Collective Inspiration, Meet Personal Accountability

What do you get when you combine Collective Inspiration with Personal Accountability? According to Bassam Tarazi, you get Colipera!, In his words,

“Colipera is a free 4-week goal setting & execution methodology that allows *you* to lean on *us*; It’s the social virus for getting things done. Together, be better. Ready to get infected?”

How Colipera Works from Colipera on Vimeo.

Along with many other useful morsels of wisdom baked into this motivational framework, is the concept of synergy. You know, the whole two-brains-are-better-than-one spiel. When human beings are grouped together, wonderful, dare I say magical things happen. One of us will have an idea, and share it with the group. This can spark another idea, which creates a chain reaction of inspiration. David Kelley, founder of the design firm IDEO calls it “Design Thinking,” which he describes here in an interview with Charlie Rose.

My first Colipera group (Sounds like a great title for a family scrapbook, doesn’t it?)

Back in the winter of 2012 I participated in a collaborative, curated, Colipera group led by the one and only Bassam Tarazi. For 5 weeks, all 4 participants shared our goals and kept each other accountable.

By the way, why can’t we seem to finish what we start? Because finishing is a skill dammit! It doesn’t just happening magically on its own, as you can see in Bassam’s blog post: “The one make or break skill you think you have but probably don’t.”

But I digress…

The primary goal I set for myself in the Colipera group was to attain a certain sales goal and income level at a new job I had just started. It was a flexible real estate solution, commission only sales position at a company called Your Office Agent. Something which I knew nothing about, but seemed like a good way to expand my knowledge and skill sets, and potentially make a lot of money in the process. Didn’t quite turn out that way, but more on that in a moment.

In the meantime, here were my original goals for the Colipera group:

  • Earn my first $5,000 from Your Office Agent commissions by February 1st, 2012.
  • Contact at least 60 new prospects (3 per weekday), while following up with all previously contacted prospects.
  • Schedule meetings / show space to at least 5 interested leads.
  • Close at least 1 deal earning me $5,000 in commissions.

And then something interesting happened

Every week my goals kept changing. For a while it actually felt pretty discouraging. Was I not sticking to the program? Was I screwing up somehow?

Thankfully, Bassam and the other participants helped me realize that in fact, I was adapting to the changes in the environment. More importantly, to not adapt would be foolish. After all, it’s not that I wasn’t trying, it’s that my goals were no longer appropriate given my new insights into the company and the industry as a whole. When I set my original goals, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so it only makes sense that they might require some realignment.

Several weeks, and a few half eaten pints of Ben & Jerry’s later, my new goals looked like this:

  • Earn my first $1,000 from Your Office Agent commissions by February 1st, 2012.
  • Get 1-2 inquiries per day from Craig’s List consistently, and close 4-5 deals per month.
  • Train with Bob and learn how to run a networking group for at least 2 hours.
  • Work with Sam for at least 2 hours how to penetrate corporate accounts.

For the record, I didn’t achieve any of those goals either. But before you start picking out decorations to the pity party of the decade, you should know that I did learn a ton from the experience.

Here are some of my “Aha moments” from those 5 week:

  • When I wrote down my goals, it made it much easier for me to keep them at the forefront of my mind during my day to day activities, which invariably helped me stay focused, and keep my “eyes on the prize.”
  • As the week progressed, I was 10x more motivated to stay on track with my goals because I was meeting with other people who were holding me accountable. It’s not like they would have actually shamed or ridiculed me. Rather, it was the prospect of taking the subway all the way down to our meeting spot, and showing up empty handed. No way I would let myself end up in that particularly embarrassing pool of hot water.
  • When I helped other people with their goals I felt fantastic afterwards. The mere act of giving someone else feedback and encouragement motivated me to complete my own goals. I was beginning to see the genius behind the contagious virus analogy that Bassam created for Colipera.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you only go as far as your five closest friends. Put another way, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

Let me put it to you this way:

The single most effective way to master any skill or accomplish any goal is to surround yourself with people who have already succeeded in that area.

Think about it. One of two things can happen:

1) You stop spending time with those people.
2) You force yourself to adapt and rise to their level.

We simply cannot exist in the disharmony of continuing to spend time with them while NOT rising to their level. It’s like positive daily affirmations. My brain can’t handle me saying that I’m successful, while simultaneously facing the physical, tangible manifestations of me being a failure. Oil and water my friends. Oil and water.

How to set up long-term accountability

In next week’s post, I’ll talk about how I set up weekly meetings with my friend Georges Janin, which was the single biggest contributor to my success in the past year. Granted my journey isn’t over yet. I still have a long way to go to realize my dream of owning a condo in NYC with a bar, dance floor, and breathtaking views. (For more information on this and other goals, please refer to my posts on How I Stay Wildly Effective with Wildly Important Goals and The Best 15 Minutes of My Day)

But just to drive this point home, it’s not about how much further I still have to climb. Rather, it’s that I wouldn’t have made it nearly this high had I not met with him every week since 12/2/12.

Sharing is Caring

So tell me…

What groups, clubs, or communities are you a part of? How much more or less successful have you been at the behaviors regularly practiced in that group since you joined?

Think about it.

…And then share it in the comments. You’ll be happy you did :).