Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When The Only One You’re Hurting is You

“We are accountable only to ourselves for what happens to us in our lives." ~~Mildred Newman~~

Accountability is a curious thing to me. It’s easy to be accountable when there is an external expectation. If a customer is waiting for something from you, you get it to them, and you get it to them on time. If a client is in need, you help them in any way that you can. You are accountable to your customers and clients, and likely to your family and your friends. But how often do you hold yourself accountable for the things that are important only to you? Do you hold yourself accountable for things that are not perceived as requirements to achieve success? I can write about completing a performance review for yourself or your business, and you can think it’s a great idea, but do you do it? Or, do you plan to? What if you forget? Things like that slip through the cracks all the time. You know it’s a good idea. You believe it can help further your success, but it’s for you, and you alone… and so maybe someday you’ll get to it…

Do you hold yourself accountable for the things you say you’re going to do when nobody really is expecting anything from you… except you?

Here are some ways that I believe will help me hold myself accountable to ME.

1. Engage an accountability partner. I have learned that when I have someone who can help nudge me along the way (who is not my spouse!) when I’m not meeting my own expectations is very helpful. I don’t like to admit failure. I don’t know anyone who does. So, if I create the person who IS expecting something form me, I get it done. I’m not talking about a daily thing, maybe not even a weekly thing, but someone who truly helps you stay accountable for your actions, whether for work or for job search, can be extremely helpful.
2. Become part of an accountability group, or create one. This can be especially useful if you work independently, or are in job search. Put together a group of people who have similar needs or desire similar outcomes, and help each other stay focused and on track. Meet as often as you need to, maybe by phone, likely better in person, and keep your meetings productive. Set guidelines, and make sure that everyone in the group understands its purpose.
3. Write down weekly goals along with daily to-dos that will help you achieve those goals. Set timelines, set deadlines, and stick to them. Maybe you can even share your list with your accountability partner or group. And, practice integrity. Do what you say you’re going to do, and create a consequence for not holding up your end of the bargain. Likewise, reward yourself when you do. Celebrate the small successes along the way. The little stuff adds up!

If you have other ideas, let me know! Accountability really is a curious thing to me. And, I need as much help with holding myself accountable as anyone else out there!

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