A is for Accountability

my explanation My daughter asked me what I thought was the most important attribute of a successful person. Hmmmm. Wow. Uhhhh. Is it really possible that I could be rendered speechless? All day, I tried to think of an answer I believed was the best answer… It was a long day!

buy antabuse tablets uk Thankfully, we received an email from our soccer coach later that day, which really inspired me and helped me find, at least, a good answer. His letter was about ACCOUNTABILITY.  What a great platform for life!

Being ACCOUNTABLE TO YOURSELF is such a an almost foolproof foundation for greatness, because it forces you to commit to achieving goals that you set for yourself, no matter how big or how small. Why “to yourself?” Because being accountable to yourself enables you to keep your commitment to your schedule, to your schedule and even to your commitment to God.

Being accountable to yourself means that you need to utilize discipline, that you may not even have, to maintain your commitments. It means you say to yourself “I said I would do this, and even though I was out too late last night and even though it’s too hot out and even though I wish I had not made this commitment…I need to do it because I said to myself originally that it was the right thing to do – the best thing to do – and I will be accountable to myself and get out of bed and do it!”

At school, accountability gets you to class on time and forces you to budget your time.  Being accountable to your work means that you know what work is due and when. You hold yourself accountable to figuring out what it will take to get it done far enough in advance and then getting it done. Being accountable means that if you aren’t sure what is due, you ask your teacher. If you are not sure how it works, you ask when you can come in and then you come in. Holding yourself accountable to your school commitments is the simple path the success in school. Sometimes you need to put aside your personal lack of interest in the subject matter. Developing habits to allow you to be accountable to yourself is not easy. Discipline, hard work and focus are probably the best tools to enable your commitment to yourself.

In sports, there are layers of accountability. Showing up on time, every time is foremost. Working hard. Being respectful to the coaches, the parents, the referees and the fans. Giving it your all, all of the time. Training beyond practice. Doing it for your team. This can’t happen if the player does not make the commitment to themselves. And even then, if the player does not hold themselves accountable to that commitment, they will completely miss out on excellence. There was just an ad on TV featuring the olympic athlete, Simone Biles. Every day she has the option, when her alarm clock goes off, to “choose to snooze.” Being accountable to yourself in sports means that you don’t choose to snooze.

At work, accountability takes on a more complex personality. We need to be financially accountable, morally accountable and for those who really want to be successful; we need to be accountable to exceeding any of the expectations for the role that we are in today. The difference between school and work is that in school, all of the work is assigned. It is clear what is due and when. At work, there may be one or two things that are regularly assigned, but these tasks become fewer and fewer as one’s career advances. When I go into the office, there is almost nothing that has been assigned to me. I could go in and talk on the phone with my friends all day (how old school!) or take 3 hour lunches. But every day, I come in with a plan of how I am going to make a difference in the business. I am holding myself accountable to the company, but also to making sure I continue to grow each day and not get bored.

People with less tenure sometimes don’t stay accountable to their career growth. I have seen many people complete the assigned analysis a thousand times without having actually looked for findings. The difference between an employee saying “here’s the report” vs the employee who says “here’s the report that you requested. I took a bit of extra time to look at some of the trends in the data and I think I may have found an opportunity” is HUGE. The latter employee is committed to growing their career.  While it may look like a case of sucking up to the boss, that is not the advantage of giving the analysis a deeper look . The advantage is what is learned in the 10% extra investment. Just as the advantage of doing training beyond what happens in practice. It is not so that you can prove to someone else that you are doing more. It is because the extra training and extra practice makes you better at the game.

What drives success? A million things. Hard work, dedication, focus, aptitude, interest, planning, learning from mistakes, love, positive attitude, faith, willingness to be wrong, sleep, yoga, a good diet, experience, and so on and so on… while the ingredients of success are endless, when they are the layered onto a foundation of accountability, they get a big boost. So, my answer to my daughter begins with ACCOUNTABILITY.

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