If you are looking for a free and easy way to accomplish your most challenging financial goals, the most effective tool at your disposal is having an accountability partner . What is an accountability partner? I’m glad you asked.
Quite simply, your accountability partner is a person who will do three things:
- Help you identify exactly what you want to accomplish in precise detail.
- Help verify the steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal.
- Make sure you stay on track.
You’ll talk with your accountability partner about your plans, get feedback, commit to taking action and then check in to make sure you’ve done what you said you’d do.
What is the value of this?
There is something magical that happens for most people when we commit to another human being – we get “it” done. “It” could be saving for retirement, getting out of debt or changing our career. It doesn’t matter what your “it” is.
I can’t explain why, but most people find it harder to disappoint another person than to disappoint themselves. This is true for me as well as most people I know. And that is the real power of having accountability. That’s why I’ve had an “AP” (accountability partner) for 15 years.
To me, the payoff is pretty valuable. And when you consider that your accountability partner does all this for free, it seems like a no-brainer. But if you still aren’t fully convinced, let me ask you a few questions:
- Are you crystal clear on your financial goals?
- Do you know when you want to achieve those goals?
- Have you defined all the steps you must take in order to reach your objective?
- Have you created a time-table to complete each step?
- Have you stuck with your time table and completed each task as planned?
If you said “no” to any of the questions above, you need an accountability partner. And if I still haven’t convinced you, let me ask you one more question; why haven’t you achieved your goals yet? Quite possibly the reason could be that you have no accountability.
The bottom line is if you still struggle and success in some area of your financial life, maybe an accountability partner can solve the problem.
How to Find Your Accountability Partner
Get a piece of paper and jot down all the people you trust, respect and generally look up to. This could be a good friend, a co-worker or even an acquaintance. And there is nothing wrong with asking your spouse or partner. You are looking for someone who likes to help others, is smart and well-organized. If you can identify someone who has faced similar struggles and has successfully come out the other side, so much the better. Still, this is not a must. As long as the person is smart and caring he or she will be a great resource for you.
How to approach your accountability partner.
Before you call or meet your potential accountability partner, keep in mind that most people enjoy helping others. You aren’t asking for someone’s right kidney. You are asking for a few hours upfront and maybe 15 minutes a week from this person. And you are giving them an opportunity to really be of service. Quality people love to assist others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Call the first person on your list. Let them know that you are looking for an accountability partner. You want to know if they would be interested in helping you forge a plan to achieve your goals and hold you accountable periodically. Tell them you envision spending an hour or two to start in order to agree on a plan. Then, you’d like to have a brief 5 to 15 minute accountability conversation every week. That’s it.
How to Work With Your Partner
Remember that you are responsible to do the work and report in. The accountability partner’s job is to simply listen to your progress and provide helpful ideas if he or she can. Your job is to check in and take direction. That’s it. Be mindful of your “AP’s” time and remember that she isn’t your therapist and she isn’t getting paid. She is there to be a sounding board and to keep you accountable to yourself. That’s it.
Your accountability partner isn’t going to do the work for you. And if you aren’t willing to do the work, that’s OK – just don’t bother with this process. Wait until you are ready and committed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But if you are fully dedicated to achieving your goal plug in to the power of getting an accountability partner on your team. It’s been an invaluable resource for me. I know it will be for you as well.
Do you have an accountability partner? How have you worked together? What has been the result?