We have trouble with stick-to-it-tive-ness. We get distracted. We get discouraged. We get down on ourselves. Some of us burnout by not taking proper care of ourselves and push all the way to exhaustion.
In short, we have trouble sticking to things we say we want to do.
How many of us have launched a new diet plan in January and by January 20th, have lost motivation to stick to it? How many of us have publicly stated we’re going to go to the gym 4x week. Start out strong, and then peter out 4 weeks later? How many of us say we’re going to find that new great job this year only to still be stuck in the same old position, with the same old co-workers, working in that repellent, toxic work culture? How many of us have grand plans for ourselves but have a heck of a time sticking to the path that will take us to our Promised Land?
We lack accountability.
Where we’re really lacking is in personal accountability. No one is holding our feet to the fire when we get off-track. No one is there to coach you, to prod you, to support you when you run off the rails. When no one is there for us when we tip over the wagons, we have a hard time picking them back up and getting them back on the road again. No one is there when we eat the entire cake on January 21st.
Worse, we beat ourselves up over it privately. We shame ourselves and our inability to stick to our goals, to our plan, to what we say we want. We think, “If I say I want this, why do I keep sabotaging myself? Why can’t I stay on track?” We are masters at self-sabotage. This is why we need help.
Coaches and mentors exist to provide this help, this support, this accountability for us. They’re there to act as guardrails for us when we veer too far left or right. They keep us on track. They ensure we show up at the gym. They verify that we’re eating right. They want to see your logbook. They want to see your data. They trust, and they verify. And they should beat you up a bit when you fall off track. That’s what accountability is all about. When you fall off track, you let your coach down. When the team doesn’t execute the plan, they all let the coach down and they let each other down.
While everyone knows Apple for its fabulous, magical products, Apple has had a few public failures. Only it deals with them quickly and as quietly as possible.
Years ago, back when Steve Jobs was alive and well, Apple’s entry into the web-based email space was called MobileMe. MobileMe was designed to be a competitor to Gmail, offering users web-based email, storage, photo sharing, and the like. Only the launch was botched. And the product did not perform up to Apple’s high standards.
Steve brought the MobileMe team into a private conference room for what would be a very uncomfortable meeting for the team. Legend has it that he said before the meeting began, “OK, let’s get everyone working on MobileMe into this meeting so we can figure out who is going to be fired.” And fire away he did.
Steve Jobs believed in accountability. While he might have been mercurial about it, he enforced it. Steve had high standards for himself and for his people. He demanded to work only with ‘A’ Players. He would not tolerate what he called “Bozos.” If they somehow made it through the Apple hiring process and Steve found out about it, he made sure they were let go. Steve knew the Bozos would only bring down the A players to their level. And he would have none of that. Steve only wanted the ‘A’ players to play with other ‘A’ Players. This made certain that Apple’s standards remained high.
We know where we’re going. We know what we want. After asking Why 5 or 6 times, we all essentially want the same things. It’s all a part of the human condition. Many of us just have a harder time sticking to the path, the process, then others. If you have a hard time sticking to what you want and the path it takes to get there, hire a coach. Get an accountability buddy. Get someone to help guide you, to cheer you on, to support you, to be there for you to call you out on your own B.S. when you’re on the couch and you don’t want to get up and go work-out. We all need that.
Do you really want this? How bad? Are you willing to make the sacrifices needed in order to get there? Are you willing to change your behavior in order to make it? Are you willing to change your environment in order to get there? Are you willing to change the people you hang around with the most in order to get there? Are you willing to let go of past behaviors and self-defeating thoughts in order to get there? Are you willing to hit the gym 6x per week in order to get there? Are you willing to completely change what you eat in order to get there?