Accountability groups, success circles and self-discipline

No doubt about it, the possibilities for success in this country are limitless. There’s boundless potential. The sky’s the limit…and all you have to do is go out there and get it.

Accountability and mutual supportOh, if it were that easy. At some point, my friends, those big dreams need to be lassoed, brought down to earth and turned into concrete realities.

Over the last two months, I’ve been recharging and retooling, busying myself with the details of establishing an independent PR firm, and exploring various opportunities. And, yet, what do I have to show for it?

Well, I have this blog and the beginnings of a new website. I have had the pleasure of many fine lunches, breakfasts, coffee breaks and conversations with some incredibly creative and supportive people. I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve had meetings, stepped up my networking, chased down leads and done a lot of volunteer work. And in fairness to myself, I have completed one assignment, been asked to do a second one and have been considered for a larger, long-term project. And in between all that I’ve taken a vacation, had a hernia operation (ouch), been elected to the PRSA Board and fixed up my house.

Maybe I shouldn’t be beating myself up, but in some ways I feel I have hit a brick wall already in my new life as an independent PR guy.

So what do you do when you hit a wall? Perhaps you seek the support of others facing similar challenges. If you’re like me, you probably need a stiff kick in the pants to get you going.

Enter accountability groups, success circles and, yes, a more disciplined approach to life and work.

Small groupWhile it’s good to compare notes with colleagues at meetings or chat with them on the phone, it’s only when you commit to being part of a small group that meets regularly and is committed to pushing its members to perform at their maximum that you begin to see some serious results.

When you mutually agree to help each other set goals, offer encouragement and hold one another accountable, you’d be surprised what you can accomplish. Especially when it’s your peers urging you to excel in an environment that is honest, forthright and results-oriented.

The best accountability partners and success circles are ones that don’t let you get away with slacking off. They drive you to perform at your best.

I have to confess, for years I have resisted joining or starting such a group, preferring instead to rely on myself and friends to help push me forward. But lately, I see that even highly motivated individuals need structure, coaching and accountability.

So getting yourself plugged into a small group might just be what the doctor ordered to take you to a higher level of productivity. That coupled with what I would call good, old-fashioned discipline.

7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleThere just aren’t any substitutes for self-discipline. I’m not sure you can teach it or learn it from a book, although there are many good resources to help people refine and improve their work and productivity skills and their overall effectiveness. While it’s getting dated, I still think Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the best all-around “self-improvement” books out there.

What do you do when you’ve hit a wall? I’d be interested in your comments.

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