One of the things that I hear often from entrepreneurs looking for a coach is: I need accountability. But at a certain point, does needing someone else to hold you accountable to your goals become a crutch? That is the question that we are diving into on today’s episode of the Goal Get It Podcast.
- Application to Work Together
- Fiercely-Focused 1:1 Coaching
- Gretchen Rubin
- Four Tendencies Quiz
- Episode 009: Build Your Success Circle to Level Up Your Business
- DM me on Instagram
- Discover what Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies is and what it has to do with accountability.
- Understand why external accountability is so effective for an entrepreneur.
- Learn how you might be treating accountability with helpful questions to help you.
Rather skim before you listen? ⬇️
One of the number one things I hear from entrepreneurs looking for a coach is “I need accountability.”
But at a certain point does needing someone else to hold you to your goals become a crutch?
That is what we are diving into in today’s episode.
Let’s talk about Gretchen Rubin for a moment. Because Gretchen Rubin has a brilliant framework called the four tendencies.
The Four Tendencies is a personality framework developed by The New York Times bestselling author that divides people into four distinct types: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels.
The purpose of these tendencies is to explain why we act and why we don’t act why we take action or we don’t.
So in the case of doing something hard, knowing your tendency means that you know how to motivate yourself to get the thing done.
Upholders are driven by discipline. They decided they’ll do something, they do it. Questioners are driven by something making sense. They often have lots of questions. Rebels have to believe it is their own idea & refuse to follow what anyone what else tells them to do, sometimes even if that is the thing they want to do. And then there are obligers. Obligers need other people counting on them to get the thing done that they’ve said they will do. Obligers need accountability. (If you want to dive deeper into what type you are, Rubin offers a free quiz to find out. I’ll link to it in the show notes.)
Now, Rubin doesn’t believe that any one tendency is better than the rest & I agree with her.
Understanding and leveraging how you uniquely show up, motivate yourself, & the things that already work for you is at the heart of everything I do and teach.
But how do you determine if a natural tendency, say the need for external accountability, is a necessity for you forever or if it is becoming a crutch? That is the question I want to attempt to answer today.
And don’t ditch the accountability partner just yet. I think an accountability partner can be an effective relationship as I lay out in episode 009: Build Your Success Circle to Level Up Your Business.
Why Is External Accountability Effective?
Let’s first dive into why external accountability works. Accountability is an interesting thing. Most of the entrepreneurs I speak with mention this is something they are seeking. While basically telling ourselves that we shouldn’t break promises to ourselves, is a wonderful idea, it isn’t always practical. Sometimes the fear of others ostracizing us because we broke a promise to them again (which is an evolutionary, biological thing), is a great motivator and gives us the nudge we need.
That is why external accountability works. Because we care about how someone else sees us and if they want to have us as part of their group. Now this is leftover from long ago when being out on your own, being ostracized from a group, people NOT liking you and trusting you, led to you being totally on your own, which meant almost certain death when the elements, hunger, or a saber-toothed tiger could end little ol’ lonesome you. We were highly motivated to be liked and part of a group.
But is people-pleasing enough of a reason to get something done in today’s world? Well, look at your own life. Are there things that you take on because others expect it of you even though you’ve told yourself time and time again that you don’t have room for the things that are personally important to you? If you didn’t just scream yes in response, I’m gonna assume one of two things about you: either you’re lying or you’ve previously done the work of prioritizing your own wants, needs, & desires over other people’s wants, needs, & desires.
Now, I have talked openly on social media and in other episodes about how people-pleasing is likely holding you back from what you want, so how am I able to talk about it as a potential good thing?
Well, remember, everything I teach is about leverage. Leveraging your time, energy, cognitive bandwidth, money, & other resources to get the best results possible. So, how do you know if your reliance on external accountability is helping or hurting you in the long run?
As with basically anything, it really depends on several different factors.
But the biggest one is are you treating it like a tool or a crutch? It may seem like a nuanced difference, but the intention behind each of these are clear. Are you using accountability as an excuse as to why you aren’t doing the things you need to do or say you are going to do or are you aware that you need accountability in order to keep you on track and you are leveraging that knowledge about yourself to help you get closer to your goals?
If you blame lack of accountability, if you expect an accountability partner to reach out and ask you about your goals (aka you are taking a passive role), or if the need for accountability is making it harder for you to achieve your goals, it’s time to rethink your relationship with accountability.
Because as entrepreneurs, you’re ultimately responsible for your own output, you’re responsible for what you produce.
Also, expect your relationship with accountability to evolve & shift as you grow and achieve. I believe that external accountability is most transformational early on in your journey, as a way to kickstart your journey. If you still need the same level of accountability on certain items for years at a time, there is a disconnect in the habit formation process that needs your attention.
In the end, I am all for using what works for you. Being honest with yourself about what will push you forward faster and what will ultimately hold you back. Leverage what you know works for you.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode: Pull out your journal and answer these questions. Do I need accountability? What is my current relationship with accountability? Is it serving me as I’m working toward my big goals or is it becoming a hindrance? At the end of this, you’ll either have confirmation that your relationship with external accountability is rock solid, or that you may need to rethink how you think about accountability.