People tend to associate accountability with getting in trouble. Think about it, accountability is what’s called for when there is corporate or government mismanagement. In the workplace you think of being scrutinized through metrics & reviews. Not fun. But the truth is that accountability doesn’t have to be a response to something negative or a tool for exerting control. Accountability can be useful, it can facilitate growth, and it can be something that you look forward to.

I encourage you to embrace a different definition of accountability; observation without judgment.  Now you can use accountability as a tool for learning about yourself. You start by offering up your wants, your desires, your challenges to outside observation. By making them public it changes your relationship to them. Suddenly you have traded an idea of what you would like to do, into an action that you’ve told others you will take. At first you think it’s about other people motivating you, but then you realize it’s about the power of observation. You are allowing other people to amplify your ability to see your own self. This provides the information you need to make better choices, thus getting the results you are after.

Judgment is the tricky part. One of the main reasons that we don’t open up about what we want is because of the fear of being judged. What will they think of me? I have to say you are far more likely to be met with compassion than judgment. People will root for you not against you. Observation without judgment is a difficult thing to offer yourself but you’d be surprised how easy it is to give to someone else and how helpful it is to receive it.

What’s your definition of accountability?