08/27 2010

The Power of Mastermind Groups in Achieving Success

Earlier in the summer, I wrote a series on using visualization to achieve your goals. My inspiration in writing these posts was experimentation with visualization as part of my mastermind group. Since this time, I have encountered a number of people who are unaware of the existence and purpose of mastermind alliances.

What is a mastermind group?

The basic purpose of a mastermind group is for members to create and achieve personal and/or professional goals, brainstorm ideas and support/encourage one another.

The concept of the mastermind group was introduced by Napoleon Hill in the 1930’s. In his book, “Think and Grow Rich,” he defined a mastermind alliance as the “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

Who should form a group/attend one?

When we formed our mastermind group, the “common threads” among the members were: 1) a desire to achieve an entrepreneurial goal and 2) a similar life stage (age, family, kids). We felt these two factors would drive a common union to divide and conquer the challenges that lay ahead. Other groups might develop around a similar interest, skill set, industry or even corporation.

Regardless of how you form a group, all participants must be committed and willing to provide open, honest feedback to others. In addition, you must be willing to share your own strengths, weaknesses, fears and aspirations.

Everyone must unanimously approve who belongs to the group, and you should start with a minimum of 3-4 individuals.

What is the basic construct?

Groups can meet once/week or once/month, in-person, by phone or even via online message boards. Our group convenes every other week via phone (as none of us lives in the same city).

In our initial meetings, we carried out a number of exercises, including the following:

  • We collected “letters of perceptions” from friends, colleagues and/or acquaintances that could offer helpful insight into who we are as people
  • We developed 5-year goals in each of the following aspects of our lives: self, family, work, finances, spirituality and friends
  • We developed affirmations that we say aloud at least once/day on behalf of one another

On subsequent calls, our intention is to have a set agenda, giving each participant a chance to share relevant progress, setbacks, accomplishments and challenges. Others listen then offer suggestions, recommendations, possible solutions, etc.

Note that we intentionally included personal goals and professional ones, and dedicate time on our calls to both aspects of our lives. If a group wanted to limit their discussion to professional goals, it’s totally up to the respective group members.

How does the group evolve?

The goal of the group, of course, is for everyone to achieve their stated goals via mutual support of and accountability to one another. In fact, one of our group members was part of a mastermind group 10+ years prior and achieved 90% of her stated goals. That’s an impressive success rate!

Our group was formed at the end of 2009 and has faced some unforeseen obstacles during the course of this year. One member got a new job and moved to a new city. Another lady was actually diagnosed with breast cancer. I, also, have been through some unexpected personal challenges. These real life circumstances have altered the focus of bi-weekly discussions and short-term goals. And though our challenges may have been somewhat extreme, the reality of life is that events rarely unfold without bumps in the road.

Within this context, I have learned a lot from my fellow members/friends about coping techniques, power of prayer, positive affirmation, giving and gratitude, continued visualization and more – all to maintain a belief in self and a consistent, positive frame for achieving life goals.

We will continue to re-evaluate our goals, tweak affirmations and/or add new ones and support/encourage one another. These are many of the reasons I believe in the power of the mastermind network.

Other resources you may enjoy reading:

The Success Alliance

Sid Savara’s How to Start and Run a Mastermind Group

Evan Carmichael’s Mastermind Group Resources

Mike Fountain’s view of the Benefits of Belonging to a Mastermind Group

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