How A Boring – Yet Proven – Tool Achieves Amazing Results
- Judge by results – often harsh, always fair.
- Use a coach or accountability partner as a wealth building system.
- 7 ways to maximize this tool to accelerate your wealth growth.
Isn't it amazing how the choices that determine the bulk of your results in life are so boringly simple, no one wants to hear about them?
For example, let's say you want to drive from Los Angeles to New York and you're given the choice between two cars: a basic Toyota Camry, or a one-of-a-kind custom race car using the latest, coolest, whiz-bang technology.
Logic says to choose the basic Camry every time. It's the proven, reliable path to achieving the goal.
However, the sleek, beautiful race car just oozes sex-appeal and seduces us into the driver's seat for a more-better-different adventure.
Don't get me wrong. I love adventure as much as the next person – probably a lot more.
But there's a time and place for everything.
The financial game is about getting results – not having an adventure.
If you want to produce reliable results then use proven technology… even if it's boring.
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How We're Hardwired To Make Mistakes
The human mind has a character flaw that can destroy financial success if you don't control it with discipline.
We're attracted to shiny, bright solutions that appear cutting-edge over perfectly suitable, proven alternatives that are boring but well within our grasp.
As a financial educator I'm faced with this fact every time I write to you. New, cool, and different is what sells.
My articles must have an innovative twist or nobody cares. Nobody tweets, links, or likes the same old thing. It's not interesting enough.
…Even if it works and is the exact message someone needs to get the results they claim they want.
For example, every year I go on a tirade about goal setting in January. Every research study shows it's one of the most effective practices you can adopt to increase success.
It has worked wonders for me, it works for my coaching clients, and it costs nothing to implement.
Not surprisingly, the research studies also show very few people do it properly. I write about it because additional education appears necessary – yet nobody cares.
Great tool – simple to use – no cost – proven results… nobody cares. It makes no sense.
So it's with great trepidation I educate you today on the necessity of using accountability as a tool to build wealth.
“Yuck,” you say? Well, it's a fuel efficient, reliable Camry that'll get you from Los Angeles to New York. Do you want the result or not?
You can be smart and choose this solution over all the emergencies, new ideas, and other sexy distractions competing for your time right now, at this moment – or you can move onto something more exciting.
My challenge to you is simple – do you want to build wealth or not?
Why Accountability Is Necessary
“No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Everybody wants a “more-better-different” lifestyle, but most people only get more-of-the-same.
The problem is good intentions don't magically produce good results unless they translate into persistent action. No action equals no results.
Most people know what they need to do – spend less, save more, invest wisely – you just don't execute well.
You get busy, distracted, and lose track of your goals. Life gets in the way.
Emergencies and fires erupt that divert your attention from the most important tasks that will produce the greatest outcome.
In short, you get in your own way. As Emerson said above, you cheat yourself out of success due to your lack of focus.
However, there's one tool that works better than any other at fixing this problem so you can produce all the results you're capable of: accountability.
How Accountability Works
Very few people can just pick up a musical instrument and learn how to play it on their own.
Instead, you go to an instructor on a weekly basis where s/he shows you…
- Tricks and tips for how to play better.
- Weekly assignments providing the next logical step in your learning process.
- Instruction on what you're doing right and wrong to correct errors and reinforce learning.
As long as you continue working with the instructor, you make regular, incremental progress toward your goal.
Every week you practice and every week your musical ability improves.
What happens when you stop going to the instructor?
You stop practicing because there's no accountability and no next step.
It requires too much personal initiative and too much self-discipline to stay focused. Other issues interrupt progress. Your accountability structure is broken. Progress is stalemated. The entropy of life takes over.
The instructor never did the practicing for you. He wasn't there looking over your shoulder to make sure you did what was necessary to progress.
Yet, you did it anyway. The structure and weekly meeting held you accountable and kept you focused.
That's the amazing power of an educational process that includes accountability. It provides you with clear next steps and a structure to follow through.
It isn't sexy, but it's a proven process that just plain works.
It always has – it always will.
The only questions is, “Will you use it?”
