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The Accountability Myth

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When was the last time you said, “I need someone to hold me accountable?”. Accountability is one of THE hot-button conversations of real estate agents these days. In fact, it is one of the top things that Realtors look for in getting a real estate coach. “I need more accountability.”

However, what many people suffer from is an accountability addiction that literally becomes a debilitating crutch, instead of an empowering support. The idea that have someone hold you accountable will suddenly cause you to perform and produce at a high level is really a myth…what I call, “The Accountability Myth.”

The idea is that “If I had someone checking up on me or someone that I have to report to every day, I would be more effective and more responsible.” Let’s see…that’s what you had in 1st grade, right?” That’s what you had in junior high…someone watching your every step to make sure you did what you were supposed to. The adult accountability model where external accountability is used most commonly is having someone that we commonly call a “boss” (i.e. an employer). Yet that’s the very thing that most real estate agents don’t want, right?

Here’s the secret to effective accountability. Real accountability is taking responsibility, not shifting responsibility. Real accountability must be internal first and then supported by someone or something that is external.

There’s nothing wrong with having some external accountability. The problem is that as long as you are depending on someone else to push you to be responsible or to get on your back if you’re not, your success depends on something external. And external motivation is never as effective or powerful or long-lasting as your own internal drive and personal responsibility.

Here are 3 keys for developing high-level, sustainable accountability.

ATTACH YOUR COMMITMENTS TO SOMETHING YOUR REALLY WANT. Make sure your goals or commitments are clearly attached to a real burning desire that you have. Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich discovered that having a strong, burning desire is an indispensable step to achievement. If your accountability goal is not attached to something you really want, it’s time to ask yourself if the problem is acceptability accountability or a lack of clarity and motivation.

HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS ABOUT EXTERNAL ACCOUNTABILITY. Use external accountability as a support, not as a substitute, for your own discipline and sense of responsibility.

PICK THE RIGHT ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS. Only use an accountability partner who is already an accountable person, takes personal responsibility, and keeps their word to the accountability agreement you have. If you choose an accountability partner who is a flake, they will flake on you and influence you to be a flake. This is why having an “accountability partner” doesn’t work most of the time for most people. They pick an accountability partner who is weak at the very thing in which you need them to be strong.
The bottom line is that the true power of accountability lives inside of you. It’s embedded in our own internal drive and sense of personal responsibility, discipline and integrity, because ultimately true success is an inside job.

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