As of today, we’re half-way through 2014. Have you accomplished at least 50% of the goals you started out the year with? I know I haven’t!
I knew at the time I set my goals that they were aggressive, and it was going to take a lot of time, effort and focus to achieve them. But I chose to stretch myself instead of staying in my comfort zone, and I tied each goal to specific monthly milestones in my Sales and Marketing Plan so that I could assess my progress along the way.
Thankfully, even when we find ourselves a bit behind where we want to be, there are ways to surge ahead.
In my experience, participating in a mastermind group is key! I have never met an extremely successful person who hasn’t had a mastermind group to help them accomplish their goals.
My Mastermind Group Experience
Personally, I’ve participated in one group each year for the past four years, trying out new ones with different focuses and formats along the way.
Mastermind groups can take all different forms. The first one I participated in was a virtual mastermind group called the Lead Change Round Table. We met regularly using a video conference platform, which was kind of cool because it was back in 2010, when that wasn’t quite as common as it is now.
The next group I participated in met in person quarterly, alternating between the East Coast and the West Coast. There were supposed to be teleconferences in between, but that only happened once or twice.
The third group was based in California and we met in person once, and then had a weekly phone call.
The group I’m in now is a small, local group that meets once a month in person.
The group sizes for the ones I’ve participated in have varied, ranging from 4 people to 20. And, while some of the groups have been free, membership in others has cost significantly more (like thousands of dollars).
Is It Worth the Investment?
So, why did I invest the time and money to participate in them? Because the benefits of a mastermind group are enormous! Here are the top 5 things I like most about mastermind groups.
1. You get to form deep and lasting connections with some incredible people.
This may sound like a “fluff” benefit, but it’s actually more than that. I co-authored a book with individuals from one mastermind group and I’ve given and received business from lots of other people I’ve masterminded with.
Many of the Featured Authors I’ve interviewed on this site are people I met in or through mastermind groups.
There is a trust that comes with familiarity, and in a mastermind group, we’re each invested in helping the other succeed. It goes beyond simply extending leads to each other. We get to the point where we help each other conquer fears, overcome obstacles, and achieve our dreams.
The relationships formed in a mastermind setting often last well beyond the time the group is together. I can honestly say that I’m still in contact with more than half of the people I’ve met in mastermind settings, and in regular contact with at least a quarter of them (meaning we speak at least once a month).
2. You receive input and feedback from successful individuals on how to solve your most pressing business issues.
One of my favorite mastermind elements is what my friend, Arvee Robinson, calls “the Hot Seat.”
Each member of the group has a time that is dedicated to them. They present an issue they are wrestling with, whether it’s how to market a specific service, how to optimize their sales funnel, how to book more speaking engagements, etc. They provide as much detail as they are comfortable with sharing.
When they’re done presenting the problem, what they’ve tried thus far, what’s working and what’s not, the rest of the group brainstorms solutions to the problem.
By bringing many minds together to solve the problem, the business owner is given a shortcut to finding and implementing a solution. They get to hear what’s worked for others who have faced the same issue, and what’s not.
In business, acting fast is key. This one element of a mastermind group can help you act faster than you ever could on your own because a roadmap is created specifically for you that takes into consideration what others know to work and to be rabbit trails. It also shifts us out of Analysis Paralysis, that sense that we have to figure it all out on our own, where the “figuring out” part starts to overshadow the “getting it done” part.
3. You are held accountable for accomplishing what you set out to achieve.
A common element of a mastermind group is to let people know what you did with the insights that were given to you last time, and how they turned out. So, there’s a degree of accountability that goes along with participating in a group.
It’s easy to let business and life sidetrack us. But knowing that your group is going to want to hear what you did the next time you meet helps keep you focused and engaged.
There’s also something energizing about knowing that you’re not in it alone. I have often viewed members of my mastermind groups as my own personal Board of Advisers.
As business owners, we can often feel isolated and even as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders. Participating in a mastermind frees us from this feeling because there are others who are emotionally invested in our success as well.
4. You are introduced to ideas, tools, processes and individuals that can mean the difference for you between success and failure.
Many people contributing suggestions for solutions to a problem is one thing. However, there are often times when I’m simply introduced to a new idea, tool, process or person whose benefit may not always be immediately apparent to me. Yet, down the line, their significance takes shape.
My network has grown immensely because of individuals I’ve been introduced to by fellow masterminders. I’ve discovered new tools that have increased my productivity or simplified my work.
The great thing about being in a mastermind is, people rarely approach it with the thought of “What’s in it for me?” They know their turn will come. So, they give you their all, with the understanding that you’ll do the same for them.
It may take time for that to translate into actual dollars and cents, but that’s all dependent on what you do with what you’ve been introduced to.
5. You get the satisfaction of helping others achieve their business goals as well.
We’re each at different stages in our development, and we each have different strengths and weaknesses. Helping others succeed by sharing from my strengths is hugely rewarding personally. But that often translates into them helping me cover or address my weaknesses by sharing with me from their strengths.
It’s a win-win situation that helps me stretch myself, reach for me, and ultimately achieve my goals much more quickly than I ever could alone.
Some of my best business ideas have come about as a result of brainstorming sessions in a mastermind group. The whole concept for The Bite-Sized Marketer was developed during one mastermind session. And while it took me a little while to implement it due to resource constraints, I could immediately see the value of it because it leveraged my greatest skills, teaching and training, in a reproducible way.
The fun part of it has been that once it was launched, the individual who pushed me the most to create it became my first affiliate for it. So, the support continues beyond just the brainstorming stage. We really become invested in each other’s success!