We self-employed professionals are graced with mixed blessings around getting stuff done. No one is looking over our shoulder making us do the things we know we should. Hooray, there’s no boss breathing down our necks! But also… Uh oh, that means we’ve got only ourselves to answer to!
Left to our own devices, when we dread making follow-up calls, we let them slide. If we feel inadequate about our writing skills, we delay making blog posts. When we get anxious about attending networking events, we may put them on the calendar, but then not go. And as a result, our businesses suffer.
Despite our good ideas, excellent intentions, and well-designed plans, our businesses don’t grow like they should, because our ideas and plans don’t get executed, or only move forward haphazardly.
The simplest, fastest solution to this problem comes down to one word: accountability.
Accountability comes in many forms. You can:
- Put a task on your calendar and set up an automatic reminder to make sure you don’t forget it, making you accountable to yourself.
- Block out time to work on a project, which you then hold as sacred, refusing any competing demands during that period.
- Make a date with another person, or group, to work on tasks together.
- Tell someone else -– a friend, colleague, or coach –- you will get something done by a certain date, then connect with that person on the date to celebrate its completion.
- Join a group of people who serve as accountability partners for each other.
- Sign up for a program where accountability to the group and the leader is part of what’s offered.
- Enroll in a self-study program that leads you through a process step by step over a specific time period.
If you’re resistant to creating accountability for yourself like this, you’re not alone. We entrepreneurs are an independent bunch. Many of us even think of ourselves as rebels. The idea of someone or something telling us what to do, or reprimanding our performance, tends to get our backs up.
I invite you to think of accountability differently. First of all, when you ask someone else –- like a business buddy, coach, or group -– to hold accountability for you, you’re not setting yourself up for blame or scolding. Instead, your accountability partner(s) should ask you, “What got in the way?” This solution-focused response will help you uncover any barriers to fulfilling your plans, and work through them.
Accountability is also not about someone/something else ordering you around. It represents you reminding yourself to carry out your own intentions. Accountability means being responsible to your own goals and plans, instead of blaming circumstances like “not enough time” or “busy with client work” when plans don’t get carried out. It means you’re owning your plans. Isn’t that what we entrepreneurs are all about? Owning our own ventures?
Accountability is your friend, not an enemy waiting to strike you down. It’s an essential tool to carry in your success toolkit, and employ often. Holding yourself accountable to your own vision, goals, and plans will make your business soar.