Forbes describes a Mastermind Group as ‘a group that is designed to help you navigate through challenges using the collective intelligence of others.’ The concept was first introduced by Napolean Hill in 1925 in his book ‘The Law of Success’. There are many benefits to being part of a mastermind group including problem solving, goal setting and accountability, sharing knowledge and collaborating. Many high achievers in history consulted their mastermind groups for advice and inspiration. In some cases, the mastermind group took place within the mind of an individual where they consulted great thinkers of the past and present.
Choosing the Right People
One of the first books I read on the area of self development suggested that if you want to achieve anything it is a good idea to work alongside someone who also has goals and ambitions. I thought it was worth trying so I suggested it to a friend. With all the good intentions in the world our ‘goal setting’ meet ups became more casual and often resulted in more gossiping over coffee or wine than goal setting and achievements. The problem, I suspect, was that neither of us were trained in coaching skills or Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). So while we wanted to make changes and live more purposefully, neither of us knew where to start or challenge any limiting beliefs or behaviours that might arise in our meet ups.
In contrast to that, I am now part of a Mastermind Group which consists of myself and one other person and the difference is phenomenal. I say this for a few reasons. The first is that we are both highly ambitious people and are keen to work towards our goals and not just talk about them. Drifting through life is not an option. The second crucial point is that we are both trained in Mind Coaching and NLP. Even though we are practising coaches ourselves and are capable of using the techniques it is always helpful to bounce ideas off one another and challenge and provoke new ways of thinking. We have mostly opposite Meta-Programmes (that’s NLP for styles of thinking/behaving). This allows us to get different perspectives on ideas and elicit the other person’s strategy for doing things more effectively. The last point that has made such a difference is that we both value time. Our sessions are a focused 30-60mins with clear objectives. Working with someone who values their time so much means that I show up prepared and ready to work, out of respect for him and his time as much as my own.
The Benefits of a Mastermind Group
Since forming our mastermind group some four months ago, I can say with great certainty that I have had some of the most productive few months in my life. I am confident that the co-founder of our group would say the same. We talk frequently as friends however our Mastermind group happens once a week and the focus is purely on what we have achieved and what we are focusing on next. The accountability factor is of massive importance. Being held accountable eliminates the bull crap! If I have not done something I had better have a good excuse or decided that the goal was not actually worth pursuing. I know that if I continually show up not having achieved what I set out to do, the group would dissolve and I would have let myself down as well as the other member of the group. If a client continually did this it would show me that they are not serious about making a change.
Testing the Waters
Being part of Mastermind Group is a great way of testing your potential. After a few weeks of setting goals, some bigger than others, you will begin to realise what you are capable of, where your comfort zones lie and how much you can push yourself. In the beginning I started off fairly conservatively and I was smashing every goal. I realised I was capable of doing so much more. However, it is just as important to know the limitations of your time and not to over commit to things that you are just not capable of completing. It’s about finding a happy balance of challenging yourself yet not setting yourself up for failure. Once I found my flow I was better able to plan my week. It was a settling in period and since then my progress has been consistent.
Creating your own Group
Having honest feedback, support and collaboration in the Mastermind Group has been invaluable to me. I would highly recommend anyone who wants to make changes in their life or have ongoing support in their journey towards their goals to set up a group of your own. If the members are not trained in coaching skills I would suggest creating a rigid structure to the format including time limits, a focus on where you are now, what has been achieved in the last week/month and what you are focusing on next. There is a time and a place for coffee, wine and small talk, your Mastermind Group is not it! Schedule a fixed time and work with people that are as dedicated as you are to get the most out of it!
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