A powerful mastermind group can not only lead to meaningful improvements in your career or business, but it can change your entire life. At least, that’s my experience from two years of masterminding with fantastic brains.
Masterminding is the most effective way to navigate through the difficulties of life and business and make use of the collective experience of people who’re ahead of you.
Napoleon Hill first introduced the concept of mastermind groups in his book Think and Grow Rich. He described masterminds as a group of at least two people who come together to solve problems:
“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind [the master mind].” — Napoleon Hill
A mastermind group is a group of people who share the same interests and want to learn from each other to reach their goals in a particular field more efficiently and effectively. It’s a peer mentoring concept and connects people who’re in a similar place in life and striving for comparable goals.
In the best case, a mastermind group meets regularly, for instance, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, and members get the chance to share their failures, victories, and struggles.
The goal of mastermind groups is mutual support and a community of people that empower each other to reach their goals and make progress in different areas of life.
While business masterminds are well-known, any other kind of mastermind group can also make sense, for instance, a mastermind group for people who want to complete their first marathon or give birth to their first child.
If practiced effectively and played by the rules, mastermind groups can help significantly in shaping your life, personality, and business.
The core intention of a mastermind group is that its members help each other to solve problems and develop ideas through the ideas and advice of the group.
If you’re, for example, a solopreneur or freelancer, a mastermind group can be a fantastic opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas and get feedback from people who’re into the same topics.
“Deliberately seek the company of people who influence you to think and act on building the life you desire.”
— Napoleon Hill
While high-priced mastermind groups with industry experts are becoming more and more popular, the core value of such groups lies in the synergy, energy, and commitment of its members.
Topics and reasons for mastermind groups can vary, ranging from sports, education, business, spirituality, and more, yet, the core idea is always the same: Supporting and empowering each other to reach individual goals.
In great mastermind groups, successes are celebrated loudly, and problems are solved collectively through mutual support.
A mastermind group doesn’t require many rules, yet, a few fundamental principles can make your life easier:
Most people in mastermind groups are high achievers who take full responsibility for their lives and want to be the best versions of themselves.
Yet, this also means these are busy people. They’re aware of the importance of their time and energy and don’t want to waste it.
Thus, it’s critical to set up a few rules regarding the commitment of the participants. Most mastermind groups consist of only a few people. Thus the presence of every single member is precious. By setting up group rules, you can make sure every member is committed to giving her best to support the others and actively engage in the group.
You obviously can’t prevent the fact that someone might be missing a call or meeting, but make sure that the mastermind group is not only a nice-to-have but an actual commitment and a priority for the members. That’s how each member will profit most from the group.
Depending on the topic of the mastermind group, confidentiality can be quite important. Most people feel uncomfortable when sharing their goals and ideas openly for the first time. Thus a mastermind group should be an environment of mutual trust. This will not only ensure more ideas and creativity but also allow the members to work together smoothly.
Before you start with mastermind meetings or calls, make sure to clarify a few core questions:
Is it okay to post pictures of the group members on social media?
Is it fine to talk about the mastermind group in public or social media?
Is there anyone who doesn’t want to share specific details about their life or business at all?
Willingness to both give and receive advice
There’s no space for ego in mastermind groups. As mentioned, these groups are all about mutual support. The success of the group is based on the success of each member. Thus everyone who joins a group needs to be willing to take, but also to give meaningful advice to the others.
There’s nothing worse than a mastermind member who only shows up when he has a question but doesn’t support other members.
Mastermind groups can act as a catalyst for growth, yet, they require the commitment, confidentiality, and willingness to contribute to each member.
Additionally, every mastermind group can come up with its own rules for specific topics, such as punctuality, the maximum time to respond to messages, etc.
Defining such rules right at the beginning of the mastermind journey can save lots of time and frustration for all members.
Even though the ideal group size for a mastermind group can widely vary depending on the industry and topics that are covered, 5–10 people are a good fit for in-person masterminds.
If the group is too big, it gets hard to support each individual member in reaching goals and profiting from the group. If it’s, however, too small, the group might lack ideas and energy.
As many of today’s mastermind groups are transferred to the digital world, the size of the group can vary a little more. For example, thousands of Facebook groups in different industries are named mastermind groups. Even though these groups also provide mutual support, they work quite differently.
