Personal Development

If You Fail Because You Dodge Accountability, Here’s a Surefire Solution

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Bearded man with glasses, with an innocent look, shrugs, spreads his arms to the sides and looks into the camera with big eyes. Isolated on a blue background.

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” —George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

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There’s no symbol of individual freedom more iconic than the American cowboy. They lead the ultimate independent lifestyle: They do what they want, going where they want, when they want.

Except they don’t, actually.

The job of a cowboy is to tend cattle. When the herd is on the move, so are they. When the herd sleeps, they must sleep. When a stray calf wanders off, it’s their job to retrieve it. Imagine operating a 24/7 free-range daycare for beasts the size of a small SUV with the intelligence of a three-year-old child.

Nope, cowboys are among the most accountable people on the planet.

In today’s dollars, a single cow can sell for up to $5,000, so that lone cowboy casually driving a hundred head of cattle is in fact managing a half-million dollar portfolio.

How’s that carefree home-on-the-range life sounding now, buckaroo?

Can You Hold Yourself Accountable?

Other cultures seem to better grasp this notion of personal responsibility to the larger group. The British have their sense of duty; the Japanese have “giri.” Many other countries have a tradition of solidarity lending, wherein small groups pool their funds to make small loans to members—secured only by social pressure.

Yet here in the U.S., we are conditioned to reject accountability. We want to be free to do as we please. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

But accountability is not a punishment. On the contrary, it is perhaps the greatest compliment we can be paid. It means someone else actually believes we can do what we said we would do.

Related: How to Get Happier, Healthier, and Wealthier This Year

Sure, there are those rare few capable of being accountable only to themselves. They can set big, scary goals and then achieve them all with ZERO oversight of any kind from anyone. They’re the superheroes.

Well, I am NOT Batman. You probably aren’t either.

Handsome businessman working and using laptop in the office

If You Cannot Hold Yourself Accountable, Here’s the Solution

I need the pressure of a group of folks way smarter and more successful than I am to push me harder and further than I ever would myself.

I need a mastermind group. And in September 2014, I found Lifeonaire.

Now, I’m not looking to sell you on a specific flavor, but you need to know what real accountability looks like.

We meet face to face for three days every four months. Thirty brave souls led by two professional coaches. I despise these gatherings so much that I haven’t missed a single one in five years.

I can’t describe what goes on inside that hotel meeting room except to label it: “brutal, unblinking accountability.”

This is the group you tell you’ve been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, because this group is going to make damn certain you keep your mind right while you go through chemo. They’ll travel across the country just to slap you upside the head and make certain you are truly living life and not feeling sorry for yourself.

Because they don’t feel sorry for you.

This is the group you confess your drug habit to, because someone in this group has already dealt with their own addiction and is going to call you out relentlessly until you accept yours and learn to manage it.

This is the group that knows you owed $6 million in debt and were contemplating suicide, only to discover someone in this group had it waaay worse than that and survived—just so they could show you how to do the same.

This is the group you share your hopes and dreams and fears with, because they are going to remember them all and ask you about them all. You can’t run. You can’t hide. They won’t quit.

And then it’s someone else’s turn, and you get to join the fun and become an unrelenting maniac for them. And so it goes, around the room—for three whole days.

It’s savage.

Related: Unpopular Opinion: Self-Help Books Do More Harm Than Good

The Product of Accountability

But one day you look around that conference room and see the couple who a year ago was bickering like wounded pirates but is now cooing to one another like lovebirds. The guy who was living in his car is now running a thriving real estate business. Someone else has paid down $4 million in debt in just four years.

Lives change. Growth happens. The impossible gets served up on a routine basis.

That’s what radical accountability does.

And I hate every minute, right as I’m loving every second. Hell, I actually pay for the privilege!

Because in my 55-plus years on the planet, I’ve found nothing else that works better. And believe me, I’ve looked.

If I ever do find it, I’m outta there. But until then, I’ll be back in four months.

P.S. Feel free to ask me anything about Lifeonaire. But don’t say you weren’t warned. (Perhaps misery truly does love company!)

Are you able to hold yourself accountable on your own? If not, what’s your solution to this problem?

Share in the comment section below. 

