I just got back from training new adjusters in New Orleans. We had a FANTASTIC group of students – many of them involved in handling BP claims – and I’m praying for the long-term success of each and every one.
I was struck by a comment made by one particular student in class, and wanted to post about it. During the Basic Adjusting 101 class, we had a lot of discussion about succeeding in the Adjusting Industry. I was talking about how I had formed a successful daily claims business, and she said ” Wow – you must have goals”. I was surprised at the comment, but she was right – I do have goals and they are an absolutely essential element in my personal achievements. I have found, however, that goals alone do not move me further down the path to realizing my dreams. Another important element is accountability.
The following study is printed out and taped to my wall on my office:
The probability of completing a goal:
Hear an idea: 10%
Consciously decide to adopt it: 25%
Decide when you will do it: 40%
Plan how you will do it: 50%
Commit to someone else you will do it: 65%
Have a specific accountability appointment with the person committed to: 95%
– Source: American Society of Training and Development
We all have dreams in our lives. I spent the first part of my life imagining that they would come true someday. A time came when I saw that life was happening around me and to me, and I did not like the direction it was going. My dreams were not coming true on their own, and I saw that they would never materialize unless I changed the way I was thinking, feeling and acting – but how (the answer to this question is too long and complex for this post and I promise to continue to write about different aspects of this change later)? let me tell you about the miracle of accountability!
I’ll start with a story – in a Florida adjusting class I was teaching about three months ago, I talked to several students in my class during a break. I had mentioned the previous day at lunch that I had lost about 30lbs, gotten in shape and that I’ve this way for about two years now. Some of them wanted to know how I did it, so I told them: I made the following goal – “I’m 185lbs with a 34″ waist, strong as an ox and an inspiration to others. The discipline that I have over my body increases my discipline in all areas of my life.”
Problem is, I couldn’t meet the goal. Month after month the only thing it would do was make me feel bad that I hadn’t achieved it. My breakthrough came when I became willing to be accountable to someone for my actions. After listening to me complain about my weight and health, a good friend asked me if I was willing to be accountable to him for my results. I said yes, but then for several weeks failed to do what I said I was going to do (i.e. work out). So my friend asked me if I was willing to step up the level of accountability. I said “sure”, but was surprised at what he suggested. He said “ok, you like money, right? So if you miss a workout, you owe me $100. That ought to sting enough to get you motivated.” You know what – he was right! The first time I had to pay out $100 it hurt like hell, so I started working out whether I wanted to or not. Next, we added this “accountability with bite” to my eating habits, and that worked too. Next thing you know, I’m at my goal weight, feeling and looking great. I made a goal, set regular, recurring, specific accountability appointments with the person to whom I was accountable, and then achieved my goal.
When I got done telling this story, a man in the class jokingly said “No way! $100 for a missed workout? I’d be broke in a month!” I found this response fascinating, and told him “Then you’d need to make it $1,000 penalty per missed workout!
The point I was trying to make is that if you really want something – really, really want it – make it too painful not to achieve it. Set a goal, find an accountability partner and get accountable to them (the partner can be anyone – friend, family, Pastor, Priest, Rabbi or what have you). If you find that you’re failing to live up to your own commitments to yourself and to your partner, add a “stick” (i.e. something you really don’t want to do) as a consequence if you don’t keep your commitment.
I’ve been using this trick on myself for a while now – whenever I find that I’m having difficulty living up to my own commitments to myself. Often I’m asked, “have you ever had to pay out any money?” The answer is YES! I’ve probably paid out over $1,000 in self-imposed penalties to accountability partners. It seems like every now and then I get lax, forget about how important the achievement of my goals are and I get nipped. But all it takes is one nip and I’m back on track.
The element of accountability is so important to me that I felt compelled to share it with you all at the blog. If you’ve got something that you really, really want but you’re falling short, I suggest a “carrot” and a “stick” – set something up as a reward when you achieve your goal, and set something up that hurts if you don’t. How much should the stick hurt? That depends how much you want to achieve the goal!
We’re rootin’ for all of our students, thank you all for your emails, and keep the great feedback coming!