If you’re brilliant or successful, you need accountability more than most people. You need it because it’s easy to be afflicted by smartest-person-in-the-room syndrome and this prevents you from seeing new perspectives.
Your mind is fast. When you see 1, 2 and 3, you immediately make the leap to 10, while others are still processing 4 and 5. This capacity makes you impatient. You wonder why the people around you can’t see what you do, and why they are slowing you down. Like me, you are probably known by others for impatience and the capacity to become irritated when you haven’t had much sleep.
But the thing is, patience and humility are virtues for a reason. They protect your soul and future. Instead of being defined by your success, it might be better to be acclaimed for your kindness instead.
Prides Goes Before a Fall
Then, there’s pride. You don’t want to be cut down in the prime of your life or lose your family because of it. It is true that a surfeit of pride precedes a fall.
But the real issue is a lack of accountability. I will use myself as an example, even though it’s uncomfortable to do so.
My parents died about the same time I was transitioning from a corporate job to entrepreneurship. So, I lost my parents and a close relationship with a mentor at about the same time. Then COVID hit and I stopped going to church regularly. So, all my authority figures went out of the window, so to speak.
Then, I started working abroad and lost the regular check-ins that come from close friends. Your friends have a way of calling out your BS, even when you can’t see it. They keep your feet on the ground.
So, isolated and alone, I had no accountability. And it’s difficult to replicate, because it comes from a place of deep trust. You don’t want to give just anyone access to your life. They have to earn that intimacy.
Humble Yourself by Yourself
You should wisely submit to others and allow their voices to be heard. But be discerning and deliberate. That’s accountability, and the gifted must accept it. This is because by default, the world makes excuses for people who are talented or successful. You get away with stuff that others dare not, and so you naturally attract sycophants.
So, humble yourself by yourself and subordinate your decision-making to structures and systems, even when no one is looking.
The Page is Turning
I now go to church regularly even when I don’t feel like it, just to hear other perspectives of God that challenge mine. I read books that don’t agree with my opinion. I also make a point of participating in community events.
I tell myself, “Subomi, there are heights unattained and depths unplumbed. You are an important but small part of a vast universe. The grand plan is God’s and not yours. You are not in control, and that’s okay.”
The writer, Subomi Plumptre champions middle class prosperity in Africa and the Diaspora. She is a SEC licensed fund manager and the CEO of Volition Cap. She also co-founded Vizient Coop, Volition Blue and Opportunik Global Fund.