Accountability is defined as an obligation or willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions. In other words, accountability means being responsible and recognizing that one’s own power to fail or succeed lies in their own hands.
There is a reason that self-help mentors and motivational speakers consider accountability to be one of the tell-tale signs of a person who will be successful. It is a sign of that person’s willingness to take action and, more importantly, avoid victimhood.
In fact, the entire purpose of accountability is to avoid the debilitating state that victimhood presents. Believing that you are always a victim is a means of justifying your uncomfortable or unsatisfying circumstances by placing the blame elsewhere.
Although I don’t believe that you need to take personal responsibility for the actions of others, I DO believe that you should avoid blaming others for things YOU are unhappy with. This is because emotions are entirely under your control, and failing to accept and/or take action to alter your circumstances IS your fault.
Does Accountability Really Help Us Succeed?
There is a reason why people with some of the hardest pasts have become some of the most successful people in the world. For example, Grant Cardone was a drug addict when he was 25 years old, now he runs an almost 1 Billion dollar real estate empire.
Eminem came from a horribly broken home, but he still became one of the worlds most respected musicians and performers!
There are countless other “rags to riches” stories I can pull out of my hat, but here is the kicker: If you were to ask any of them how they became so successful, they WOULDN’T say it was because they were given those things.
However, they WOULD say that it was because they couldn’t tolerate their circumstances, and decided to take action of some kind. Usually, these actions were quite large and risky.
Tony Robbins said, “You only get in life what you tolerate.”
I believe this is true, which is why the victimhood mindset is so debilitating. Victimhood allows you to justify and become comfortable with tolerating less than you believe you are worth.
Victimhood has this power because it allows us to reason and project our own shortcomings onto others. We never have to take responsibility for our own failures, and therefore, never grow or try again.
This is where accountability comes in. The truth is, if you aren’t happy with your life the way it is, YOU need to change it. Nobody else will do it for you. Nobody else will read your mind and come to your rescue. You need to wholeheartedly believe that you are the only one that can solve your own problems.
I’ve said this before in one of my videos, but I’ll say it again. “The decisions you have made in the past will dictate your present, and the decisions you make now will dictate your future.” If you keep making the same decisions, your future will inevitably stay the same. Do you want that?
Most people say “no.” Most people look to the future to be better and more enjoyable than the “now,” but it all starts with taking action today.
Therefore, I want to share with you some of the benefits I’ve personally witnessed by taking full accountability of my life and avoiding the excuses!
I hope they will help you as much as they’ve helped me!
Benefit 1: Motivation
The most immediate impact that accountability will have on your life is instant motivation. The moment that you decide to take full accountability, you will find yourself willingly, and fairly easily, doing the things you had always avoided or couldn’t be “bothered” to do.
The reason this occurs is because you will feel the difference in power that you have immediately. You will recognize how much better things are when you actively strive towards a future you want instead of laying yourself away to be blown by the wind in any which direction.
In other words, your dedication to your own life and the power you have to choose what you want increases greatly! It’s almost an addicting feeling, which is why you are motivated not to let it go!
Accountability allows you to take action on your own vision and plan for yourself. In this way, you can grow as a person and will not let your failures turn you away from the successes that subsequent efforts can bring. This is because you will already have developed the accountability to embrace failures as learning opportunities!
“My poor dad said, ‘Sometimes you will succeed and sometimes you will fail.’ My rich dad said, ‘sometimes you will succeed and sometimes you will learn.'” – Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad.
Benefit 2: A Clear Goal/Vision
The hidden benefit in motivation is clarity. In other words, due to your newfound motivation and willingness to take responsibility, you also recognize that you are NOT riding the waves of life. You CREATE your own waves of life.
This is a great epiphany because you will then begin planning all the things you can do to make your life better and to reach your goals both in the short and long terms. This is why accountability gives you clarity. You define your goals, desires, actions, and expectations, and get to work on achieving them.
the other way in which accountability gives you clarity is by inherently causing you to learn from your mistakes. Those who are accountable recognize their own failures as learning experiences as I mentioned above.
In this way, you can become more and more certain of the actions you need to take because you will have willingly learned from these mistakes, instead of avoiding or projecting your failures onto someone or something else.
What you want to do is eliminate excuses, take responsibility, and drive yourself towards your goals despite the adversity that may lie ahead! After all, the most adversity you will ever face is caused by you and you alone. If you can break through that mental barrier you can become unstoppable.
Benefit 3: Courage
I was going to label this benefit as “fearlessness” but fearlessness is not exactly true. There are times throughout your journey when fear will be a given, but what you do during those times is the most important thing.
Courage is NOT fearlessness. Courage is whether or not you take action and stick to your guns despite the fear involved. There is a title of a book by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. that sums up what courage is. The book is titled, Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway.
Ultimately, fear has a hold on us because we think we can’t handle failure in some way or another. This is why people with many fearful experiences often become less and less afraid of difficult situations. It’s because they have developed efficacy around the fear and realized that, despite what happens, they can handle it.
Accountability gives us courage because we realize that our mistakes are only temporary, and can be rightly fixed in the future as long as we continue to take accountability for them! This is the loop of accountability that adds to our personal power more and more over time.
Courage is a necessary value to have in life. Recognizing where there are moments for you to be courageous, and consciously practicing courage, is a great way for you to recognize that things will never be as bad as the mind loves to expect. 90% of our worries never come to pass, after all.
Benefit 4: Creative Thinking
Creative thinking will emanate from your accountability in droves. How do I know? Because it stands to reason that, once a person is more willing to take advantage of their own personal power, they will find excellent ways in which to achieve their goals despite the odds or the adversity.
Coming up with new solutions to new problems that you may never have faced before absolutely requires creativity. You will need to look deep into the root of the issue and pull out the solutions to that problem in the form of your own actions.
Only when you can do that will you begin to make tremendous progress towards achieving your goals and living the life you’ve always dreamt of. Thinking creatively is also a factor of your own willingness to avoid the mistakes you’ve seen others make.
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” – Otto Von Bismarck
To think creatively, start by defining both the current situation and what you desire your future situation to be. What’s the difference? And what can you control at the moment to lead the future that way?
By defining what you can control, you will have all the tools and perspective to make informed and creative decisions to any problem.
Ultimately, accountability is beneficial to us in many ways. All of which are crucial to practicing personal power, growth, and success. Never fall to a victimhood mentality, and avoid blaming others for your own livelihood.
The best way you can jumpstart your own accountability is to take a day or two out of your week and consciously attempt to avoid complaining about anything or anyone. Don’t involve yourself in conversations with others who complain, and instead, attempt to work out the power you have to alter a situation that you are unhappy with.
Do this enough and it will become a habit! You will then have developed doubt in the form of your victimhood and will be much more inclined to utilize your own power to resolve situations you are unhappy with!
Hopefully, I was able to help you become a more accountable and powerful person today!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life.