5 tips for finding an Accountability Buddy
“Get an accountability buddy,” they said. I’ve heard of the benefits of this from different people and in several communities, but I had never tried it. I guess I figured that if I have my to-do list and I set myself to do these things…I’m done, I don’t need anything else, but I was wrong. During a call in one of the art communities, I am part of, (more about those in this blog post). I read several messages of people trying to find an Accountability Buddy (AB from now on) and decided to reach out. I have now been doing weekly calls with my AB for more than 2 months and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned during this time:
1. Take time to find the right partner
I think one of the most important things to set yourself up for success is to have a good match. For me, it was important that it was a person outside of my friends and family circle. First, it was important that this relationship was focused on my art practice as a business and not on my personal life, and probably with a close member you might very easily start talking about other aspects of life. Second, I wanted it to be someone on the same path or similar to mine so we both could learn from each other.
Also, it is important to find someone with the same level of commitment as you. I think a first call or meeting can help you meet this person more and see if it could be a good match. If you don’t know the person it’s a bit like blind dating hehe, you just have to meet and have a conversation to see if it can work out. We did our first meeting through Facebook video call and have continued to use this platform for our weekly meetings. In this first call, it is important to get to know each other and also talk about your expectations like what you want to work on. For both of us, it is a mix of the business side, mindset, and finding opportunities. And even though we have different art styles, we both do collage which has proven to be very useful. We realized all of this just by sharing our current struggles. Also, take into account availability. You might want to meet once a week, and the other person might only be available once a month. My AB lives in Berlin, so with only 1hour difference scheduling our meetings is easy.
2. Use your meetings for analysis
You’re both investing time on this so it’s important that you are responsible for not only showing up but preparing for the meetings as well. I think of our calls as deadlines. I personally work well with the pressure of a deadline so I view it as such. This can help me stop procrastinating (which I have learned I am great at BTW) I might be able to do this later, but then, what am I working on this week?
I also like to set some time the day before, or an hour before our meetings and look at the things I have actually accomplished, which things I need to work on for next week, and also think about why I did not complete others. Is it a lack of motivation? Procrastination? Do I need help with something? This time to reflect has been very important because I get to be honest with myself
3. Share ideas and opportunities
Since my AB and I both do collages and we are both applying to different calls of art, we decided to have a shared excel document (on Google Drive) so we can write our to-do lists, and since there are many calls of art that we both can find interesting we talk those over and we can see the link on the document. It has helped me because not only have I learned of new opportunities, but we also discuss the curator, the gallery, or the collective itself to see the benefits of even just applying.
Also, it is important to share your ideas, my AB mentioned she had talked to a coach about a course she saw online, and even though that opportunity did not happen, it sparked the idea that I might want to work with a 1:1 creative coach which is something I plan to do soon. We give each other ideas for social media posts, reach out to different people, and even new platforms to try out. It is also VERY important that both of you take any new ideas as suggestions. It might not be something you like, or connect with, but it can also spark a new idea so be open to both giving and receiving them.
4. Embrace being imperfect
We wear many hats as artists, and our only area of genius should be the artwork itself. Yet other sides of the business like marketing and selling can be daunting, and honestly, I tend to freeze rather than act. But knowing I have to show up for this week’s call helps me to defeat my fears and take action.
It is also so important to talk about the negative things because here I have found that talking it over can help you with recuring mindset struggles that you might not even know you had. Know that you may need to tweak how you share, talk, and duration of your meetings to make them more effective, just make sure you both agree before changing anything. Also, embrace imperfectness with flexibility. You might have to take the call outside or reschedule it because of a work meeting or personal issue. Just make sure you let them know when possible with enough time in advance.
5. Celebrate each other
I think it’s important that you celebrate each other. Your AB wins will make you happy, you have seen this person strive and work on their goals it will also be very motivating to see that consistent work pays off. But also it means celebrating all the tiny victories during the week, a new post, or a newsletter you have to be honest always but also remember that even outside your meetings any support can be a high motivator.
To summarize invest time and energy in finding a great AB for you. Consider this time together as an investment because you’re investing not only your time but someone else’s too. Be supportive and make sure your calls are a safe environment in which you both can grow and learn. Be open to ideas, and opportunities. Talk about your failures, problems, and anything outside of your comfort zone. Working so far with an AB has helped me be more accountable, have a structure for weekly goals, and take time to discover areas in which I might need help or to learn more.
Like Casablanca’s final movie line you might also be in for a nice surprise: “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”