Accountability: Creating Meaning Rather Than Power

How does accountability in your relationships affect life organization and life management? For one, when you live with others it’s important to set clear expectations of how you want to use the space and how you want to spend your time. This directly affects your ability to implement self-care to maintain your overall health. If you keep picking up after someone, then you don’t have time to go for your daily walk, you will likely feel resentful and angry.

Living a balanced and organized life means looking at how you are interacting with your space, belongings, how you spend your time and how you engage with others. This is why I wanted to write about relationships and work because it can have a direct positive effect on being accountable and on your overall health. 

Accountability in Relationships

Let’s take a look at what accountability looks like in a relationship and if there is a power imbalance. Laken Howard talks about the importance of being able to speak up for yourself. If you are afraid of the other person’s reaction then it’s likely there is a power imbalance. 

Another potential area of imbalance is the need for someone to be “right” or “win” the conversation. If the other person is not taking your feelings into account then you may not feel heard or comfortable sharing about what’s really going on. Here’s one you might have experienced: There is a conflict, one person withdraws and the other pursues. This pattern makes it impossible to address the issue and be open and honest. These are a few examples of how there can be a power imbalance and places where you can set some boundaries to address the power dynamic and then create an accountability plan. 

To be clear, being accountable in a relationship isn’t about setting strict expectations or creating barriers.. Rather it’s about taking responsibility for your emotions, actions and being open to change them if they are hurtful or unhelpful.  Having an open dialogue and truly listening and understanding the other person allows you to better meet their needs in a way that is meaningful and loving. This dynamic allows both people to grow, remain independent but still close (the delicate balance being close and being with self:)

Accountability At Work

At work you have a connection to the space and how you spend your time in it. This connection has a direct effect on your overall well-being. Making sure you are accountable in a safe supportive environment will help you grow and also help you perform at your best. When in a position of being a leader it’s important to be open to other’s problems and guide the organization in a collaborative way rather than dictate what people need to do. 

This safe dynamic can only be built on honest, open and genuine communication which creates trust, in a similar way to a personal relationship. Author Pete Lowe talks about this in HRD Connect: “When an organization’s culture is embedded in honesty and integrity it enables people to acknowledge mistakes without fear of blame and to work with the team to reflect, learn and move forward positively.”

Allowing people to be independent and maintain their autonomy means more engagement. Being a leader also means that it’s not about you, but rather it’s about the community and group of people on a shared path. This is the best case scenario for accountability in a workplace. 

How can Accountability Create An Opportunity for Deeper Meaning?

When you are creating something with someone, whether it’s work or in a personal relationship, having a deeper meaning and purpose is a core principle in what drives people to take positive action.

To go through the true process of accountability means taking responsibility and making changes where needed, this leads to growth for you and those involved. This deeper meaning and growth helps you build on your strengths, explore your weaknesses and accept the mistakes you have made. Psychology Today notes studies that have shown fostering a sense of awe, gratitude and altruism can help strengthen a sense of purpose. This makes your job more than just a 9 to 5 daily grind or a personal relationship that is more than just superficial chit chat.

If you want to get a sense of how meaningful your life is, you can take a simple approach and list some daily activities. Then write down beside them what they mean to you and how they are connected to your values and life purpose. Something simple like doing the dishes or making your morning coffee can become a meditation that leads to a deep sense of being present and alive.

Circling back to accountability then, if your daily actions have purpose and meaning you are likely to follow through and have the desire to keep going towards actions that connect to your values and life purpose.

How to Be Accountable So You Can Support Your Mental Health and Life Organization?

When we are only accountable to ourselves we are likely to fall flat with self- judgement for not following through. There are four types of accountability: 

  1. Personal and Self Accountability – it’s you and only you

  2. Authority and Consequence Accountability – this could be your boss or teacher

  3. Accountability Partners (Peer) – a coach, friend or partner

  4. Accountability Group – a support group or work team

Three out of the four put you in a position to connect with others, be vulnerable, open and take responsibility in a way that can be very transformative if you are supported with care and encouragement. 

By signing up to be accountable to get your life on track and better manage your time, spaces and self-care you are committing to making changes. These changes lead to a calmer, more organized and focused life that has meaning and purpose. So instead of being reactionary and running around with your head cut off, you are better able to slow down and see things in a more accurate light. Having a cluttered life makes this hard and keeps you in a vicious cycle of being overwhelmed, anxious and unable to keep up.

Being accountable to someone then gives us the opportunity to see what’s not working and share what’s going on deep inside. This inner work is what allows you to make true and lasting change both on the inside and out.

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