First, let's talk about public accountability and how powerful it can be when it comes to taking action. Humans have the amazing ability to talk ourselves into or out of nearly anything. When you have a project you want to launch, business you want to start, or life change you want to make, your brain will do everything in its power to tell you all the reasons why you shouldn't be doing that thing. We're wired that way, just accept it and move on.

By making whatever you're working on public (and asking for accountability) you tell your brain to shut its dirty mouth. You take a giant leap forward, and like the Greek King Leonidas in the movie 300, you kick your brain in its doubt-filling chest and yell "THIS. IS. SPARTAAA!"

If you've never asked for public accountability, then this will seem foreign and uncomfortable to you. That's okay. The uncomfortable feeling you have is your brain resisting. Embrace those feelings of discomfort and put yourself out there. If you've surrounded yourself with people who know you and love you, their support should spark your action-taking-fire and keep it burning for as long as you need it. (I know, a lot of weird metaphors in here).

Now let's talk about private accountability.

Maybe you aren't working on a project that you want to share publicly. Maybe you're trying to make changes in your personal life that you don't want to blog about or put on social media. That's totally fine and that's why you're going to want to find an accountability partner (or partners).

When picking an accountability partner you want to pick someone who has a few key qualities:

  1. They are reliable (can be reached quickly and respond quickly).
  2. They are okay with being your accountability partner.
  3. They can relate to what you're doing on some level (you wouldn't pick a non-smoker to help you quit smoking, or you wouldn't ask someone who's never been through the book writing process to help you write your book).
  4. You can be honest and open with this person and they'll give you honest and open feedback (you don't just need a cheerleader).

An accountability partner can come in any shape or size. It could be a paid business coach. It could be a friend from childhood. It could be a random stranger you met on Twitter a few years ago and stay in contact with. Whoever it is, make sure they meet the criteria above so they can actually help you accomplish your goal.

The last thing I want to mention about accountability is that you won't need it on a constant basis forever. Often it's just the spark that gets you going or helps you through a rough patch. I will say, though, don't stop asking for accountability until you've made an accomplishment. Accountability is great for getting started, but it really comes in handy when you hit roadblocks that try to derail you from whatever you're working on. You probably won't see it coming, and that's the moment when accountability truly makes the difference.

Published on: Feb 19, 2015