My friend and I have a date to go swimming twice a week.

She knows I’m going to be there and I know she’s going to be there. We always show up for each other.

But it got me thinking … why do we need other people to hold us more accountable? What is it about human nature that makes someone like me more committed to an action if someone is around to call me out if I don’t do it?

I’m an entrepreneur, for crying loud. If I don’t get my work done, I don’t get paid.

But why can’t I go swimming alone? The truth is, I have gone alone and, although I take pride in that, it’s never ever my first choice!

Pull your socks up, kid

We must take ownership of our behaviour and resist the urge to blame others when things go wrong. When they do, it’s our responsibility to aright the wrong.

[tweetthis]#Accountability is the willingness to answer for the outcomes of our choices and actions.[/tweetthis]

Linda Galindo, author of The 85% Solution: How Personal Accountability Guarantees Success — No Nonsense, No Excuses, writes that personal accountability can lead to decreased stress, increased productivity, better time usage, and improved job and relationship satisfaction.

You become more focused on your work and life, you build trust in others and you manage your time and responsibilities better.

How do you get there?

You must:

  • Choose to take ownership and responsibility of your thoughts and behaviours
  • Take action and remove the obstacles from your path to a dream life
  • Empower yourself to achieve the results you want

Sometimes, we need others to support our personal accountability.

To keep with the fitness theme, you might have a coach who yells at you when you work out together.

“DON’T BE SUCH A WIMP. GET THOSE DUMBBELLS OVER YOUR HEAD!”

Yeesh. So not my style.

Others do just fine training on their own. Like business entrepreneurs, they’re self-motivated. They have a clear vision of what they’re doing and why.

Others need to be nurtured and supported along the way.

I’ve worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals. I will not let my teammates down and I will not let myself down. ~ U.S. Soccer Olympian Mia Hamm

Not only is Hamm self-motivated, she’s also motivated by her teammates’ success.

Teammates and shared accountability

As a group, the soccer team has set a goal — to win the Olympics or World Cup every four years — and each woman on the team has a role to play.

When someone doesn’t give her all for the common goal, the team can falter. Or others have to work harder to support her failures.

When everyone is working hard, however, the team stands the best chance of winning the gold medal.

On top performing teams, research shows, teammates immediately and respectfully confront one another when problems arise.

We yearn to support each other and not let our teammates down, whether a soccer team, a swimming buddy, our co-workers or our family.

Our friends and teammates push us to show up and push us to do the work, because they in turn reap the benefits.

They can also get you around that last lap of the pool, they share in your frustrations and cheer your successes.

You have a common cause but, deep in your heart, you’re most committed to showing up for yourself.

It’s the shared experience that drives you to get things done, closing in on your goals with each step you take.

Together.

Let’s start a discussion! Tell me in the comments who your accountability partner is and how you support each other to your goals.

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