Embarrassment is a powerful thing. Why else do a majority of Americans count public speaking as their greatest fear?
To be personally distressed about one’s perceived comfort and security has fear written all over it.
Being bold in overcoming fear usually involves making public proclamation of resolve (hence the embarrassment if you don’t keep to your word). Many recovery programs, weight-loss programs, and goal-setting exercises include this component of open, transparent, fearless, and at least quasi-public declarations of commitment.
But why would it all matter if you’re speaking to strangers or only acquaintances? They’re not going to call you on your hangups.
Hence: the accountability partner. A trusted peer, colleague, or business associate who is close enough to know your foibles, but not so close that they go easy on you.
Why you need one:
1) An accountability partner will not let you off the hook. You pledge to challenge each other’s stated commitments and remind you of your helpful pledge to keep you to your promises. Objectivity. You’re too close, too fearful, and too forgiving of your own shortcomings.
2) There is no growth without vulnerability. An accountability partner helps you be vulnerable. We justify, we rationalize, we put up walls. We convince ourselves we’re right when left to our own devices. Vulnerability says we might be wrong, or that we would at least consider we might be, and an accountability partner is there to confirm or deny that (to the best of their ability — but you agreed to trust them when you chose them, right?)
3) An accountability partner gets you past your failures with dignity, and therefore on to your successes more quickly. It’s popular right now to admit that failure is one sure way to success (given that you stick with it). It’s popular ’cause it’s true. So fail within the trusted relationships of an accountability partner. It’s easier.
Bonus reason: HAVING an accountability partner means BEING an accountability partner. You grow when you help someone else. Service is a powerful and humbling tool. Serving someone else teaches you much about yourself.
Where do you find one? Choose wisely, but the chances are it’s someone (or a small group of someones) who is already in your life, and needs/wants it as badly as you do. Have you asked?
Avoid the embarrassment of falling on your face alone. Doing it with an accountability partner softens the fall.