Accountability is an important aspect of any program designed to ignite growth whether it is personal growth, business growth, spiritual growth, or financial growth. Part of the value of any aspect of a personal/professional development program is knowing why it works and how it works.
In this article, I hope to highlight four of the reasons that accountability is so helpful and four tips about how to use accountability to propel yourself to success in any area of life.
The most straight-forward definition of accountability is “to be responsible for one’s actions”. If we are able to find support, encouragement, and motivation from a relatable human being, we are more likely to stay on track. Here’s why:
1. Accountability tricks your brain (in a good way) to believe that the desired goal or action step is truly important. Your brain assumes that if you have to answer to someone else about it, it must be very important. An example of this I have seen while working with entrepreneurs is that most business owners feel a little lost when left completely on their own. They love not having a mean ol’ boss, but they also crave deadlines, support, ideas, and suggestions. Many of these entrepreneurs will seek out mentors, consultants, or coaches to tell them what to do, why they should do it, how to do it, and when to do it.
2. When you are accountable to another living, breathing (and talking) human being, you are going to have access to objective opinions, feedback, gentle nudges to get back on track, and/or the proverbial “kick in the pants” as needed.
3. Because we grow up with accountability in our families (parents, grandparents, siblings), our society (police officers, judges, laws) and in the classroom (teachers, principals, friends) – we are already wired to seek out approval from others. If we can harness that for our benefit through accountability partners – we provide the boundaries and structure that we are already familiar with and need.
4. Along similar lines – remember peer pressure? Remember how we were accountable to our teenaged friends about our clothing choices (either we were teased or applauded)? Most of us still have little parts of ourselves that still crave that peer approval – and an accountability partner can provide this for us as we move forward. Just make sure that this time, it is not a pimply-faced teenager, but a wise, non-judgmental yet firm accountability partner.
Now that we know why accountability works, let’s explore which ingredients help to create quality accountability situations. Here are four tips to make accountability helpful (not hurtful):
1. Make sure the group or person you pick to hold you accountable is stable, has attained some measure of success in the area you are seeking to grow, and is able to be firm yet loving (has good judgment without being judgmental/critical).
2. Before your accountability arrangement begins, map out and agree on how the accountability will work. For example, plan what your group or accountability partner will do when you don’t make your goals or take your agreed-upon action steps. Put it in writing and sign a contract with each other.
3. Meet regularly. I recommend meeting via telephone, Skype, or face to face once per week. This keeps everything fresh in your mind and allows you to take course-correcting actions more quickly. It works best if you keep it at the same time on the same day each week.
4. As you grow and change, your vision will evolve also. As your vision evolves, you will need to choose new accountability groups or partners that fit your new phase of development. Choose people or groups that can inject new ideas and new inspiration into your venture.
For example: If you are targeting financial goals, as your finances grow and improve, choose new partners that have even higher levels of financial success than you do. If you are targeting spiritual growth goals, then choose a spiritual accountability partner (or group) that shares the same values and has already attained some of the spiritual goals you have yet to realize.
Accountability, when used properly and consistently, can help you move up and onward much more quickly than trying to do it alone. If you are missing this aspect in your personal development, career or business development, I can provide that for you through coaching. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I understand the intricacies of building accountability plans that are uniquely tailored to suit the unique personality types and individual levels of success and motivation.
Call me (Sherry) at 760-445-3415 to claim your free 15 minute accountability-strategizing session. In 15 minutes I can ask the right questions to be able to tell you how to incorporate accountability into your personal or professional development in a way that will give you the best odds for using accountability in a way that will allow you to achieve your goal(s).