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