Posted by: faultlessfinish | February 7, 2011

Independently Accountable


To be accountable is to take responsiblity for your own actions, and paradoxically, there is great freedom in being accountable. When I first ventured out as a freelancer, I was thrilled not to have to answer to a boss. But as discussed in a previous post, “Banishing the Tyrant,” it’s very easy to become your own worst boss. Being accountable does not mean being hard on yourself, though – it can actually help you improve the quality of your business, your relationships, and your life in general.

My clients expect me to be accountable – they trust that I will edit their work professionally and deliver it when I say I will. This fact alone is enough to motivate me to get the job done; however, if the deadline for a large project seems far away, it’s easy to think, “I have lots of time. I’ll start working on it later.” Never underestimate the power of keeping clients in the loop and delivering early, however. In an effort to be more accountable, I’ve started periodically updating clients on the status of their projects and, if possible, will volunteer to send an edited portion of the work (e.g., one or two chapters) back to them by a certain date. If I have a “deadline” every few days, I find it much easier to stay on track and focused. And the client is always very appreciative. Obviously sending portions of the finished work is not always possible, but keeping the client in the loop is an effective way to keep accountability in mind.

Being accountable also means owning up to your mistakes and offering to fix them to the best of your abilities. If a client is unhappy with your work, don’t respond by rattling off excuses or blaming other people. Apologize, explain your situation, and work with the client to develop a solution. There is great freedom in taking the blame, and most people are willing to forgive and forget if you take responsibility for your mistake in a humble and apologetic manner and offer to rectify it.

Accountability is extremely important in relationships as well. If you tell a friend or family member you are going to do something or be somewhere, then do it and be there! Consistently living up to your word shows the other person you respect and value them and helps build trust.

Finally, be accountable to yourself. While it is important to be there for clients, friends, and family, ultimately, if you are not taking the time to do the things you enjoy or taking care of yourself, you will not have anything to give anyone else. Relax, exercise, eat well, acknowledge your mistakes and then forgive yourself, and show yourself true compassion. If you aren’t accountable to yourself, why should anyone else be?

Namaste 🙂

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