Hold yourself accountable to someone else.

4 11 2009

I’ve never been a runner.  I used to try to run laps at the track near my house.  As beautiful as the stadium and the weather was, I was only ever somewhat motivated to make it happen.  Eventually, I’d hang my shoes up by their laces and call it a good run, saying “Running is not my thing.”

My friends recently started a running competition:  boys vs. girls, losers buy a really super nice dinner.  We have a couple real runners in the group, me having the least endurance.  My friend, Samantha (guest post writer for the Power of Visualization), set up a spreadsheet and we all log our distances: day-by-day.  Where I never thought I could be a runner, in a little over a week, I’ve run 13.8 miles total!  I’m on to my third day straight of running at least 3 miles a day and I’m barely stopping (only to check myself for 10 paces half way through).

The funny thing is, I notice that when I run with someone who’s better than me, I push myself harder to keep up (and at least not let the person disappear over the horizon).  This stamina seems to come out of nowhere!  When I run by myself, I tend to slow down and walk more.

What is changing?
Well, a few things… 1) I learn by imitation.  Monkey see, monkey do.  I am learning to push myself and my stamina from those that are better at it than I am; 2) I can’t stand to be dead weight on my team.  Yes, I’m part of a team, and, if I let my team down, we lose and have to treat these guys to dinner.  NO WAY!  3) I find great satisfaction in watching the number of miles aggregate at the top of the spreadsheet showing how much I’ve run.  I’m accountable to my team and if I don’t pitch in, we could lose.

Notice the fun competitive set up: 4 hotties v. 3 boy toys!!  (For the record, Aaron runs 3-6 miles daily, so he counts for two people.  I run 0 miles regularly, so I was considered dead weight!!)

We're gonna kick your asses!

(note:  The guys are all runners, but they are busy right now and haven’t had time to run.  Let’s see what the numbers look like in a month or two.)

4) Although it’s with friends, this really is a running support group of sorts.  One day I might actually call myself a runner.  I’ll check in with you all in a few weeks to see if I’ve stuck to my routine.  I’m asking you to hold me accountable.

Why is this important to you?
In your quest to make yourself a better, more hire-able candidate, you need to be able to achieve the goals you set out for yourself.  Show them that you are someone who commits to a goal and makes it happen.  Do this every day of your life in small ways.  In grand ways.  Then, reach out to your closest friends, your circle of trust, and build support around your cause.  Pick one person to hold you accountable to it and to check in with you weekly to make sure you’re taking strides towards your goal.

If this helps you and you end up making your goals, you’ll have an array of new achievements to talk about in an interview or show on your resume.  Make the thing that you thought impossible possible–it’s a story you can be proud to tell.

For that goal that you’ve always wanted to achieve, but never could.  See what happens when you do it with a team, with a coach, or someone else that can hold you accountable.  You don’t want to be dead weight/last place do you?


Motivation to fail.

22 07 2009

I just read this insightful article on failure from the Harvard Business Review Blog.  It reminds me of JK Rowling’s commencement speech to Harvard’s Class of 2008.

Whether you decide to read or watch either or both, I can help sum up the stories here.

You’re given a gift of life and the intellect, creativity, and the power to make this world a better place.  We cannot accomplish anything without trying, failing, and trying again.  Abandon your fear of failure.  Failure to find a job.  Failure to make yourself “something”.  Because if you fail enough, you will learn from your mistakes and eventually succeed.  You can also learn from my mistakes by reading this blog! 🙂