Early in my career I met a colleague (James) at a key note event. As the evening came to an end, James and I discussed with excitement some of the ideas presented on goals and decided that we would stay in touch…you know…the usual things you say when you meet someone. We exchange a few emails but things went quite shortly after.
Several months later we ran into each other at a multi-day entrepreneurship focused conference and surprise, surprise…neither of us had really made any real progress towards our business aspirations.
The conference ended several days later and James and I parted ways again, however this time we agreed to become “accountability partners”.
It was simple, we would schedule a 20 minute call each week to discuss 2 things.
1. Did you do what you said you would last week? 2. What are you going to do this week?
To keep each other accountable we decided that each time you didn’t do what you said you would you would owe your accountability partner a beer (surely to be enjoyed at the next conference).
The first few weeks went off without a hitch however as the weeks turned into months, the beer tab started adding up…and adding up until it became apparent that the debt couldn’t/shouldn’t be repaid all in one visit.
Enter Dog Food
I don’t remember if it was James’s brilliant idea or mine to replace delicious beer with dog food as punishment for not doing what you said you would do but as you can imagine it worked wonderfully.
Neither of us were keen on sampling the stuff so our attitudes towards our goals changed immediately. This exercise forced us to set more realistic and actionable goals on a weekly basis and tie them into longer term goals over time.
Each week both James and I did whatever it took to complete our tasks before that weekly accountability call.
No one wanted to know what kibbles and bits taste like.
Find Your Accountability Partner
Now I’m not advocating that you go out buy dog food but I am recommending you find someone to hold you accountable in helping you reach your goals.
Look for someone whose at a similar stage in their career who you respect and trust. Someone whose not afraid to push you (and be pushed) and hold you to your word.
Set a consistent time for a 20 minute weekly call on Fridays when you’re both winding down and reflecting on your activities and planning for the week ahead.
Create your own “punishment” such as 50 push ups, a 5km run uphill or whatever activity you personally detest.
Just make sure it’s the kind of “punishment” that will keep you fired up and working until you’ve completed your goal.
Marcin has been instrumental in building several businesses including commercial & multi family real estate investment partnerships, a consulting practice and a smart home security business serving customers nationwide. Marcin has secured over $100MM in growth capital for various businesses and has collectively spoken in front of thousands of entrepreneurs, business owners, investors and those just starting to explore living life on their own terms. Outside the office Marcin can be found at the gym lifting heavy things or on the road zipping along on an extended bicycle ride.
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