A surprising number of people have never participated in a mastermind group. An even more surprising number of people have never even heard of a mastermind group. Perhaps you fall into one of these categories. I Googled “mastermind” today and found a recent Forbes article by Sarah Kathleen Peck, founder of Startup Pregnant.
Think and Grow Rich author Napoleon Hill comes to mind anytime I think about the inception of mastermind groups. In actuality, Sarah K Peck reminds us that they go back at least as far as 1727 when Benjamin Franklin created a club for mutual improvement.
I was very unfamiliar with the concept the first time I was invited to a mastermind group. It wasn’t until a few years later that I discovered the true potential and benefits of mastermind groups. One of my first mastermind groups helped me create the title to my first book. That particular group consisted of three members who were all working toward a new business idea. We met in person every two weeks. I’m no longer a member of this group as I moved out of state, and since we were meeting in person, it was no longer a fit for me.
One of the masterminds I participate in today is a large membership community called Youpreneur. It’s primarily virtual, but does include a monthly call. Inside of the membership, there’s loads of workshops, resources and member discussions. From this group, I have a more traditional three-participant mastermind that convenes via Skype every two weeks. This one is also made up of personal brand entrepreneurs. And finally, I have another three-participant mastermind for podcasters.
Let me tell you what I’ve come to learn about mastermind groups. They are a forum for like-minded people who share similar and often the same objectives and goals. The common purpose of a mastermind doesn’t have to be business related. It can pertain to weight loss, running marathons, songwriting, or whatever.
Mastermind groups meet regularly and on a recurring basis. The are a forum in which participants can share ideas, create accountability, celebrate progress, and get a proverbial spanking when you’re stuck in the inertia of your own BS. It’s a safe place where people can call you out on your BS if need be. Most importantly, it’s a place where you can benefit from a collaborative hive mind of participants. It’s a place that provides an outside view and outside perspective.
Organizing a Mastermind
Organizing a mastermind group begins with outreach. This is the simple task of speaking with like-minded individuals who are on a similar trajectory. This is an important point. A mastermind is not a place for one subject matter expert and two or three subject matter novices. In this case, you’re asking someone to provide you with free consulting. This is not the point of a mastermind. You definitely want to be in a mastermind with smart people, but one in which everyone is at a similar point in their respective trajectory. Beyond this, you want the participants to have a common end goal in mind. Common end goals could be to create a successful personal brand business, to lose weight, to grow your podcast audiences, etc.
Running a Mastermind
Running a mastermind successfully requires a little structure. You need an agreed upon frequency of meeting, forum, group size, and meeting length or duration. Some groups charge a fee to participate, which can provide an extra layer of accountability. Fees can also be part of qualifying participants. I personally prefer adherence to a strict time structure, whereby each participant has the floor for a specified period of time. I’m also a fan of a specified duration. It’s best for masterminds to have a facilitator to keep things moving and on schedule.
It’s important to set expectations, which would include things like an agreed upon structure. Expectations might also include minimum attendance requirements, deliverables, and/or fees. Setting forth expectations in the beginning stage will help ensure your group makes it past one or two meetings. This brings me to my next point.
Sustaining a Mastermind
Sustaining a mastermind is really all about some basic business principles. You’ve surely heard the expression that showing up is half the battle. Well showing up is of key importance in mastermind groups. Right up there with showing up is preparation. This can include things like questions for the group, specific problems you need help with, deliverables from previous meetings, and more. Sustaining a mastermind can also mean change. Sometimes and with the best of intentions, some participants may not be a good long-term fit for your mastermind group. This is when you may need to consider a change, and consider it an opportunity for growth. A departing member/participant followed by a new member/participant can bring forth opportunities for all.
Finally, be accountable to your self and the other participants of your group. Follow through with any commitments you make to your mastermind group. Help others with their commitments by asking for updates. This is part of the aforementioned support aspect. Accountability, followed by achievement will lead to the aforementioned celebration aspect.
I’ve put together a blueprint for creating your own mastermind group, which is available as a free download, when you join the P4L Community. Go to Partner4Leads.blog to learn more and to sign up–it’s free. As a member, you’ll get an email from me about every 7-10 days with stuff you can use in your business. Stuff I’m learning from my guests on this podcast, stuff I research, and stuff I’ve otherwise tested. All intended to make your business journey a little bit easier.
Mastermind groups can be a little stressful. They require commitment and follow through. If you struggle to follow-through on your commitments to the group, stress can ensue. You may feel as though you’re going to disappoint the other members of the group. Guess what–get over yourself! Despite the occasional stress and pressure of masterminds, I’m always inspired after my mastermind calls. You’ll be inspired too. The truth is that your fellow mastermind groupies face the same struggles you face. You’ll share similar challenges, but you’ll also share successes. This is what masterminds are all about. It’s what getting help is all about.
As my friend Dave Hamilton, Founder of the Mac Observer, and publisher of at least 3 podcasts says, “Human contact is a good thing.” In the aforementioned Forbes article, Sarah Kathleen Peck, founder of Startup Pregnant reminds us that lack of human interaction is a peril of the entrepreneur.
Have I convinced you to look into a mastermind or start your own? Try it. I promise that it will be one of the best investments of time you’ll ever make.