Ever since I shared my recent mastermind experience, people have asked me, “How can I find a mastermind to join or create one of my own?”
If you don’t know what a mastermind is, then find out how a mastermind can boost your career. Then come back here to find out how to join one or create your own.
A good mastermind group provides a supportive community where people share actionable ideas, give and get feedback, and encourage each other.
While people bring their challenges to discuss with the group, it’s not a complaints session. In fact, it’s the opposite – instead of dragging each other down under the weight of a gripe session, the mastermind group is about helping each other take positive action and holding each other accountable.
It’s also a mutual investment of time and attention. So, it’s not like a training session where the trainer does all the work while the “students” sit back and take notes. Everyone gives and gets value.
How to get involved in a mastermind
Join an existing mastermind
The simplest way to get involved is to join an existing mastermind. However, unless you’re an entrepreneur, this is easier said than done.
Most of the mastermind groups I’ve come across are of business owners who are eager to grow their businesses and therefore are happy to share ideas with others. It’s lonely at the top, and having a built-in support group like a mastermind is a gift – perhaps even a necessity.
But if you work in a corporation or other organization, it’s just as valuable – you may just have to look a little harder to find one. Here are a few ways to get started.
- The Success Alliance
This is a US site that has a list of mastermind groups which are US-centric. Hosts of mastermind groups pay a fee for this listing, which is at least one indication of how serious they are.
This online social networking portal facilitates offline group meetings in various locations around the world. They have a section for masterminds, although they seem to use the term loosely. In any case, the site does help people find and join groups that have a common interest, such as politics, books, movies, health, careers or hobbies. So even if you don’t find a ready-made mastermind group, you could use this to meet people who could be part of a mastermind you create.
- Ask around
Ask people you know if they've come across such groups. Having a referral can be helpful in identifying the right group for you, and also in becoming a member of a group that’s already formed.
- Search online
And of course, you could always do an Internet search, such as Googling “mastermind in [insert your location]” or “mastermind on [insert your area of interest]” or “how to find a mastermind near me” or something similar.
Create your own mastermind
If you decide to take matters into your own hands and create your own mastermind group, then you could simply invite 2-3 colleagues, friends or people you’ve met and been impressed with and get started.
All you need is a handful (or less) of people who have the mindset, aspirations and experiences that would make for a successful collaboration.
3 keys to a successful mastermind
When it comes to creating your own mastermind, the three keys to success are to have:
- The right people
- A shared purpose, and
- An agreed process
Let’s take a look at each one.
The right people
This is the most important part. For a mastermind to work, people need to feel like they’re among peers. People they trust, respect and can learn from. People they want to help. And people who are not directly competing with each other. That’s because most of the learning and discovery comes from fellow group members.
You also need to be able to create the right group dynamics. After all, interpersonal interactions are the way that value is delivered. So if you have someone who’s a jerk, it ruins the entire karma of the group and your mastermind won’t succeed.
And it’s important that your group members are complementary to each other, and not identical in the way they think and approach challenges. Otherwise, you won’t get many new ideas.
It’s a little like forming a book club. You start small in the beginning because it’s easier to add people than to kick someone out. And you choose people who have the same interest as you do in reading, but will bring a different perspective in the discussion about the book.
A shared purpose
You’ll also want to have a focus or theme for your mastermind group, which is what I mean by a shared purpose. For example, it could be that everyone is there to find ways to grow their businesses. Or navigate career challenges. Or build a second income stream alongside their full-time job.
The shared purpose works hand in hand with the choice of people in the group. So if it’s to navigate career challenges, you might want to select members who are all at a similar stage of their careers, but working (or looking for work) in different industry sectors. That way, no one’s competing head-to-head and everyone can support each other.
An agreed process
Once you’ve got the right people coming together around a shared purpose, you’ll need a process that everyone buys into and that helps the mastermind deliver on its promise.
Some of the key items when it comes to process include:
- When you’ll meet
For example, is it a weekly, monthly, or quarterly gathering? What time of day and for how long do you want to meet?
- Where you’ll meet
Will you rent a private room in a conference center, rotate around people’s homes, or at a coffee shop? Or will this be a virtual meeting on a video conference call (I like to use Zoom, and there’s also Skype and other platforms), which may be more practical if you’re in different locations? Or maybe it’s a combination?
- How many people
You can start with a small group of, say, 3 people. But then it’s useful to identify the minimum and maximum group size for the mastermind group itself. There’s no one right size, but keep in mind it’s the tradeoff between having the diversity of input that comes with a larger group versus the intimacy and relationship building that comes with a smaller group.
While I’ve seen groups as big as 50 succeed, I personally prefer something smaller where you can get to know each other better. And you’ll also want to decide what constitutes a quorum, which is the minimum number of people you need in order for it to make sense to go ahead with the meeting.
While each meeting will have its own specific agenda, it’s useful to have an overall framework for how your meetings will run. For example, you could have a slot for a particular topic that people want to cover that month, and then some time for “hot seats”, where the group focuses on one member’s challenge or issue and helps brainstorm solutions. You could also invite guest speakers.
- Free or fee
Masterminds can range from free to charging pretty high fees. For example, I’ve seen some with an entry fee of $50,000 a year! But before you fall off your chair, that one was for entrepreneurs with multi-million dollar businesses. Most of the fee-based masterminds charge far less. It all depends on the value proposition, the formality of the mastermind group, and the caliber of people.
The great thing about free groups is that they’re, well, free! But that can also mean people are less committed than if they’re paying to be part of it. And as in the case of the entrepreneur group, having an entry fee can also act as a way to help people self-select whether their business or career is sufficiently advanced for the mastermind group to make sense.
While a mastermind is a mutual group, it’s important to have someone in charge of the process, both during the meeting and in preparation for the meeting. The paid mastermind groups generally have someone who’s an experienced facilitator. And whatever the financial arrangements are, it makes a difference to have someone running the meeting and ensuring that all the logistics are taken care of.
Being in the right mastermind group can dramatically accelerate your progress, whether it’s in your business, your career or another aspect of your life.
Whether you want to join an existing mastermind or create one of your own, it’s up to you to take the next step.
It’s simplest to start out by looking for an existing mastermind group to join. Since these groups come in all shapes and sizes, it’s best to approach your search as an opportunity to test out the concept and experiment with what’s out there already.
If you’ve searched but still haven’t found one that suits you, then it may be time to create one of your own. In which case, make sure you focus on the three key success factors:
- choose the right people
- identify a shared purpose, and
- agree on the process.
And remember, it’s best to start small and build up gradually.
Finding or creating a mastermind can take some effort, but it’s well worth it when you get it right.
So here’s my question to you:
If you’re intrigued by the benefits of being in a mastermind, what would be the shared purpose or focus for the mastermind that would interest you most?
Leave a comment to let me know.