It amazes me just how quickly things can become out of balance. A few months ago, when I accepted a full-time position, I promised myself that I wouldn’t let my life get out of balance again. I was certain that I had put up appropriate boundaries and I would hold myself accountable to them. I wouldn’t let work take over my life as I’ve allowed it to do so many times in the past. But that resolve didn’t last long. Once again, my workaholism came out in full force, feeding me the lie that my identity is found in what I do, not in who I am. And I believed it.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve become increasingly aware of my dysfunctional relationship with work, but I didn’t have much motivation to change my behaviors. Though I knew what I was doing was wrong and not very healthy, I just kept going. After all, for me, workaholism is the path of least resistance.
Recently I was talking with my counselor and he called me out on this. It’s both infuriating and helpful to have someone who will poke holes in your unhealthy thought-processes. Instead of just applauding me for my knowledge of this dysfunctional pattern, he asked me what I was going to do to change my behavior. And, when I left, with my to-do list in hand, I knew that he would be following up with me about it the next week. It’s a whole new ball game when you have someone who’s not your friend holding you accountable.
What accountability do you have built into your life?
This isn’t a fun topic for many people, but I love it! Though it’s uncomfortable, I appreciate accountability because the opportunity for growth it provides is unmatched. If you want to get things done, overcome an obstacle, or live your healthiest life, accountability is necessary, yet we often run from it.
I think part of this, at least for me, is that accountability requires vulnerability, something I historically haven’t enjoyed at all. But I’m not entirely sure that accountability can happen without it. How can you be held accountable if you don’t have the courage to share something risky with another human being? How can they help you achieve your goals if you don’t openly share a struggle with them? How do they help you take a step toward a dream if they don’t know your dreams?
Who holds you accountable?
In her book, Love Lives Here, Maria Goff writes about her board of directors, those people who hold her accountable, give her advice, and help her navigate life. She didn’t choose those who were famous, had loads of credentials, or made a giant splash in the world to be on her board. Instead, she chose those who would encourage her, speak truth to her, and challenge her when needed. She doesn’t need very many people on her board, so she only has a few of them, but she focuses on quality over quantity and I believe we should do the same.
If you don’t have anyone who currently holds you accountable, if you don’t have a current board of directors, I want to share with you a bit of advice from Maria.
“Surround yourself with the right number of people who make you hungry in your faith, strong in your resolve, and more available to your family. This is your board.” (p.99)
If you haven’t yet found a group of people who help you be the best version of you, I encourage you to find them. There is no formal application process for the job, most of the time it just looks like sharing a little more of yourself daily with the safe people in your life.
If you currently have a board of directors (no matter what label you put on them), I encourage you to reach out and share your appreciation today.
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