Finding Accountability Partners
Success does not come without the cooperation of others. - Napoleon Hill
This week we are checking out Ch. 15 of The Success Principles Workbook by Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I've heard Jack talking about mastermind groups in his audiobook version of The Success Principles. It seemed like a really cool concept - a close-knit group of 5-6 people meeting regularly to help each other to succeed more quickly and easily. They brainstorm solutions to each other's challenges and problems and share valuable resources with each other. They encourage each other to stretch and grow, keep each other motivated, and hold each other accountable for taking actions that they've committed to.
I love this African proverb that Jack shared:
If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
The workbook walks me through the steps involved in holding a mastermind meeting that should typically be held every two weeks for 60-90 minutes. Here is Jack's recommended agenda:
Step 1 - Invocation (1 min) - for example, starting with a prayer or an inspiring quote/story
Step 2 - Share Good/New (1 min/person) - Each member says something good that happened
Step 3 - Negotiate for Time (2 min) - so it's fair for everyone
Step 4 - Each Member Speaks then Brainstorm Solutions (7-10 min/person) - describe a challenge / need and give enough time for possible solutions from fellow members
Step 5 - Commit to Action (30 sec) - each member commits to an action by next meeting based on feedback received.
Step 6 - Gratitude/Shared Appreciation (2-3 min) - each person shares appreciation to people who contributed solutions.
Last Step - communicate next meeting
The workbook includes a meeting plan with four sections:
- Challenges or Projects to Share with the Group
- Suggestions from the Group
- Contacts / People / Resources Suggested by Group
- Areas to Take Action On
Another thing to do when trying to accomplish your goals is to get an accountability partner. I have a business counselor and a personal therapist who kind of fulfill those purposes. But getting a friend or my husband to follow through on this type of commitment has been difficult. For example, my husband was supposed to lead us in a weekly bible study when we took a hiatus from our small group. A month has passed and we haven’t started it yet. We are also supposed to hold each other accountable on a healthy diet and exercise plan.. again, I find ourselves opting for high-carb takeout. No wonder Jack says to not choose a spouse or a close family member!!
I’d say it’s important to choose someone who you know follows through on tasks, especially when it comes to work-related ones. The book lists a bunch of “interviews” questions to ask potential accountability partners like “What times of the day work best for you?” and “What motivates you?”
Basic guidelines for a successful accountability partnership include agreeing to connect at a specific time on specific days, connecting in real time via phone or videoconferencing, and limiting the can to five minutes.
The back of the workbook makes you list five people you will contact to see if they are willing to be your accountability partner.
I’ll say firsthand that accountability partners I’ve had in the past and even now motivate me to purpose my goals in ways I can’t do myself. And knowing that someone else believes in me is priceless, especially when I start to doubt myself in any way.
So I hope you take this chapter to heart and find someone who can help you to go for your dreams too!