Self-accountability is a relationship you have with yourself. No one really wants others to tell them how to run their life. If you are a parent, you have guided your children through years of training, hopefully developing within them a sense of their own self-accountability. If you are married, you realize all too well how it doesn’t work to set goals for your spouse. You can encourage them in their own self-accountability but expecting them to rise to a certain level of your expectations doesn’t work too well.
In fact, one of the conflicts my husband Greg and I first had were about expectations. My father did most everything around the house that needed fixing. He grew up with a father that couldn’t turn a screwdriver the right way and didn’t get the fix-it gene. He thought I was expecting him to do everything my dad did. That did not work well until we were able to effectively communicate through this issue.
Self-accountability starts with looking at our own life. First, look at your core values. (get the free download) What are the essential core values in your life? After taking the time to define them, those values will serve as a guide on which you can make other decisions and choices. Those choices are especially relevant in how you spend your time, money and energy.
Importance of Routine
A routine that is in sync with your core values is essential for productivity and eventual success. I do not put myself anywhere equal with Bob Iger, who was CEO of Disney, but he has a morning routine similar to the one I keep. His morning routine starts by getting up at 4:15AM and not looking at his phone until after his workout. He learned early on that a healthy lifestyle could ultimately save his life. He holds to the mantra that, The early bird gets the worm.
If you’re not familiar with Bob Iger, he was CEO of Disney from 2005 until 2020 and was the driving force behind acquiring Pixar in 2006, Marvel Entertainment in 2009, Lucasfilm in 2012 and 21st Century Fox in 2019.
When looking back at his life, he writes about how he first started out performing menial labor tasks and how he rose through the ranks of television production. In his book, The Ride of a Lifetime, he states 5 career lessons he learned from working at Disney. I’m going to use his principles as a springboard for creating our five steps to self-accountability.
One: Pursue Perfection, but not Perfectionism
Perfectionism is the enemy of getting a project done. Most of us know this fact as a principle, but still find ourselves trying to be perfect with most every project we attempt. An attitude of perfectionism caused some very talented students of a local piano teacher to miss an important competition deadline. They were to submit a video of their piece but were trying to make it perfect, which was a misnomer.
They had recorded their piece a number of times and the recording they could have submitted was extremely good and could have won. It was already perfect for what was needed. However, they had no chance of placing in the competition because they didn’t submit on time to be in the running. They were trying to make it more perfect.
One of the ways to achieve perfection is to get the right type of help to get you to the place you desire to be. This is why there are book editors, coaches and trainers for most every field. The willingness to work with a person or a program that will get you to the place you desire to be is vital. However, don’t just hire them but listen!
Two: Problems Create a Chance for New Solutions
Getting over or getting through problems takes a mindset that is ready to work--and work hard. Sir Ken Robinson, who wrote The Element, contracted polio at the age of four and found himself completely paralyzed. His father had him pegged to pursue an athletic career as a soccer player but Ken was sent to a special school after eight months in the hospital due to the physical effects of the disease. He recovered but still limps on one leg.
Ken found himself pursing education and made major inroads in using creativity in education, eventually achieving his Ph.D. and presenting the most watched TED talk in history with over seventy-two million views. His emphasis was on how schools kill creativity. He used what could have been a disaster to channel his abilities and passion to change our education system. If there is a seemingly roadblock in your life, it may be just what is needed to steer you to another path that will not only be fulfilling, but impactful.
So many who are at mid-career or the halftime of life are finding themselves bored and wanting to do something else. Take a good look at what is driving that boredom and find a way around it, taking the risk to expand what you’re doing. Robinson said, If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.
Three: Optimism is Oxygen for Self-Leadership & Accountability
Create a system where you can journal and reflect. In our crazy-busy world this is no easy task! It is very important to be honest with yourself about what is going on in your life. When I had a diary in my teens, I wrote in it often and always made sure I locked it up every day. Going back to read it now makes me laugh. I usually wrote about what outfit I was going to wear that day. That’s it!
There are times we feel like our musings are so private, or even insignificant and we don’t want others to read our thoughts. But as words flow out of your thoughts on to the page, many thoughts become clearer, even for your next moves. Journaling is one of the principles I wrote into the book The Summit. As you take time to reflect, what may have seemed like a failure may be the best thing that could have happened to you in the long-run. A positive can-do attitude is a key element for self-leadership.
Four: Get Over Yourself - You are but a Spec in the Universe
Whether a boss over a huge team of workers or a solopreneur, you are one of 7.9 billion people in the world. If you look through a powerful telescope, you will find that Saturn is nine times as large as the earth. This means the earth would be the size of a nickel compared to Saturn, the size of a volleyball. The sun is 109 times larger than the earth. And all are part of the Milky Way galaxy.
The Milky Way galaxy is just one of the billion galaxies in the universe. The exact size of the universe is unknown. Developing a system of self-accountability where we can live our best and most meaningful life within such a vast universe becomes even more significant. It’s all a matter of perspective. Our little world is significant to us and to those we are able to impact. And that becomes most important in living our best and most meaningful life.
Five: Get Beyond Your Fear and Go for It
Have you ever set a goal or made resolution and found yourself in the same place a month, six months or even a year later? Most people have. One of the most difficult steps to making a dream happen is actually starting. Nike launched the Just Do It campaign in 1988. It came upon some controversy in 2018 as it celebrated its 30th anniversary but was still highly effective as it was associated universally and personally.
Studies show that only 8% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them all year and 80% have failed by the start of February. Clinical Psychologist Joseph J. Luciani, Ph.D. says most resolutions fail due to sabotage caused by lack of self-discipline. One of the secrets of achieving your goals is to enhance your self-discipline by creating tiny habits. (see article on Tiny Habits!) Creating very small steps and following through is a great system of self-accountability that is truly powerful enough to change your life!
None of these five steps will do you any good if you don’t take action. Start very small, whether you are putting a new routine together, making a change in your life or expanding what you are doing presently. A runner will never get to the finish line without starting the race and you won’t either. I want you to live your best life fulfilled, fruitful and with great fun!
Small steps of self-accountability is powerful enough to change your life!
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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