Debunking the myths and answering your most-asked questions about Mastermind Groups

mastermind group

There’s a seldom talked about principle behind the success of every winning athlete, every popular politician, every famous musician, every wealthy business person I know – and everyone you can name.   No, it’s not IQ, college GPA, the right family name or good looks. This is the secret element – but it’s really no secret.  Each of these successful people has a team of experts behind them – coaching, instructing and encouraging them — a mastermind group.

Find out more in Secrets of Highly Productive People.

Back in 1935, in Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote that a Mastermind group was the one essential behind every successful person he interviewed! And yet, very few people take the initiative to find or create their own Mastermind team. 

You may have goals, strategies, and tactics for achieving a high level of success, but without a Mastermind group you’re polishing a Ferrari with no gas in the tank.Click To Tweet

I have a long history of being part of the Chamber of Commerce, professional organizations, church and community committees.  I love attending seminars and workshops and do so regularly.  I’ve learned a great deal, made important connections and have had some wonderful times at these events.  Yet none of them hold a candle to the power I’ve experienced of being in a Mastermind group.

Like Napoleon Hill, I don’t know anyone who has become extraordinarily successful who has not utilized the principle of the mastermind group.   Whether you’re a small business owner, a personal growth seeker, a consultant, a freelance worker, a real estate agent, an artist or a corporate employee, you can benefit from being part of a Mastermind Group. 

Being part of a Mastermind Group is like having your own board of directors. However, there is no hidden agenda. Everyone is openly committed to the success of the other members. 

Find out more in Want To Live a Larger Life?

mastermind groupBenjamin Franklin: The Father of the Mastermind Group

Benjamin Franklin began his Junto Club in 1727 – many years before Napoleon Hill and Andrew Carnegie made the mastermind group popular. It is fascinating to note that Benjamin Franklin was just 21 years old when he formed this group.

The nightly group included prominent business people who met informally to drink and discuss their business activities.  Franklin was apparently a gregarious and congenial young man who attracted the successful men of the city.  From these he personally selected the additional members of his Junto.  All of the members lived in Philadelphia and they represented a rather diverse spectrum of businesses.

And here’s an important point:  Clearly the Junto was Franklin’s creation, and he led the group by example.  While he considered the other men to have similar intellectual interests, he recognized that the unifying force of this diverse group was “an inquiring spirit and devotion to self-improvement”.   

You can experience everything Benjamin Franklin did and have at your disposal the same powerful resources. Get the questions that Franklin used to guide the discussions of the Junto Group.

The results of the original Junto group are still very much evident today in our American society. The Junto gave us our first library, volunteer fire department, the first public hospital, police department, paved streets and the University of Pennsylvania.

It’s important to note that the goal was not just self-serving, although in serving their community they obviously increased their own wealth and influence as well. These were healthy and productive peer-to-peer relationships that benefited each member.

And thus it is with any healthy mastermind group.

Here’s a more concise Mastermind Definition:

A Mastermind Group is made up of people who come together on a regular basis to share ideas, provide information and feedback, and offer resources you would otherwise not have.  By getting the perspective and wisdom of the others in the group, you can expect to expand your thinking, move beyond your personal world experience and move toward success in your own goals more quickly than possible on your own.

If you are in business, having a Mastermind Group essentially provides you with a Board of directors.  While corporations typically have a board of directors or advisory board, many small business owners or professionals do not have the benefit of such an outside brain trust.  Being part of a Mastermind Group can provide many of the same benefits of a more formal board.  Each member thus has a trusted, confidential group concerned with that member’s success.

The benefits of a Mastermind Group

These connections of a small number of trusted members provides a safe harbor. They provide a group of peers who can tell each other everything.  There is no risk of losing a position or jeopardizing the company’s future by simply discussing alternatives and options.  There is no risk of competition or of stealing ideas.  New markets, new products, new relationships, strategies, and tactics can be discussed in an environment where those can be sifted and discussed before any implementation takes place.  Potential problems may be eliminated before they escalate and new opportunities seized when the timing is right. 

Here’s a note I got from a young guy just recently, after having received this information on Creating Your Own Mastermind Group.

So, three months ago, five guys & I started an experiment with the idea. We get together every Friday, smoke cigars, and make it our primary goal to care just as much about the professional, relational & spiritual success of the one next to us as we do our own. Since then, four of us have doubled our income, five of us have launched new businesses and all of us have found a new level of fulfillment both professionally and personally.”

Here’s more on the Power of a Mastermind Group

The key is to be with people whom you trust and respect. Everyone involved shares in the mutual benefit.  Personally I look for members who have as much potential to contribute as they have the desire to receive. Don’t select several who are struggling just to be nice and then one superstar.  That will lock in the expectations of the group. 

You want people who are on the same path – but are wanting more.  Yes, you could see this as a mentorship program for all members. However, any member of your Mastermind Group should be able to provide you with valuable feedback and advice and should be able to receive that from you as well.  Invite people who are performing at higher levels than you.  If you’re wondering why people who are already achieving at a higher level would want to be involved, put your concerns to rest.  Remember you are the one putting the group together and facilitating the process.  You’re organizing, creating support and building a process to assist everyone’s growth. 

Many people who are already at a higher level will welcome the opportunity to become involved in a beneficial process that they may never take the time to organize themselves.  They will likely be thrilled at the opportunity to mastermind with others, without the added responsibility of looking after the details.  Part of your unique value is simply making it happen.

Should you start your own Mastermind Group?

I would suggest that you be a member of a mastermind for a couple of years before you start your own. But whatever the time, if you do start your own group, look for members who:

  • Push themselves toward excellence
  • Are Readers and Thinkers
  • Bring Diverse Skills   
  • Represent Varied Spiritual Perspectives
  • Seek Neither Dependence nor Independence – but Interdependence
  • Solve problems   
  • Have high Integrity and Reliability
  • Focus on success

Avoid inviting members who:

  • Work alone
  • Have poor social skills
  • Enjoy the spotlight
  • Have a track record of failed relationships or businesses
  • Want a Captive Group to Proselytize or Prospect

I can’t imagine my life without my mastermind group. I always have members who are ready to offer advice, encouragement, feedback, and accountability.

If you think your action step will be to start your own group, here are The Top 5 Questions You Need To Answer Before Starting a Mastermind Group.

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