The two unsung horsemen of accomplishment


We all know what we need to do. But a lot of the time, we just don’t do it.

Some of the reasons are well-trodden and known. We’re all busy, we’re all stressed, we’re all tired. There’s not much that needs to be said about those.

But I find that there are two other, less well-known, but nevertheless vital pieces to being able to make things happen.

Getting others involved

I bet there are changes to your behavior that you could make that you’re not making. Perhaps it’s just that you know you “should” but aren’t, or perhaps you just don’t know what would work.

There’s a missing piece there, and that’s accountability.

Accountability is having external oversight to one’s goals.

It’s the reason why we do homework for a class, even one we’ve voluntarily signed up for. We may want to succeed, but it’s different a professor will ask you “did you do your homework?” We will work harder when someone is watching us.

Do you get up quickly on a day when you have to go to work, but struggle with the snooze alarm for hours on a day off? (Nope, I know nothing about that. No sir.) That’s accountability acting there. Your job doesn’t make you get up, but it feels like it does. And on the weekend, there’s nothing like that getting you up.

But you don’t need to be formal and start an accountability group. You can just get a friend or partner involved. Have them casually check up on you, and ask you periodically how things are going. There’s no need for the friend to judge, because you’ll already be feeling it no matter what. Trust me on this.

Getting someone else involved helps us by appealing to our impulse to want to not let other people down. And it’s a lot harder to let other people down than it is to let ourselves down.

Maybe we wish that weren’t true, but it is.

Own it

But there’s still a missing piece: ownership.

We’ve all gotten something for free. We just passed the holiday season, and whether or not you celebrate the holidays in the traditional way, you probably received a gift of some sort. Whether it’s a thing like a gadget or an experience like the opportunity to travel somewhere, I hope you’re filled with gratitude.

But no matter how grateful you are, you will never feel as much ownership over the gift as you would if you had saved up and paid for it yourself, or just worked to get there. Otherwise, you didn’t have to give up anything to get it, so there isn’t a sense of its weight. It’s just not as important.

READ MORE:  On being remarkable (or World Domination Summit 2013)

Case in point: when I was a volunteer for World Domination Summit and got in for free, I had an amazing time. But the experience when I paid for a ticket at World Domination Summit was completely different. All of a sudden, the intensity of the event was laid bare for me. I felt the urgency to get as much out of the experience as possible. After all, I had paid for it! (Worth it or not, WDS is not cheap, at least not to me.)

I wasn’t prepared for this feeling, and the result was that I felt a lot of stress around the event, and didn’t plan for success as much as I could have. Lesson learned.

I’ll be testing this out at FinCon later this year. I will have goals, and I will test my participation against the meeting of those goals. I will make it worthwhile, because I paid for it.

If you have accountability and ownership on your side, then you are poised to succeed. Then the next question to ask is: how badly do you want it?

What else do you need to make things happen? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments are closed.