Having an accountability partner is an unfair advantage.
If you are looking for a major change in your life sometimes you just need that first big push.
Water boils at 212 degrees, not 211 degrees. That one degree difference makes all the difference.
What is an accountability partner?
According to Jack Canfield an accountability partner is “someone who holds you accountable for staying on task and taking the required action steps to achieve your goals as you work to achieve them.”
What are the benefits to having an accountability partner?
- They jumpstart your motivation
- They keep you going toward your goal even when you feel like quitting
- Honest, unbiased feedback on your ideas and goals
- They track your progress and results with regular check-ins
Why is accountability and personal responsibility important?
Accountability is the best way to fend off making excuses. If we know someone is going to ask us whether we finished something, we will feel compelled to do it. The truth is that when a person actually starts a project, energy and momentum follows simply by the act of taking the first step. An accountability partner can help push you to not only begin that first step, but assure that you continue to make progress on that one thing you've been putting off for way too long.
A good accountability partner should:
- Have your best interest in mind
- Be strong enough to hold you accountable without accepting any excuses
- Will give you the encouragement you need to stay on track
What can an accountability partner help me with?
For any goal that you can imagine someone else has been there done that. Here is a list of some of the top things an accountability partner can help you accomplish:
- Start your own business
- Land your dream job
- Stay sober
- Take that dream vacation
- Run a marathon
- Publish a novel
- Lose weight
- Learn a new language
- Break a bad habit
- Start a blog
- Get out of debt
How to get started with an accountability partner
Step 1: Find the right person
Let’s begin by learning how to find an accountability partner. Here are the rules that I’ve learned and fine-tuned over the years that have led to the most success with my own accountability partners.
Never ask your romantic partner or spouse to be your accountability partner. For the health of your relationship. You will need someone who is neutral and not emotionally involved with you.
Find someone who is actively pursuing their own goals.
Choose a person who isn’t afraid to give you some “tough love” when you need it. You do not want a close friend or someone who is a pushover and will not hold you accountable.
Choose someone that is in the same field as you or clearly understands what you are trying to accomplish. Someone that has been there, done that can help you if you’re feeling stuck. You benefit more from their knowledge and support. An accountability partner is not a mentor however. The difference between an accountability partner and a mentor is that a mentor is there to guide you and help you professionally develop but is not necessarily responsible for ensuring that you actually do the work.
Seek someone that is one level above you and already producing better results. This could mean making more money, making more sales, has a broader social media reach or in better shape.In other words while it's nice to have a personal coach, life coach or mentor, if this person is not successful and is not getting results for themselves should you really be listening to them? For example if you want to start an online business or startup would you rather have a grad student with no experience guiding you or someone who has actually helped build, run and scale several businesses before and can share actual experience?
Step 2: Do your homework before just choosing anyone
You want someone you will not give up on you no matter what. Think about it. The reason you are where you are today is because you’re stuck. There is nothing wrong with that. We all get stuck and we all hit a wall sometimes.
Sometimes your motivation falters. That early inertia leaves you. You feel like you’re in it by yourself. Doubt seeps in. You delve on your fear. You find it easier to just give up. If this sounds familiar welcome to 99% of humanity.
Before I began helping others I was in this same boat. Struggling to make progress. I then sought out someone to help me become accountable and get sh*t done. Through years of mentors and various coaches and meeting with many top performers I finally got to the point that I could flow on my own.
But what I was missing is someone to actually hold me accountable with concrete goals. Motivation is great to get you going but its actionable goals that actually lead to real results.
Make sure that the accountability partner that you choose has put in the hard work and the learning and can share years of experience and the wisdom of their personal journey.
Step 3: Take action and schedule your first meeting
This is important. Do not hesitate after reading this guide to find and contact an accountability partner. The longer you delay the less likely you are to do. You have nothing to lose by reaching out and taking that first step. Think about how many missed opportunities you had in your life because you didn’t take action. That big-eyed girl in the coffee shop that you never spoke to. That promotion that you never asked your boss for. That interview that you thought you weren’t good enough for so never applied. That blog or podcast that you were going to start but didn’t think you were credible enough. Everyone is a one-percent expert. A one-percent expert means that you are not necessarily the best at what you do, you just are able to do it 1% better than most people.
The key to this step is taking action now. Now, there are several good Facebook groups for accountability and even forums like Reddit where you can find high-performers that will help you get started. The only downside is that it takes effort to search through these groups only to find someone that seems legit except they have no real experience. A better bet is to go to a professional site like Clarity or Upwork however although you can be sure to find an individual versus relying on a group, these sites are geared more towards professional business coaches and life coaches. The good ones can be anywhere between $100-300/hr. Depending on skill set, experience and industry.
Some accountability partners are more of a hybrid breed. Part accountability partner and part business advisor. If you are simply looking to get fit or in better health an accountability partner will do. If you are attempting to accomplish a more entrepreneurial endeavor such as launching a startup, a website, a podcast, blog or are just stuck in your current job or business then a hybrid approach would be better suited for you.
Why do I need an accountability partner?
The #realtalk answer is an accountability partner will help you stop being lazy. Help you to stop procrastinating. Parkinson's Law, articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in the Economist in 1955, is the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. That means if I told you that you have one hour to write a short bio on your LinkedIn page, it would take you the better part of that hour figuring out what to write.
If I told you that you have 5 minutes, it would actually take 5 minutes. The amazing thing is that when humans are artificially constrained we are able to overperform. We hyper-focus. It's like your boss asking for a report “by Friday EOD” versus “in one hour”. You will most likely tune everything else out.
This is the kind of focus that an accountability partner can help you realize. Laser-focused on what matters most.
What are the pros and cons of having an accountability partner?
- Will hold your feet to the fire and NOT let you cheat yourself out of success
- Will make sure that you have a clear action plan and are making progress towards it
- Will give you the nudges you need along the way if you feel you’re faltering
- Will check in on you regularly to keep you motivated until you become self motivated
- Will help you develop a list of professional and personal, short-term and long-term goals
- It requires a commitment to your personal success, so it's not for everyone
- It requires that you show up on time on a regular basis to discuss your progress
Time for a New You
Having an accountability partner can be a game-changing move. There is no need to go at it alone. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger agrees. Here’s his powerful “None of us can make it alone” speech:
The weekly conversations that you have can be eye-opening and hugely motivational for you to finally move your needle to 212 degrees. If you’re ready to stop procrastinating and finally take life by the reins, find an accountability partner today.