Leaders like Walt Disney, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Eidson all shared one secret that propelled them to success: each person was a member of a mastermind group. Yet, mastermind groups met long before 1937, the year Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, coined the term. In fact, he wrote down this formula for success using information shared by business magnate Andrew Carnegie, who became one of the world’s richest men during the early 1900s.
Sound interesting? Learn more about what a mastermind group is, how they operate, and what the benefits of becoming a member are. Additionally, since there are thousands of them out there, get three important tips on joining the best one for you.
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What is a Mastermind Group?
In Think and Grow Rich, Hill describes a mastermind as the “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” He says that when a group of minds come together, they essentially create an unseen, powerful force—a mastermind.
Masterminds are led by a person who starts the group as a way of helping people achieve a specific, common purpose. For instance, the leader directing the mastermind might want to help people scale a business. The facilitator must pinpoint the exact reason the group exists, otherwise, it is not a mastermind.
Typically, successful mastermind groups are small and average no more than eight people. This ensures everyone gets a chance to truly develop and grow as individuals, while also connecting with peers. Yet, larger masterminds do exist and can work extremely well for their members. For instance, Carnegie’s group consisted of around 50 people. Even still, there are some meetings that facilitate well over 100 people.
It’s important to note that masterminds are not networking events, one-on-one executive coaching, or group coaching. This is because there’s no singular authority figure in the group. While there is a leader, that person’s role is to facilitate community-building among the group. For this reason, masterminds operate based on the premise of group participation. Whether it’s brainstorming, giving feedback, or holding one another accountable, the group members stimulate, provoke, and elevate thinking to a higher level.
Top 3 Benefits of Being a Mastermind Member
While the concept of a mastermind group sounds great, you might be wondering about the practical benefits of being a member. Below, discover three reasons for why joining is one of the best investments an entrepreneur can make.
Decreases Chances of Business Failure
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 20 percent of businesses fail during their first year. This increases to 50 percent after operating for five years. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs don’t need statistics to know the first few years of owning your own company are incredibly difficult. The whole concept of a mastermind is to tap into the strength of a group. Think about it this way: Imagine brainstorming a serious issue plaguing your company. When you’re a part of a mastermind, your problem solving capabilities instantly get 10x’ed. This happens because there’s a team supporting you. By offering great feedback, suggestions, solutions, and their own experience with the issue, solving what’s hurting the business becomes clearer.
Additionally, because group members are your peers and not employees, they can be more honest with you about what’s causing your problems. For example, maybe there’s a limiting belief or mindset block that’s preventing you from taking the company to the next level. By identifying and working through these issues, entrepreneurs create the space for massive breakthroughs that lead to more personal and professional success.
Increases Goal Achievement
A study conducted by the American Society of Training and Development found people have a 65 percent chance of achieving their goals when they commit to another person. This number increases to 95 percent when there’s regular communication with an accountability partner to discuss progress being made. For this reason, mastermind groups are a great way of ensuring you reach the goals you set.
More importantly, when you’re a high achiever, the goals you set are likely not easy ones. As you work toward the things you want most in life, you have a group of people cheering you on and providing help along the way. This type of support system makes you stronger, more dedicated, and resilient.
Adds Instant Value to an Entrepreneur’s Network
There’s some truth to the old adage, “You are the company you keep.” In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy says that research from Harvard social psychologist Dr. David McClelland shows, “[the people you habitually associate with] determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.”
When you make the decision to surround yourself with people who are passionate, dedicated, and determined to succeed, this energy becomes infectious. It’s the strong, positive force Hill speaks about in Think and Grow Rich. This is what makes the group so powerful and able to fulfill its collective purpose.
In addition to this, although the purpose of masterminds aren’t networking, they can be a great way to meet other ambitious entrepreneurs. Having these relationships can result in potential collaborations, introductions to important business connections, and partnership or investment opportunities.
3 Tips for Joining the Right Group
While it’s clear that business owners benefit from joining a mastermind, knowing which one to choose might not be so clear. A quick Google search will bring up a wide variety of options, extending from local to national mastermind opportunities. When considering a group, use the tips below to find the one that’s best for you.
Align the Purpose of the Group to Your Own
As best-selling author John C. Maxwell says in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, those who feel fulfilled “are focused in purpose, grow in areas that help them move closer to their purpose, and do what they were created to do.” In essence, they are intentional about their growth. Because of this, the first step in joining a mastermind is setting a focused, challenging goal that helps you fulfill your purpose. The chosen group should help you become closer to making this objective a reality. For instance, you won’t need a group that has the purpose of bringing inventions to market if you already have a profitable core offering. Instead, you might choose one that focuses on scaling a company to the next stage.
Before deciding upon a group, consider:
- Why you’re joining a mastermind
- What you want to achieve from the experience
- How the considered options could get you closer to your goal
Research Multiple Masterminds
Not all masterminds offer the same value. That’s why it’s important to research the costs, the agenda for the program, and information about the group and facilitator. Paid memberships are an investment, so make sure you’re setting yourself up for a strong ROI. To do this, watch out for copy on websites and sales pages offering grandiose promises. Instead, if the mastermind is a high ticket offer, look for credibility in testimonials, case studies, and video interviews. Asking former or current members about their experience is another way to ensure you’re making a good decision.
Before putting blind faith into the facilitator, find at least two other alternatives. Usually, if the program does require a larger investment, you’ll get to speak to the leader of the group, first. Come to the meeting with prepared questions, use your instincts, and make the best decision for yourself.
Know the Expectations
Finally, mastermind groups come with a commitment. When you’re considering a group, a great facilitator will set expectations before you join. Discussing the group’s values, beliefs, and organizational rules creates a clear sense of how they operate. It also informs potential members about what’s considered unacceptable. Joining a group that outlines these tenets upfront informs members of what they’re agreeing to, and what can potentially get them exiled from the group. Although all this information might seem intimidating, it’s a sign of a facilitator who’s serious about achieving the stated purpose.
Since it’s a key component of strong relationship-building, setting expectations is a two-way street. For this reason, it’s important for the facilitator to talk about what you can expect from them and from the group, as well. This might look like taking time to explain details about the type of support you’ll receive and how often. If they don’t cover something you have a question about, don’t be afraid to ask about roles and responsibilities.
In summary, before making a final decision, know what you, the other group members, and the facilitator are all accountable for. This helps prevent conflict, dissatisfaction, and even potential dismissal from the group.
The Biggest Takeaway of Joining a Mastermind
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be when you join a mastermind group. While you might have a support system of friends and family members, at the end of the day, they likely can’t entirely relate to the incredulous feat of turning a vision into a successfully operating organization. Leaders need the camaraderie and strength that comes from being around other business owners, which a mastermind provides.
These meetings are a place where people can share dreams and goals, reconcile fears, make life-changing decisions, and celebrate wins. As this happens, true human connection occurs, which is where the magic in business happens. These feelings connect you to your purpose and the reason you chose the difficult, yet exciting journey of being an entrepreneur.