Mitch Messer is a real estate acquisitions expert, who partners with out-of-state and overseas investors to build high-performance rental portfolios. He began real estate investing in 1999, and by ...
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    Brenden Mitchum Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hey Mitch! Man, I could not agree with you more about how important accountability is. This is why I tell my goals to those closest to me - I expect them to hold me to it and call me out when I am not achieving what I want. So while there is definitely a place for an amazing accountability group like Lifeonaire, I'd say for most people what is most important is to surround yourself with your own accountability mastermind (friends and family that truly care). At the end of the day, is the person laying beside you in bed holding you accountable? Is your closest friend(s) telling you to quit complaining and do something? That day to day accountability is also very key, don't you think? p.s. I am adding Lifeonaire to my never ending book list right now!
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Brenden, thank you for the comments! I find it challenging to hold my loved ones accountable (or vice-versa), since doing so often pits my goals for a peaceful and loving relationship against the need to put boot to backside when necessary!
    Kris Canaday New to Real Estate from Greater New Orleans area
    Replied 21 days ago
    lol. Love this Mitch. Yes, brutal honesty in personal relationships can definitely rock the boat or tip it over completely. There have been challenging times in my life where I really needed and would have benefited from having an accountability partner or mastermind group. I think they're great and I strongly believe that having people to brainstorm/talk through things with will get you further than trying to brainstorm by yourself.
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied 21 days ago
    Thanks, Kris! I learned a while back that, for example, as much as I love my wife, I can't be her accountability partner, nor can she be mine! Amazingly, we'll often honor commitments made to a complete stranger that we WON'T keep for someone who would love us no matter what.
    Souleymane Hanne New to Real Estate from Warner Robins, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Great article! Holding yourself accountable can be difficult sometimes. I myself had trouble with that wether it was real estate related or for work. I overcame this struggle by telling my close family and friends what my goals are so they can hold me accountable. My brother and I are partners in real estate and we hold each other accountable. I’ve never heard of Lifeonaire before but I will definitely be looking into It.
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thank you, Souleymane! There are many flavors of accountability, and the best one is whichever works for you. Let me know if you want more info on Lifeonaire.
    Chuks Erinne Specialist from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    This is a constant struggle for me and i need that more than ever now. I started researching masterminds to join. Never heard of Lifonaire will add that to my list. Great article!
    Jay Helms Rental Property Investor from Gulf Breeze, FL
    Replied 21 days ago
    Hey Chuks. Absolutely agree with this article. I run a virtual mastermind that meets weekly. DM me if you're interested.
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hey Chuks, thank you for reading and commenting! My policy is that if you're routinely the smartest person in your circle of friends, you need to find some smarter friends!
    Abigail Gay Accountant
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hi Mitch! Great read - I've struggled with remaining accountable recently, especially since becoming so interested in real estate investing. It seems so easy to just forget about my daily responsibilities because all I think about are the goals I want to conquer with real estate investing. I have to remember to stay on track and follow the path I've laid out for myself and remain accountable at my current job so that I can accomplish my real estate goals and eventually achieve financial freedom! Will add this to my book list. Thanks!
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thank you for reading, Abby! For me, accountability was the silver bullet that made everything else possible and/or easier. Let me know if you ever want to know more about Lifeonaire. I'd be happy to sponsor you to attend one of their Get-A-Life 3-day events!
    David Pere Rental Property Investor from Oceanside, CA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Great article, and I agree wholeheartedly! That is why Stuart Grazier and I started a mastermind group for military real estate investors!
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thank you for reading and commenting, David!
    Donald Servick from Dallas, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hi Mitch. Great article on a topic that I feel is not talk about enough. In a society where we are quick to blame others for our shortcomings, instead of looking in the mirror and holding oneself accountable. In stating that, I like yourself need the pressure of accountability partners to help achieve goals that I would otherwise might not accomplish. Also, thank you for opening my eyes to some of the benefits of joining a mastermind group. This mastermind group in particular sounds like they are not for the excuses. "Get 'er done."
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Thanks for reading and commenting, Donald! Yes, nothing keeps me on track better than knowing I'm going to have to face my Group and account for my actions! Excuses are not tolerated and I do NOT want to disappoint these people. Our latest catchphrase is "Done is the New Perfect!"
    Alejandro Stewart from Mcdonough, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    I truly do appreciate and understand what you’re talking about. I’ve always tried to be accountable to myself only, I’ve stayed on track a fair amount of times. The thing is, it’s actually hard. Whether it’s just me or vast majority of people are like that, as you said. I really i need to change, and reading this allowed me to realize that I actually DO need to change that now. Thank you!
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Alejandro, thanks for reading and for commenting! I won't hard-sell you on Lifeonaire, but I will URGE you not to wait and to take some massive action to get yourself the life you've always wanted. As my buddy who suddenly discovered in 2018 that he had stage 4 cancer would tell you, none of us has NEARLY as much time as we pretend we do!
    JaMario Price Real Estate Agent from Conyers, Georgia
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hey Mitch, I really think that telling people close to you can be a great source of holding you accountable or source for holding you back!! I think having a circle of friends in this manner is great. Family can sometimes be an energy drain. Great read Mitch!
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 month ago
    JaMario, thank you for reading and commenting! I agree that sharing goals with your friends and colleagues can be an effective accountability strategy, but ONLY if they are willing to call you on your B.S. if you begin to slide. If you're not feeling uncomfortable and pressed, you're not doing it right!
    Jay Helms Rental Property Investor from Gulf Breeze, FL
    Replied 21 days ago
    Great article Mitch. Would love to have you on my podcast sometime.
    Mitch Messer Rental Property Investor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied 20 days ago
    Thank you, Jay! That sounds like it could be fun! I'll definitely reach out.
    Demarcus Crump Financial Advisor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied about 1 hour ago
    I must admit, I myself have struggled with ACCOUNTABILITY. But as time has progressed I've gotten better but have yet to reach the pinnacle I plan to reach. I speak for us ALL when I say that; I feel like. Over the pass three years I have discovered more knowledge that has changed my life and will change the trajectory of my families life forever. All I have to do is to let life play its course and do what I have to do, to make things happen; of course there will be bumps in the road but life is a Marathon, not a Sprint. Especially since we live in the land of the free, and home of the brave; but the only people who are free FINANCIALLY are the brave so we must all step into a higher levels of ourselves and constantly have conversations with whomever and whatever to allow ourselves to stay ACCOUNTABLE.