I kept hearing good things about mastermind groups from my peers. Remarks like “getting involved in a mastermind group is the biggest thing I’ve done to improve my business”. There was a focus on accountability: “you’ll get more stuff done because you’ll be held accountable”. I had to get me one of these.

A mastermind is a small group of people who meet on a regular basis to discuss a common theme. I started a mastermind with Alex, Andy, and Darren. Every 2 weeks we chat about business, personal health, or anything else on our mind.

But after being in a mastermind group for around 6 months, I can say with some certainty that accountability doesn’t work for me.

When I was at school, teacher’s would breathe down my neck making sure I did my homework (which didn’t work). When I got a job, I had a boss making sure I was doing what I was supposed to (which worked a little better). But now that I’m self-employed, there’s no one to force me do stuff.

The idea of accountability is attractive. We all want more motivation. But if you can’t motivate yourself to do something, how will anyone else make you do it? It’s crazy to think that someone else can persuade you to get off your ass to do something that you don’t want to do.

When I should be doing something that I’m not, there’s a reason. I need to find out why. Perhaps the task is too big and I don’t know where to start. Perhaps I just hate doing it and I should outsource it. I need to identify the things that are blocking me. Telling someone else I’ll do it isn’t the solution.

The truth is: if I commit to others that I’m going to do something, but I haven’t committed to it myself, it ain’t gonna happen.

If I was committing to doing something for someone else, that would be different. But I’m committing to others that I’ll do something for myself. When I’m doing something for myself, the motivation has to come internally. I need to hold myself responsible.

And just to be clear: being part of a mastermind group is great. There are many other reasons to join one. The feedback you get is invaluable. To voice your own problems and concerns with people who’ve been there and done that is both therapeutic and reassuring. Just don’t do it for the accountability.