Accountability Partners Are Great. But “Success” Partners Will Change Your Life.

The difference between “accountability” and “excitement.”

Benjamin Hardy, PhD
7 min readJan 17, 2019


Even though most people avoid it, accountability works. It really works.

Actually, if you do not measure and report your progress, then you’re probably not making much progress at all. According to Pearson’s Law — when performance is measured, it improves; when performance is measured and reported, it improves exponentially.

Research studies have shown that publicly committing your goals to someone gives you at least a 65% chance of completing them. However, having a specific accountability partner increases your chance of success to 95%.

When most people think of an accountability partner, they cringe. It’s not something they feel excited about, unless they are highly motivated individuals.

One of the reasons “accountability” has a slightly negative energy is because it feels like you have to do something. And accountability partnerships can give off that vibe even though, as a functioning adult, you get to make your own choices.

By adding an accountability partner to your life, you’re simply increasing your odds of success. You don’t want to lie to someone you respect. So when you tell them you’re going to show up this week, you’re more likely to do so.

It’s actually quite crazy, but we’re far more likely to lie to and let down ourselves than someone else.

Accountability is Great — But “Success” Partners are More Powerful

“Surround yourself with people who remind you more of your future than your past.” — Dan Sullivan

Having an accountability partner is an unfair advantage. For those seeking major success in their lives, it’s an incredible opportunity.

The mere fact that most people avoid accountability is a powerful reason to create LOTS of it in your life.

Even still, there is another form of relationship that can take your life much further than accountability partnerships.

Rather than simply having someone who holds you accountable, you want a “success” partner who is heavily motivated themselves.

You want to have someone who is already pushing their own boundaries and taking huge psychological leaps forward. They are taking big risks, moving forward, and continually upping their game.

If you’re doing the same, then you can join forces and push each other further and further than you could ever go on your own.

A “success” partner is someone who is already motivated. They don’t need someone to “hold them accountable.” Instead, they need someone to propel themselves further than they could propel themselves.

Here is the important distinction: accountability partnerships are “process”-oriented. The goal is to keep you accountable to the process. Did you do your workouts this week?

Conversely, Success partners are “progress”-oriented. The focus isn’t on you trying (and failing) to be perfect. But instead, how much tangible movement toward your dreams did you make? Success partners focus on results over process, because it is through courageously pursuing meaningful EVENTS that you develop an innovative process.

The process is the product of the goal, not the other way around.

Accountability also can feel like a drag. It feels like a job.

Success partners are about excitement, energy, and movement. Not perfection. Success partners measure the “gain” and movement made toward big dreams, not the “gap” of what they aren’t doing good enough.

Becoming a “Transformational Leader” for Yourself and Others

One of the core theories of leadership is called, “Transformational Leadership,” and it involves four specific behaviors of the most successful leaders:

  • Inspirational motivation: developing and articulating a powerful vision and high expectations that are motivating, inspiring and challenging.
  • Idealized influence: being a role model, someone who themselves is moving forward in their lives and achieving a bigger vision. You cannot be a leader of others if you’re not powerfully leading yourself.
  • Intellectual stimulation: challenging existing assumptions, connecting deeply with those you’re leading, and helping them re-frame their limitations.
  • Individualized consideration: treating everyone in a cookie-cutter fashion, but instead, “seeking first to understand and then to be understood.” In other words, you develop true connection and trust by listening first and coming to understand the person you’re working with as a unique individual.

You can be a transformational leader. And the only way you can become a powerful “success” partner is by being a transformational leader.

When two people come together and act as transformational leaders to each other, explosive growth happens.

I’ve had many “success” partnerships in my life. Recently, I met an amazing guy named Alex. He’s been through a lot in his life. He grew up with a stutter, which led him to over-compensate in his attempts to feel worthy of love and friendship.

His desire to be loved led him down some bad paths, ultimately getting him arrested and expelled from his college.

But then Alex started investing big in himself. He started envisioning a much bigger future. Now, people pay him over $100,000 to work with him one on one. He is a highly-paid public speaker despite having a stutter.

And here’s what I love about Alex: there are no limits on where he’s going. He’s just getting started.