7 Keys To Maximizing Accountability Effectiveness
- Design A Plan: In the music example above, the instructor provided the plan. In my financial coaching, the plan is produced during the first step of the 7 Steps To 7 Figures process because each plan must be uniquely formulated to fit the client. This is the critical first step because your actions should always be grounded in an overall plan to produce the intended result. It creates the context for everything that follows. It's the required starting point.
- Convert Your Plan Into Action Steps: A plan is just a dream until it's converted into specific action steps that you can be accountable for achieving. For example, the music instructor gives specific songs to learn that teach specific musical skills. This is essential because goals and plans are just ideas. When you convert the goal into specific actions steps, there's accountability that eliminates any question about your progress.
- Create A Way To Measure Results: You can only improve that which you can measure. This is critical. Your daily actions must result in a clear, unambiguous measurement criteria. When your progress is measured, then performance improves.
- Schedule Regular Accountability: Once you have a goal, have created a strategy to achieve that goal, and you've converted that strategy into daily actions steps with clear measurement criteria, the next step is to set a regular schedule with your accountability partner where you agree to provide a status report that reveals your progress. Review your goals each session. Celebrate the wins and uncover the causes of failure so they don't repeat. This must occur regularly (weekly or bi-weekly) to ensure consistent progress. There can't be a lapse or there's no accountability.
- Invoke the Competitive Spirit: Can you beat your goal? Can you outperform expectations? Sometimes it's fun to let your competitive juices flow and see what's possible. One fun strategy is to choose an accountability partner that shares the same goal so that you can compete with each other and super-charge results.
- Build A Support System To Pull You Forward: Setbacks are inevitable. Everybody experiences them. The difference is successful people get back on their feet faster and don't waste time or energy by wallowing in the problem. Life is hard, and it's also beautiful. Acknowledge your loss, control the damage, and refocus yourself to start winning again. The key is to create a support system that literally pulls you forward. Coaching, masterminds, professional organizations, and accountability partners are all excellent examples of support systems that help you refocus when the going gets rough.
- Be Honest: Accountability only works when combined with integrity. If you lie about your results then you only deceive yourself. If your accountability partner doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to call you to the carpet when appropriate, then it won't work. The process will lack backbone. You don't need a cheerleader. You need someone that can speak the truth when necessary to get you back on track. If your accountability partner accepts excuses, then s/he really isn't holding you accountable at all.
Choosing An Accountability Partner
A lot of people ignore the accountability process because it's not sexy. It's a Camry – a practical solution that just works.
The rest avoid accountability because they don't want to answer to someone else – avoidance.
Accountability is one of those things like goal setting – you know it works, but you don't do it.
The question is, “Do you want results or not?”
Accountability will help you build wealth, but you need the right partner to make it work.
Find someone willing to ask the hard questions, challenge you, and will check in regularly to remind you about your goals… particularly when you don't want to hear them.
This person must hold you responsible for explaining why you didn't complete a task even when it feels uncomfortable.
Many people employ friends, family, and co-workers as accountability partners. It can work, but be careful.
The problem is true accountability can be antithetical to friendship and uncomfortable for a personal relationship.
Tough stances must be taken that are contrary to how friends and family normally communicate. It can be dangerous if the person isn't skilled at the process.
If you want professional accountability along with instructional wealth building education, then my financial coaching services are an obvious fit.
- The exact things to do
- The simplest, most effective way to do them
- The correct order in which to do them
On top of that, you get a professional accountability partner to ensure regular progress along with process coaching to overcome all the obstacles you'll inevitably run into.
For the right client, the process produces more value than it costs.
Accountability Done Right Produces A Result No Matter What
My experience is that accountability relationships usually go one of two ways:
- You either produce the results you want because you can't stand hearing your own excuses
- …Or you end the process and drop the goal because you can't stand hearing your own excuses.
Either way, something important is revealed. You break through your barriers and produce amazing results, or you own up to the fact your goal really isn't a priority in your life, so you drop the whole thing.
The point is you win either way. You get the goal or you overcome your personal self-deception and get on with your life knowing the truth.
Even when you fail, you actually win because you learn something valuable about yourself and move to the next level in your life.
As my friend Brian Klemmer shared with me, “Judge by results – often harsh, but always fair.”
With accountability, you always judge by results. They always tell the truth.
