Overcoming Stagnation Through Accountability

If you, like me, have ever found yourself feeling like you’re not moving forward – no matter how much you want to – it may help to know that you’re not alone, it happens to the best of us. It’s called “Stagnation”, and we all face periods of it. Stagnation is where progress seems elusive, and motivation is hard to find – whether that is in our aspirations or our profession, it just feels like “stuff” isn’t moving forward, we’re at a standstill. Yes, this dampens our spirits. Yes, it sucks. But yay!: there is a remedy to this predicament! And it is one that I’ve recently reconnected to: it is called “accountability”.

I engage in a structured accountability session every week – it is called a Mastermind Group. In these meetings, we share with one another what we want to do and how we plan to do it. We ask for feedback on ideas, or we share wins we have gained from experiences made in the past week. We do this because we all know that we can get lost in the mire, bogged down with details, and go off track at times. Sometimes we just need a push to “put ourselves out there”, or want to get support from someone who’s been-there-done-that when we feel totally overwhelmed.

I thought I’d share with you how this Mastermind group that I work with, has unlocked (renewed) progress and achievement – not only for me, but for each one of us.

So let’s talk about Accountability …
it is a simple concept, it is like having an honest friend or well-meaning mentor, someone who gently points out that we haven’t been setting clear goals, or who checks in on us to see how we’re doing. It’s a mix of stating our ambition and standing up to self-reflection – it is the secret sauce that moves us forward from wishing to doing.

In this case, that little external support goes a long way. Generally it’s not advice- though in a well-stocked team of professionals in a MasterMind group, you may find a mentor and get advice from someone who’s been-there-done-that-got-the-t-shirt. It might be that you are just looking for some encouragement, a nudge of motivation, knowing that someone is cheering for you. Accountability is not about putting on pressure; it’s about finding strength in connections.

I’ll share with you some ways that we coaches use accountability with our clients, and you are welcome to try it out for yourself. Use these tools to try out how a few gentle nudges will help you to make accountability feel more natural for you:

Set SMART Goals: Breaking down your aspirations into achievable bits makes everything feel less daunting. (“SMART” stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound”).

Keep a Progress Journal: It’s amazing how much we accomplish without even realizing it. Do yourself a favor and keep track of what you’re doing. Writing it down can be eye-opening.

Seek Constructive Feedback: Sometimes, a fresh perspective is all we need to see a clearer path. Your mentor, coach, BFF can often see things that you can’t simply because they are looking at it from a different perspective than you are. Ask them.

Join a MasterMind Group or Accountability Group: Sharing your strides and stumbles with others who get it – this can be incredibly reassuring and empowering.

Accountability isn’t about keeping score; it’s about recognizing that it is within our power – it is our own ability, to make things happen. And yes, we can do this at our own pace, and in our own way. It’s about celebrating every small victory, too! With an accountability partner, you learn to understand that it’s perfectly okay to ask for help to get clarity, or to ask for support or a push, or even to get a pat on the back for work you feel you’ve done well.

If accountability has helped you, or if you’re looking for ways to integrate it into your life, I’d love to hear from you. Sharing experiences is part of the MasterMind – and Accountability – group process.


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