Outside or Inside?

How well do you hold yourself accountable? Do you look to others to help you stick to your goals?

One of the most difficult challenges when I started my own business was completing tasks and achieving goals that I set for myself. I’d set goals and assign myself tasks and look back later and find that many of them were still incomplete. It became pretty frustrating!

I realized, one particularly frustrating day, that I was missing someone to report to about my progress – someone with authority over me and the power to fire me. I worked really well with an “external accountability” structure. I knew that I would complete my tasks, because I knew it was important to keep my job! It was also important that people liked me and approved of me.

So, here I sat, being my own accountability! There was no one that could fire me. I had the freedom to structure my day however I wanted. I could do tasks however and whenever I wished.

Wow! What amazing freedom!

Yes, there is certainly amazing freedom. And, I realized that I needed to find a way to hold myself accountable. There was no coach, no friend, no person to whom I felt that responsible that they could be an external accountability for me. I needed to find it within myself to complete these tasks.

While I have made outstanding progress on this, I sometimes notice that there is still room for improvement! Here are 2 strategies I’ve used to help me…

Change Your Words – Change Your Life

To Do ListThe first thing I noticed was that certain words caused me to resist my list. I’m a dedicated list maker to keep myself on track. And, there were many times when I’d simply not even look at my list – instead I’d resist it. A simple shift made all the difference. I changed my list from a to-do list of tasks to an Opportunity List of Action Items. Those simple shifts from “to-do” to “opportunity” and from “tasks” to “action items” shifted completely how I felt about the activities. Tasks seem like drudgery and are unpleasant sounding. Action items sound exciting and like something that brings results. Opportunities are exciting and rewarding while to-do’s are like “shoulds” and feel like someone telling me what I have to do.

Keep On Keepin’ On

Another important shift for me was to discover what I’m passionate about and what purpose I feel in my life. When I connected with a deep purpose and a clear passion to achieve it, my attitude shifted. And, most importantly, I noticed that connecting with that passion for my purpose brought me a lot of energy. That energy easily translated into completing action items! I’ve noticed in myself and in others that passion is like fuel in an engine. It keeps the engine running. Another aspect of that analogy that fits is that just like the gas tank gets empty so, too, can our own passion fade. In order to fill our own inner fuel tank, it helps to get in touch with the feeling of our passion repeatedly.

Coach’s Challenge

Take a look at any lists you may have and notice what you call that list. Do you talk about it as your “to-do” list? What other title do you have? Take a moment to consider what title you could give your list that sounds exciting and appealing.

To discover your passion, consider what subject you most like to study or talk about. What topics of conversation do you catch yourself going on and going about? When you talk to your friends, what is your “pet subject”? What is your “pet peeve” that could translate into your purpose or passion? For me, I find that I can talk about the subjects of raising self-esteem and how the brain relates to success for hours and days – well past the point of boring anyone I’m talking to! What is your favorite mission or charity? What drives you?