#26 - The Shortcut That Helped Me Deepen My Relationship With My Parents

Calling my parents to talk used to be the last thing on my to-do list, if it even made it on there at all. Deep down, I knew how important it was, but I kept pushing it off.

Why? It was a complicated, painful mash-up of:
1. Guilt for how I treated my parents in the past
2. Dread for the tensions that would come up
3. Not knowing what to talk about that’d be new

Days, weeks, months, and years would go by, and our relationship stayed the same. It was too easy to hide in my own, comfortable, predictable world.

So what changed? Social accountability was the key to helping me overcome decades of inertia.

The most beneficial workshops I attended put us into groups where we held each other accountable for calling our parents to work through our tensions. We had to do the hard work as to not let our group members down.

Two of my friends, my partner, and I later took this to the next level by committing ourselves to call our parents weekly to ask them progressively deeper questions. We went public with our commitment.

The four of us then gathered weekly to discuss what came up for us during our interactions with our parents, share the lessons we're learning, and hold each other through challenges. We live-streamed these sessions for full public accountability and called it The Parent Project.

Being socially accountable to the changes I was looking to make has brought more consistent, powerful results than anything else.

This strategy applies to almost every part of life. The more people who know about a commitment, the more pressure I feel to show up. Social accountability allowed me to achieve what I never thought was possible.

Joseph J. Lam
On a mission to help people connect deeply with their parents. | CEO & Co-founder of Parents Are Human (parentsarehuman.com)