You've often heard you are the average of those closest to you and that you should guard who you associate with, but there's an even more active way to level up your personal and professional life, and that's by joining a mastermind group. It is, in a way, a gift that keeps on giving because it thrives on the generosity of each individual member.
What is a mastermind group?
Popularized by Napoleon Hill in his famous book Think and Grow Rich, a mastermind is a group of individuals who come together regularly (either in person or virtually) in order to discuss important personal or business issues and get differing perspectives to help make the best decisions, and/or to change habits and routines from negative ones to positive ones.
Well the benefits are obvious to business owners, who may already have an informal "advisory board" who they meet with at regular intervals to review financials and to discuss the direction of the business. In addition to answering specific questions about challenges in your business or proposed marketing or sales campaigns, a mastermind can offer you:
a) Accountability. You're going to write an e-book or launch a new campaign, eh? Well, when you tell others whose job it is to help keep you accountable, you'll find that extra bit of motivation to get something done that you don't have when you don't have accountability partners.
b) Camaraderie. Entrepreneurship isn't a rose garden. It's hard, and often we simply need someone to talk to - and not someone like our staff or direct reports. Interestingly, it's in these sorts of "venting" sessions that some creative solutions are discovered.
c) New ideas. You never know what ideas will birth from the cross-pollination of like-minded people sharing their triumphs and disappointments. Because you are in a safe and trusted environment, you allow yourself to be a bit more daring and vulnerable with your brainstorming.
We have some Mastermind groups limited to alumni from The Art of Charm programs, but I spoke to some friends who I know are in their own masterminds, and here are some of their thoughts:
It gets me out of my own head, and refreshes my perspective by hearing what others are doing in their businesses.
I originally joined for the accountability, but I stayed for the fellowship, fighting entrepreneurial loneliness, and all the great insights and ideas I've gotten.
There are many mastermind groups out there, but two that I know of, because I've interviewed the founders on The Art of Charm podcast, are the Iron Council and Dynamite Circle.
The Iron Council is run by Ryan Michler, and focuses on becoming the best man you can be personally and professionally through a large group of about 300 men, further broken down into smaller "battle teams" of 12. It's a very active group built around learning and reading books, physical and personal challenges, and personal accountability.
The Dynamite Circle (DC) is for location independent entrepreneurs and features a forum, frequented by the likes of Derek Sivers of CDBaby fame, as well as a "Mastermind Rush" that happens twice a year when the team gathers applications and helps craft a mastermind group. The DC is filled with seasoned entrepreneurs, so if you're just starting out, the guys behind it have another way for you to get into a mastermind group (it's currently closed to new applicants, but if you click through you can get on a waiting list for when registration opens again)