This word has an immediate impact on our state. It just sounds punitive & heavy. And yet, without it, most of us will never hit our full potential. Not just because we don’t effectively self-adminster the carrot and stick but also because we often don’t see our true potential. Our perception of our potential is warped with limiting beliefs, that little voice inside us that thrives on creating doubt, & an uncanny ability to succumb to our fears. “I could never do that because <fill in the blank with your go-to fave fear.> We also can justify, rationalize, and weazle out of progress when we are in our own heads. Monkey Mind.
Accountability is a natural part of our life. Our parents, bosses, teachers, the government, spouses, our priests. There are messages of “you must do this, you have to do that” all around us. And some of them are very powerful & positive. For example, having a boss that holds us accountable to achieve a breakthrough result on a project that scares us is of amazing value.
But doing things because you must, should, have to is disempowering. These reasons come from a place of fear – wanting to avoid a ramification. I don’t want to get fired, disappoint, fail a class, fill in the blank.
It is when we achieve because we want, desire, & choose to that we tap into our power. This shift comes from a choice that you make – a choice to connect personally with the task at hand & to have deep belief that you can do it. The choice to engage accountability – to invite it – changes the experience from disempowering to empowering . In other words, if I invite you to hold me accountable on a killer project versus you holding me accountable as a default of your role, I am much more likely to embrace it & give my all because I want it more than you want it. Hard to argue that this his is better than fighting and clawing to meet the expectations of others or doing something because someone told us we need to. Even when we know we do.
How do you invite accountability? Just ask someone. Instead of waiting for your boss to ask you where you are on a project, initiate a discussion on your goal, timeline, plan, & define exactly what they can do to help you to knock it out of the park.
One of the most powerful types of accountability is social accountability. It’s simple… set a big, hair, audacious goal (Jim Collins, Good to Great), and tell everyone in your circle what it is and when you’ll be done. Now you have a bunch of people who care about you rooting for you. This is awesome from an energetic standpoint, and you’ll feel like an idiot if you miss it because EVERYONE KNOWS. A great way to tell everyone is to tweet it, post it on facebook or your other favorite social media network, share it in a speech, send a proclamation email, etc.
Here’s an example:
Dear Friends & Family,
I have always wanted to write a book about Shamu and his eerie relationship with humans. Now is the time. By the end of 2013, my book will be not only published but on the New York Times Best Seller List. Mark my words and ask me how it’s going. Please – hold me accountable because this is a huge priority for me & I know I’ll hit my goal more easily with your prodding. Prod Away. Merci, Your Name.