For all of the awesome, collaborative aspects of the acting profession, being an actor can most often feel like a solitary pursuit. Unless you’re a series regular or in a Broadway show, you don’t go to “the acting office” every day and you don’t have a boss to report to other than yourself.
If you’re like a lot of actors, this freedom is a double-edged sword. Perhaps you put off making decisions or following through and find your career stagnating with the same decisions still not made and the same tasks left undone months later.
The good news is you don’t have to go it alone. Find yourself an accountability partner and watch your productivity rise!
What’s an accountability partner?
Basically, an accountability partner is a person you’ll speak with consistently at a set time and day. You will help each other:
- Clarify goals.
- Lay out steps or tasks to achieve the goals.
- Stay on track and honor the commitments you make to yourselves.
It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? It is. And the amazing thing is, it really works.
What does an accountability call sounds like?
It really helps to create structure around your calls so it’s a great idea to set up guidelines before you begin. Decide who will be the caller and who will be the callee. Then, whoever goes first can follow this format:
Acknowledge one-to-three accomplishments since your last call.
List the actions you committed to taking that you actually completed, goals that were reached, and any other positive career news you’re proud of.
Bring up any obstacles or challenges you might need help figuring out.
If you didn’t finish the tasks you set for yourself on the last call, talk about what the obstacles were and brainstorm possible solutions with your partner.
Declare one-to-three actions you want to accomplish before the next call.
Keeping the number of actions low will help you get more done in the long run. Some examples might be:
- Research photographers.
- Book a headshot session.
- Send a postcard mailing to three casting offices you want to know better.
- Write (screenplay/web series/one-woman show) for 20 minutes every day.
- Sign up for that acting class you want to take.
- Take yourself on an artist date this week to reconnect with your passion.
- Update your resume and upload it to your website.
- Schedule a meeting with your manager to plan a strategy for the coming year.
Ask for extra support, if needed.
You don’t need to do this every time but it can be helpful if you find yourself avoiding certain tasks. For example, “I want to break up with my agent because I don’t feel like we’re a great fit. I’m really not comfortable with confrontation. Can you text me on Friday around 5 PM to make sure I’ve had this scary conversation?”
Set a time limit on the call and try to break it up so each person has the same amount of time.
I’d been resistant to using accountability partners for several years. Maybe because I was an only child or an introvert or just really stubbornly thought I could “go it alone.” Whatever my aversion was, I finally overcame it last year and reached out to a community I belong to on Facebook. I found a like-minded actor also searching for accountability and I’m so glad I did!
I’m still astounded by how much more I get done because once I commit to my tasks, I don’t want to disappoint her—human nature is funny, isn’t it? I really look forward to our calls every week and I now have an awesome human being who is my colleague, a big part of my support system, and also a wonderful new friend. Pretty cool, huh?
Have you ever worked with an accountability partner? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Originally published on Backstage.com