The Power of Connection: Creating a Mastermind Group (Part 4)

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ Jim Rohn

Is that thought energizing or terrifying? There was a time when that notion absolutely terrified me. I was surrounded by stressed-out pessimists who had developed unhealthy habits and constantly complained. And yes, I was one of those people.

Today, the idea that I might be the average of the five people I spend the most time with makes my heart sing! I am surrounded by friends and colleagues who are smart, generous and supportive. At the very core of this network is my mastermind group.

Mastermind groups take many different shapes and forms. But as a general rule, members of a mastermind group challenge and support each other, they identify goals and hold each other accountable, they brainstorm ideas and solutions and create a safe place for solopreneurs to get the support and encouragement they need. Professional groups are usually led by a coach or facilitator who is responsible for keeping the meetings on track, holding the members accountable and managing the logistics. Another model—the one I’ll be talking about here—is a shared leadership model that is co-created by the members of the group.

We are So Much Better Together

Something powerful happens when solopreneurs come together to support and encourage one another. Connections are made. Collaborative projects are created. Friendships develop. Walls are broken down.

A mastermind group will challenge you to grow in ways you never expected. It creates a safe place, where you have to be willing to be vulnerable. It lets you show up and share where you are stuck, where you doubt yourself, where you feel like a fraud. There is no one person in charge and there are no one-size-fits-none answers.

A mastermind group will hold you accountable. Those in your group can see you—your strengths, your challenges and your potential. They will support you as you explore and discover your voice and whatever it is that makes you shine. A mastermind group is about much more than business; it gives you the confidence to trust yourself so that you can step into your greatness.

5 Steps to Creating a Thriving Mastermind Group

This series started with a discussion about where to find good connections, how to build your relationships, and how to maintain those relationships. Here, I’ll give you a few suggestions for turning the best of those relationships into a mastermind group.

Step 1: Identify Your Personal Goals. Why do you want to start a mastermind group?  It’s important to have a good idea of what you’re looking to accomplish by putting together a mastermind group, but I also recommend that you hold that vision gently. Allow it to grow and be willing to be surprised.

Step 2: Recruit Members. As you start building relationships with other business owners, you’ll find some you just enjoy being around. Conversations will start where you both share experiences and offer each other support and encouragement. These are the people you want to recruit for your mastermind group. Don’t worry if their businesses are radically different—different businesses offer different perspectives. But also don’t worry if you have more than one person in the same business. When you’re ready, bring the group together. You can either start meeting as a mastermind immediately, or test the water a bit by getting the group together informally first.

Step 3: Nail Down the Logistics. When and where will you meet? It’s important to have the meetings scheduled several months in advance and to get those meetings in your calendar. How long will the meetings last? How often will you meet? Will there be a limit on the number of people in the group? How are new people added? What will the agenda look like? Will there be food? How long will each person have to speak and share? How will you stay connected between meetings? Will you have a private Facebook group as well? And will meetings be in person or online?

Step 4: Name Your Group. There is power in a name; a sense of identity that can be shared by all the members of a group. The very best names capture the personality of the group and each of its members. Choosing the name is both a creative and informative act.

Step 5: Stay Flexible. Hold your vision for your group lightly, because things will inevitably change over time. And no matter how much you plan for it in advance, there will be changes that surprise you. You may change the agenda around entirely or end up changing your meeting schedule. Staying flexible allows your group to grow well beyond your own vision into something even more powerful.

A mastermind group is an incredibly powerful tool for solopreneurs, but it should also be fun. If you want to have a truly deep relationship with your fellow mastermind members, get together socially. Go to dinner. Take in a show. Do something completely different that stretches your comfort zones. The tighter the bonds are in the group, the greater the chance of longevity.

This week, take a look at your local connections and identify a few people you think might be good members of a mastermind group. Start introducing them to each other and plan to get together for dinner in the next couple of months. Please share your questions, tips and experiences in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Photo Credit: Reuben Whitehouse

About Erica Holthausen

Erica Holthausen is the Chief Instigator behind the Honest Marketing Revolution and creator of the 10 Steps to Honest Marketing. As a marketing mentor, she works with solopreneurs and microbusinesses to help them fall in love with sales and marketing so they can help more people while building thriving, life-sustaining businesses. She believes marketing is an integral part of how you serve the world. Sound good? Sign up for her email newsletter and join the revolution!