Why Holding Yourself Accountable is a MISTAKE


Yup, I said it.

I just finished teaching a class for The Life Coach School on accountability and I wanted to share it with you as well.

Take a moment and think (or say aloud), repeatedly, “accountability.” As you repeat it, notice what happens in your body–where do you feel the energy? What sensations become more pronounced?

Personally, it feels like a heavy weight on my shoulders and a hollow sensation in my gut.

Many of the students in the class mentioned things like, fear, empty, stomach ache, etc. What is it for YOU?

For a lot of people, the word “accountability” can be triggering because of all our social conditioning and previous failures to hold ourselves accountable.

The trigger leads to self-shaming and sounds like negative self talk (e.g. I shouldn’t have eaten that….I’m a piece of sh*t for not going to the gym like I promised myself.)

Shaming ourselves is NOT holding ourselves accountable.

Shaming ourselves is bullsh*t social conditioning THAT DOESN’T REALLY WORK.

“But Cam, it’s worked for me before…”

Has it really? Have you made that permanent change that you wanted? My guess is, no. Because shaming is a way to motivate yourself which has a very limited well. It dries up quickly. It may get you to keep a commitment a couple times, but it’s not sustainable.

If the word “accountability” is triggering for you (you’ll know by how it feels in your body), I want you to REDEFINE IT.

You don’t even have to use the word “accountability” if you don’t want to.

Perhaps it’s a compassion check….or a check-in with your WHY.

One of the students in the class mentioned they changed their definition of “accountability” to “responsibility.” I lovingly called her on her bullsh*t by asking how the word “responsibility” felt. She gave the “yuck” face

What would accountability look like if you didn’t have to hold yourself accountable?

This question goes back to the limited well of motivation. It’s a shine bright, burn hot, flash of an experience.

So what else could it look like?

Love. Love for yourself. Love to your past, present, and future. When tapped, this love is infinite. When we talk about accountability and confidence, you’ve probably heard me use the term “have your own back.” This is what I’m talking about. When you love yourself, you naturally hold yourself accountable because you care that deeply about yourself and your wellbeing.

Oftentimes, clients will ask how they can show themselves love and compassion without feeling like they are letting themselves “off the hook.”

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself if you notice yourself shaming as a form of accountability OR are worried about letting yourself off the hook:

1. Am I committed or just interested?

When you’re interested, you are really just lusting after a certain emotion–the feeling you think you will have when you get the result.

When you’re committed, it’s about the journey–the person you rediscover along the way that naturally creates the result.

2. Am I trying to mimic someone else’s results or process or am I trying to do it MY way?

We’re socially conditioned to look to others for answers. This is how we lose trust with ourselves and are ‘kept in line.’ But what works for one person won’t work for you because you’re different. You have your own set of unique skills, abilities, perspectives, etc. which changes the process and result you create.

Take what serves you, leave the rest. Then experiment to find YOUR WAY.

3. If I didn’t have to hold myself accountable to XYZ, how would I choose to actively love on myself?

Love yourself regardless of the result/mistake/hiccup/etc. When you find yourself breaking a promise you made to yourself, examine it with love so you can learn from it rather than pretending not to see it (like when you make awkward eye contact with a stranger)

“Personal Accountability requires Mindfulness, Acceptance, Honesty, and Courage.”

Shelby Martin

If you want support in learning to hold yourself accountable in an effective and loving way, come work with me in my 6 month one-on-one container or join my group coaching program, Fu⊄k the Formula: 6 weeks of Discovery, Deconditioning, & Design.

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