While Napoleon Hill is credited with inventing the term “mastermind” to denote a group of peers who met regularly to give each other advice and support, he got the term from Andrew Carnegie, who credited his entire fortune to his mastermind group. And if you think masterminds are just for business, you haven’t heard of the Inklings, an authors’ group that met regularly that counted C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as members. Bilbo and the Shire grew with the help of peer feedback.
Why Join a Mastermind?
There are many benefits to joining a mastermind group, but we will focus on four of them:
Build Your Network
We all know the famous quote about who you surround yourself with and what that does to your level of excellence. People you meet with regularly get to know you, and as such, can then recommend you for opportunities or brainstorm with you about collaborations.
Business owners often can’t talk about challenges with staff or may not yet have a big enough company to talk through marketing or sales initiatives. It helps to have other experienced people around who can hear your ideas and give you honest feedback.
In Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins said that “the quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of the questions you are asking yourself.” A complement to sharing your own ideas is asking questions from others who have other life experiences and perspectives you don’t have, to give you directions of thinking that you may never have considered.
It’s never a bad thing to have one more group of people who can hold you accountable and aren’t related to you by blood, friendship, or employment.
How to Prepare to Join a Mastermind
While these benefits definitely sound exciting, before you join a mastermind, you need to start with why. What is a primary goal you have in joining one? Maybe you’re just starting out in a new business or new part of town. Maybe you’ve just retired and you want to give back. Maybe you’re feeling stale in your established business and you want to be challenged. Whatever it is, don’t just join a mastermind because it’s a “good idea.” What’s your idea?
You also need to be willing to be honest and vulnerable. Just as a doctor can’t address what you hide or don’t share, a mastermind can’t help someone who only shares the positives and hides the negatives. Are you ready to share all aspects of your journey, not just the shiny fun stuff?
Make a list of what you have to offer, and areas you want to grow and improve in. This will be a helpful introduction to your peers in the mastermind group to get to know you and to know where you can be challenged and helped.
Finding a Mastermind
There are definitely established professional mastermind groups out there, like EO and Vistage. But there might be some local options in your network that are better for you. Ask around in person and on social media to see where an unadvertised group might be willing to take on a new member.
Be okay with doing a bit of shopping. It’s not often that the first mastermind group you visit will be the perfect fit for you, but if you find one you like early on, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. You can search forever or you can find something that feels right and is aligned with your why and get going.
Make sure the mastermind you join is consistent and has a purpose. No point in occasionally meeting to have a bull session. Success comes from consistency and that’s the hallmark of all of the best mastermind groups.
Once you’ve joined a mastermind group, give as much as you can. You’ll find that you’ll often get far more out than you put in.
Still need a push? Check out John Lee Dumas’ (founder of Entrepreneur on Fire) interview with Vanessa Van Edwards on why you should join one (and how the best ones run).