I’ve been thinking a lot about what I do for a living, and unlike a lot of marketers, my job is less about doing things for my clients and more about telling them what I think they should do and then teaching them how to do it. Because of this, my clients are able to take or leave my advice and the results vary accordingly. This has distressed me for years because of the responsibility I feel to and for my clients, but I realized recently that my job is to lead them to the water– not to force them to drink.
At about the same time I recognized that I was succeeding in my role as water diviner, I got on the scale and discovered that my months of regular workouts haven’t made a dent in my weight. I know this to be the result of choices I make every day to say yes to the delicious treat someone offers and no to an hour of intense cardio, and it wouldn’t occur to me to blame the trainer who leads me to water for my choices about drinking.
In this moment, the trainer I’m working with is trading with me– I am helping her with marketing strategy and website content, and she is giving me workouts to do. I lead her to internet water, and she hasn’t been drinking unless I’m looking over her shoulder. She leads me to fitness water, and I haven’t been drinking unless she’s looking over my shoulder. So today we talked about this: how can we help each other do the things we know are good for us without scheduling hour-long blocks of time for one of us to stare at the other one? We agreed on setting an accountability alarm.
Every day, Sunday through Thursday, my phone will start playing Beyoncé’s “Freedom,” and I will text her to see if she spent an hour working on internet projects. She will ask me if I spent an hour on fitness. We will hold each other accountable until we don’t need to anymore.
Maybe you’ve read this and thought, “Leona, leading a horse to water isn’t the only horse cliche I’m thinking of while you beat it to death.” Hopefully, what you’ve also thought is that finding an accountability partner and agreeing to terms with him/her would help you accomplish some of your goals, too.
If you’re interested in making the internet work for you, whether that’s generating leads through your website or building a following on any social network or video site, you really should be spending at least an hour on it (cumulatively) every day. And if you find that days slip by without your having done that minimum, maybe finding someone you can make an accountability trade with would help.