Tyler the Creator has it right. The people that you hang out with can make or break you. Each friend represents a piece of you. The party girl. The geek. The busy bee. If you are trying to do something big with your life, you've got to surround yourself with other people on that journey. If you want to achieve a giant goal, find yourself an accountability partner and fast.
It's a beautiful day out. Everybody is at Pitchfork. And I'm currently sitting in my friend Anna Hovet's studio while she works on her Fall/Winter collection and I'm working my big ol' booty off on some personal projects.
This morning, I sent an email out to the CGBC, my tight clique of creative women, with some Sunday Funday suggestions. I had planned to go to the beach, a party at Cobra and an album release. I packed everything up, put on my bathing suit and just as I was about to head out, I got an email from Ms. Hovet saying that she couldn't come out until later. She had to work on her collection.
I took one look at my computer and remembered that I've been making a lot of promises to myself. It was time to make good on them.
So here I am.
It's like going to the gym. It can be hard to convince yourself to actually go there. Once you've put on those running shoes, however, nothing can hold you back. And you won't regret it afterwards. You'll feel like you accomplished something, because you did. You're that many steps closer to your goal.
In college, my best friends and I would plan "study parties." We'd have music on. Sometimes there would be wine. And we'd set aside a few hours where we could be socially studying. This would be rewarded with a fun night out afterwards. Even though we weren't talking, it was fun just to be with my friends.
The people that you surround yourself with will always influence you. Choose carefully. In addition to Accidentally Sexy, I work a regular 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, office job running the social media programs for some really cool brands. This means that I essentially have two full-time jobs. A day job and a play job. Since the day job keeps my bills paid, the play job can get put to the side sometimes.
The fact is that if you want to have a creative career, you've got to be willing to sign away a lot of your "free time." You've got to really have a love for this second life. And, gosh darn it, sometimes I just want to go to the beach on the weekend! You need to surround yourself with other people who understand this sacrifice and inspire you, or you are never going to be able to get yourself through the harder, lonelier humps. Seriously, who wants to get to work for their second 40 hours when the people you hang with are out having fun?!
I didn't go to the beach, but I'm not too worried about it. Work your a$$ off. Be unavoidable. Rather than having a few PBRs this weekend, you'll find yourself drinking Cristal on a yacht on a future weekend.
It's simple math. Think about all of the people who have dreams of a creative career. Now, think of all the people who will actually sacrifice their time to work at it. That number is extremely smaller. Be one of that small pool. All the fun credits you had to put on hold will show up later with interest. Trust.
Fill your friend bank with those who will play the "good angel" on your shoulder. If you have 10 friends who are getting s*** done, it'll be way easier to silence the one inner voice telling you to give up.
What should you look for in an accountability partner:
- You should be good enough friends that it isn't awkward if you're not talking. Whether it's a friendship or a relationship, you know you've found a "real" level when you can be quiet together. I can't get work done with a guy I've just started dating. I feel like I'm still trying to get to know him. I'd rather be playing. And honestly, I probably want some attention. Every time I've tried to meet a new guy at a coffee shop for a study date has been a disaster. I won't get a single thing written. I feel pressure to be "on."
- An accountability partner should be equally...well..accountable. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to get a friend on a gym schedule with me. They will undoubtably want to stop by the second day and make up a thousand excuses why they don't want to go. After the fifth time of them giving me excuses, my own will can start to falter. Get an accountability partner who can underline your own good intentions.
- You've got to want it. It doesn't matter if you are hanging out with the most incredible people in the world. Nothing will happen if you don't make an effort. Surround yourself with positive influences, but make sure you are your own best accountability partner. Take charge of your own actions. You are the only one to blame. Don't disappoint yourself. Like attracts like.
What do you do to stay accountable to your goals?