Hello, my friends.
This week’s lesson in personal and professional effectiveness and productivity is titled, “Two Out of Three is Very, Very Bad.”
One of my cornerstone teachings is about the three key words that lay the foundation for you being the best you can be: Awareness, Intentionality, and Accountability.
Do you know where you are and where you’re headed? If you don’t, any road will take you there. It’s not just a cliché.
For almost everyone, there is a gap between where you are and where you want to be in one or more areas of your life. The question is: What are you going to do about it? This is the goal setting part. Most of us are familiar with goal setting.
This third word is key. If you just get the first two words – awareness and intentionality – and don’t do the third one effectively, you will fail in the end. Why? Because this third word is accountability.
What systems and practices do you have to support you in following through on the intentions you have set to reach the objectives and goals you want for yourself?
Think about New Year’s resolutions. People set them at the beginning of the year, and they generally break them by the middle of January. They do this because they don’t have a system to keep themselves on track. Now you might think of systems as sophisticated things – I have an entire program that is intended to help people with this. You have probably seen it on my web site, the Ascend on Demand program.
But you can get something as simple as My Daily Edge on my website for free. This simple tool enables you to set and then meet very specific and concrete objectives each and every day. In fact, I use this tool myself every day.
Here is another simple favorite – no technology required – the old-fashioned sticky note. Put the sticky note on your computer. Put it on your mirror. Put it on the dash of your car. Having it right there in front of you keeps you accountable to your priorities.
Another simple, yet highly effective tool I use is a timer. If you plan to work on a particular task for fifteen minutes, half an hour, or two hours, set a timer right in front of you. I have heard time and time again from coaching clients that this enables them to remain focused because it reminds them to stay on task. The biggest challenge people have, from my observation, is distractibility – and this helps alleviate that problem.
In addition to the timer, you will need to eliminate distractions during your focus time. Whether it is someone coming into your office, the phone ringing, email, text, getting on social media, or what have you – you are constantly bombarded with technological and human-driven distractions. If you do not have some way to buffer yourself from those distractions, then you won’t remain accountable.
You can also have a human assistant in your accountability partnerships. Think about workout buddies. If you’ve ever gone to the gym or been part of an exercise program, you know the value of partnering with someone. The benefits come to both parties, mostly because you don’t want to let the other person down; but you also know you’re not letting yourself down by following through “in the name of” the other person. Partnership is a wonderful form of accountability.
A coach or a friend can be a strong partner in accountability. This would be someone with whom you have shared your goals and the importance of them, your tasks and the why behind them. You have asked them to benevolently hold you accountable.
Awareness and intentionality are not enough. You must have accountability. Two out of three, as the title says, is very, very bad. But three out of three will solidify your success.
If you are not on target to reach your goals, check your accountability systems and partnerships. Adding accountability could be the one thing you need to make this your best year ever.