While in-person, small group masterminds are all about human connections and mutual support, digital mastermind groups that consist of hundreds or even thousands of people are often more of a forum than a mastermind group.
If you don’t have an overview of the individual members, managing a mastermind group becomes hard, even if it’s led digitally.
If you, however, create a small circle of people (up to 20 people), Zoom meetings and a group chat can be as effective as an in-person group.
Reasons to join a mastermind group
The reasons why people join mastermind groups vary depending on their current state and ambitions. Some people just want to be part of a group to talk about ideas because they’re working on their own and don’t have anyone to talk to in terms of business issues. Others join specific groups related to a problem they’re currently facing and trying to solve.
Depending on your motivation, there might be different reasons on why to join a group. Here are a few benefits you’ll find in well-organized mastermind groups:
- You’ll come across ideas and solutions that you wouldn’t have found by yourself.
- You’ll be able to learn from other skills and experiences and expand your own knowledge.
- You’ll be much more committed to your goals as you openly share them with your peers.
- You’ll have a small network of people who are always willing to help you.
- Through daily interaction, your overall attitude can be influenced positively.
The structure of mastermind meetings and calls
Even though every mastermind group can decide on how to structure the calls or meetings on their own, here are a few best practices that worked well for groups that I joined in the past:
One way to arrange mastermind meetings is by doing so-called hot seats. In each session, one or several members are in the hot seat to share what they’re currently working on and their struggles.
In most cases, the members who’re currently facing difficulties in business or life simply ask the group to be in the hot seat and take the opportunity to get new ideas and perspectives through the group.
During these hot seats, it’s all about helping the people through collecting ideas, resources, and connections that might help them to solve their problem.
Instead of doing hot-seats, a mastermind session can also consist of checking-in on all members. In that case, each member has a certain amount of time (usually 5–10 minutes) to share what they’re currently up to, what they’re working on, and what kind of help they need. These are kind of “mini hot-seats”.
After a brief introduction, the members can quickly present ideas for solutions, resources, or connections on how to solve the problem. Through this approach, everybody gets to share their wins and struggles in a short time.
Another way to create mastermind sessions is by discussing specific topics that the members define before the session.
If it’s, for instance, a mastermind group for writers, one session could be all about headlines, about how to use social media, how to generate email leads, etc.
So instead of focusing on individuals and their problems, this approach is more about curating content and insights on a specific topic.
How to create your own mastermind group
If you aim to start your own mastermind group, you should first ask yourself a few questions:
What are you exactly looking for?
What’s the intention of the group, and who are the people you want to have inside your group?
What’s the purpose of the group?
Is there a time limit on how long the group should exist? What problem should the group solve for the members? Why do you want to dedicate time and energy to creating the group?
Do you want an in-person group or digital meetings?
Depending on the answer, you’ll either look for people in your local community, or you can reach out to people from all across the globe.
How many members do you want to have inside the group?
It’s easier to say no to the wrong people if you have a limitation on the number of participating members.
What are the must-haves and no-gos?
Setting up a few core principles and group rules before gathering the members of the group can help you to find people who match the values of your group. If you don’t communicate specific rules, anyone might join and soon lose motivation because they don’t like the framework of the group.
Paid vs. free mastermind groups
While the core idea of mastermind groups is not making money, more and more industry experts are charging huge amounts for access to exclusive mastermind groups.
In this case, the members pay for access to that expert or to other experts who are invited to join the sessions.
Lewis Howes, for example, charges an exclusive fee for his mastermind sessions where celebrities like Jay Shetty or Gabby Bernstein join and present industry insights to the paying members.
While paying to access the brains of these people is fine, it’s not necessary.
Most public mastermind groups are for free and based on mutual support.
If organized and implemented correctly, a mastermind group can be a catalyst for your personal and professional growth. It’s an effective way to get valuable solutions to your problems and to make use of the experience of people who’re ahead of you in different areas of life or business.
If you want to get an insight into mastermind groups and join one instead of creating your own, you can browse through websites such as The Success Alliance and find groups that match your needs.
And if you should ever doubt whether joining a group of like-minded people might be worth it or not, remind yourself of Oprah’s wise words:
“Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher.”
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