If it’s to be, it’s up to me: Staying Accountable

We’ve all heard the expression “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”. That’s a powerful statement, one that really resonates with me. I’m a “doer”. I’m the rock my family relies on. When I was building websites for a living I always said, “I don’t make things pretty,  I make them work”.

Long listAs an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, for the most part that’s true in my business. I do have a VA and a bookkeeper on retainer, and occasionally hire others on an as-needed basis, but pretty much if I want something done I have to do it.

And that’s what that statement implies, for me: if I don’t do it, it won’t get done.

So on the days when my to-do list looks like it scrolls on forever, when I’m faced with an inbox holding 300+ emails I haven’t even scanned yet, and when I hear ONE MORE GURU tell me how I, too, can have a 6-figure business if I just buy into their magic-bullet program, I get frustrated and cranky.  And sometimes I just stop altogether till I can get over those feelings.

I want to change that statement ever so slightly, because the way it’s phrased now at the top of the page it sounds a little ominous and threatening: “oh no, I didn’t get xx done!  Disaster! My business is a failure! I’m a failure!”.

Say this instead:

What is to be is up to me.

It’s a subtle difference in wording with a big difference in meaning, at least to me.  This one implies choice.  *I* decide what my business will look like, what my life will look like.  I shape my future by choosing my next step.

We live in a world of possibilities. As business owners especially, we stand at the crossroad of multiple paths of possibilities. If I take a step down this path, go through this door, then maybe that path over there, that door, isn’t relevant right now. It may become relevant later, if my path-of-choices loops me back around a bit, but it might not.

And that’s OK.

Path Through TreesUsing a to-do list to stay accountable just keeps me accountable to the list. It may not keep me accountable to what’s in my best interest. The list keeps me on this path that I’m on right now – but I might not be able to see that forest for the trees! Sometimes we have to scoot up to the 3,000 foot or even the 30,000 foot view to see the other paths.

And that’s where an outside, dispassionate view can help. I’m working with two coaches at the moment, and while I went to them for different purposes, there’s a lot of overlap in what I work on with each of them (because it’s all about me, don’t ya know!).  It IS all about me, because as a solopreneur my business only grows as I do.  And I have a couple of accountability buddies with whom I can brainstorm and get a fresh perspective.

In particular, they all help me to really be aware of Shiny Things. Oh, I do love Shiny Things! I’m on a number of email lists for marketers and coaches, and I can be a sucker for a well-written pitch (I talked about shelf-ware in a previous ezine).

I also know that I’m good at a lot of things. We all are. We have tremendous potential. But I can, if I’m not careful, get caught up in the momentum of my own potential, and start contemplating traveling down paths or going through doors (or at least propping them open) towards actions or results that are not in line with what I really want to achieve and to have. I have to stop and pause and take a breath before committing to those Shiny Things. My coaches and accountability partners are good at reminding me of my purpose when I get caught up in someone else’s excitement and start to veer off in the wrong direction.

What is to be FOR YOU is up to YOU.

What are you choosing?  Who do you talk to when you need help getting to that 30,000 foot strategic viewpoint? How do you determine if this thing in front of you, this opportunity, is a wise choice?

Let’s talk!


  1. Love this post, Win! I was chasing Shiny Things (Social Campaigns in Constant Contact) this morning when your post caught my eye, in fact!

    The distinction you make between staying accountable to a to-do list versus taking the next step on the best path forward makes total sense. It is the reason why my to-do list doesn’t always get done, because some tasks are no longer relevant. I LIKE having lots of paths, but I can only be on one at a time…which means multiple to-do lists which I can pick up or drop depending on the path I’m focusing on.

    Back to work now…the next Shiny Thing can wait until later.