How to Start a Mastermind Group

I am always preaching the value of a mastermind group. I assume that everyone knows what I mean and how to do it. After getting a lot of questions I have decided to explain what it is and how to build one.

A mastermind group was a term coined by Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich. It is the first book anyone should read if they are interested in personal development. A mastermind group is a group of like minded people that want to get better at something be it finances, business, relationship with spouse, personal development, personal enrichment, spiritual growth, health, or anything else you can think of. Some can be set up to encourage growth in all areas like personal success or it can be set up to focus a singe topic like social media.It is not set in stone. There are also many ways to set it up.

If you have ever tried to get better at something you most likely have encountered the naysayers. You know, the ones that always make excuses why you cannot do it, why you have some special circumstance that makes you able to do it, or tell you how bad of an idea it is. It is hard to find support when you are trying to change. That is why the mastermind is a good idea, they will support you through the personal improvements.

Don’t think the mastermind group just pats you on the back, they will also question you when you are making bad decisions, and will push you further if they do not think you are pushing hard enough. They will also hold you accountable. It is hard to meet with them and tell them you slacked off, so you are more likely to get things done.

To create a mastermind group I recommend that you choose 2-5 like minded people. Then you explain to them what a mastermind group is (some of the haters will claim you are in a cult). If they are interested first decide how often you want to meet (my group meets once a week). Next work together to decide on a time and place to meet (my group meets at the Starbucks in Barnes and Noble). There is even the option to meet over the internet for free using Skype. It is important that everybody is committed to the group. There is value from meeting but the greatest value is when meet quite a few times with the same people. You will start to synergize and that is really when you can help each other.

Next you need to work together to come up with a format. You can use Dan Miller’s format where they discuss a topic or book each time, you can use my group’s format (we first go over wins for the previous week, and then challenges for the following week and all through out we are offering help and advice), or you can find another format through a Google search.

Another thing I recommend is that the people in the group are not too much like you. You need diversity to help you grow and see what else is out there.

The above rules are not set in stone so change them if you need to.

The dark side of the mastermind:

Be careful that the meetings do not turn into gripe sessions. The goal is to be encouraging, lift everybody up, and offer support. It is okay to question other’s ideas but don’t do it to tear others down. It should be to make the everyone better or learn more about what they are doing. The benefits from the group come over a long period. Don’t expect you get all the secrets after the first meeting. This meeting is not to sell your product or service to the rest of the group. Finally, if you go to the group expecting to gossip and complain expect the group to quickly give you a solution to the problem (this goes back to gripe fest).

Need to understand:

Understand that you are not always right, be willing to learn and understand others. Be willing bring in others with differing backgrounds or opinions to add more value to the group. Be willing to kick bad members out. This can be hard but will keep the group dynamic from getting broken. Be willing to accept new members (but keep the numbers under 10 or it will be hard to manage). Also, I strongly recommend that you stick to a set time so it forces you to give priority to the main topics and not go on tangents.

My group has been meeting for just over a year and 3 members have either taken significant promotions or have significantly increased their business while belonging to the group. Our members keep changing and the meeting style and group relation has been growing with new insight form the members.

So go start a mastermind group.

7 Replies on “How to Start a Mastermind Group

  1. I know we talked about this a while back at lunch. I think it’s a great idea. Hopefully I’ll have much more time freedom in the not-too-distant future and I’ll be able to participate in your group. Good stuff.

  2. I love this, Josh! Over the past few years I’ve been trying to find a way to bring it to more people (now that I finally have it figured out). The beta group has been going great and we’re launching a pilot group in a few weeks.

    1. Thanks Justin,
      I am learning that these groups can go through seasons and how relationships can affect the group. Right now my weekly group has deteriorated but we are going to revive it from the existing members. A mastermind group has to be intentional, it will not just happen.

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