal.

What are the elements that make it up?

The personal FOD matrix has four elements, which are grouped into two types: internal analysis components and external analysis components .


The components of internal analysis are those that are related to the characteristics of the individual himself, and one has a certain degree of control over them. These characteristics can be fundamental in understanding our success or failure. The positive personal aspects are the strengths, and the negative ones are the weaknesses .

On the other hand, the components of external analysis are those that are determined by the characteristics of the environment, such as the professional environment. These aspects are difficult to control, and come in the form of opportunities and threats.

Below we explain in more detail each of the four components of the SWOT matrix.

1. Strengths

These are the internal characteristics that help to achieve the proposed objective . These can be different types of qualities, such as positive feelings, favourable personality traits, academic qualifications, professional experience or technical knowledge, to name but a few.

Analyzing these aspects makes it easier to modify the life goal in such a way that it is plausible to achieve it, as well as to see what brings you closer to your life goal.

2. Weaknesses

It is all those characteristics of ourselves that keep us from our goal . They can be defects, fears or simply knowledge that we must expand.

It is very important to be aware of what it is that limits us, as this way we can know what we should improve and be able to remove any impediment in which we have a certain degree of control.

3. Opportunities

These are the environmental conditions that act as facilitators to reach the proposed goal. Through them we can take advantage and get closer quickly to our goal .

4. Threats

They represent the characteristics of the environment that can make the process of reaching the goal difficult. These are conditions external to us , such as politics, social problems or family dynamics, that can influence us negatively.

How do you perform a personal FOD analysis?

First of all, you must be clear about what you want to achieve . This goal must be concrete. It is very important to be clear about this, as otherwise it may prejudice the decision making that will take place throughout the process.

1. Preparation of the personal DOFA matrix

On a sheet of paper we draw the matrix, by drawing a square divided into four smaller squares . Each of these will be one of the four DOFA components, and will be placed according to whether they are positive or negative components and whether they are internal or external.

2. Internal analysis: strengths and weaknesses

It consists of analyzing those aspects of us, that is, everything related to our personality, knowledge, skills and others, which influence the achievement of the proposed goal and that we ourselves can modify.

It starts by analyzing the strengths, that is, everything positive that helps to achieve the goal. During this step, we can ask ourselves some questions and try to answer them :

  • What skills do I have?
  • What am I good at?
  • What do I like to do?
  • Do I have a reputation for anything?
  • What qualifications do I have?
  • How do the others flatter me?

Once the strengths are detected, the weaknesses are addressed. It is very important to take into account the negative aspects of ourselves that can be an obstacle on our way to success. This can be personality traits , such as being introverted in a job where you have to have social skills.

The analysis of weaknesses is not simply to detect them and that’s it. It is necessary to elaborate a strategic plan to correct those aspects that burden us.

Some questions that may arise at this point are

  • What should I improve about my personality?
  • What habits are detrimental to achieving my goal?
  • What are my fears?
  • Am I being criticized? For what?
  • What titles am I missing?
  • What procrastino? What are you wasting my time for?

3. External analysis: opportunities and threats

Once we have evaluated ourselves, seeing the positive and the negative, it is necessary to see which characteristics of the environment help and hinder us to reach our objective .

First, we will analyze the opportunities, that is to say, everything in the environment that can give us some kind of advantage. We can ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What changes are occurring in society that can benefit me?
  • Is there any change in my life that could be transcendental?
  • Is there a problem in society that I can help solve?
  • Am I part of an important network or an influential circle?
  • What training is on offer that will allow me to retrain?

We will then analyze those aspects of the environment that may be hostile to us, and that directly or indirectly threaten our path to success. The aim of this part of the analysis is to see what we can do to minimize these dangers or how we can learn to overcome them .

We can therefore ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Is there anything going on in society that could hurt me?
  • Is there a problem in my life?
  • How much competition do I have?
  • What aspects of my professional or work environment prevent me from achieving what I want?

Once the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats has been achieved, we will be able to know where we stand and plan a strategy that will lead us to success.

Bibliographic references:

  • Dyson, R. G. (2004). Strategic development and SWOT analysis at the University of Warwick. European Journal of Operational Research, 152(3), 631-640.
  • Hill, T. and Westbrook, R. (1997). SWOT analysis: It’s time for a product recall. Long Range Planning, 30(1), 46-52.
  • Jackson, S.E., Joshi, A. and Erhardt, N.L. (2003). Recent Research on Team and Organizational Diversity: SWOT Analysis and Implications. Journal of Management, 29(6), 801-830.