Why I joined a Mastermind Group
(and you should, too)

I used to laugh when people talked of Mastermind Groups.

I’m not perfect. Shocker, right? I fail and make mistakes. Many mistakes, often several times a day. I lack the confidence to ship certain projects into which I’ve put tons of time and effort creating. I began following Pamela Slim many years ago and loved the content she was producing and the way she shared her passion for community. Her core values were obvious and she made sure they lined up with whomever she worked. Yet, I was skeptical and hesitant of the Mastermind Groups she promoted and led. I wasn’t certain of their function or if they’d be effective. Without further inquiry, I decided they were whacky.

Enter Desiree Adaway. Like many of my closest friends, Desiree came into my life via Pam or what is commonly referred to as “the Pamily.” I immediately connected with Desiree, shared her values, and loved her real talk and tough love (that tough love part took some time to appreciate ;)). I soon learned that Desiree also led Masterminds. By nature, my closed mind brushed them off as some kumbaya session.

Then, in January 2015, Desiree launched a Mastermind for men. I was intrigued. It meddled around for about a day and I decided joining was the best thing to do.

The result? The experience has been nothing short of wonderful. Desiree instills grit in your gut. It boils over and forces you to evaluate yourself and your surroundings. It was uncomfortable at first but has become a part of my every day. I joined a diverse group of men in all different stages of life, both professionally and personally. I’ve learned to slow down. I’ve found gratitude and what it means to reflect on living a good life. Now as I reflect on my time with this Mastermind, I am brought face to face with a quote by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” These six months of Mastermind have reiterated the importance of a diverse community and that expanding my impact and touching others with different cultural backgrounds is not only important but it’s vital for growth as a person and an entrepreneur.

This leads us back to why everyone should join a Mastermind. Here are five reasons they are such a good investment and so utterly productive

  • Accountability: You are encouraged to set milestones and are reminded along the way to ensure you are completing tasks to achieve the bigger picture. There’s nothing more humbling and humiliating than setting a goal and not achieving it because you failed to take some sort of action. The Mastermind Group ensures you are accountable to both yourself and your peers.
  • Diversity: Damnit to hell this should be on the minds of everyone in America. It’s been a jolt to my soul being part of a group so diverse. I’ve learned so much. Has it been uncomfortable? Yes, at times it’s been uncomfortable as hell but that’s how we grow. Seeing the world through another’s lens is the only way to feel their pain and they struggles they endure. Thanks, Chimamanda.
  • Self Reflection: Self reflection is a byproduct of the Mastermind. At the end of an online or virtual retreat, you can’t help yourself but to stop and reflect on where you are, how far you come, and where you are going. Being surrounded by other people working just as hard as you are lets you know you aren’t alone and it’s okay to be proud of what you’ve accomplished but to remember to stay hungry.
  • New Ideas: You may think you are smarter than everyone in your room; and if you are, you are in the wrong damn room. Surrounding yourself with others with different experiences will give you new insight and change how you think, create, and do.
  • Feedback: As a writer, the Mastermind group resonates as something similar to a writer’s workshop. Each day can be uncomfortable as you share you work, ideas, and creativity but the process and result of the feedback puts you leaps ahead of where you’d been had you not exposed your ideas and drafts.

If one doesn’t expand their circle they won’t find others who share similar struggles and fears. As a result of inaction, we continue to endure and to be stifled by those hurdles.

I let myself be vulnerable. I embraced a new community that fostered growth and allowed me to find meaningful work and be more productive than ever. None of this would have happened on my own. I did it and you can, too.

This originally appeared on my blog.