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Accountability

Your New Best Friend

by Jeff Miner, LPC, ME.D

Quick: I want you to think of your best friend. The friend that you know you can say anything to and you won’t be judged. The friend who sees the potential in you that sometimes you overlook and is always coaxing out your best even when you just don’t feel very special. What sets that friend apart from the acquaintances that you interact with everyday? I’d venture to guess that if you tell your best friend that you want to do something you feel more motivated to actually DO IT.

Now, stop and ponder this: what is your experience with being "held accountable"? Is it one of those dreaded concepts that makes you cringe and run for the nearest happy hour? Most of us have had at least one bad experience with accountability at some point in our lives, especially when it was used as a tool for condemnation or - worse - inappropriately called incentive. The good news is that accountability does NOT have to be a "four letter" word….it can actually be your new best friend.

The truth is, we ALL need something or someone to be accountable to. Think of Michael Jordan for a second: would he have gone to practice every day without the encouragement of his coach? If he had no support system, no one to call him out when he slacked off, no one to challenge him, would he have been the Michael Jordan that so many stood in awe of?

When I started coaching I honestly believed that I was one of the most motivated people in the world. I certainly didn’t think I needed anybody to tell me what to do. I quickly learned, however, that I was not the animal I thought I was. Through my coach training, both in being coached and in coaching my own clients, I can personally attest to the power of a well structured weekly accountability process. It is when we must stand before another person and account for our time and efforts that true success can begin to take hold.

My only regret is that I wish I would have been trained in coaching skills while I was still in Corporate America so I could have used the process with my direct reports! Little did I know then, but a 2001 study on the impact of executive coaching by Manchester Inc. showed that 77% of executives who utilized personal coaches reported better working relationships with direct reports. Imagine how much more productive—and enjoyable!—work days are when relationships improve!

If you want some facts to back up my experience, this section is for you. Fairley and Zipp's "The Business Coaching Toolkit" quotes the following from the results of a research project performed by the American Society for Training and Development. The study related the probability of a person's completing a goal based upon the actions they took relating to that goal. These results speak for themselves.

ACTION TAKEN/PROBABILITY OF COMPLETION
  1. If you hear an idea ...........................10%
  2. If you consciously decide to adopt an idea ....................25%
  3. If you decide when to act on the idea ...........................40%
  4. If you design a plan to act on the idea ...........................50%
  5. If you commit to another person to act on the plan ...........65%
  6. If you have a specific accountability appointment with the person to whom you made your commitment ...........................95%
Accountability can be our best friend if we’ll just embrace it. What accountability structures do you have in place either personally or for your direct reports?


Purpose

Why are you here?

Purpose: The real reason why you want what you want.

Another year has come and gone and with it goes many of our dreams, hopes and desires for a better life. In today’s consumer-driven society, most people equate how much money they have made with how successful they are. Unfortunately, when we base our self worth on physical materials we forget to enjoy—and sometimes even notice--the moments that were truly life changing.

Your real purpose is your true reason for being on earth. Your real purpose is always something that is BIGGER than you. Contrary to popular thought, purpose is not what you do; it is the result of what you do. For example, a teacher’s true purpose might be to inspire her students. She does that through her everyday activities: setting an example, instructing, disciplining, encouraging, coddling, and comforting. Twenty years down the road, a student probably won’t remember every word that teacher uttered, but he or she will remember that it was that teacher who truly inspired her to reach her own goals, be it teacher, lawyer, writer or mother. For the teacher, true purpose is the satisfaction and fulfillment she feels when she sees the impact that she has had on others and the world.

A life with purpose is a life filled with deliberate—and sometimes “small”--actions. When living a purposeful life, tasks that you previously did just to get done take on a new and meaningful role in your life. Accomplishments take on a different meaning when we are living on purpose because each becomes an irreplaceable puzzle piece that eventually will contribute to and eventually complete your true life purpose.

Purpose is always the driving force that fuels why you do what you do. To really live a life on purpose, you first need to create your vision. Vision is what you do to accomplish your purpose. Your vision is a vivid description of all the behaviors that you would be doing if you live a life with purpose. An example may be:

Purpose – To empower others into a greater experience of life through spirituality.

Vision – I will teach Sunday school. I will go on a mission and assist in spiritual education in a 3rd world continent. I will attend bible study one time a week. I will volunteer at my church.

Becoming consciously aware of your purpose allows you to implement your vision and move forward with determination and focus. After all, if you don’t know where you want to be you will never know when you get there! When you truly live on purpose you are constantly filling your life with true happiness. This really is not an option….we all need a sense of purpose. After all, isn’t that why were here?

"Great minds have purpose, little minds have wishes."   Washington Irving

About the Author: Jeff Miner, LPC, ME.D, is owner of Nothing By Chance Coaching. After years of working with Olympic athletes, business tycoons and dynamic individuals Jeff has honed his skills as the nation's first Personal Excellence Coach. If you're ready to double--or even triple--your income, reach new heights in your career and align your true purpose with your everday actions, visit Jeff at www.nothingbychancecoaching.com.



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