How do you feel about being held accountable for your personal goals?
When you have a goal in mind, do you feel supported, knowing someone will follow up with you to find out how things are going? Or does that feel like pressure to you? Maybe you hate the idea of someone holding your feet to the flame because you feel like it’s just one more chance to face the fact you haven’t followed through?
I actually tend more toward the second type of attitude.
It’s not that I feel like a failure — I don’t. It’s that I change my mind. A lot!! And I HATE feeling judged for not “following through” on one goal when, in my mind, I ended up doing something so much better. So if my accountability partner doesn’t want to hear it, I end up feeling misunderstood. And annoyed. Or just kinda lonely. (Of course, it’s the worst when my accountability partner is myself!)
In my view, those mid-course shifts are usually the result of being in action. It’s like, when I first created my goals I made a map of the territory I would travel — but I had never been there before! So once I got going, I started seeing the new territory, and I needed to correct the map.
That new map often results in new targets, new subgoals, and quite possibly an extended time line on the big goals.
This is important, though, because important projects are complex, so success requires not just commitment and follow through, but also flexibility and a willingness to roll with the punches.
And so I’ve come to love accountability, and here’s how.
What I now know is that I need someone to not only follow up with me, but also really connect with me and get to know the emotional, creative, and logical reasons that drive me to do what I do. I need someone who will see me in the best light, and not just give me a hard time if I don’t measure up to my own stick. Of course I want someone to keep me honest, and tell me if I’m bullsh***ing myself, but what I really want is someone I can trust.
So as I’ve grown in my business and my creative projects, I’ve really come to value intimacy and shared vulnerability in my professional relationships. I call it “intimacy of ideas” — having a thought partner who resonates with me on creative, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual levels. Who sees things I don’t see, and whom I trust to watch my back and report to me what’s in my blind spot.
That kind of accountability feels like real support.
And I’ve learned that it’s my job to create it — to be intentional about finding the right people, opening up to ask for and give this type of support, investing the time and energy into cultivating the relationships. Sometimes — often — I hire a coach or therapist for the big stuff.
I’d love to hear your own stance and experience here. When it comes to your really important goals, do you have that “know, like, and trust” relationship with anyone in your life? Who can you lean on that really gets you? How do you nurture those relationships?