“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.”
The easiest way to supercharge success is with accountabilibuddies.
I know, I know – that’s not even a word. Today, however, we are going to suspend disbelief and make it a word. In my mind, having an accountabilibuddy is the easiest and fastest way to get you to the life you want. It’s why I believe so deeply in life coaching, and why I got into this work.
What the heck is an accountabilibuddy?
You’ve probably got a good idea just by reading the word what this is all about, but let’s be explicit here. An accountabilibuddy is a buddy to whom you are accountable.
According to dictionary websites accountability is being required or expected to justify actions and decisions, and to be responsible for them.
Those same sites define a buddy as a working companion with whom close cooperation is required.
So when you put the two together you get a working companion with whom you are expected to be responsible for actions and decisions while working in close cooperation. BOOM!
Great, so why are accountabilibuddies important?
The short answer is because they force us to live up to ourselves.
Listen, we’ve all made the new years resolutions that fell flat. We’ve all said something along the lines of ‘Oh yeah, I’m definitely going to fix this part of my life.’ and then promptly gone exactly nowhere. One of the greatest limiting factors is that we don’t have to live up to our own goals when we are on our own. There’s a multitude of reasons why this happens. We can tell ourselves a story with all the reasons why it won’t work, we aren’t worth it, or it just wasn’t possible. We get overwhelmed and burn out. We can get lost and get scared.
But, when we are accountable to somebody else something inside of us changes. We are still likely to tell ourselves a story, feel overwhelmed, and get lost but that doesn’t stop us from accomplishing our goals. Knowing that somebody else is expecting us to deliver creates more ability within us to do so. I’m sure there is a scientist out there who has an incredible bar graph showing why this is, but for our purpose – it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it WORKS.
How do I get an accountabilibuddy?
In general, the accountability relationship falls into one of three types:
The Friend. This is your mom, your best friend, the person at the desk next to you at work. You ask them for help and they say yes.
Pros – This is the easiest ask. You already know them, they already know you. They might even know about your goal already. Also – since this is a one-sided ask (you are getting help, but not giving anything in return) it is the lowest risk on your side.
Cons – Because they know you, they might not be good at holding you accountable. This is because the friend accountabilibuddy often prioritizes the relationship over accountability. If your best friend has to choose between holding you accountable and supremely pissing you off, or letting you slide and continue to be your friend which are they going to choose? They are also far easier to avoid when you don’t stick to your goal.
The Coach. The coach is somebody that you pay to explore your goals with you and them to hold you accountable for attaining them. You may or may not know the coach before contacting them. Their job is to work with you to make sure you are focused on the goals that are right for you, and that you are being realistic in your approach to those goals.
Pros – Trained and practiced at holding people accountable in a way that creates success. Also, because you’ve got money on the line, you are even more likely to work hard to get value out of working with them. They are good at not letting you ‘off the hook’.
The Payback Buddy. This is the workout partner situation. You both have a goal, often overlapping, and you agree to hold each other accountable for success. If you don’t hold up your end of the bargain then you are not only letting yourself down, but you are also letting them down. These can be actual workout buddies, mastermind groups, accountability groups, etc.
Pros – You’ve got some skin in the game because who isn’t going to feel guilty for letting somebody else down when they asked you for help? Especially in the beginning, these relationships can create amazing outcomes. You know them oftentimes, so it is more comfortable than asking a stranger.
Cons – After the honeymoon phase both sides have to be really diligent to not let the standards slide. 3 months in are you both texting each other in the morning to cancel the workout, and since you both did it you don’t feel any guilt? Or is the mastermind losing its teeth as time goes on because everybody is afraid of others being too hard on them when it is their turn in the hot seat? It is often very hard to find a payback buddy that lasts.
What to do once you’ve found your accountabilibuddy.
Alright, you’ve figured out who you want it to be and maybe you’ve even asked them for help already. What do you do next?
Get real. Don’t sugar coat it, don’t dance around the issue. Get uncomfortable and get vulnerable and tell them why this is important to you. Don’t leave out the details. Let them know WHAT you want to accomplish, dive in deep on WHY you want to accomplish it (how will your life be different), and HOW you expect them to help.
Example of what NOT to say: “I kind of want to start my own business because I really don’t like my current job, so maybe you could call me once a week to see how I’m doing on making a business and check in?”
Example of what TO say: “I am starting my own business and need your help to keep me on top of making it happen. I’m doing this because I’ve been incredibly unhappy feeling like I’m selling my soul to a pharmaceutical company when what I really want to do is make a difference with kids in our community. When I was a kid my parents were always working and never around and I got into a lot of trouble with drugs and bad influences because there was nothing for me to do. I want to create a business that provides a safe space for kids to go to after school where they have fun and parents know they are safe, so that they don’t have to go through the same crap that I did.
I’d love for you to help me by having a weekly check-in call or meeting of about 30 minutes. I don’t know what all the steps are at this point, but by our meeting next week I’ll have a specific list of things I want us to focus on. If that works for you, what is a time that works for you next week?”
Do you see the difference there? You want to let this person know that you take their help seriously. Other good rules to follow with them – never blow off a meeting with them. Listen when they talk. Challenge your own beliefs.
Don’t forget to return the favor.
When you give you get. Find somebody else who needs an accountabilibuddy and help them out. Hold them accountable for their dreams and learn a lot about yourself along the way.