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I am blessed with the most wonderful accountability partner. She’s brilliant, sincere, caring, nurturing, beautiful inside and out, and we talk once a week for 30 minutes. I secretly wish she lived next door, but she lives in Boston. We support each other, advise each other, and encourage each other. When one of us experiences a big win, we celebrate, when there’s a failure, we help each other re-group and brainstorm on how to correct. Does it sound like we’re a great team? We are. And I would rather swim an icy river than disappoint her.

I would rather swim an icy river than disappoint her.

That’s the great thing about accountability partners. You don’t want to disappoint them, so you’ll do whatever you need to do to accomplish what you said you would do. Isn’t that interesting? Most of us will let ourselves down by procrastinating, making excuses, succumbing to distractions or interruptions, but by God, we’ll step up to the plate and perform for someone else.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to attend a Tony Robbins event in Fort Lauderdale. There were over 4,000 participants and on the first evening we all prepared to do his famous fire walk. Tony instructed us to find a stranger in the audience who would be our accountability partner. As the Universe would have it, my partner was a pretty woman from Germany named Elsa. We stood face-to-face, held hands, and Elsa committed to me that she was going to walk on the hot coals no matter what. When she said it with her German accent, it had a huge dose of determination that was almost fierce. With all the conviction in my mind and body, I told Elsa I was committing the same thing to her. Now, Elsa was a complete stranger, but when I looked into her eyes and made the commitment to walk across the coals, I knew there was no turning back. I did not want to disappoint her. We all walked out of the convention center, past the six or seven emergency vehicles with paramedics on stand-by, to the rows of sizzling, red-hot coals, each of us chanting, “Yes!” over and over and over again. When it was my turn, I looked at Elsa and walked the coals. She did the same. And you want to know the craziest thing? It was easy. I’d made the commitment to someone else, a stranger, and I just did it. I just walked across the coals. And the end result was a feeling of extreme elation and empowerment that mere words cannot describe. I will go to my grave with the image of Elsa’s pretty face and the look of confidence she had in me before I took the initial step onto the coals. She was my first real accountability partner, who “held my feet to the fire”, if you’ll pardon the pun.

When I work with women at The Reinvention Studio, and we’re specifically focused on how to move them forward, I encourage them to seek out an accountability partner, form their own mini-board of directors, or hire an accountability coach. We all need someone who understands our vision and helps us expand it. Confidence comes from doing, and having an accountability partner will increase your odds of completing what you say you’re going to complete. It really works.

Who “holds your feet to the fire”? Who helps you expand your vision? Are you accomplishing what you set out to do? Or are you stuck?


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