Embracing Accountability

Accountability is a fascinating concept. It’s one of those things that all of us need to come to terms with at some level. In a way, we’re kinda hardwired to be accountable. Indeed, many find it hard to perform unless they are accountable to someone.

It’s something I spoke about recently in Episode 430 of Trent365!…

Ground Zero for Accountability

So, what is accountability? Essentially, it’s about be responsible or answerable for your actions. Answerable to who or what? Basically, to any one or any thing. It genuinely doesn’t matter who or what. All that matters is that you have accepted that this thing you are doing is your responsibility. Its success or failure is on you. Nobody else.

From our earliest memories, we are accountable to someone – our parents. Mum and Dad set the rules and we must follow. It’s our responsibility to eat our veggies, to wash the dishes, to brush our teeth, to clean our room and on and on and on. We probably all wished at some point that we wouldn’t be held accountable for all these things. But we were. It’s just the way our societal system works. If we did not do what was required, there would be consequences. No TV. No football game. They even got Santa Claus in on this whole accountability thing. Naughty or Nice will determine your haul of toys! Where will it end?

Schooling in Accountability

Next, our parents make us accountable to go off to school every day. And once we’re in the school system, the next level of accountability kicks in. Now, we’re accountable to the teachers. We now have a responsibility to go to class, learn what they teach us, eat in the canteen, play in the playground, etc. Once again, failure to comply, failure to meet our responsibilities, will be punished. Detention, extra homework, and my personal favourite, Rubbish Duty at Lunch Time.

The interesting part about this school stage of accountability is that now it’s also crossing over. At home we have a responsibility to get dressed for school, pack our books, our lunch, get on the bus, etc. Once we get to school, the teachers take on the role of Accountability Master. Then, when we finally get back home, our parents pick up the mantle again. They task us with doing our homework, getting to bed in time, then getting up and doing it all again tomorrow. We just can’t seem to escape this bloody accountability thing.

Unavoidable Accountability

For most of us, just as we’re about to shed our home and school accountability shackles, we get a job. Here we go again! Now we’re answerable to our supervisors and our bosses. And there’s no escaping this stage of accountability. It’s written in our job description. Right there, in black and white, is a whole list of tasks and outcomes we are responsible for. Eating your veggies wasn’t such a big deal after all. And this time the consequences of not meeting our obligations can impact our bank accounts and livelihood. Regular performance review and appraisals ensure that we are held accountable. If not, we’re out the door.

Even if you decided not work for the man and go it alone, the accountability curse is inescapable. We used to call it being Self Employed. These days the kids are calling it the Entrepreneur Life. Regardless of the label, you’re still going to be accountable to customers, investors, etc.

If you’ve managed to stay single, you might get a bit of a reprieve from accountability once you get home. But if not, it just keeps going. Wife, Husband, Children. We’re just in an eternal state of accountability.

Failing Without Accountability

It’s clear we have been programmed to be accountable for pretty much our entire lives. Little wonder then, when try to break free of accountability, many of us fail. Trying to get fit on your own, without announcing it to even your closest friend? Tough. Trying to lose weight the same way? Not easy. Without being accountable, even to just one person, achieving results is hard for most people.

For me personally, it was holding myself accountable to my audience that pushed me to post an episode of Trent365! every day for one year – and still counting. To be clear, it’s not like I had built up a massive audience. But the thought that even just a few people would be disappointed if I didn’t make it through to Episode 365, kept me going. Indeed, it’s what has kept me going. Episode 435 is going to air today.

Accountability is not something to shy away from. Embrace it. It’s quite possible that without it, you won’t succeed.

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