Accountability Buddies

By Scott Westerman (Audio)

Have you ever noticed how things seem to get done when you have an accountability buddy? The toughest roads are a little less bumpy when you’re not traveling alone.

Oh how hard it is to turn thoughts into actions. Earl Nightingale‘s famous maxim, “We become what we think about,” is one of the great philosophical truths of the age. But in some cases, turning ideas into actions can be a challenge, especially if those actions require us to step outside our comfort zone and expose ourselves to discomfort.

I’ve been stuck in the second act of the follow up to my first thriller, “Chasing Vega.” I finally got angry enough about it to get some help. My friend Kerry Schafer is one of those accountability muses. You ask her for ideas and she’s got a ton of good ones. But she goes one step further and asks, “OK, so how are you going to get this done?”

That was my real problem. The unexpected popularity of my kids covid book, “Juliette and the Mystery Bug,” had mired in marketing. With the Vega follow-up stuck in the mud, I began to fill my days with other stuff. “Not really tension relieving,” I rationalized. “These things are helping me become a better writer.”

What I needed was a running partner. In the author game, that’s someone I would have to report my daily word counts to. To complete the book, I needed to hit 1,000 words a day for thirty days.

Now that Kerry had unblocked my creative mind and I began to see where my story was going, it was time to find that fellow traveler.

They say that when you need a lesson, a teacher appears. In my daily stream of consciousness communications with my author friends, Kate Anslinger popped up. “Hey! Do you wanna compare word counts? I’m trying to finish my next book and could use an accountability buddy.”

She said the word! We agreed to text one another when we hit our word goals.

Nothing motivates me like competition. On Saturday, I ran a sprint and finished the first draft of “Chasing the Captain,” my next Jessica Ramirez Thriller. And I’m fired up to keep writing 1,000 words a day, just to keep up with Kate.

In every endeavor, having an accountability buddy can keep you on track.

This is why we have one-on-ones with our boss at work. It’s part of the reason we check in with our parents and children. Sure we love hearing their voices, but we also are excited to hear about their latest adventures; the thoughts they have turned into action.

Elite athletes retain a cadre of coaches, experts in the honing of mind, body and spirit in the direction of victory. And you’re no different. Don’t your dreams deserve the best possible support system to help them come true?

Here’s an exercise for the forthcoming week: Think of one of those goals you’ve had on your mind for some time. You may already be taking concrete steps in the direction of achieving it. Who do you know who can help you move more deliberately to take your actions to the next level.

Call them and recruit them as your accountability buddy, offering to serve in that same role for one of their projects.

Tell your accountability buddy what you expect to do and explore how they can help you stay focused. Some people I know write this down as an agreement. Do whatever works best for you. Create the plan. Your buddy’s role is to make sure you follow it.

With purpose and passion you will realize that you are destined to do great things. Recruit some accountability buddies to help you do them. They’ll end up being the first people you invite to your victory party.