Why You Must Have Accountability Partners If You’re Serious about Copywriting Success

Ben Settle is a copywriter I respect. In fact, he’s an outstanding copywriter, his ideas are provocative and stimulating — and certainly thought-provoking.

So it shouldn’t come a surprise that Ben has stated accountability groups are “stoopid” … not important and a waste of time. Well, let me back up a minute. While he might not have a high opinion of them, he does believe that copywriters need a nudge now and then.

That nudge can mean the difference between just getting by or actually living the writer’s life.

So, let me share my viewpoint on why accountability groups are important. I’ll start by explaining what we mean by accountability group. The concept varies depending on where you look.

I've written about accountability groups in The Writer's Life, The Golden Thread, and my Circle of Success exclusive blogs. My definition — which I learned from AWAI — is better expressed by the term "Accountability Partners."

I like this term because being a partnership is core to its strength and success.

AWAI accountability partnerships are made up of copywriters in various stages of their journey to the writer's life. Some just starting out. Some midway. Some fully living the dream.

They all work together to let each other know when they’re on the right track — either in their career or with a particular piece of writing.

They encourage each other to move forward … especially when a member hits an inevitable low period. I’ve seen that encouragement to keep striving for the success they deserve pay off time and again.

Ben’s point of view is a little different. He says:

“In my humble (but accurate) opinion, if you need ‘accountability,’ you simply aren’t pursuing the right mission. When you have a mission — an all-consuming goal you are pursuing — you don’t need to be told to do it or be held accountable to it. You just do it.”

Well, I’d propose there’s another way to think about accountability groups …

When you have the right mission — or rather when our members have the right mission — is exactly when they need encouragement to “do it.” Or to be held accountable for taking the steps to make that mission a reality.

As for Ben calling out names of famous people in history who didn’t rely on accountability groups, here’s another perspective on that too …

During George Washington's presidency, his “accountability partners” were his cabinet: Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph.

Oh, we don’t want to forget about his accountability partner during the Revolutionary War: Marquis de Lafayette.

And despite public perception, Albert Einstein didn't go it alone.

Einstein’s mathematics lecturer, Hermann Minkowski, was instrumental in devising a strict mathematical formalism to support the theory of relativity.

Einstein also relied heavily on his friend Marcel Grossman who worked on the mathematical calculations of the theory.

And Martin Luther King created his own “accountability group” when he founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

His accountability partners were people like C. K. Steele, Bayard Rustin, Hosea Williams, Ella Baker, and his wife Coretta Scott King.

I lived during the civil rights movement. What impressed me most about this movement to this day was the way great struggle and success were built upon people holding others accountable, supporting them, and encouraging them.

Much like the accountability partners that make AWAI members so successful.

I’ll end with this final point. It’s a quote from one of the greatest mathematicians the world has ever known.

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
–Sir Isaac Newton, 1676

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Published: June 6, 2017

9 Responses to “Why You Must Have Accountability Partners If You’re Serious about Copywriting Success”

  1. Ben Settle was commenting on helping oneself by motivation (true)...

    then, Mr Newman was encouraging us writing beginners, and middle-of-roaders to study past and present successful people.

    For accountability purposes and more success in writing (true)...

    Both are right and encouraging...

    Thanks to them both.

    shrlysno June 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm

  2. There is merit to both arguments. To Will's point, I would never have completed the Accelerated Six-figure program had it not been for the Companion version. I ordered the original program when it first came out a couple of decades ago and did nothing with it. To Ben's point, I don't work well with someone standing over me saying, "Did you do it yet? Why haven't you done it yet? When Are you going to do it?" Sometimes I need to just sit back and think for a bit without outside pressure to accomplish.

    Guest (Lisa Bjornstad)June 6, 2017 at 1:55 pm

  3. From the email:
    "Get Ben Settle's "10-Minute Workday" for Only $1,000!"

    "And until June 6th you can save $1,000."

    These are not the same thing!

    SunnydaysJune 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm

  4. Will, thanks so much for writing this counterpoint. I am firmly in your camp.

    And just had my first mentoring call - wow. Thanks Penny (and all you folks at AWAI. So glad I'm part of the Circle of Success.)

    One of my heroes is Barbara Sher who wrote, "Isolation is a dream killer - not your attitude." We seldom achieve success in ANYTHING in life without support - knowing others have our back.

    CaronJune 6, 2017 at 2:52 pm

  5. I love having accountability partners. While I agree with Ben that if you have a mission that should be all you need, but sometimes you need someone else to bounce something off of. You can be each other's cheerleaders, and give each other a kick in the butt when needed. I work much better knowing my accountability partners are there when I need them. And make no mistake, I DO need them!

    Sue TothJune 6, 2017 at 3:32 pm

  6. Hi Will, thanks for paving insight of accountability a little wider.

    If I define accountable as: required or expected to justify actions or decisions...

    ...I lean towards the positive measure of an accountable partner.

    I can't recall anyone who achieved greatness on their own without some accountability to someone at some point.


    Debbie DJune 6, 2017 at 5:03 pm

  7. In ref to accountability groups, some of the other fine individuals who did not like them were Hitler, Mao, Castro, Lenin, Stalin, most university managers and professors, the democratic party, George Soros, the DNC, planned parenthood, and likely, Satan.

    Guest (Alan Bowie)June 6, 2017 at 5:57 pm

  8. I think I'm leaning toward Ben's argument. Once you've made a commitment to build your business, you don't need someone to keep you accountable. You're driven to succeed and you are actively moving forward. An accountability partner is a lot different than a support team. All accountability partners lend support, but not all support is there to hold you accountable. You don't need to hold someone accountable when they are already doing the right thing.

    MarjJune 6, 2017 at 7:24 pm

  9. I tend to favor Will's viewpoint more heavily than that of Ben's. The difference lies in the definition of the word "accountability" and the reason or purpose for it.
    Once you have a mission / job that needs to be carried out you do it - you shouldn't need an accountability group - the responsibility is yours (as I understand it, Ben's viewpoint - true, but limited).
    Will's viewpoint is broader, more inclusive - Accountability as a partnership is very helpful: it's a support group, a sounding board which helps you reflect on different opinions, people's perceptions and world configurations which can not only help support your own thinking patterns and/or emotions on a particular subject, but also maybe change them in big or little ways.

    Guest (Sandra M)June 6, 2017 at 9:55 pm

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