HOW TO START A MASTERMIND

Lina M. Ruiz
Aug 9, 2018 · 5 min read

Guess what? We connect because we resist.

This post is about a love story. A love story that started like many other love stories after an inflection point. Don’t worry, it is not a romantic love story and it doesn’t have a cheesy ending. It’s about a different kind of love, one that happens not between two people but between a group of individuals. No, is not a group love or a one of those “hippie” love stories. It’s a different kind of love, a love for your colleagues and how to continue collaborating together even when you have to part ways.

But, wait, why would you care about this story?

Well, if you have a group of people you click with and you want to start a project together this post might give you ideas on how to start. If you are tired of feeling you aren’t making a difference and you want to have more positive impact, we hope we can inspire you. And if you are a bit overwhelmed about all the information regarding Climate Change, Sustainability, Fairness and Social Impact, we hope that by telling you our pathway to tackle some of these problems together we’ll help you understand them a bit better. We don’t have all the answers yet and we are still figuring out our journey. But, we thought the best place to start was by telling you our story.

1500 HOURS TOGETHER AND WE DID CONNECT!

Our love story started by sharing new ways to solve the world’s problems, together.

We started to notice that we shared a similar vision of the future, that we liked the same topics and that we could continuously talk about them after working hours. It was very exciting when work conversations extended to lunch, brunches and dinners. We debated about the world, about how to develop new businesses and how to tackle new problems.

It is very unusual but sometimes it happens: You click with your colleagues, you understand the way they work, and you see their potential, sometimes even before they do. With this particular group of people, we saw the desire to make a difference, to “change the world”. Not just with words, but to make things better with our own actions. It might sound idealistic, but we all align in values, in wanting to join initiatives, projects, movements with a social or environmental purpose. As a matter of fact, it’s how we met, by working for a Dutch social enterprise[1] changing the electronics industry.

I know is weird, and some of you might be thinking: “I can barely stand my colleagues”, “I don’t believe colleagues should be friends” or “having friends at work makes you more inefficient”. I might agree with you on some of those points. However, sometimes it happens. After spending approx. 1500 hours per year together you start noticing that your friendship is not only about the job, but about the fact that you share the same purpose.

“No mind is complete by itself. It needs contact and association with other minds to grow and expand.” — Napoleon Hill

It all sounded very good until, unavoidably, life happened, and people had to part ways.

In my case, it all happened very quickly. In a month or two everything changed. Many of the people I had worked with side by side, shared coffees with, gifs, memes and Friday afternoon beers, left. They all had to move on for several reasons: they wanted to grow, to change their career paths, they went into something even more challenging or left to regain their passion or their purpose.

I remembered one even described his departure as leaving his first love. Like a great adventure that started together but with an inevitable end because they both envisioned a different future.

LET’S BRAINSTORM: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE?

It took me a while to figure out that we didn’t have to part ways so drastically. That actually, the courage I had seen every day and the passion to transform step by step our society was still there.

That’s why we decided to give it a go and keep our informal gatherings going. Even though we all had different routines and different jobs, we wanted to see if we could spark conversations and get things moving. We met on a cold February afternoon. For the first time in months we were all together in the same room. We had a common purpose that evening and that was to solve the question: “What would you like to change?”

At the beginning the question was a bit overwhelming. We started to brainstorm about it from a smaller scale. Thinking about our daily lives, making connections, challenging assumptions and raising our voice on things we wanted to see done differently.

At the end of the session we came up with four things that we all wanted to change. Big wide topics we all had in common:

  1. Tech Overload: our desire to detox from our tech devices, especially our smartphones.
  2. Community Supported Agriculture: our desire to eat healthier, support local economies and reduce food waste.
  3. Public Spaces: our desire to make public spaces more accesible for everyone.
  4. Packaging-free: our desire to reduce the use of plastic and unnecessary packaging in our daily lives.

We don’t know where this journey will take us. We just started by following some of the steps on how to start a Mastermind. To find a place where we all feel supported and where we can meet with people that are striving for similar goals. It’s not whether we are ready for a movement, but how we can best dedicate our love and ideas to keeping it growing. And if in the end, it doesn’t work out after all, we’re pretty sure we’re all cured from using plastic straws for the rest of our lives. Sometimes it’s about the small wins!

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[1] Is this a complot? Some of our former colleagues call us The Conspiracy! We like it! However, this is a fresh start with people that you click with. In our case it happened after working at the same place, but for some it might happen after gathering in the same bar, gym or supermarket.