So if you're ready to get results, then accountability is a necessary tool. You have the knowledge and resources you need to put this tool to work right now and start building wealth.
The ball is in your court. You can either read this, think “whatever”, and move on to your next task… or you can do something meaningful with it.
This decision will make the difference between “more of the same” and “more-better-different”.
Which will you choose?
The One Decision That Can Make Or Break Your Financial Future
There are only four paths you can choose from.
Click below to find out which path is best for you, and why.
Thank you for this great post. Your points about accountability hit home with me.
Accountability opens the door of success in many areas of life. A great accountability partner will help motivate you to reach your dreams. They will praise you when you do well. They will give it to you straight when you mess up.
Accountability also makes us better people. When we answer to someone else our game improves. We generally do a better job. Accountability is a critical success factor in most areas of life—especially in the pursuit of financial freedom.
We need accountability at the individual level for sure. In addition, we need accountability at the corporate level, in our financial institutions, and our governance structures.
Stronger accountability at every level may have even prevented the current financial crisis.
Accountability raises the bar for all us—individuals and institutions. Your comments and suggestions are right on the money.
@Larry – Thanks for your feedback.
Yes, accountability is one of those ideas everyone understands on a surface level; yet, it is far deeper and more powerful than generally realized.
I appreciate how you broadened the discussion by including the wider implications.
Great article. I agree with all of your points and I would like to set up an athletic accountability partner for myself. I have noticed over the years how having kids and working a lot has left me with out a lot of time or interest in staying in shape. I was a very active young person, ski racing for many years and windsurfing brought me to Hawaii. But after many years of focus on work, investments and raising kids I find myself lazy and not interested in being in top shape. I would like to embody it but I don’t seem to make it a priority for any length of time. So this post will help me focus on finding an accountability work out partner or program to start asap. Something else that I thought of from Larry’s post was I have heard or read somewhere that on average married people tend to get ahead financially much more than single people. I know that my wife is my greatest accountability partner in many areas. Perhaps this is also why being married helps you financially. Due to the economies of scale, sharing the costs of life, duel focus, ect: Also the stats on divorce are so bad, I believe that 50% don’t make it. This being the case the financial cost can be huge! I have many friends that are divorced and can see first hand how many of them are where I was 15 – 20 years ago due to the financial set back of this event. Having a great partner is key in this regard. Someone who holds you accountable in many respects. I never really thought of how profound this can be in a financial sense. Sorry for being a little off topic but it was just something that came to me from this post.
@Steve – According to The Millionaire Next Door: Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy
the evidence agrees – financially successful people stay with the same partner. My personal opinion is the reason for why this is true operates on many levels – accountability and financial stability are obvious ones, but less obvious are things like delayed gratification, discipline, commitment and more.
What my coaching clients find is that as they improve their financial lives many other aspects of their life improves as well – relationships, health, life balance and more. The reason is because the same success principles and approach to life that builds wealth creates success in every other aspect of life.
One of the personal challenges I like to play with is not having a life that is a 10 on a 1-10 scale financially, but how can I make every aspect of my life that way. It is a very difficult challenge because there are so many conflicting motivations – free time to relax vs. pursue more-better-different health or greater business goals or more recreation or time with spouse or kids.
…Which brings us back on topic to accountability. It is multi-dimensional and confronts a basic aspect of human nature in relationship to achievement of any sort.
I love step 6 for achieving accountability effectiveness. It allows for inevitable mistakes, but doesn’t excuse their perpetuation.
Support systems encourage ongoing progress, which is something I think we all want deep down inside.
Commitment is a suitable alternative to an accountability partner. While I don’t disagree that the steps in the article would produce results, I firmly believe the world could use more committed people overall. If I want to do something it’ll get done, otherwise I didn’t really want to in the end. In essence, learning to hold oneself accountable for the things one wants is far more efficient than bringing in a third-party facilitator.
The thing you need to understand Andrew is that everyone is different. This site serves many different people with different interests, skills, and abilities. Your comment has a tone of judgment that your answer is best or you have it all figured out. That’s fine if it works for you. However, what’s actually important is for each person to find a system that works for them. There is no right versus wrong. There’s only what works versus what doesn’t. Your solution will work for some, but not for others, which is why a variety of tools are offered. Hope that clarifies.