How many of you have an old pair of shoes you like to keep around just because they feel so comfortable to wear? I’m sure tucked in your closet, safe from your spouse’s attempts to throw them away, there’s an old pair of gym shoes hiding. When your wife asks what the source of the smell emanating from the closet is – you plead ignorance.
Admit it – we like things we know will fit and are comfortable. We like to know when we put on a shoe, shirt, or pair of pants it is going to fit right. Here’s the problem with the old shoe, shirt, or jeans: they look old, ratty, and worn out. They may be comfortable, but they may not be the best to wear in public.
Old shoes are not the only things we need to check occasionally for freshness. In our personal life, professional life, and spiritual life we need to make sure we’re not just settling for what is comfortable. People as a who will return to what is easiest, the proverbial path of least resistance. And I’ll admit there are seasons when easier is better, but this cannot be our whole life. If we never learn to press through problems, if we never seek growth, if we never question what has become the status quo in our own life we will never grow.
We’ve already gone through the whole being a growing leader series, so you can read back through that if you need to – I want to look at one thing that will help us from returning the lowest common denominator in life. “Wait a sec! There’s one thing that can help us overcome and grow?” I’m glad you asked…what is this magical, miraculous, wonder product? Accountability. Accountability can help you grow. Accountability can help you overcome. Accountability can help you succeed where you’ve failed before. (Sounds like I’m selling accountability doesn’t it?)
On our own, we are going to drop back into our old patterns or ruts. My friend Jim Wideman says a rut is a grave with the ends kicked out. Accountability, with a mature individual who will help you stay on task, will help keep your goal in front of you. Knowing you are going to have to talk to someone about your success or failure on a regular basis does wonders for your focus on the task at hand.
Don’t believe me – try this little challenge. Think of a goal you’ve had for a while; something you’ve tried to do on your own and have failed at over and over. Now think of a mature friend, peer, or mentor who would be willing to ask you once a week how you’re doing on the goal. Then talk to them. Track your progress over the next six weeks and you’ll be amazed at how well you do. And remember an accountability relationship is only helpful if you are actually honest with your partner. Choose wisely and you will see improvement. “Inch by inch is a cinch – mile by mile is a trial.”