One obvious factor of being self employed and running your own business is that you don’t report to any one else. That’s right, the utopia – no boss, no manager and no accountability (enter ‘smiley face emoticon’ should it be appropriate!).
When I say it like that it sounds amazing and probably something I should have done years ago. However, what it also means to me is that I can produce all amounts of excuses for not sitting down and doing what I need to do (I can be the Queen of Procrastination!).
I can change my ‘priority list’ I made the night before to suit what I really fancy doing that day and find all manner of things that just ‘have to be done’ instead of what I really need to do to grow my business. I can pretend I haven’t seen the business or personal goals I wrote down in a moment of enthusiasm some time ago and haven’t really looked at again … or stuck to. There’s no boss breathing down my neck to write this blog, there’s no-one counting the meetings I have or analysing the results each month with me. It’s just me.
Recently, however, I attended a 2 day course based around Personal Performance Coaching held by The Coaching Academy. It was a great taster session introducing techniques to identify personal or business goals for ourselves and others, how to create a manageable action plan and step up to ‘commitment mode’ with the specifics that entailed.
It was filled with plenty of role playing so we could practice our new found techniques, as there’s nothing like a real life situation to cement your learnings. Suddenly I realised that actually all this practicing we were doing, including the rework of some of our beliefs we had of ourselves and the world today, resulted in the fact that we had someone to be accountable to, there and then within the group.
The coaching scenarios addressed real, valid, current issues for each of us; identifying the goal, the actions we could take and ultimately committing to those actions that we were definitely going to take…. said out loud ….. either in pairs or in front of almost 100 people.
It instilled in us that we now had to go and do what we’d said out loud or ultimately our brains would makes us feel guilty that we hadn’t and we’d be pummeled by our ‘inner chimp’ (book recommendation ‘The Chimp Paradox’ by Professor Steve Peters if you haven’t read it already!) for weeks or months on end. Ultimately saying something out loud to someone is far stronger in our psyche than just imagining it in your head or even writing it down.
So many people set up businesses on their own or with a business partner who can bring an alternative skill to the startup. However, what they don’t do is set up an accountability partner, telling them their goals and plans and then reviewing them once the timeline has passed, working out what worked, what didn’t and how to move forwards again.
Even in a larger business with 20+/100+/500+ employees, accountability for development is key as it means that people have something to aim for (a goal), making their efforts worthwhile (if you haven’t read my blog on goal setting, have a read here…) and therefore their existence within that role satisfying and fulfilling.
So my advice, if you don’t mind me sharing it with you, is to get some sort of accountability partner. It might be your accountant, it might be someone you’ve met recently networking, it might be a personal/business coach, it might just be a friend or relative (mine’s quite a new friend, but it feels like we’ve known each other for years and both go through the same ups & downs). But do ask someone to partner you in this way because then not only do you get to share your enthusiasm, exciting plans and energy, it will also help keep you on track with those promises that we all make to ourselves but don’t or can’t always keep because life gets in the way and they quickly disappear into the background of daily events.
If you’re looking for an accountability partner or need some coaching/advice around setting your goals and creating your plans or strategies, please do get in touch and we can discuss the options that are open to you.