It’s a funny thing about being human: Looking backward is easy. Doing the same thing over and over is easy. Of course it is — you know exactly what you’re doing. You’ve figured out the rules, and you can coast without much stress. You can even live in the past, if you doggedly refuse to turn around and see the future. It’s the easy life to live, which is why so many people fall into its trap.
Looking forward, however, choosing a different path, a different way to engage, a different idea — that’s where you’re suddenly exposed and vulnerable. You may not understand the rules for this new place, and you may step on a land mine or two along the way — and worse, people will witness your results. Some will laugh, judge and tell you all the reasons you “can’t” have/achieve/create/live the future you have in mind. And some people you will invite in courageously, knowing you can trust them, and more importantly, knowing you must trust them to hold you accountable to your choices. That’s when it gets tricky. Accountability is interesting; we need it to improve, and we all know we do, but we resist it. Even I resist it instinctively, even though I know it will help. No, it’s not that it merely helps; rather, it’s absolutely necessary in order to face forward, to grow, to improve, to achieve the goals we want to achieve — but that kind of vulnerability can be painful. Let me assure you, you’re not the only one who feels that way.
Here’s the key: don’t let that pain or difficulty keep you from doing it anyway. The best things are always difficult. If you want to become a better leader, create a different future, build a better life, then it’s time to create accountability, with a friend, a parent, a spouse or a coach. Without someone to push against, we can’t build muscle. Think of accountability as a personal trainer for dreams and living.