Choosing Your Success: Accountability

Last night I was talking to a good birb friend (not a mistype) about project work, perfectionism, and trying to reign in project scope. As we talked over many things, the one thing that came up is a point of consent.

The convo was something like, “I’ll start working on a thing, have an idea, and want to work on another thing. Having someone check me about that makes me wanna be a bit aggy because they didn’t let me pursue what I wanted to.” I thought about this for a while.

After some noodling, I asked, “Well, have you considered giving someone consent to check you? Like explicit consent to go ‘Hey hey hey. That’s cool and all, but this is what you said you were going to do, so we’re going to note the cool idea and get back to task.'”

We talked about what that could look like and then went on to other points of interest, but I want to hang here with you.

From Concept to Concrete

TTRPGs is a thing I do. It’s an imaginative work. You spend a lot of time thinking about a bunch of cool things to do and concepts. It’s great.

However, to get all that great stuff out into the world, you have to do the thing and even the most disciplined of us need to reign it in and make the jump from “this is what I COULD do” to “this is what I’m going to do” and start chipping away at that work.

That also means a lot of reflection. A lot of honesty. A lot of putting your ego away so that the work can happen. In many cases, it means accountability and that is something we don’t like to give ourselves. Most of us don’t really like it from others, either.

We have to address that part of things.

People In Your Corner

If you are telling folks about your projects and ideas and creating all the hype, then make space for someone to check on you and, if needed, check you. Be intentional about this.

Accountability isn’t just being spicy when someone doesn’t do something. It’s also asking about mental health. Emotional well-being. Material situations. Setting aside their ego and letting the success happen.

“How’s the work going? Is it done? When it is coming out? Are there delays? Oh, cool. You’re adding things. What impact does that have on your other stuff? Are you resting? Are you taking appropriate breaks? Do you need help? Are you asking for that help when you need it? What happened here?”

People who care about your success, 2020

And and and… when you give them the consent to say those things, let them. Listen without anger or being defensive. Let them hold the mirror and look at the reflection. If you don’t like it, change it.

I’m My Own Boss

Some people feel that being held accountable is the same as being pressured to do things when they don’t want to or being bossed around or being told what to do.

But why tho? It’s people asking you about the thing you informed them about to begin with.

If you haven’t chosen those people to hold you accountable to do the things you said you would – especially for more public things – and you’re also hostile toward even the concept of people reminding you of what you said you would do, I want you to think about why that is and do better.

Actually think about this because your reputation will erode and your project will crumble if you don’t.

Reminder: this was a thing you said you wanted to do. In some cases publicly and multiple times. It stands to reason that you can’t be snappish and hostile with people who remind you of that and if you are, that’s not their issue. That’s your issue.


What about things changing? What about not wanting to do the thing anymore? What about falling out of love with the project in the process?

That’s fine. That’s allowed. That happens a lot. Look at Google.

However, if you’re not going to do the thing, then be honest about it. Just straight up tell people you aren’t doing the thing anymore and let it be. Give people their time or money or whatever back. Make amends and restitution where it is needed and move on.