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Who is sharpening your iron?

Your ultimate success in 2016 and the coming year will depend heavily on the accountability system that you have in place. As we approach the last quarter of 2016, who are you reviewing your set goals and targets with? You need someone to help you take a dream, develop it into goals, work out a strategy and execute a plan.

Inspiration with Cynthia Hakutangwi


In the absence of this, you run the risk of going through another 12 months getting nothing but the same results of past years. There should be someone in your circle of influence that you can confide in about your goals and enlist help from. Before you find someone to be accountable to, you need to start by developing a culture of personal accountability by taking ownership of situations that you are involved in.

Corruption thrives in secret places
According to Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, “Everyone knows that corruption thrives in secret places and avoids public places, and we believe it a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety.” Before you can choose a good accountability partner, you have to know what accountability is all about. Accountability is the ability and willingness to give an account to someone else of your actions and motives. An accountability partner is a person who coaches another to help them keep a commitment. This relationship can take various forms depending on your requirements. The question you need to answer is — do you want a role model, mentor or a coach? There are distinct and important differences in the three different types of people that can have influence over your life. Making the right choice will determine your interaction with the individual. The three types share many commonalities — they all embody a person that has qualities and/or skills that you would like to emulate. A role model is an individual whose behaviour is observed from a distance. The key difference between a role model and a mentor is the one-on-one interaction. A mentor is someone that an individual works with on a fairly regular basis. The concept of a mentor is based on behaviour. For the mentee, it answers many of the following questions, “What did you do to get here?” “Have you encountered this problem?” or “I want to succeed but am unsure how.” It involves observing the mentor (similar to a role model) but also includes the opportunity for discussion, evaluation and progress through two-way communication between the mentor and the mentee. The individual and their coach on the other hand have a task based relationship. Coaching is a professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organisations, helping them to bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be. Coaches partner with their clients to design the life they want, bring out their clients’ own brilliance and resources so that they can achieve excellence and create purposeful, extraordinary lives. By creating clarity, coaching moves the client into action, accelerating their progress by providing greater focus and awareness of all the possibilities which exist to create fulfilling lives.

Sharpened for productivity
The seventh habit in Steven Covey’s famous productivity book, 7 Habits of Highly Productive People, is called sharpening your saw…. the chapter focuses exclusively on time and energy devoted to self-improvement. Like a car without a tune-up, if you don’t give yourself adequate maintenance in the important areas of your life, you’ll start to break down. You will be unable to produce the kind of work you are capable of. To be sharpened is to be ready, useful and productive in life and society. Just as iron has the purpose of sharpening iron, so we must be intentional about sharpening others too. We need to seek those who can sharpen us and we need to intentionally seek those whom we can sharpen in life too so that they can be useful, productive and grow in every area of their life. To make sure you are giving adequate attention to every vital area of your life, you need to set up habits and make it easy for you to keep them. Giving yourself balance and adequate time to sharpen yourself will produce the best results in the long term. How balanced and productive is your life right now? What are some areas that could use a little more attention before the end of this year?

Cynthia Hakutangwi is a communications and personal development consultant, life coach, author and strategist. She is the managing consultant of Wholeness Incorporated. Her published book titles include, Destination Wholeness – Going Beyond Brokenness, The Whole You – Vital Keys for Balanced Living and Intelligent Conversations: A Mindset Shift Towards a Developed Africa. She is co-author of Success Within Reach. E-mail: Facebook: Wholeness Incorporated. Website:

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