Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)
Hey, everybody. Welcome to this week’s episode of Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian and this week I’m going to talk about Accountability. The word accountability comes from the word account, or to give an account. It’s a contract with someone else, but it can also mean to yourself.
Last week, I said there were no tasks. That holds true, but I hope you took the time to think about what we discussed last week. I hope you found something in last week’s episode to help you with your self-esteem and self-discipline. If you’re still struggling, feel free to comment or contact me through my website, watchmeshine.today, and I’d love to help you out.
I said in the intro that accountability comes from the word accountable. Being accountable is being required or expected to justify actions or decisions. It means being responsible. Being responsible means having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one’s job or role. It also means capable of being trusted. If we put all this together, along with the idea that we have a contract with ourselves or someone else, the idea grows into something larger.
Being accountable means that we make a contract with ourselves, possibly others, for which we must justify our actions and decisions, to do something which we choose to do, and we trust ourselves to get it done. We must use our self-esteem, self-discipline, willpower, and integrity to do what must be done so that we can build for ourselves a world which is worthy of who we are and what we can become.
Earl Nightingale, in his speech “The Strangest Secret”, said that everyone is where they are because that’s exactly where they want to be, whether they’ll admit that or not. Everything we have done, all the decisions and actions we have made, have brought us to where we are now. If where you are in life isn’t where you want to be, you can’t keep making the same decisions and choices. If we keep doing what we’re doing we’ll get what we’ve always gotten, and we’ll stay exactly where we are. Or, we can change. We can adapt. We can grow. We can make something of our world.
There are two types of accountability. There’s the internal, which means that we hold ourselves accountable. And there’s the external, which means that we ask others to help us.
Internal accountability isn’t easy. Internal accountability is using our own integrity and maintaining it throughout our lives. The problem with this is that we must be able to answer to ourselves and answer honestly. Remember that integrity is what you do when nobody else is looking, when you can’t get caught. It’s the value we place upon ourselves. It means doing what you say you’re going to do, what you’re supposed to do. It means being the best version of yourself that you can be. But it also means not making excuses for not being that person. And it means being consistent about it.
If you want to practice your internal accountability, here are some things you can do:
- Write your goals down. Have a written record of what you say you’re going to do. We’ve already done some of this in previous videos and this process will continue to evolve as we go through it. For now, just continue to keep making your list and going over it from time to time.
- Be honest with yourself about how you’re progressing. In this process, there’s nobody to impress except yourself. But, in the same breath I say, the only person you can cheat is yourself. When you win, congratulate yourself. But, when you fail, hold yourself accountable. Don’t berate yourself, just be honest.
- When times get tough, persevere. Don’t give up. There is no shame in failure. You just found one way that didn’t work. The only shame is giving up. If you quit, you get nothing. If you persevere, you get something. And something is better than nothing in nearly every case. I go back to the process: try, fail, learn, adjust, and try again. This should be a mantra for us all.
- Schedule regular times to sit down and measure your progress. Again, hold yourself accountable. So, sit down and give an account. Hopefully you’re using your journal to write down and track your progress. Read your past entries and see how you’ve done. Figure out places where you’ve failed, look for patterns. Think of ways you can create disciplines and habits to avoid those failure points in the future.
External accountability is easier. The hard part is finding accountability partners. I have already said, as far back as my first video, that I’m willing to be yours and I ask that you be mine. I meant that. But, before you choose me, let me go over with you the things you should look for and ask of an accountability partner.
- Choose someone that cares, but not enough to lie to you. Find someone that’s willing to be honest. Remember when I said that the only one you’re cheating is yourself when holding yourself accountable? When someone is holding you accountable, you can’t let them cheat you for the sake of your feelings. They need to be honest so you get good, honest feedback.
- Be willing to share your goals and be specific. The person you’re working with can’t hold you accountable if they don’t know specifically what you’re trying to do and how you’re trying to do it. Share with them your goal, your schedule, your methods, and your deadline.
- Be honest. Not only with yourself, but with the person you’re working with. Again, they can’t be honest if you’re not honest with them. This is easy if you’re successful. But, if you slipped up, let them know it. They can’t help you if you’re not honest about it. Maybe they can give you some help or advice to get you back on track, but not if they don’t know about it. Besides, in the end, the truth will come to light.
- Set a schedule for check-ins. Don’t leave this to fate. Make sure to set times and hold to them. Check in and give an account. If bad habits or choices go too long, they’ll start to stick. And, once they stick, they become harder to correct.
- Heed their words, whether good or bad. Their advice and their encouragement are equally valuable. You may not always like what they have to say and you may not always agree with it. But you probably need to hear it either way. Again, this is easy when you’re successful, but it’s just as important when you’re not.
There are two types of accountability partner. I recommend you find several of the first kind and one, specifically, of the second kind. In either case, remember the things you should look for in an accountability partner before you choose. When you find someone that fits those, figure out which type of accountability partner you’d like them to be. Then, take a chance and ask. The worst that can happen is that they say no.
The first kind of accountability partner is one that you see as an equal. This type of accountability partner is generally the type that is going to go through the process with you. It’s the friend that goes to the gym with you. It’s the friend that takes a class with you. It’s the other members of your book club, or climbing club, or dance class. This type of accountability partner can be the one that calls your phone or knocks on your door when it’s time to go do the work. They can help motivate you by reminding you of your goals and motivations.
Again, I recommend you find several of these, if possible. The reason for them to be there is to motivate you when you don’t feel like continuing. But what happens when you both don’t feel like continuing? If you have a third, fourth, or fifth person, there are less chances of a bad day ruining it. When there are two or three people blowing up your phone, you’re less likely to ignore it. You’ll have more people counting on you. And they, in turn, will have more people counting on them.
The second kind of accountability partner are coaches or mentors. This type of accountability partner is generally a subject matter expert in the area in which you want to work. It’s your Krav Maga teacher, or your art instructor, or your anger management coach. This person has already been through the process. They know the failure points and can give you advice on how to avoid them. They also know the subject matter and the best ways to achieve your goals.
I recommend you only find one of these for each given area in which you’re looking to improve. Having multiple coaches or mentors in a given area invites disaster by increasing the chances of confusion. If one coach gives you one method and another argues with it, this adds frustration into the mix. If one teacher tells you something is important and another tells you it’s not, this adds frustration to the mix. All methods work, but not every method works for everyone. Remember, the best method is the one to which you can stick.
I’m cutting this week short by a few minutes so that you can take a little extra time for this week’s tasks.
- Find a coach or mentor for your primary accountability partner. Go back to your goal list you made a couple weeks ago and look at your primary or secondary goal. Think of a person that could help you achieve that. Ask them to be your coach or mentor in that respect.
- Find one or more accountability partners that are willing to join you on this journey. Maybe it’s someone already in your class, club, or group. If you don’t have anyone, consider asking a friend to join you.
- When you ask these people to help you, remember the list of things you’re looking for. Go over this list with them. Make sure, out of all of those things, you both commit to being honest and being open to honesty.
If you chose me for either of these positions, I would be honored. Shoot me a message, either in the comments or through my website, watchmeshine.today, and I will get back to you. But, either way, until next week… Watch me shine.