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Critical Ingredients for Phenomenal Success

This three-step process will hold you accountable to the behaviors you avoid.

By Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE

I was speaking with a marketing guru the other day. He told me he didn't believe in holding people accountable to goals or specific behaviors that are proven to produce results. He told me, "I help people paint the picture of their vision for their success. The vision excites them. Then they take the appropriate action."

I said, "That sounds great, as far as it goes. But what happens when the fear kicks in? What happens when their limiting beliefs—those old messages they've been telling themselves for years—kick back in?" He didn't have an answer for that.

Enter the importance of accountability. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s extremely important to have a clear and up-to-date vision of where you want to take your business (or your life in general). Without a vision, you are doomed to mediocrity.

However, the vision alone is not enough. There are two more important, critical, ingredients for phenomenal success with referrals or any other aspect of your life.

My business and personal life experience has taught me that one of the best ways to move through fear and turn limiting beliefs into expansive beliefs is by being held accountable to those behaviors I've been avoiding.

My suggestions to you are very simple:

• First, make a list of the top five behaviors you need to engage in regularly that you are not now engaged in. You may be avoiding them completely or engaging in them sporadically at best.

• Second, find yourself an accountability partner. This could be a colleague, a friend or even a manager. This needs to be someone who believes in you, the work you do, has expansive thinking and truly cares about your success.

• Third, set behavior goals with each other and get to work. When the fears come up, knowing your friend is going to call you a wimp or collect $10 from you for each behavior goal missed is usually enough to get you to change your behavior. Celebrate your successes and hold each other accountable in fun ways. The penalty for not making your goals can be money, but it can also be doing pushups, buying lunch for your partner, etc. Get creative.

Of course, action is the most important of the three ingredients for success. Visions are great, but without effective action, your vision is pretty useless.

I strongly suggest you keep track of your behavior and measure your success. Keeping the score raises the score and puts your attention on your behavior and the results of your behavior.

An expression I like is, "What you put your attention on grows stronger in your life." Watch your actions and measure your results. Have a simple way to track your behaviors and goals.

Also, be keenly aware of the fears, doubts and other blockages that emerge and use your accountability partner to process those and move forward in a positive (results-oriented) way.

I engage in this three-step process all the time. I have two business study groups and one personal group. I’m not sure where I would be without those groups of people who care about my success and are always willing to share their truths with me.

Bill Cates is author of Get More Referrals Now! and Don’t Keep Me a Secret! To learn about Bill’s free newsletter, boot camps, coaching program, video-training program, etc., go to To contact Cates, email him at or call 301-497-2200.

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