He’s willing to push himself further and further — mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally.

I’ve recently met him and we hit-it-off. We come from totally different backgrounds, have different skill-sets, and different ways we can help each other.

More than just helping each other be motivated and accountable, we push each other to go beyond anything we’d do on our own. We’ve both challenged each other to take needed action on things in our personal lives and business that we 1) either have been procrastinating or 2) didn’t even realize we should take.

That’s what happens in “Success” Partnerships — you help each other take immediate action on what is most important. No more procrastination. You also help each other get new insights, and then to immediately act on those insights.

This is where the psychologist, Robert Kegan, comes in. According to Kegan, the highest level of “conscious evolution” is what he called the “transforming self.”

It takes courage.

It also takes a different way of thinking.

Rather than thinking “how” you can achieve something, you think in terms of “who.” According to Kegan, the transforming-self is a stage of being wherein two or more individuals go beyond their perceived notions and open themselves up to new and bigger ideas through collaborative ideation and connection.

The whole becomes more than the sum of its pats.

A third party emerges out of the two people — a new superhuman that is distilled in each individual. Newness. Vision. Relentlessness.

Both parties synergize and collaborate and motivate and push each other. The relationship becomes a vehicle for transformation and growth.

Self-Leadership is Key to Being a “Success” Partner

You can’t be a “success” partner if you’re not actively and aggressively moving forward in your own life. Hence, self-leadership is essential. Accountability on many levels is implied.

You don’t avoid accountability. You embrace it in all aspects of your life. Your whole world and environment reflect accountability to higher ideals, values, and aims.

But, you also know that with the influence of other people who are likewise pushing themselves in profound ways, that you can push them and yourself further and faster.

This is why “success” partners are so exciting. Individually, they are already motivated and achievement-oriented. Collectively, they push each other to new limits of courage and commitment. They serve as sounding boards to each other. They not only listen to each other’s account progress, but they really challenge them.

Transformational leaders challenge assumptions. They really ask the hard questions.

Is this what you really want?

Why do you want it?

Are you playing small?

What do you really want?

Why are you waiting to get it?

What could you do that would get you there in the next seven days?

What huge failure are you avoiding?

Do You Have a “Success” Partner?

“Success” partners are all about extreme action, helping each other to take on extreme courage, and coaching each other through the process.

Do you have a “success” partner?

You shouldn’t just have one. Instead, you should create a network of people who are constantly pushing you to up your game.

“Success” partners are all about excitement and fear — and according to Dan Sullivan, those are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have excitement without fear.

If you really want to play a bigger game, you need to start making bold moves. And then you need to be a giver and help other people make bold moves in their lives.

Your network is your net-worth. When you begin surrounding yourself with people who remind you of your future — and you not only engage in the relationship but inspire those around you to QUICKLY get to the next level — then your life will begin accelerating very quickly.

You can increase your income by 10X in a year with the right network.

You can achieve goals that would normally take a few years in a few months with the right network.

Taking on huge goals and change is inherently stressful. So having someone to buffer that stress and help you through the process is key.

Having someone who excites you about moving forward because you inspire each other is an unfair advantage.

It’s also incredibly available.

You must start by being an inspiring person yourself. Lead yourself to a better life. Then excitedly help others improve their lives.

Use the relationship to propel each other forward.

Every week, share your huge wins and courageous leaps. Then, really dig into helping each other to move beyond fears and to commit to bigger leaps.

Here’s what’s fascinating. You’ll often get more clarity and inspiration for your life while helping your “success” partner get clarity than while directly trying to get clarity for yourself. The synergistic partnership is key. Giving and receiving.

Every week, you should be attempting something you’ve never done before. You should be failing and learning, and growing in new and powerful ways.

Hard-Truth Questions to Consider

Do you have a “success” partner?

Are you growing like crazy?

Are you excited?

Is your future bigger than your past?

Is your brain growing through novelty, risk, learning, and excitement?

Are you shattering subconscious blocks?

Are you consistently improving all aspects of your life, and thus developing confidence?

Are you making bold commitments and seeing those commitments to the end?



Benjamin Hardy, PhD

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