It all starts with the desire to be better. That desire leads to a search for improvement. On my path, in particular, that search leads to taking online courses, attending seminars and conferences, joining entrepreneurial communities, and participating in masterminds.
It was said somewhere that two heads are better than one—a mastermind takes the ‘more heads are better than one’ concept and makes it real. Essentially, it’s about finding like-minded people and building a community that offers support and guidance.
The fundamental aspect of a mastermind group is a gathering of two or more people that agree to help each other become better versions of themselves. In most cases, the goal is to improve skills in business. Each person invests time and brainpower to help the other (and themselves) explore the challenges and tactics of running a business.
I have been participating in mastermind groups for the past seven years. For most of my entrepreneurial journey, I had been alone and it sucked. I mainly operated in a silo of confusion and self-doubt. Participating in masterminds has helped shape the person I am today. I owe much of my success to masterminds. However, you need to take action on the things that you learn. Mix in a bit of luck too and you got a winning formula. Learning. Action. Luck.
Let’s be clear, you still have to do the work. Masterminds are a helpful tool in the entrepreneur’s toolbox and give you a competitive advantage, but they don’t guarantee success.
Running your own business is hard. Without a peer group, maneuvering through the morass of complexity can be an emotional rollercoaster. Being part of a mastermind doesn’t always erase the negative emotions that I feel, but knowing that I have a sounding board can be in itself quite liberating. Many people say that a mastermind isn’t therapy, but sometimes it is—especially if you are part of one that creates a safe environment for vulnerability and transparency.
There should be some structure in a mastermind, but it should also be flexible. Assign someone to take notes each session, but don’t be OCD about capturing every single detail. I find myself going back to my mastermind notes frequently. We keep our main points and various links in a google document that everyone can edit and access. Make it easy. Keep it simple.
The more willing I am to share my deeper thoughts and feelings in the mastermind, the more I find others are also willingly open up. Like most things in life, the energy you put in is equivalent to the energy you take out. Everything is energy.
Some sessions will be playful, and others might go deep and explore topics that bring you immediate value. You’ll come away with action items that you will want to implement right away. Occasionally, you might feel like not much happened of value. Stick with it and keep going. A mastermind is more like a marathon than a sprint, in the long run, you’ll appreciate the relaxed meetings as much as the deeper thought-provoking gatherings.
Everyone in the group should be friendly—too much conflict can kill the vibe. It’s definitely a space to push each other past each other’s comfort zone. However, the feeling should be like two friends sparing to help each other hone their craft. Every once in a while you might get or give a good right hook for the sake of learning, but keep your chin up and always lean on the side of good intentions.
How Do You Start A Mastermind Group
Starting a mastermind isn’t hard. You likely know at least one person that is attempting to start a business or that is already in business—invite them to a session and get started. Yes, it’s that easy. If you don’t know one person, then start a meetup or join an online entrepreneurial forum. See the resources below for some ideas. If the person you invite has no idea what a mastermind is, just send them this article.
I have found that 3-5 people is the sweet spot for a mastermind group size. More than five people are too large and get difficult to manage. Two people are just not enough to get the energy flowing and creates a void when one person doesn’t show up. Speaking of showing up, attendance is an important aspect of a mastermind, you got to commit to showing up. The strength of the group hinges on the goodwill of attendance and communication. Members that consistently miss the meeting should be dismissed and replaced.
One hour per week is a good timeframe for a mastermind. In the first session talking about expectations and set out a schedule for the first month. Spend a little time getting to know each other and share some personal details bout your life and business. Be human.
If you can’t think of anything to put on your first month’s agenda, pick a topic and have each member create a mini-presentation on what they know. This could also include things you find or learn about the subject through a course or podcast. You could also watch a youtube video together from a business mentor or expert and then discuss the subject. The first few sessions might be a little hit and miss but over time as members get comfortable with each other things to tend to run more smoothly.
When Do You Know it’s Time to End a Mastermind?
Sometimes it just feels like it’s time to end. You might want to continue with the group, but others don’t. It’s a mysterious movement. I am in one mastermind that has been going for years and I have been in several others that evaporated in a few weeks. If you are the only one showing up to the group calls, that’s a good sign the end is near. However, sometimes the group just needs a break. Try a break before dismantling the camaraderie and synergy that you have built together.
Masterminds are wonderful expressions of the entrepreneur’s path. Start one as soon as you can. Your journey to learning and being better at what you do is just a few clicks away. You’ll meet some great people and might ever find a business partner. There is deep enjoyment in connecting with others that are on a similar path and in helping each other become better versions of themselves.