Where would you be in your career if you did everything you said you would? Following through on action items that can feel overwhelming or take us out of our comfort zones, and possibly change our lives completely, can be scary as hell! Who wants to do that stuff when I still need to watch season two of Cobra Kai?!
If you relate to any of this then I highly recommended finding an accountability Partner. Having one can help you move past any fears. It can also create shorter time frames that will help you chunk larger action items into smaller, less-overwhelming tasks.
To support you with this, here is a 10-point guideline to follow on how to create a quality partnership. This guideline is inspired by what I learned from Shawn Tollison.
1. Set up a specific time to talk
This is critical. You can’t say, “Let’s see” or “We’ll talk later this week” because it won’t happen. From the start, figure out how many times a week you’re going to talk and AND COMMIT TO IT. It can be once a week, every other day, or every day – whatever you two decide!
2. Decide how long each call will be and divide that time equally
Let’s say you decide your call will only be 20 minutes. Then each of you will only take 10 minutes to declare your goals, ask any questions, receive feedback from your Partner, etc. Once the 10 minutes are up, your time is done. Now it’s your Partner’s turn.
3. Be laser-focused with your time
Be brief and to the point with your goals, questions, and any feedback you might have for your Partner. This is not a venting session. From my personal experience, the less you go on and on about something, or someone, during your calls, the longer your partnership will last.
4. Be gentle, but ask the hard questions
The point of accountability is to be accountable (duh!) and sometimes that involves feedback. Always ask if your Partner is open to feedback before you give it. Everybody has their own personal stories or beliefs. Share where you see they are hiding or playing small. As you grow to trust each other, you’ll see how this feedback will be critical toward you being efficient.
5. Utilize your Partner to help you with what’s really hard
What’s difficult for you? Brainstorm with your Partner ways to support each other to move through your challenges.
For example, a lot of people have a difficult time doing pitch calls. Your Partner can support you with this! Brainstorm with them on the script you’d like to follow during your call and then role-play it with them. Make the call with your Partner rooting you on in person or over Zoom. From personal experience, having someone supportive with you while you’re taking bold action can be incredibly beneficial. If they weren’t with you while you did this, call them back immediately and let them know how it went.
6. Be a rock for each other
We all struggle at times with staying committed to our goals. These calls can be a way to get right back into being committed and taking action in just a few minutes as opposed to a few days, weeks, or months.
7. Set the bar for Accountability
Be the best Partner you can be. Lead by example.
8. How you are with your Accountability Partner is how you are in life
You play the way you practice. How are you going to be in integrity with your commitments or when you face a tough challenge if you can’t be in integrity with your Partner for a 5-7 minute phone call? Be in integrity!
9. Be coachable
At times, things aren’t going to be working and it’s important that you both can be open to your Partner’s feedback. It can be a lot easier to give advice than it is to be open to receiving someone else’s. Be open!IMPORTANT NOTE:Being able to receive feedback without taking it personally or getting defensive is a HUUUUUGE skill to have in life. It will greatly benefit you in business and personal relationships.
10. It’s your game show!
This can look and be played out in whatever way you and your Partner decide. There is no right or wrong here. What’s most important is that you find something that works and commit to it.
NOW! To give you an idea on how this can possibly look, here is an example of a partnership I created with someone and found highly successful.
Set up your phone calls for Sunday nights. Before the call, write out all the goals you want to accomplish for the coming week and any questions you’d like to ask your Partner.
Jump on the call and declare your goals, ask your questions (if you have any) and receive any feedback (if you want any). Email your goals for the upcoming week to your Partner.
Each morning, text your Partner one to three words to describe the goals you are committed to completing from your list by the end of the day.
For example, if my goals for the day are to call three producers, email 10 agents and write for 2 hours, then I would only text my Partner the following: “call producers, 10 agents, write 2hr.”
Since you told them your action items for the week, they should know what this is referring to. If not, they can refer to the list you emailed them.
Once you have completed these actions, let your Partner know by texting one word: “Complete.”
From my experience, I have found this to be highly effective for the following reasons:
1. When I text my Partner my goals in the morning, I feel like it locks me into completing them. This is what I said I’d do and now I get to do it. This is where that integrity piece comes into play.
2. Daaaaaaaaaamn does it feel good when I get to text “Complete” to my Partner.
3. My Partners have told me that when they get my texts, it inspired them to take action and daaaaaaaaaamn does feel good, too! This is where leading by example comes to play.
4. There have been days when I have wanted to avoid my action items then “bing!” I got that text from my Partner and it inspired me to take action.
5. It’s quick and efficient. Everybody has 10 seconds to send 3-7 word texts every morning and 5 seconds to send “Complete” later in the day.
6. By declaring 2-4 items each day, it breaks down my long list of action items into small, bite-sized, little morsels that feel a lot less overwhelming. I recommend doing these daily texts Monday-Friday. The weekends are free from this commitment. However, Saturday can be a make up day. If there was one day during the week that you or your Partner didn’t get something done, you can do it on Saturday if you both agree on that.
When you get each other’s texts, keep it brief by replying with a “thumbs up” emoji. This is to let your Partner know that you saw their text, they’re on the hook for it, and you’ll be expecting a “complete” later that day.
I also recommend you both agree on a time that your morning texts will be sent. I would send them no later than 10:00 a.m. If you haven’t received a text from your Partner by the deadline you agreed on, text them, and ask for it. This is one of the ways you can stand for your Partner.
This is an example of what your partnership can look like. Again, you don’t have to follow this. You can take what you like or create whatever works for you. It’s your game show!
In closing, I will say this: You will only hold yourself accountable for goals that others know about. So find a Partner. If you both do this with integrity, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.