Several years ago I figured out that I needed a business and personal mentor. As an athlete I always had that luxury (or pain) by the nature of having a coaching staff. Once my athletic career was over I was wondering around life aimlessly just trying to figure it all out by the seat of my pants. I’ve had good coaches/mentors/accountability partners and I’ve had really bad ones. The evolution of our mentors is different for everyone but one thing has stuck with me as I’m transitioned from athlete to adult. When I have skin in the game (dollars, career or something else that I value) I tend to listen more and take feedback a little more seriously.
Everyone navigates this in their own way, but what I figured out is that we all need an accountability partner. This person has sometimes doubled as my mentor but not always.
There is an important attribute about that accountability partner that we must actively seek out. They must be objective. Interpret that as “they have to be able to say things that will hurt our feelings”.
Unfortunately I think candid conversations are a thing of rare beauty these days. Particularly if you are the top dog. It’s easy to get complacent. If we find ourselves in that position we should actively seek out a third party to give us feedback.
This is not the same as calling your sympathy friend who will let you cry on their shoulder. There is a different time and place for that.
We want our accountability partner to tell us to dry up those tears, put our grown up pants on and get to work. Or as my dad always told me “The world doesn’t care about your problems, somebody alway has it worse, get back to work”
Every couple of years I seek out a different mentor that specializes in areas I’ve realized I need to improve on.
I paid good money set up out 8 weeks of meetings, got my list of tasks and to-dos and went to work.
Truthfully nothing that I was doing was groundbreaking for me, it was all stuff I had started or knew needed to happen.
That’s where the value came…..
On one of our phone calls he asked me about a couple of big ticket items and I responded “Yeah I know I need to get that done” to which he responded “Ok well why haven’t you done it”
I was going to give him all the typical answers:
“I don’t like doing that stuff”
“I”m not very good at that”
I decided that there was no good reason. I was just making excuses to avoid the things that I didn’t want to do.
I was being lazy……..
He didn’t actually tell me I was lazy, he forced me to tell myself that I was lazy or just full of crap.
A good accountability partner (whether you pay them or not) has a unique ability to hold a mirror in front of your face and force you to acknowledge the truth. Then they get you acting on the things that move you forward.
They don’t have time for our excuses or whining. They want us to succeed and they push through all of the clutter to get to the heart of what needs to happen right now.
Even if its just to kick you in the butt and tell you to suck it up.
Who’s that person or group of people for you?
If you don’t have it, find it!
It’s painful, like rowing 10K, but when we are done we are happy because we proved ourselves wrong.