If you aren’t a part of a mastermind group, you could be missing out on something truly life-changing. Confucius, the fifth-century BCE Chinese philosopher known for his teachings and his work setting educational standards said, “If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.” Mastermind groups are about intentionally designing a room of people who can benefit from one another’s knowledge and insight. Learning from other smart, motivated people on a regular basis is a good use of your most precious resource (time), and mastermind groups are the way to do it.
What is a mastermind group?
A mastermind group is a small group of people which meets on a regular basis in order to inspire and advise one another, as well as tackle challenges and work together to solve problems. Members of these groups lean on one another for accountability and inspiration, commiserating on the difficulties of their communal challenges and putting their minds together to create new pathways forward.
Mastermind groups were first introduced by Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich. In it, Hill said:
“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind [the master mind].”
Every time a group meets, the third mind kicks in and creates more possibilities and a greater sum of knowledge and insights.
Why are Mastermind Groups Valuable?
Designed to help you navigate challenges, mastermind groups draw on the collective intelligence, connections, and experiences of others to help you get unstuck and moving forward. These meetings are dedicated time to work through challenges with others who are invested in your success. By putting different minds together, you create a space where possibilities multiply. Additionally, mastermind groups provide the following:
- Accountability – Your partners are counting on you. When they help you work through a challenge, you owe it to them to put in your own work, and they expect you to make progress.
- Inspiration – Camaraderie is the ultimate inspiration. Mastermind meetings often leave members feeling fueled up and ready to tackle what lies ahead. At Studio/E, we incorporate a few minutes of inspiration into our own mastermind meetings we are each a part of (we’ll get to that below).
- Collective experience – This is invaluable. Mastermind groups have at their disposal the experiences of each individual, resulting in a deep well of first-hand knowledge. Learning by others’ experiences gets you way ahead of the game.
- The intelligence of others – Like experience, the combined intelligence of everyone in the mastermind group exposes you to thoughts, ideas, and processes you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to.
- Space to think through problems – Having a dedicated time to work on challenges is an effective way to ensure you actually get through them.
How Does a Mastermind Work?
There are many ways to run mastermind groups, but within every successful group you will find three themes: a consistent meeting cadence, a commitment to putting in as much as (or more than) you take, and a focus on individual priorities.
At Studio/E, we weave mastermind groups into each of our programs for individuals. We believe in them so much, in fact, that we highly encourage our employees to be a part of one as well. From our collective experiences being members of, creating, and running mastermind groups, we came up with the following guidelines to help us make the most out of mastermind group meetings:
- Schedule your monthly meeting. The group sets a monthly 60-minute meeting, in person or by phone. The group designates a new leader for each meeting. The assigned leader sends out a calendar invite to the group.
- Meet. The assigned leader runs the agenda and takes notes.
- Inspiration. To kick off the meeting, the leader shares an inspirational quote, a piece of content, or an experience, and explains why it’s a favorite to them.
- Check-in. Each member shares one of their most important priorities — personal or professional — for the next 30 days, and what obstacles they are facing. The other members provide helpful feedback and advice on what they can do to navigate around those obstacles.
- Priority Review. Each Member shares one of their most important priorities from the last 30 days and what obstacles they are facing. The other members provide helpful feedback and advice on what that person can do to get around those obstacles.
- Declarations. Each member declares their top three priorities (personal or professional) they desire to work on between now and the next meeting. The leader archives the declarations and sends them out via email after the meeting. Note: the priorities should be clear and concise and should include a desired date of completion.
- Schedule your next meeting. Group schedules the meeting or call time for the upcoming month’s meeting and assigns a new leader.
These guidelines work for us and for the mastermind groups we manage and are a part of, but if you decide to join or create a group, you could adjust them to meet your needs. The key, as with most things, is consistency.
Where can I find a mastermind group?
Mastermind groups are all over the place. Some notable groups include Entrepreneurs Organization, Young Presidents’ Organization, and Vistage (Studio/E co-founder Tom Wiese was a Vistage member for two decades!) Mastermind groups like these are highly prescriptive in their member prerequisites. Entrepreneurs Organization, for example, requires you be a founder or majority stakeholder of a business earning a minimum of $1 million annually in order to join. This creates a space in which everyone involved can relate to the pressures and challenges associated with running businesses on a scale like this, thereby providing detailed insight and feedback. Other groups have no guidelines for members other than a commitment to being active and generous with their presence. These groups are effective because they bring in diverse experiences from varying sectors, greatly expanding your own knowledge.
If you can’t find a mastermind group you’re interested in joining, consider creating one of your own. We invite you to use our framework to get started; all you need to do is find the members and begin. Here’s a good resource if you’re serious about creating your own mastermind group.
Mastermind groups will help you navigate through challenges using the collective inspiration and intelligence of others. If you commit to being an active participant in a mastermind group — whether you join or create it — we know your involvement will be a big asset in your knowledge arsenal.
Studio/E’s programs for individuals come with the benefit of a mastermind group. If a learning community like this is the path you’d like to take toward creating the future you desire, check out our program offerings here.