Accountability is one of the most powerful tools and motivators that many of us have at our disposal. Most of us have had either an accountability buddy, coach or manager that held us accountable from time to time. But most of us do not realize that there are different types of accountability and that they each have a separate purpose.

We are all familiar with external accountability. That is when someone else holds us accountable. We must understand its purpose before we graduate to the next level of accountability. Without understanding the purpose of external accountability it can sometimes feel as if our accountability buddy or manager is pushing us around, micro managing, or giving us a guilt trip when we don’t get the results we committed to earlier.

So, the question I ask you is, “What is the purpose of external accountability?”

I have been asking that questions to people that I coach and no one has had the answer. What I usually hear is that the purpose of external accountability is for motivation, or for purpose, or for a kick in the pants when you need it. Some have said that it is so someone else can help you stay focused, or to remind you of your goals. Others when pushed to come up with more answers, simply shut down and shrug their shoulders and say “Well, I guess I never really thought about it before. What is the purpose?”

And if you don’t have it figured out yet, then I will tell you the same thing that I say to those that ask me: “I’m not telling…at least not yet.” The answer will be much more powerful if you come up with it, rather than me dumping it on you.

And by the way, all of those answers from before “motivation, purpose, focus, etc.” are great answers, but they are not the best answer. The best answer is far more profound and impactful than all of those combined.

Therefore, in order to help you come up with a solution, I’ll ask you a different question. Is it easier to let yourself down or…to let a friend down?

What I mean is, is it easier to be late when you are meeting someone else or when you have a meeting scheduled with yourself? Most of us would never be 20 minutes late for a meeting with our boss, or someone we respected, but we have no problem being 20 minutes late or even skipping the appointment we set with ourselves to read, run, meditate, set our goals, plan our week, clean our office or whatever.

You must begin to treat the appointments you have set for yourself as the most important meetings that you have in your day, especially if they involve improving yourself. And if you are not scheduling time for yourself in your day, start there. As hectic as all of our schedules are, if you do not plan to improve yourself, then you will not ever get to it. If you are already doing this…great job, keep it up. And teach those around you how to do the same, share with them your strategies.

I will share with you the purpose of external accountability in my next article - "The Purpose of External Accountability is……" But for now, start treating yourself as the most respected person you know.

I would LOVE to hear your answers to the question, “What is the purpose of external accountability?” Post your answer below.

Be Free!

Tom Weber

Author's Bio: 

This article is available for reprint as long as the following bio is included intact with links activated were appropriate.

Tom Weber is an Instructor and VP of Sales at Freedom Personal Development He teaches workshops around the country on memory training.

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