086 The transforming power of accountability

Accountability’s got a bad rap—understandably. It’s been misused. Accountability, done right, can be a powerful transformation strategy.

The transforming power of accountability

This week’s Inspire Me quote is from Theodore Roosevelt:

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.

How does the topic of accountability relate to transition and reinventuring yourself? Accountability—done well—is one of the most effective tools you can add to your toolbox.

It’s easy, when we’re trying to reinvent ourselves and fail, to cast the blame on others. That victim mentality is nothing more than our ego defending itself, though. It’s easier to find fault in others than to own our mistakes. That’s what makes the Roosevelt quote so potent: the fault is usually ours. As soon as we own it, we create a formula for success.

Why is accountability important? It makes it possible for us to:

Accomplish goals. Accountability fast-tracks our ability to make our goals, hopes, dreams, and prayers a reality.

Run our lives, rather than letting our lives run us. Making ourselves accountable to others gives us a sense of control.

Look forward. Accountability can give us a solid offensive strategy for our future.

Accountability is not an intervention—it’s an invitation. We give others—three or four people of the same gender—permission to speak into our lives when we:

  1. Build trust. Trust is the language of influence.
  2. Are vulnerable first. It fosters vulnerability in others.
  3. Lower the lights. Meet at night so members don’t have the day’s to-dos on their minds or easy access to other distractions.
  4. Go on the offense. Ask forward-looking questions like, “What are you thankful for?” or “What are you looking forward to in life?”
  5. Talk softly, but carry a big stick. Don’t be afraid to deliver a sting when needed (but be sure to keep it truthful and loving).
  6. Commit to meeting weekly. Frequency matters. Meeting weekly builds momentum and depth—both vital for accountability to be effective.
  7. Are seasonal. Reject passive perpetuity; commit to a specific period of time. Accountability works best when it’s seen as a sprint vs. a marathon.

This week’s Challenge Me:

Think about your current support structure. What changes can you make to help you stay on track or get to where you want to go faster?

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:

  • How change affects identityEpisode 5, on how our identity—work and being—is a creative endeavor; one that requires continual discovery.
  • How to ask truly great questions, Episode 49, offers suggestions on how to ask questions that deepen relationships, resolve problems, or satisfy curiosity.
  • Strategic Margin Workshop, Leary’s workshop (mentioned in this podcast) to help you escape reactive mode and creatively build the future you desire. Next workshop on November 6. Use promo code “REINVENTURE” to save $100.

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