There’s a whole lot of self-reflection going on in the Cat’s Cove home office these days.
I think it’s natural to do that when you’ve hit a milestone (five years!) with your business. Or when you become a parent. Or when you’re just feeling a little stuck. And that’s okay.
I recently started listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier. In one episode, she reviews content from her recently released book, Before Than Before. In her podcast, she discusses one of her four type of habit makers, “The Obliger”. I don’t even need to hear the definitions of the remaining three styles. I’m an Obliger. Plain and Simple (the others, for your own curiosity, are Questioner, Rebel and Upholder – If you know my husband at all, you’ll immediate identify his category, too).
One of the things that resonated with me was that when it comes to achieving goals or outcomes, Obligers rarely can rely on inner accountability. Instead, they thrive off of outer accountability. Whether it’s to meet a work deadline, lose five pounds or pay off debt, Obligers need someone on the outside to hold them accountable to their goals.
It’s good in a way for an entrepreneur working for clients. We thrive off meeting others’ expectations.
It’s bad in a way when you’re looking at bettering yourself, as you’re likely to ignore our own.
Can a Spouse be Your Outer Accountability?
So if I need that outer accountability to make progress, you’ll likely think I often turn to my husband for that guidance.
Well, I do in a way.
Whenever I approach my husband with a problem, crisis or dilemma, he knows me SO well that he can immediately identify the underlying problem. He lays it out. He provides insight. He offers problem-solving techniques. He suggests Next Steps.
I nod. I agree. My eyes usually shift to the side as I make an awkward face, indicating his precise “nailed it” synopsis.
My shoulder relax. I feel calmer. I thank him. Heck, we sometimes even hug about it.
And then I do nothing.
Here’s the glitch…
When an Obliger is too close to someone (say, a spouse), that person is no longer considered outer accountability. They’re too close to the situation. It’s really a lose-lose.
He’s frustrated that I don’t listen to him, and his insight rarely sticks with me. I don’t do it on purpose. I value his opinion and support. But if my right arm was falling off, I’d need a doctor to confirm it for me, even if my husband is right beside me telling me the same thing.
He says that while it frustrates him, he’s even more upset that I tend to ignore my inner thoughts and ideas.
So, how does an Obliger move forward as an entrepreneur?
Oh, sorry. I was asking you for the answer! (damn it – outer accountability)
If I’m to answer, I think it comes down to accepting vulnerability (I’m about six years late on the Brene Brown TED talk). You have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, even if your inner self is screaming at you. I’m going to make an effort to set personal intentions and goals and then transform those into deadlines. Marking those deadlines in a calendar will then force me to schedule in those to-dos. It is, after all, in the calendar.
Finally, it may also include taking some of your husband’s insight to heart.
Question: What type are you? An Obliger? Upholder? Questioner? Rebel?