Accountability is magic. Pure magic. Perhaps the structure, the tool, the software, the paper, the process…plays into it some, but for me, accountability is where the rubber squeals on the road.
Last week, my friend Anna told me about her War Board (is it okay to spill the beans about this Anna?) Pfft. *I* wanted one of those. So I made one. And MAN did that motivate me! It motivated me because it’s holding me accountable, and it’s motivating me because I told Anna about it. I haven’t managed to cross anything off on it, but it’s in my face reminding me of everything I need to do. Her particular version of this is a whiteboard that she carries around with her. Mine’s a bit large for that, but seeing I spend 75% of my time in the same room, a stationary white board is working just fine for me.
Last week, my friend David took the time to go through my website, and asked me about what my company does. He’s going to help me revamp my content. I have a full mind map of new content, a design partially done, and the database structure created. It’s been like that for well over a year. But now David looking has created a strong desire in me to show up. I already started going through the mind map, taking what he suggested and melding them together into an outline. My goal is to have the website up in 2-3 weeks tops. A project that’s been sitting in the swamp for all this time, with a little bit of accountability, is going to be done before the sun sets on August.
A few weeks ago, another friend of mine, Karen, challenged her friends to move just a little bit every day. (Wasn’t it something like 15 minutes, Karen?) I haven’t been perfect about it, but until her challenge, I hadn’t burned off 2500 calories in a week since I ran the Marathon in February. I’ve significantly increased my level of exercise just so I can get on her Facebook status and tell her I moved. This past weekend, I was so motivated to be able to tell her I moved, I even got on my treadmill. (I have a treadmill desk, by the way, to keep the boredom of this pursuit to a minimum.)
I’ve been writing a significant amount again since the end of 2010. I had most of it on a private website. I put it on this website recently, transferring it over in pieces as I have time. And when I write new pieces, I’ve been posting them on Facebook. Guess what’s happening!? I’m writing even MORE than I was before. I’m writing something nearly every day now. I know people are watching, including my friends Karen, Rick, and Pat. I always have something to say, and now that I know someone cares about it, I’m writing it down and putting it out here, making sure it gets out of me.
I lost 50 pounds on a website called SparkPeople because of the accountability other members provided by caring. I wrote over 370 blog posts and made over 300 friends. Could I have done it without the built in accountability of a network whose members are ALWAYS ready to talk about weight loss? Perhaps.
Both of my exchange students cited me living “Do one thing every day that scares you” as a major inspiration. That still makes me show up every day and do one thing that scares me. I don’t want to let them down.
Another friend of mine, Chris, who inspires me more than he knows, told me he’s been keeping up with me and watching what I’ve been going through. He openly shared his insight and wisdom, and was able to do that because he’d been witnessing. In hindsight, he’s someone I wish I HAD been more accountable to. I suspect I wouldn’t be in some of the situations I’m in now, if I had that accountability in place.
A friend of mine pointed out to me that I function much better when there are people in my life to witness me and what I’m doing. She’s spot on. At its core, that’s what accountability is – witnessing what another accomplishes. It’s not about bossing them, managing them, training them, or judging them. It’s simply someone who cares.
I’ve made big changes in my life, and have continued to work on issues, pushing, determined, forward. It’s been a difficult road. Of course, I’m motivated because I want these changes and I’m determined to create this new beautiful life for myself. Doing this requires tools, and I think the tool of Accountability is absolutely the most magic one available to me.
I remember a line from a movie with Richard Gere and I don’t remember who else….about how marriage at its core is having someone to witness your life. I’m moving into a new chapter of my life where I won’t have that marriage to hold me accountable. I understand clearly now how someone would flounder in a new role when their teammate and they have gone on different paths. I thoroughly admire people who are single, and are armed and acting on their plan without an obvious partner.
What I’ve started to discover is that almost universally, the people who are moving forward successfully have accountability firmly in place. Thanx to a myriad of friends, and an examination of how I accomplished things successfully in my past, that group now includes me. 🙂