Covid-19, Motivation & the Benefits of an Accountability Partner

At the time we’re writing this, we’re at what we *hope* is starting to look like the tail end of the Covid-19 pandemic. Life is not back to normal, but it looks like we’re approaching a light at the end of the tunnel. Depending on where you live, some things will slowly be starting to transition back to normal.

Realistically, things are going to look very different after all of this. What was normal before the pandemic will not be normal after the pandemic. We all have to start to think about what the new normal is going to look like. Especially in our social dance world.

What will the new “normal” in Lindy Hop look like?

It’s going to be a while before social dancing and dance events find their new normal. As Lindy Hoppers, we just don’t know how long things are going to take and what things are going to look like for the next year.

While all of this is getting sorted out, we don’t want to lose ourselves as dancers. We don’t want to lose our skills, conditioning, and most importantly, our love of Lindy Hop. But let’s face it, finding motivation right now can be TOUGH. Even at the best of times it can be hard to find the motivation to train to both maintain and grow as dancers. And now? This is continuing to be the most challenging time we’ve ever faced as Lindy Hoppers and as people.

We don’t want to lose our passion. Do you?

It’s terrifying! Imagine if all of this physical distancing dried up our inclination to dance? What a hollow, sad hole that would leave inside all of us. But finding motivation isn’t easy, especially when we don’t have fun dances and events to attend. There is a real risk that if we don’t feed our passion, even during tough times, we might lose ourselves in this.

Form a Partnership

One of the best ways to find motivation and to continuously stimulate that Lindy-love is to team up!

This may be the best time ever to find a friend—it doesn’t have to be a dance partner but it could be—and set up an accountability partnership. Pick a fellow dancer who you know, trust, and who you feel would support you. It will be your job to support them too.

“Accountability is a statement of personal promise, both to yourself and to the people around you, to deliver specific defined results.” ~ Brian Dive, The Accountable Leader

Goal Setting

Individually, set some goals for yourself that you’ll take to your partner to talk about. You and your partner don’t have to pick the same goals and you don’t even have to be at the same dance level. One of you might be a newer dancer who is setting a goal to learn all of the basic solo jazz steps, while the other person might be more advanced and wants to work on creating their own choreography.

Your level and specific goals are not what’s important. What matters is that you’ll set goals for yourselves, and then you’ll check in with each other to see how you are learning and training to reach those goals.

“Accountability is the glue that ties the commitment to the result.” ~Bob Proctor

Accountability Examples in Lindy Hop

Example 1:

Kevin has used competitions as an accountability technique. He will ask someone to partner with him for a routine for a local, regional, or international competition. Then, together as partners, they formulate a schedule to achieve the goal. By committing to another person, he’s more likely to show up to rehearsals on time, even on days when he’s busy or tired, for fear of letting someone else down.

Example 2:

Jo has been working with a coach for the last two years and even though she probably could have made all the progress by herself, she recognized that she needed somebody to hold her accountable.

Jo says, “Could I have made all of the same progress without her? Of course. But was I making the progress? No, I was not.

“Having a coach hold me accountable was me investing in myself. Before her, I was lazy. I’d find myself taking on more than I could manage because my priorities were in the wrong order. This would lead me to feeling overwhelmed and that made me feel unmotivated to work on [insert project here].”

Jo realized that the key to reaching her big goals came in two parts: breaking big goals into small goals, and having somebody hold her accountable to the small goals every week.

Example 3:

Kevin and Jo have used classes as an accountability technique too. For example, when they wanted to get re-inspired by vintage dancers, they announced to their students that an upcoming 6-week series would teach moves from one vintage clip in each class. Then each week, Kevin and Jo scheduled a training session where they would pick a vintage clip and start learning new moves. Making a public commitment to their paying students was a great way to make them accountable to learning new material.

So what are your goals? how would you break those down in the smaller pieces? And who do you have to hold you accountable so that you can be the person/dancer you want to become?

Accountability Partner Considerations

Figure out what works for both of you. How will you check-in? By Zoom, phone, chat? How often? You know yourself; do you need a lot of structure or will casual check-ins be enough? Maybe video calls where you don’t just talk but also show each other what you’re working on would be a fun and motivating option for both of you.

Make sure you pick someone non-judgemental and who you’ll feel comfortable sharing with in an authentic way.

Don’t hide things from your accountability partner, even if there are times when you’ll be tempted to do so. That will defeat the whole purpose. Remember why you’re choosing an accountability partner in the first place: to fuel your passion and goals. Yes, if we’re honest, occasionally slacking on your training and letting your commitment slide happens. To some degree, that’s part of the process. Just remember that hiding things won’t help so be truthful and prepare yourself for some level of commitment, not just to your partner but to yourself.

On the other hand, be careful that you and your partner aren’t overly validating, which might lead to laziness on both of your parts. You don’t want to be too demanding on each other but you also want to make sure that you’re helping to drive each other forward.

Structuring your Partnership

  • Set norms – your schedule, communication methods, and expectations
  • Give feedback more often than you receive it
  • Treat the partnership with respect
  • Push gently
  • Practice good communication skills
  • Be consistent
  • Be respectful
  • Own your mistakes
  • Honor your appointment times

“Most goals people set are not achieved because they are not held accountable for them. When goals are made in private they tend to fall off because people stop being motivated, stop focusing and stop prioritizing.” ~Bola Onada Sokunbi, Goal Setting To Live Your Dreams

A Little Accountability Incentive Gift from iLindy

To help you get motivated, we’re offering an Accountability Partner promotion during the month of May. Sign up for iLindy in the month of May and get one month FREE for your Accountability Partner. You can learn more about the promotion here.

Have you ever worked with an Accountability Partner before? Do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear about it!

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