This is the first post in the Iron-Clad Accountability series.Join me each week as we explore the benefits of having an accountability partner, how to choose your accountability partner, how to make your accountability check-ins productive and what to do when accountability relationships get rough.
We’ve gotten really good at setting goals. We know about S.M.A.R.T. goals … Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. We sit down as a new year or new month or new season approaches to look at what we want to accomplish. And if you’ve been around here very much, you’ve learned a lot about creating a plan to meet your goals.
So why, as we face the end of the year, do we feel again like we didn’t quite reach our goals? Like there is something left to do, or something we could have done differently to come closer to the goal? (Please tell me I’m not the only one feeling like that??)
Perhaps the missing piece is accountability.
Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result. –Bob Proctor
Accountability can be uncomfortable.
Our goals are the results we want. Our plan is what we commit to do to get there. But accountability ensures that we carry out those plans to meet our goals. And while we can create goals and plans by ourselves, accountability requires help from someone else.
Maybe that’s why accountability is so often left out of our equations. Accountability requires transparency. It gives someone else permission to call us out … to challenge our limiting beliefs, to poke holes in our excuses that masquerade as explanations and to not let us give up when we are ready to quit.
But getting uncomfortable can sharpen us.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
If you’ve ever sharpened a knife, you have a good picture of what that means. A dull edge is rubbed against a piece of metal, removing the nicks and burrs that have made the knife ineffective. It becomes sharp again, ready to do what it was made for.
That’s what accountability does for us. When we’ve been nicked up by things that go wrong, or prickly relationships have created burrs that irritate us, an accountability partner can smooth the edges, making us sharp and effective again.
Accountability validates our ideas … or not.
As creative ministry leaders and entrepreneurs, our minds are full of ideas. Some of them are brilliant. Some are only half-baked and need some work to become brilliant. Others are just … um …anti-brilliant.
An accountability partner can help us sort out those ideas. Their honest feedback and probing questions may be just what we need to hone those anti-brilliant ideas into brilliant ones. Or help us see that they are just not for us at this time.
Accountability turns hard places into soft landings
If everything comes easy for us, then we aren’t stretching and challenging ourselves enough. As a result of that stretching and challenging, we’ll often encounter problems we don’t know how to solve, or try something that doesn’t go as planned. Left to ponder these hard places on our own, we may become derailed and focused on our failures.
An accountability partner helps us see these things as they are … opportunities to grow and learn. Minor bumps in the road. Exploring them with someone who is not right in the middle of it provides a positive perspective and support through the tough days.
As we explore accountability together, let’s begin asking ourselves what positive benefits can come from an accountability relationship. What type of accountability doe you need? If you’ve have experience with an accountability partner, I’d love for you to share it in the comments!
Next week: How to Choose an Accountability Partner