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Working With an Accountability Partner


Article by Christy Duckett

Photography by Christy Duckett

When it comes to personal growth or business growth, there's always a need for accountability. Setting goals and holding ourselves accountable for those goals sounds easy enough. But is it?  

For years I talked about putting together an online course. I started and stopped many times. Over and over again. It wasn't until I found an accountability partner that it actually happened.  

Getting back in shape, writing a book, increasing income, starting a business—whatever the goal may be, it's easy to procrastinate. As someone who has had coaches and who also coaches others, I can't emphasize enough how beneficial it is to have additional support through accountability. Holding yourself accountable is great, but finding an accountability partner could be even better. 

Here are some tips for finding and working with an accountability partner.  

1. Set a routine and keep it short.

Working with an accountability partner doesn't have to be a long, dragged-out process. Check-ins can be as short as a couple-minute phone call. Start by sharing your long-term, big-picture goal. Then, each week, share what you got done toward that goal and what you will be working on next week.   

People are busy. You might have a full-time job or kids. Pulling yourself away to meet for coffee isn't always possible. When the check-ins are only 5 minutes, they are also effective. This will also lead to less "rain checks". There's less pressure than a 30- to 60-minute phone call or meet-up. If there was ever moment that I thought about skipping, I wouldn't. After the call, I was always glad that I didn't make excuses.

2. Find someone other than your spouse or business partner. 

It's important to always communicate with your spouse or business partners. But, if we are only turning to them, we run the risk of interrupting other processes or straining the already long list of commitments to each other. When it comes to your spouse, it's already stressful enough if you have kids and are trying to run a business. There are a million other things running through your mind to talk about (What's for dinner? Is the dryer done? Did the dishwasher get emptied? What’re our commitments this weekend?) They could also not tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear; this could unintentionally undermine your progress.  

3. Find someone outside of your area of expertise.

In life and business, I've had lots of different coaches and mentors. Coaches and mentors do provide a layer of accountability. However, what I am suggesting is finding someone outside of your coach to help hold you accountable. A coach can provide guidance, support, confidence and education. But, finding an accountability partner is something special.

What I've found is that your accountability partner doesn't have to be in the same business as you, but they do have to want to be held accountable in their life too. So why find someone outside of your industry to partner up with? Well, what's interesting is that if someone isn't familiar with my business, then I don't ever feel like I'm being judged. There's no pressure to feel like you have to one-up each other. It helps a person be vulnerable and real about the results they may or may not be getting. I also enjoy an outside perspective from people not in the same industry as I am. I'm in real estate, and for the longest time, the only type of networking events that I would go to were real estate-related. I made the decision to join a high-level mastermind group where I was the only real estate investor and found it to be very valuable. There's a time and place for me as a real estate investor to network with other investors, but speaking with entrepreneurs from different fields has expanded my perspective.  

While writing my course on mobile home investing, I had an accountability partner. She, too, was writing an online course, but it didn't have anything to do with real estate. Her expertise was in health and nutrition. I was in real estate, she was in health and nutrition, but we both had a common interest in writing. We shared ideas on marketing, working with clients, and different resources that we used in our businesses. While our businesses might be different, we both had the right mindset and we both had similar goals.  

I took this idea outside of my business and into my personal fitness goals. I have a girlfriend who loves to run. I'm not much of a runner, but I love taking spin class. Our fitness goals were different, but we both had a common goal of being healthy. By us doing the 5-minute weekly check-in, it held us both responsible for our weekly goals. We also shared diet tips and recipes. Most importantly, though, it made things fun.  

I often speak in the context of business, but this can be applied to anything: workouts, family goals, giving back to your community, you name it! Remember, when you get an accountability partner, you also become one! You get what you give. Rising tides raise all ships! Helping other people achieve their goals can be just as rewarding (if not more) as hitting our own. Be a great listener, take action, and watch the exponential results explode!

 Live & Love!

Christy Duckett