Turns out, accountability may be just the push you need to follow through and shine.
When I look back on the significant accomplishments in my life, the common thread among them is the presence of people holding me accountable. Time and again, my ability to reach whatever goals I set comes down to the people I surround myself with; others willing to hold me to what I say I’m going to do.
Chances are you have a few of them in your life. They might be groups of people, like your customers, shareholders, co-workers, family, etc. Or maybe specific individuals, like a partner, boss, or mentor.
But I believe that the most successful among us are willing to appoint specific peers to whom we can open up (and them to us) 100 percent.
Under (Peer) Pressure
When you hear the phrase “peer pressure” you likely think of someone being strong-armed into doing something they don’t want to do. But there’s another kind of peer pressure that can work wonders for your personal and professional growth because of the accountability it provides.
Think about it: from your favorite restaurants and fashions, to even choosing a mate or your next job, your peers’ opinions impact your actions every day.
When it comes to impacting your personal and professional growth then, finding peers with similar goals and aspirations is key. Here’s how I leverage my peer relationships for the accountability I need to help foster my personal and professional growth.
When I first heard the term “mastermind” I automatically thought back to the only other context I’d ever heard it in; a context where “mastermind” is preceded by the word “evil” (think Saturday morning cartoons or any James Bond movie).
Masterminds in this context, however, involve a hand-selected group of people with similar goals and aspirations who are willing to commit to what is often a weekly, hour-long gathering for the purpose of encouraging one another, challenging one another, and holding each other accountable.
I’ve been a part of one such group since about the time I ventured out on my own (almost three years), and it has made all the difference. These men have helped me change my mindset as to what I’m capable of. I believe many of the successes I’ve had are a direct result of their input. I’ve laughed with them, nearly cried with them, celebrated my wins with them, and analyzed a few failures too.
That last part is key. They say we should learn from our failures. I can’t think of a better way to do that, than to have a group of people you trust offer feedback on what you might consider doing differently the next time. But I also find that, because they were there every step of the way, I fail far less often than I used to.
Around 2001 or so, a friend of mine and I began scheduling weekly lunches. We’d previously worked for the same company and found we had a number of things in common. Now, 15 years later, we still meet virtually every week for lunch, not just to chit chat, but to ask each other the hard questions no one else will ask.
Besides my marriage and immediate family, this is the single most important relationship in my life.
His friendship means the world to me. But just as dear as I consider it to be, I also cherish his willingness to let me share the struggles no one else hears. I’m talking about the sometimes embarrassing struggles, the “deep, dark secrets” that no one else knows. We all have them.
Keep them locked up inside and I believe you’ll only set yourself up for thoughts of “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t belong here,” and many other Imposter Syndrome-type conversations with yourself down the road.
In 2013, when I was about a month away from launching my podcast, I announced the launch publicly on my blog. I’d already begun preparations of course, but I was also beginning to have mixed feelings and doubts about whether or not I had any business doing it at all.
My mastermind group was there to help ensure I didn’t flake. One of the members suggested I pick a date and make it public. Those in the group would also help spread the word to their networks, increasing the commitment in my mind all the more.
It worked! The reservations I’d begun to have were soon replaced with thoughts of, “I’m made a promise to all these people. I don’t want to let them down.”
My podcast has turned out to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my life. It has also opened countless doors for me (writing for The Good Men Project being one of them). I can’t imagine how different my life would be now if I hadn’t followed through.
I continue to find this method of accountability quite useful, especially in instances when I’m launching an online course or product, or desire to cover a specific topic, or interview a certain guest on my podcast.
If you’re currently not leveraging any of these methods, consider implementing at least one of them right away. Start with the one you think will be the easiest to implement.
However, as soon as you can, work up to leveraging all three, especially if you want to see results like you never thought possible.
Photo: Getty Images