“Courage is not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of it.” ~Mark Twain
We weren’t meant to live in fear. But we are human and we’re susceptible to anxiety, both real and imagined. Most times, we are nervous about things that might happen in the future. We are afraid of that which we can’t control.
One of the best ways to lessen fear is to act in spite of your fear. By exposing yourself to that which you fear, generally you’ll become more comfortable with it and the fear will dissipate. Now, by taking action, the energy you spent sustaining that anxiety can be spent on something productive.
Many people are afraid of speaking or performing in public. What’s the best way to overcome that fear? Speaking or performing in public, with the right mindset. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it generally gets easier over time if you are mentally prepared and are using the tools that we teach for a more effective approach to this fear.
Remind yourself of other times you were afraid and it all worked out. Remember all your successes. Have confidence in your ability to handle whatever happens. Believe that there are no mistakes, only lessons. Whatever the outcome of your action, you will have certainly learned something.
True, embarrassing moments or even bad things might happen if we were to speak up, step up, or stand up. Yet it is also true that the most amazing things could happen.
You can take action despite your fear.
Being accountable to something means that you’re willing to make commitments and be responsible for your own actions. Accountability may eliminate the time and effort you spend on distracting activities and other unproductive behavior.
What Accountability Does:
- Accelerates your performance
- Helps you measure your success and progress
- Keeps you engaged and focused
- Will keep you responsible
- Will validate your thoughts and ideas.
Assessing what you’ve done can motivate you to keep going. Track the failures and successes, what you can do differently, and even what you’d do better if you had to do it all over again.
When you have someone to be accountable to, you can quiet your negative thoughts and bounce your ideas off someone else who can help you make sound decisions and give you constructive advice.
Accounting for your actions weekly will cause you to take a good look at yourself, start eliminating the excuses and start making deliberate actions that bring about your intended success.
Creating and establishing accountability doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. Your accountability partner could be your friend, colleague, boss, spouse or even a social media contact you made online. It does not matter what job title or experience or gender your accountability partner have, it matters that your accountability partner will make you accountable to achieve your goal.
Each week, every other day, or every day you can report to each other on your goal-getting accomplishments. Your accountability partner doesn’t have to have a similar goal as you, however, similar steps and time frames to achieve said goals are easier to work together. You should be tracking and reporting on each and every step. Accountability partners can help you reach your goals sooner than later and help you build a more strengthened version of yourself.
An example of taking action and being accountable
Decide to attend meetings at a Toastmasters club.
Tell a few people that you are going and how much it means for you to pursue this goal.
Attend a couple meetings to determine if the club is a good fit for you.
If there are other clubs nearby, go to those.
Choose an accountability partner, and ask to be held accountable. Give him/her the schedule of meetings. Choose how often you will check in and in what way (e.g., phone calls, email).
Start with the smaller roles.
If giving speeches is too overwhelming, ask if there is a role available, such as the person that sets up the room with supplies, or someone that takes the meeting minutes. If you know that fellow members are counting on you, you are much more likely to attend consistently.
You may even find an accountability partner at Toastmasters that shares a similar goal. Most clubs offer a mentor to members which would be another great form of accountability.
Note: If Toastmasters is not for you, another alternative is to consider personal coaching with us or attending our workshops (details coming soon). You would have accountability to the group to take action to continue the progress created at the workshop. Two follow up coaching calls are available to report to the group.