Creating a Mastermind group
In January when I was teaching my Build a Wildly Successful Career course in San Francisco, someone asked me about Mastermind groups. She’d heard of Mastermind groups but only in the context of paying lots of money to be in one. Well, let me tell you that your own Mastermind group could be just a few phone calls away from solving some of your challenging business issues.
There are different formulas for running mastermind groups. Let me tell you a really simple one, the one I’ve been using for years. But before I do that, let me explain why I think they’re so useful for image consultants. As entrepreneurs, we work for ourselves. We interact with our clients but we don’t really have peer support. We may have come from a corporate setting where there were always people around to bounce ideas off of. Maybe we’re just out of training where our instructors were just a few steps away. It can be lonely running a business. It can be hard to make strategic decisions on our own. That’s where a mastermind group comes in. A mastermind group is a small group of people who meet once a month for the sole purpose of listening, learning and advising each other. The format of my group is the simplest I’ve found:
- Taking turns, everyone shares his or her successes.
- Then everyone gets a chance to share his or her challenges.
- Next, everyone decides on their intentions for the month and shares them out loud.
- One week before the next meeting, one person from the group emails the others with the list of intentions. This gives everyone a chance to meet those intentions before they see each other.
Let me give you some examples of how my mastermind group has helped me. The process of writing books can be quite stressful. The deadlines are blinding even though you know they’re coming. My mastermind group helped me see that in order to be an author who writes more than one book, I needed to learn how to do it in a saner, sustainable way. Because they didn’t want to see me get stressed out, they would take my appointment book, open it up and start editing my schedule. They’d carve out several days in a row for writing and make a list of clients to reschedule. It was such a relief to have blocks of writing time. I wouldn’t have known how to build that in without their support. They also wanted me to have fun. They showed me how to meet deadlines but still enjoy friends and family time as well.
When I was explaining to my current mastermind group my idea for ETC, they could see I needed help formulating my thoughts. There were so many steps to take and I was overwhelmed. It was January and we were in San Francisco at my favorite coffee shop, Bittersweet on Fillmore Street. I left to go put money in my parking meter and by the time I got back, one of them had gone to the bookstore a few doors up and picked up a book for me called, The One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan. It was exactly the right tool for me at the right time. When my Web site went live, they were the ones I couldn’t wait to share it with. They had been part of its conception.
Do your mastermind partners need to be in the same industry? No, not at all. I think it’s better that they aren’t. They bring their own experiences of work and life to yours and you’re the richer for it. Mastermind groups can handle the whole of life as well. One member may need support to jumpstart her exercise program. One may need support in getting through a divorce or finding someone to design closet space for a new apartment. Maybe names of service providers will be shared: accountants, tax people, assistants, massage therapists. Actually, when I think about it, my mastermind group referred my dentist to me. When I wanted to sell my car, someone in my group knew just where to take it. They were also incredibly helpful to me when I went through cancer treatment. One of them headed up daily support people for me. Another one, a doctor, went to every doctor’s appointment with me. Okay, you get the picture. They are invaluable!
It’s wonderful to know that there is a place to take your challenges to as well as a place to share your successes. Your mastermind group, over time, knows where your blind spots are and can help you find your way when you’re not clear. And when you’ve faced a difficult situation and gotten through it, no one is happier for you than your mastermind group. “You did it!” they cheer. Whether it’s a difficult conversation with a client, a husband, a child or one’s own mother, they want you to succeed.
Doesn’t this sound like good stuff? I encourage you to build a mastermind group. Ask around. I’m sure there are three other people who would be as excited as you are to have support in their lives. And the only cost you will have are the lattes or lunches if you meet in a restaurant.