No Way Out: How I Am Forcing Myself To Be Accountable

20 Jun

The key to accepting responsibility for your life is to accept the fact that your choices, every one of them, are leading you inexorably to either success or failure, however you define those terms.


I have never been a particularly “self-responsible” person. That’s not to say I do not take responsibility. Most people would say that when I screw up, I will own it. And when I am leading a team and the job doesn’t get done, I take responsibility for getting it done or accepting the consequences of failure.

But when it comes to self-responsibility, I have never been the model to follow. This is evidenced by my repeated failures in the area of personal fitness, my seeming inability to ever satisfactorily close out a project, and my general laziness. Even when I have been in accountability relationships, my accountability partner has usually become tired of trying to keep me motivated. They seem to think that their inability to help me reach the goals to which I am being held accountable means that they have somehow failed…so they give up.

But I have discovered an accountability method that keeps an accountability partner from becoming worn out: I call it “multi-lateral accountability.”

Some people call it “not putting all of your eggs in one basket.” Seth Godin calls it building a “Tribe.” However you want to label it, there really is “strength in numbers.”

Case in point: I have chosen to widely publicize my plan to run my very first 5K race.

For those who don’t know me, I used to weigh over 360 pounds. I developed diabetes, I could not walk up stairs without huffing and puffing, and I had pretty much resigned myself to a shortened life span because of my obesity. I have since lost 90 pounds, my diabetes is under control (without insulin), and I have a renewed sense of purpose. At one time, the very idea that I would EVER be training to run in any kind of race was laughable.

So, where was I?

Oh yes, I have chosen to widely publicize my plan to run my very first 5K race….

The key words in this sentence are “widely publicize.”

I didn’t just tell my wife…I didn’t just tell my closest friends…

I posted it on my blog. I made it my status on Facebook…I am telling anyone who asks…I am telling anyone who DOESN’T ask…I’m basically putting myself so far out on a limb that if I DON’T run this race, I will lose all credibility with just about everyone I know…

And even some people I don’t know…

Because, you see, the coolest thing happened to me the other day…

One of my Facebook friends (Mike) “liked” my post…and one of Mike’s Facebook friends-someone I don’t even know (let’s call him Jerry) saw my post. And Jerry wrote me to ask how I was losing weight.


Someone I didn’t know wanted to hear my story…

And I couldn’t wait to tell it to him. You know why? Because I’m just an average guy, like everyone else. I have my struggles, like everyone else. Like so many people in our country, I have struggled with obesity, and I never saw a light at the end of the tunnel…I never saw a future where I could ever be anything more than the “beached whale” that so many of my classmates called me in high school.

And then something changed…

And now, someone I have never met has asked me to share with him how I’m doing it.

You know what else is cool?

As I write this, I’m sitting in a coffee shop, waiting to meet “Sam,” another guy that I don’t know. Sam learned about me from another mutual friend, and he is driving up from Lafayette so that we can meet and talk about what I’m doing to get fit.

As I was exercising this morning, I was thinking about all of the people who have been encouraging me, offering me exercise and diet tips, praying for me, and cheering me on (One friend from church even said that she was going to come to the race on August 11th to support me). And I realized that I had never experienced this kind of accountability before. This isn’t a private conversation anymore. This is a developing community of accountability partners who are cheering me on and encouraging me in the fight.

And I want to say thanks.

I also want you to be on the lookout for other people like Jerry and Sam. If you think that they would be encouraged to know how someone else is fighting the same battle, please share this story with them. I want to be able to encourage as many people as I can.

And it never hurts to have a few more accountability partners too. πŸ™‚


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10 responses to “No Way Out: How I Am Forcing Myself To Be Accountable

  1. Mary becker

    June 20, 2012 at 10:47 am

    great Jon but how did you lose that weight??? I need to know your secret..

    • jbecker007

      June 22, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Hi, Mary! I joined a 12-step program for compulsive eaters called Overeaters Anonymous. It has been tremendously helpful. I also just recently started running. Who ever would have thought that I, of all people, would become a runner?

  2. Jannie

    June 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

    And, I am grateful to be on the same path as you- we’ll, except for the running part! Lol. And, I am glad the is no secret. Let us boldly share our solution! May our stories of recovery bring glory to God and hope to the hopeless.

    • jbecker007

      June 22, 2012 at 11:21 am

      Thank you, Jan! I will be posting a blog about that path we are on very soon…I’m trying to figure out best how to share it in this forum. But I so appreciate your support and encouragement!

  3. Shelley

    June 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I just read this post. Then, I read yesterday’s. You’re interesting. I like what you have to say and how you say it. Jeff’s challenge has not only revived the writer inside me, but the runner, too. Twenty years ago, I used to run. Used to. I used to be thin. Used to. Teaching and age promoted a sedentary lifestyle. No more excuses for either writing or running. You’re a great encourager! Look forward to reading more from you. πŸ™‚

    • jbecker007

      June 22, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Thank you, Shelley! I desire to be both interesting and encouraging. I am also a teacher, like you, so I know how to share…I just need something valuable to share with others. I ran my first ever mile and a half today, and that was an incredible experience…once I got through the first 2/10 of a mile! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

      • Shelley

        June 22, 2012 at 11:29 am

        “I just need something valuable to share with others” is the lifeline to building that “tribe”, isn’t it? There are so many things I’d like to share, but struggle in whether or not it’s value will find a following. Guess I won’t know until I put it out there, will I? Congratulations for making your mile and half! Bigger and better, tomorrow! πŸ™‚

  4. Shirley Karageorge

    June 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Go JON!!!!

    • jbecker007

      June 22, 2012 at 11:16 am

      Thanks, Shirley! I appreciate the encouragement. I ran a mile and a half today for the first time. Who ever would have thought!


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