How To Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet
Happy New Year!
Can you believe it’s 2021?
I certainly can. I don’t know about you, but 2020 felt long. It was crazy, but it also led to new opportunities. I’ve never seen so many people start up a dream business, or turn a hobby into a hustle. It’s been a delight helping new entrepreneurs find their way amid a changing landscape.
Last week we talked about the Paradox of Entrepreneurial Freedom – how gaining true freedom requires sacrificing freedom on the front end.
This week we’re taking a deeper dive into accountability, one of the main keys to gaining true freedom.
Accountability seems like a dirty word, at first glance. Certainly, we all bring preconceived notions to it. Some of them are good. However, we have more to “unpack” with this concept. We should spend far more time talking about what accountability can do for us, instead of trying to determine the correct Webster’s definition.
Also, if you haven’t already, check out these important questions to ask yourself as you start a new year.
Why We Need Accountability
Discussing this may cause your temperature to rise, especially if you have prior experiences in the workplace. Some people hear “accountability” and think of oppressive deadlines, high quotas, and late nights away from the family. You have to “beat” it, in order to avoid painful consequences.
This form of accountability is based in fear, and often proves unproductive in the long run. It also leads to someone else’s success, rather than your own. Unhealthy accountability is one reason many leave traditional jobs and strike out on their own.
Entrepreneurial accountability must be based on “gain” rather than “pain.” By observing it, we should gain success, freedom, and the fulfillment of our dreams. Eventually we get to help other people down the path, which brings its own sense of fulfillment.
If you want to find more success in 2021 than you did in 2020, proper accountability will get you there.
Speaking of success, here’s a recent podcast about how I would speed up my own success if I ever had to start over.
How To Find Healthy Accountability
Hopefully you see the tremendous benefits accountability can bring to you and your business. Here are a few things you can do in January, to springboard your success for the rest of the year.
- Join a Community of Like Minded People
It’s no secret, we become like the people we hang out with the most. When you think of the troubled teenagers in movies, they usually end up that way because they hang out with the wrong crowd. Soon, they adopt the mannerisms and behaviors of their no-good friends, and wind up in trouble.
Thankfully, this principle works with good influences as well as bad ones.
Surround yourself with people you want to be like someday. With technology in play, you can find like-minded people on Facebook, Reddit, or LinkedIn. For freelancers or agency owners, my partner and I started a Facebook group to help each other toward our goals.
If you can’t find a group that works for you, consider this your invitation to start one!
- Partner Up
There’s a reason so many famous, successful businesses came from dynamic duos, rather than a one-person show. Partners help keep each other accountable like no one else.
The best partner holds you to high standards, and lets you do the same for them. Don’t partner with somebody who doesn’t “let you in.” Likewise, don’t partner with someone who thinks everything you do is fine and dandy. You are meant to sharpen each other.
Every Garfunkel needs a Simon, and every Ben needs a Jerry. Here’s a quick guide on forging effective partnerships.
- Hire Helpers
Having consistent help with a task forces you to be consistent.
A good example (and a shameless plug) is my podcast. Do you think I plan, record, edit, and upload every episode by myself? If so, thanks for thinking I’m so skilled.
I’m not, though. I hired a partner named Luis Diaz to manage the podcast for me. Without him, I’d still be scratching my head with Youtube tutorials.
Why does hiring someone to help you make you more accountable? Simple! Because I pay Luis to edit my podcasts once a week, I had better make sure I have an episode to send him. To drop the ball would not be fair to Luis, who expects me to come through.
- Find A Mentor
We all need a Miyagi to whip us into shape. They know things we don’t, they see things we don’t, and they call us to become the best version of ourselves.
The right mentor will identify areas for you to grow and make sure you get there. Remember, someone who points out your issues, but doesn’t help you fix them, isn’t a mentor. That person is a critic.
How do you find a good mentor? Identify someone you want to be like, and get into their life. Offer to buy them dinner, if it means they get to answer a few of your questions. Send them a gift card in exchange for a 30 minute Zoom meeting. When they start talking, shut up and write things down.
- Set Deadlines
This sounds basic, but it bears a discussion.
If you struggle to hold yourself accountable, you’ll do even worse with others. Deadlines are not an icky bygone of your 9-5 days. They are lifelines that catapult your business forward. Without them, you will fall behind.
Give yourself daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. For each project you take on, segment it into smaller tasks, and then put a date on each task’s completion. This makes the impossible … possible.
Having a partner helps here too. Imagine for a moment that Nick (my partner) and I are preparing for a product launch. You’d better believe it – I get everything done on my end well before the launch. Otherwise, I’d be disrespecting him and hurting the business.
Here’s wishing you the greatest year yet! Whatever goals you have for 2021, find ways to make yourself accountable to accomplish them!