Hold yourself CAPABLE - NOT Accountable
If our boss mentions to you that she wants to have a meeting about “#accountability” how does that make you feel?
Accountability, in my opinion, is the single most important characteristic required for success, but it often brings about negative feelings and emotions. So today, I want to talk to you about the sticky floor of accountability, and how we should STOP holding ourselves accountable, and start holding ourselves capable.
So what is it about ACCOUNTABILITY that just makes our heart rate go up and our mind race about what we failed to do?
It is because it's always associated with a #consequence. We want to “hold someone accountable” for a failed project, a missed deadline, or a gap in revenue.
In the Oxford dictionary, it's defined as “required or expected to justify actions or decisions. Responsible.”
That definition alone automatically puts ME on the defensive. Do I have to JUSTIFY my actions?
It's riddled with blame, consequences, and negative connotations.
So riddle me this - if being accountable is the single most important characteristic required for success, how can it be riddled with blame and consequences?
What if we flip the script? What if, instead of holding ourselves accountable, we held ourselves capable?
Capable of hitting milestones, of completing goals. Capable of completing the daily actions (or habits) necessary to BE successful.
I saw a clip of Michelle Obama on Facebook one time, that showed her saying “If you want to be an honest person - be an honest person.” And the same goes for accountability. If you want to be accountable, BE accountable!
It is as simple, and as HARD as that.
Simple because you just need to be accountable. And what I mean by that is, if you want to be a fit and healthy person, you need to be accountable to yourself and do the things that a fit and healthy person would do. You make movement and exercise a part of your daily routine. You swap out fatty foods, for leaner proteins, and you eat more leafy greens. The concept isn’t challenging! But the ACTIONS themselves are.
Delayed gratification is TOUGH. Being a fit person requires you to put the work in every day, to become a fit person down the road. But eating that piece of chocolate cake… that cake gives you that immediate dopamine hit, triggering the pleasure center in the brain, and BAM - you are rewarded.
But you - girl, YOU are capable. And you can hold yourself to those high standards because that's what we do here. We set our goals, we line up the actions we need to take to hit milestones, and we hold ourselves capable of completing each one of those actions, and each one of those milestones.
Being capable means that you are able to take ownership of the actions you do or don’t take, and the decisions you make. And you then, deal with the consequences. Good - or bad.
Just like accountability, the word consequence has that negative connotation and that icky feeling associated with it. You always hear “We will deal with that consequence later” as if it's a bad thing - but the definition of consequence is “the effect of an action or condition.” A consequence of being a saver is that you have money in the bank! A consequence of being someone that chooses the salad over the pizza is you feel physically better! The consequence of going to bed early is getting a good night's sleep.
As a leader, we have to hold ourselves to a high standard, and then we have to hold ourselves capable of hitting those standards. We should NEVER be lowering our standards. Not for a relationship, not for our team members, and certainly not for ourselves.
If you want to be successful, uber-successful, you have to hold yourself capable. You have to learn what works and what doesn’t. You have to make intentional and clear connections between how your success helps you move forward towards your goals in life.
YOU and only YOU are responsible for your successes and failures. The moment we stop blaming others, or blaming external conditions, is the moment we truly take charge of our destiny, and our successes. I’m not going to go into the different ways that you can hold yourself capable of your goals today - You have to do what works for you! Some people create checklists, where they can mark off what needs to be done as they go. Others like to work backward to break down BIG goals, into smaller bite-sized ones. And I’m sure you have heard of an “accountability partner” - that person who keeps you in check!
But at the end of the day, you need to do what works best for you, and for each goal, dream, and desire that you have. You have to put off that instant gratification for long-term results. No one is going to know if you skipped the gym today - but if you skip it every day for a month… it's likely going to show.
But as we wind down 2022- and map out our goals for 2023 (if you are like me, you have already started thinking about what that will look like!) think about the best ways to hold yourself capable of achieving each and every one of those goals. Hold yourself capable for being the type of person you want to be. The process starts with you - in your gut - with those dreams, desires, and hopes you have for the future.
You are the author of your own successes.