The last time you had a fight with someone, did you stop and ask yourself, what is my role in this?
The last time you made a mistake at work, did you ask yourself, what could I have done better or differently?
The last time you didn’t get the result you wanted, were you honest with yourself about the level of work you put in? Was that result you got a truer reflection of your effort?
The last time you got promoted, did you look at yourself and own the progress you’ve made? The skills you’ve learnt? The results you’ve delivered?
The last time you hit a personal best, be it in the gym or on your blog, did you acknowledge all of the work you put in to achieve that result?
Or in each and every one of these situations, good or bad, did you find an external reason? Everyone’s getting promoted, the economy is bad, I had a head wind for my race, work is too busy for me to go to the gym, write, promote my business, read, research, complete the course.
Are you making excuses?
Or are you accountable for your own life?
What is Being Accountable?
At it’s simplest, being accountable is taking responsibility. Looking around you and owning that your life is a direct result of your decisions. The good, the bad, the meh, is all a result of the choices you have made.
But we can break it down further than that. Start digging into the specific behaviour you’ll have going on if you’re being accountable.
A huge part of owning your life is releasing that the only thing you can truly control is yourself. Your thoughts. Your actions. You can influence other people, animals, even plants. But ultimately, if that plant wants to die, not a lot you can do about it.
You can express your desires to your partner in the hope they will act but in the end, it’s up to them to decide if they want to do those things (as an aside, this is what is so challenging about relationships, there are two people in them! And you only control you).
Being accountable for your own life is focusing your energy on controlling yourself. Meditating so your gain control over your thoughts. Making a day plan so you’re in control of what get’s done. Choosing to look for a new job when you hate your current one. Hitting the gym. Eating better. Going to bed early. Setting upfront expectations on when you can get that urgent project done. Reading self-help books and listening to development podcasts. All of these actions are positive choices you can and will make if you’re in charge of your life.
But there’s another level. No one is perfect all of the time. You’ll under prepare for a meeting. Skip one workout that turns into a month of missed workouts. Stay up late binge-watching Netflix.
The next level of being accountable is reflecting on your behaviour and asking yourself how to be better.
Even when things go well, still considering what worked and doubling down on that. Then when things don’t go so well, considering what you would change next time. Being full accountable means consistently evaluating your performance, looking for opportunities to be more extraordinary.
Which all sounds like a lot to take on, so is it really worth it?
Why Accountability Matters
First up, it’s empowering! How good does it feel to go, yep, this is my life and I’m owning it. Scary, because there is nowhere to hide once you start taking accountability but you are in control.
And if you are in control, then you can change absolutely anything that doesn’t light you up.
This is why I quit my job over a year ago. I was absolutely miserable, sick with anxiety on my way to work every day. Plus I felt my boss was asking me to do things that compromised my integrity and that really was crossing the line. No job was worth giving up my values for. So even though I didn’t have another job lined up, I took control and trusted it would all work out. And life is a million times better, at a job with incredible people.
Speaking of not wanting to compromise, taking accountability allows us to create standards and boundaries in our own lives.
What is acceptable in your life? Getting home and vegeing out in front of the TV or reading a book, learning something, expanding your mind? What feels better? Every day you get to pick the person you want to be and take action accordingly. Picking your personal growth (which could be by what you choose to watch on TV), says something about the standards you have for yourself.
But it also extends to the standards for other people. What behaviour you will and won’t accept. The horrible job I mentioned before had a horrible boss who yelled, threw personal insults and had questionable morals. I was not ok with being on the receiving end of any of those behaviours. So I left.
Being accountable for your life is important because it empowers you to walk away from people and situations that don’t work for you. It enables you to turn around to someone as say ‘I understand that this situation is frustrating but there is no need to swear or yell at me’.
You no longer just take whatever life throws at you. You don’t just roll over and accept whatever comes your way.
You stand up, say here I am and this is what I’m here for. That’s powerful. And important. That’s how you create a life you want.
Be Accountable for Your Own Life
If you’re here, reading this, I don’t doubt that you’re already taking responsibility for parts of your life. But I also don’t doubt that you’re struggling to take responsibility for your ENTIRE life.
This is understandable. Some areas are easier to own than others. Maybe your relationship is great so you’re comfortable saying you’re in charge there. But your finances are a disaster and that’s your parent’s fault for not teaching you how to save.
That’s ok. Start where you are. And realise that becoming accountable is a life long journey for all of us.
If you want some help with working through taking greater accountability of your life, sign up here to book a discovery call. Maybe I can help!