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Masterminding Your Business

Taking time to reflect, plan and commit to a future path is essential to success, and yet so easy to subjugate to life’s urgencies and distractions. We must create those moments on purpose.

We Become Like the People We Hang Out Withmastermind

I spent this week in Kalispell, Montana with five exceptional men in focused, challenging conversations about business and life. We are friends. Interestingly, we are competitors in our profession. Yet we are all high achievers, and we are passionate about success – for ourselves and for each other. This is my Mastermind.

A Mastermind is a group of individuals committed to improvement and to the concepts of support, contribution, and accountability. This is not a chance gathering of random people. It is an intentional “tribe,” usually 4-20 people in size, invited to participate because of their skills, knowledge, achievements, and desire to share and grow. This is not a social club. It’s about moving the bar. Breaking through barriers. Clarifying goals, and accelerating achievement.

When it works well, it can be an incredible, life and career changing experience. I’ve spent years with these men, meeting 3-4 times a year, learning, growing, sharing, and elevating one another through both our examples and our challenges. We share vulnerabilities, as well as victories. And it’s not all about business. Success, to us, is an integrated concept that incorporates relationships, health, faith, and fulfillment.

In addition, I am also blessed to be a part of a larger, incredibly powerful Mastermind called Speakers Roundtable. This group meets less frequently, and the structure is different, due to the size (18-20 highly accomplished men and women, plus spouses). This legendary fellowship, to which I am honored to belong, is truly a “League of the Extraordinary.” Associating with greatness can be like staring at the sun. You can’t take it all in at once. But over time you absorb a ton of vitamin D and get a kick-butt tan.

Do You Need a Mastermind?

If you are serious about improvement, learning, and growth, the answer may be a resounding “yes.” A Mastermind could provide you greater leverage and acceleration on your path to excellence. If, however, you are just dabbling in success or generally content at your current level (and there is nothing wrong with that), then the answer is, “probably not.” Unless you are committed to sharing, learning, and implementing new ideas, a Mastermind may not be useful and, actually, could end up being a waste of your time, as well as a strain on your friendships.

Forming a Mastermind

If you are thinking about forming a Mastermind group, here are some suggestions from my personal experience, and some pitfalls to avoid:

  • Start with an “event.” As you invite people to participate, do not position this as a long-term commitment. Start with a singular event, which will be easier for people to accommodate. See how it goes, then decide if you want to go further.
  • Start small. Begin with a smaller group, four-five people. This way it will be easier to build chemistry. You can always add members, but is very difficult to remove someone from a group.
  • Invite like-minded people with striking differences. It probably makes sense for all of you to be in the same industry. Perhaps not. A Mastermind could be built around a shared interest or ambition. But if all the members have the same strengths, there won’t be as much value as could otherwise be “mined.” Intentionally select participants who bring diverse strengths or experience.
  • Create a structure or format. To ensure that you get the most benefit out of your limited time, create a structure for each person to share in a “timed” session, conversations around certain topics, and social excursions, such as meals and activities.
  • Everyone should get value. While you want to attract exceptional minds and talent, you need to ensure that everyone wins. If a particular member is consistently giving much and getting little in return, it will create discontent.
  • Emphasize accountability. Create the expectation that you will hold each other accountable for results. In any group, strength is built when promises are kept and results are demonstrated.

A Mastermind is not a group of dreamers. It’s a group of doers. While vision is essential, success is all about action. And with the right group of men and women supporting your success and holding you accountable, the pursuit of success can be far more rewarding and effective than going it alone.

  • Fred Moore says:

    I’ve been wanting to start/become part of a mastermind but never knew how to start one.

    Until now! Thanks Dan!

  • Tim Gard says:

    This is perfect Dan. As a small business owner for 20 years, without my mastermind group I would not be accountable to anyone and that can be deadly to any business. I’m a better man and better businessman because of our mastermind group.

  • Sean Glaze says:

    Dan –
    Terrific introduction to starting a mastermind group.
    I think the toughest part is choosing who to invite and include, as there is value in having people “ahead” of you, “similar to” you, and a bit “behind” you in different parts of their business development – but hearing the advice and perspectives of other ambitious people who will hold you accountable for taking action on the ideas you commit to sounds like a recipe for tremendous growth.

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