Pulse

[PULSE] Accountability is more important than action, and nothing happens without action

Principle No. 5 in the series "5 Irrefutable principles of high-performance mortgage and real estate practices"

Note: This is part four of a five-part series. Over the following weeks, Todd Duncan, sales entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author, will showcase principles for mortgage and real estate professionals to embrace for success. Find more advice in his firstsecond, third and fourth pieces.

I was in the back of an Uber having just landed in Boston. En route to the hotel, the driver looked into the rear-view mirror and asked, “So what do you do?” I looked into the mirror and told him, “I’m an author and speaker and have a speech with one of our key clients tomorrow.” 

He returned the look and said, “So you are one of those motivators?”

It was an interesting question. I thought briefly and would like to think I motivate people to think about the possibility of a high-performance life and business. Then I quickly realized I had it wrong. I think what I do is more transformational than motivational. I think I awaken people to possibilities. I believe that this ‘awakening’ can happen at any time for anyone if they are open to receive it. 

The Uber drivers name was Jim. When I confirmed that I was a ‘motivator’ but more importantly, a ‘transformer,’ he looked at me and simply said, “Then motivate me!” 

That was it. Three words! 

And yet the truth is I can’t motivate Jim. He has to motivate himself. You have to motivate you, too.  You are the ultimate motivator of yourself. You are the one that has to do the work. You are the one that has to make different choices. All success, growth, and achievement will come from your actions, right actions. But right actions are more likely to be taken, completed and transformed into inspiring habits only when you embrace accountability.

Success doesn’t happen in a day; it happens daily!

In the conversation that continued with Jim, I learned that he was depressed and frustrated that he’d been trying to lose weight for a couple of months and every Saturday when he weighed, there was either little or no progress, and even weight gain.  I could tell he was hurting.

I told him that the key to success having coached thousands of people is found in micro-victories. Taking a series of micro-actions, that when compounded, create a micro victory, is essential to moving towards a goal.  Victory association is one of the greatest motivators there is. 

The key is found in the teaching point; success does not happen in a day, it happens daily. And in Jim’s case, it might require dozens of new actions and choices per day to give him the victories he needs to continue to take the actions that create a winning state of mind. 

When you are ‘winning,’ you will succeed more often, as long as you keep your eye on the actions, and until they are habits, seek some form of accountability. When you are ‘losing,’ you won’t succeed more often until you change the actions that lead to the victories that bring you back into winning. And the truth for most is they’d rather be in the winning state of mind. Is that true for you?

This leads us to the fifth principle of high-performance mortgage and real estate practices.

Principle No. 5: Accountability is More Important Than Action and Nothing Happens Without Action

I told Jim I thought he’d find losing weight a little easier if he got a victory every day rather than the overwhelming feeling like a failure when he did his weekly weigh-in. 

I went on to explain that mindset has so much to do with engaging a different set of actions. I explained people are usually more successful when their mindset goes from ‘losing weight,’ to ‘gaining thin.’ You will never be thin without thin habits. Mindset rules – what you think, you become. 

You need to know that on average, it takes two months before a new behavior becomes automatic – 66 days to be exact. How long it takes a new habit to form can be up to 254 days, especially if it’s a habit that is life-changing. Critical thinking for Jim. He did not get fat and out of shape in a day, but daily. And he wouldn’t get thin and back into shape in a day, but daily.

The Transformation

Remember Principle No. 1: Everything can be improved. If I could get Jim thinking this way regarding his approach to health and embrace Principle No. 5: Accountability is more important than action, my bet was we’d get him moving in the right direction.

We began with him needing to buy a scale that measured pounds, and ounces. And I told him that if he paid attention to the ounces, the pounds would take care of themselves – micro victories. I also let him know that the best practices would be to have a morning routine.

I think by now you are very clear what I’m trying to suggest here; what you do or don’t do daily, or even hourly, is what impacts at what level you will succeed in business or life. Jim set a goal of gaining thinness by shedding 60 pounds, or 960 ounces. He created some simple math and calculated that if he reduced his weight by 2.6 ounces a day he’d hit that goal in a year. With the micro victory mindset, he’d needed he started winning daily and within a year, had lost over 100 pounds. 

Jim would tell you that more important than this new action mindset, accountability was the key ingredient to form these new habits. 

And there are Four Levels:

The Four Levels of Accountability

Often, we are our own worst enemy.  That is why it is important to understand accountability in the most favorable way possible.  We all need some or all the following levels of accountability to aide us on our journey to our own greatness.

Personal Accountability: this type of accountability is found when you link an action with your purpose in life.  When you are really clear on your “why,” you can use that as the catalyst for creating discipline around actions. Jim’s “why” was to make a difference as a dad and husband.  Every time he was presented with a mini action, the filter was ‘will this help me make a difference as a dad and husband?’ 

Partner Accountability: Jim’s wife was a little out of shape too. When he shared the vision he had with his health and weight and how he felt it would help him be a better dad and husband, she connected with this, of course, and decided to join him.  

Professional Accountability: Hire a trainer! Hire a business coach! Ask your manager to help you! And when you “hire” a professional to help you be your best, it has payoff. Jim hired a trainer who was both a physical trainer and a nutritionist. He was responsible for daily accountability to his trainer on nutrition, calories, weight, and exercise. Yep, had to report in daily. Our coaches at High Trust have you check in every day and record your business metrics for the day: 

  • Total Sales Calls Made
    • Data Base calls
    • Referral Partner calls
  • Loans/Contracts as a % of the calls
  • Closed Transactions as a % of the Loans/Contracts
  • Hour Rate (every two weeks)

You have to invest money to increase your returns; whatever your goals are.

Prayerful/Meditative Accountability: This type of accountability is very powerful.  It involves getting quite.  Most find the best time is the morning.  Having a ritual around centering your life and goals for the day in a rich and empowering way is a type of insurance policy for the day. 


Never forget, principles are what create growth and success.  Master these 5 and you will go far in business and life!

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