“the quality or state of being accountable especially: an obligation or willingness to accept or to account for one’s actions.”
That’s one description of accountability. There are many others, but this one really speaks volumes. To have accountability, you really have to have a willingness to explain your actions and decisions to others. Having this willingness, makes you responsible and thus accountable.
Accountability Partners and Why They Are Important
As a child (some of us are still children at heart) we’re accountable to our parents for our actions. For those of us who remember, you knew very well that if they found out about any negative actions you’d be going out to pick your own switch. When we come of age, we become accountable and responsible for so much more.
With responsibility comes accountability. Somewhere along the way, you will miss the mark. By that I mean, inevitably you will fail to achieve what you set out to accomplish at least once. I think often a major factor is the lack of an accountability partner. Or maybe you have one but they don’t hold you accountable as they ought to. Here’s a story about my accountability partner: Five years ago I met a girl. I thought she had a pretty name so I asked if I could put it in my phone. To my surprise she said yes. Long story short, we are now married with a beautiful 4 month old baby girl. Boy does she hold me accountable – my wife I mean. And yes, that is the greatest pickup line in the history of pickup lines.
My wife is my accountability partner in everything that I do. When there are things that I express interest in doing or projects that I need to finish – or planning for NSBE Jr. (yes that’s a shameless plug for NSBE!). I share with her and we talk about what steps I need to take to reach my end goal. Beyond the moment I share my plans with her, I’m responsible for executing those plans and she checks on me to make sure I’m not veering off course.
CBS News anchor Dan Rather admits he was always fascinated by the sport of boxing, even though he was never good at it. “In boxing you’re on your own; there’s no place to hide,” he says. “At the end of the match only one boxer has his hand up. That’s it. He has no one to credit or to blame except himself.” Dan Rather, who boxed in high school, says his coach’s greatest goal was to teach his boxers that they absolutely, positively, without question, had to be “get up” fighters. “If you’re in a ring just once in your life—completely on your own—and you get knocked down but you get back up again, it’s a never-to-be-forgotten experience. Your sense of achievement is distinct and unique. And sometimes the only thing making you get up is someone in your corner yelling.”
Sometimes you just need someone in your corner yelling for you. Cheering you on. I have friends like that. Friends who reach out to see how I’m doing and to cheer me on when things aren’t going well at work, or with my health. But first and foremost, I share with my wife.
Accountability partners are important – they help us get things done – but, the only way this relationship can flourish is if each person is committed and wholehearted in their efforts. To state it simply, don’t be lazy about your responsibilities.
I think that most things in our lives that we plan don’t come to fruition because there is no one to hold us accountable. Often we don’t even share our plans with anyone who could keep us on our toes to get things done.
I understand that life happens and sometimes it’s a start-stop cycle and we lose interest and things get a little tougher. Well, I want to tell you that I know it’s not easy. Nothing is easy, but with someone in your corner, cheering you on, things can get A LOT easier.
And hey, if you don’t have anyone you can ask to be an accountability partner, I am available.