Who is the person that keeps you on track and helps you when you are behind on your goals? Some may say it’s their best friend but honestly how often is a conversation with your bestie only about your goals and dreams? An accountability partner can be that person. He/she is the person that helps you define your goals and makes sure you are going to do what you say you will. This is important in your path to success because not enough people actually do what they say they will. For those that do what they say, an accountability partner can also serve as a strategic partner you bounce ideas off of.
So you realize you need an accountability partner, so how do you choose one? What are you looking for in your AP? There are 4 characteristics I think you should look for and what I looked for in mine.
1. A Like Minded Soul. This may seem obvious but sometimes people think a like-minded soul is someone who likes the same movies and food as them. You need a person who is of the same success mindset. You cannot go to someone who is lazy and lacks drive and expect them to be a good accountability partner. Choose someone with drive and ambition.
2. Not in direct competition with you. It will eliminate any problems if you are not in the same industry or in direct completion in some way with each other. You don’t want to have your ideas stolen or have someone try to deter you from doing something because they are jealous. A basic understanding of your industries is helpful so you know the ideas you generate together are accurate and can work. An English teacher and an insurance salesperson don’t run in the same circles and the teacher may not understand how much compliance the insurance person has to deal with but if the teacher once sold insurance they will understand.
3. Personality Balance. Find someone who balances well with you. Find someone whose strengths are your weaknesses so you can improve. This should be a relationship that grows both of you. You shouldn’t have a pushover as an AP either you need someone who will be stern when you need it but most important you need someone you enjoy spending time with. This person will be a big part of your goal life. When choosing someone of the opposite sex make sure there is no sexual tension between you and if they have a significant other ensure that person is ok with this relationship as well. I have three accountability partners: two male and one female. One is younger than I am and can be easily frustrated at times, but I counteract that and get him to be calm and collected.
4. Reliable. This is the most important characteristic of an accountability partner. The person has to be reliable and trust worthy. Your dreams and goals are important to you and you don’t want to entrust them to just anyone. You want a person who will uphold their end of the bargain. If you plan on meeting, you need them to show up not blow you off. Choose someone who is true to their word and will respect your time as you respect theirs.
Now that you have what you need to pick your accountability partner it’s time to interact with them. Figure out how to maximize your time with your AP. Set a schedule where you talk on the phone, email and meet in person. The first time you meet it should be in person and you should outline your goals, Set long term and short term goals and take strategic ways to make them happen. You can check in via a call weekly or semi-monthly depending upon your schedules. If you need inspiration perhaps you send each other an email in-between the calls that are just a motivational quote or words of wisdom. This you can define based on your needs. Tailor your schedule to fit your needs and make sure you hold each other to what you say you are going to do. Strategize with each other, write down what you are to do, send emails as confirmation of what you said and turn your dreams into reality.