I found myself saying to Keith, “OK, I’ll go to the gym 3 times a week, starting on Friday.
And since that time, almost three weeks ago, I’ve gone eight times. I do a one-hour circuit using the gym’s weight machines.
I’m already feeling stronger, more energetic, and sleeping better.
Sounds easy, but I’ve been resisting exercising for more than a year and the closest I’ve gotten to the gym was in my thoughts.
What made the difference?
The promise I made to Keith, my co-coaching partner.
It’s amazing how being accountable to someone else can make all the difference in taking action.
Several times over the past couple of weeks it looked like a good idea to skip my workout for the day. I was tired, sore all over and the sofa was looking really inviting.
But the thought of saying to Keith, “I missed a session,” (with some lame excuse) reminded me of my promise and got me off my duff.
When you’re working at growing your business, there are things you just don’t want to do.
Your doubts, fears, and uncertainty of what you should do, how to make it work, and why it might be a futile effort, keep you from jumping in.
This can happen if you’re brand new in business or have been at it for decades.
Often the most effective way to take action on some marketing activity you’ve been resisting is to make a promise to someone else.
By being accountable to another person until you can get over the resistance hump, you can catapult yourself into action and create tremendous forward momentum.
If you promise your spouse or a close friend that you’ll take an action it’s a lot easier to renege on your promise because you know they won’t call you on it!
Here are some thoughts on how to set up an “accountability system.”
- Pair up with someone else and be accountable to each other. This is what I’m doing with Keith. We both need support in various areas of our lives and businesses so we make promises to take action and hold to our commitments.
- Join a support/mastermind group. This is a group of perhaps four to six business owners. Be careful that this group doesn’t devolve into a “commiseration group.” The key is to make promises for action and hold each other accountable.
- Hire a professional coach. When you’ve paid a coach to help you clarify your direction, create plans, and take action, you’re much more likely to move things forward. It can be the best investment in yourself and your business that you can make.
When you start with an accountability system, there are a few things to consider.
- Focus on actions that build skills. I’ve done speaking and presentations throughout my career. When I started, I made the commitment to make my next talk better than the one before. I didn’t just go through the motions, instead, I became a great presenter.
- Choose marketing activities you can do weekly. For me, this is writing a weekly eZine article. Whatever it is for you, perform that activity like clockwork. I’m now in my 22nd year of writing and now it comes naturally, with little effort.
- Don’t make promises that are too big. This has been my pattern with exercise. A few years ago I joined a Cross-Fit gym and burned out in three months. It was just too hard and intense for me and my body was always in pain. Instead, you should…
- Keep stretching yourself. If I’m lifting the same weights in six months as I am today, I’ll never build my strength. The key is to increase the difficulty of your promises incrementally. On the other hand…
- Don’t make promises that are too small. If you promise to “make one outreach call per week,” you’ll never build enough skill and momentum to excel at it.
A client quoted Michelangelo to me last week:
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
Ultimately, making promises in your business and then getting support in sticking to those promises is the key to not only success but to personal growth and fulfillment.
I recommend you set up your accountability system as soon as possible.
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