Season 4 – epiBLOG 20:

If you’ve ever had an accountability partner, a mentor, or belonged to a mastermind group, you know just how invaluable they are to your career or to whatever endeavor you’re pursuing. This post will not be able to do justice to a thorough analysis of what each of those business assets can do for your artistic career, but I can cover the surface of all three so that you can at least see how you can fit each into your career as an artist. We’ll treat this as a three-part series over three different blog posts.

Today’s topic is on what an accountability partner is, and when and how to utilize them within your career effectively.

I will be providing an in-depth analysis and how to effectively apply each of these business tools in further detail in my upcoming book The Entrepreneurial Artist: Thriving (Not Starving) in the Real World.

For now, let’s focus on what an accountability partner is. This is a person who you choose to hold you accountable for those tasks, activities, and goals that are important to you at this point in your life. Likewise, you’re holding your accountability partner accountable for the tasks, activities, and goals that are important to him/her.

You can have an accountability partner to hold you accountable to reach your goals in the areas of health and wellness, career and money, relationships with family and friends, and so forth. Whatever is important to you.

The genius behind having someone to hold you accountable is that you don’t want to “look bad” in front of the other person by not doing what you said you would do. It is part of the human condition to desire to “look good” in front of other people, which can be a huge driving force in getting people to reach goals. Some say your own personal goals alone should motivate you as an artist. And I’m sure they do. They do for me. However, there is something psychological about opening your mouth and telling another individual – actually committing to a goal verbally and in writing – that you are going to follow through and do something.

This commitment can outweigh the feelings that so many of us use to get out of doing tasks that we’ve made a commitment to doing.

In other words, “feelings” can get in the way. Those times when you get lazy and don’t “feel” like staying up late to paint for two hours… or the commitment that you made to yourself to get up early in the morning and write for three hours when you really don’t “feel” like it. Some of us find it easy to lie to ourselves or to not follow through for ourselves. A great accountability partner will be right there to hold you accountable for what you’ve committed to. The accountability partner keeps your “humanity” from getting in the way of what you’re wanting to accomplish.

I’ve had an accountability partner for nearly a year and a half now. Best choice for my career as a writer. It’s up to you and your partner how you would like to hold each other accountable, but this is what my partner and I do:

Before we started, we agreed that we both want to be held accountable Monday-Friday. Some of you may want seven days a week instead. It’s up to you. We also agreed to email each other the night before (with weekend exceptions) to state what we accomplished that specific day and what we intend to accomplish the next day. We each tend to have at least 5 actions that we want to take within any given day, although this varies with some days having more and other days having fewer tasks.

We both tend to focus on our careers as accountability partners, and even as an artist, I find this business tool very helpful. Entrepreneurial artists who are serious about making a living with their art do what they can to set goals and actually reach them. Other artists wait for inspiration, which means that those artists have no direction, foundation, or plan of action to materialize the success that they are looking for. They are waiting for something to happen. They are waiting to be inspired. You have to treat your art like a business if you plan for it to be your livelihood. Part of this planning is building a great team around you (like having an accountability partner) and calculating your next steps.

You will know when you are ready to have an accountability partner when you are committed to reaching goals that you’ve set for yourself. Some people set goals that would just “be nice” to obtain. Others set goals with the intentions of actually reaching them. When you are in the latter space, you’re ready to choose the accountability partner who is right for you.

How do you use an accountability partner to your advantage? First, always remember that your partner is a human being with flaws and feelings just like you. Allow space for each of you to be human, while simultaneously pushing each other to pull out your own greatness. Easier said than done, but it’s possible.

This is what an accountability partner is NOT:

— A human punching bag

— A spouse (Don’t have your life partner be your accountability partner – separate home from business)

— Someone to tell you what to do, nor are they someone for you to tell what to do

— Someone who bosses people around

— Someone to make you feel guilty over not following through on something

This barely scratched the surface, but gives you an idea of what an accountability partner is and how to utilize them in order to be successful as an artist.

Today’s LESSON is to know when and how to use help effectively as you move forward.

FUN ASSIGNMENT: Figure out if you’re ready for an accountability partner. Ask yourself the following questions: (1) Do you have goals that you intent do accomplish? (2) Do you have a course of action that you plan to take in order to reach those goals? (3) Do you find yourself not reaching goals even though you put in the hard work? (4) How important are your goals to you – on a scale between 1 thru 10 and why? (5) Do you want an accountability partner? You will know if the time is right for you to get an accountability partner, and after you realize it, choose wisely.

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