Do you have a favorite Spike Jonze video? One of mine is Sky's The Limit (The Notorious B.I.G.). The video casts Biggie and his crew as children acting like they are their adult selves. My favorite is when everyone giggles at a young Busta Rhymes video on TV. #adorable. This video recently popped into my mind when I was doing a seminar, and someone asked me how to hold themselves more accountable for their responsibilities as a leader.

I found myself at a loss for an answer at the moment mainly because I thought about how accountability seems to be the hardest part of leadership for entrepreneurs—whether that's accountability to themselves or holding others accountable in their roles. I hear a lot of entrepreneurs say that they are non-confrontational, but that almost immediately projects a negative tone to the situation. What I see in most entrepreneurs is that they are avoidant. But not just avoidant of accountability, but avoidant of their own needs. 


Most dialogue around accountability has a negative tone: micromanager, demanding, again, confrontational. But that's totally wrong. Accountability to ourselves and others has everything to do with how in touch we are with our own needs.

And I think so much about a tiny Biggie and Diddy/Daddy?/Love? in that video because most of us learn lessons about our needs at a young age, and we never grow emotionally beyond that age. We are all essentially young humans operating in adult bodies unless we commit to a consistent practice of self-awareness and growth. Think about your own experience with your needs. Were they nurtured and honored as a child? Were they validated? Where they witnessed? Or were your needs overridden by your parents or caregivers? Were you denied your needs as a child? Were you never taught to validate or prioritize your own needs? Our needs are at the root of our ability to hold ourselves and others accountable.

Needs feel vulnerable; they are usually connected to our core being—our values, hopes, and fears. They are the things we typically keep buried deep inside until we snap, and we lash out or take over, hence the reason we conflate accountability with confrontation. 


If we learned avoidance of our needs at a young age, we can picture ourselves like Biggie and his crew, masquerading as adults but really frozen in time in our childhood. We're reacting instead of enacting change. It's not really about our employees or the mundane tasks that often come with entrepreneurship. It is that we are out of integrity with who we are and what we need to do to be whole. When we stop working against ourselves and others, we will find that accountability becomes a natural part of our connection to ourselves and others.  Sky is the limit if you keep on it. 

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