What is a mastermind group? No, we’re not talking about a secret hoard of evildoers out to take over the world. A mastermind group is simply an alliance of two or more individuals dedicating themselves to a specific goal.
Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, first defined the mastermind as a “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
Hill’s concept of the “Master Mind” was inspired by Andrew Carnegie, wealthy steel magnate. According to Hill:
“Mr. Carnegie’s Master Mind group consisted of a staff of approximately fifty men, with whom he surrounded himself, for the DEFINITE PURPOSE of manufacturing and marketing steel. He attributed his entire fortune to the POWER he accumulated through this ‘Master Mind.’”
Since the publication of Think and Grow Rich in the 1937, the idea of mastermind groups has grown and evolved to become a staple tool of successful individuals.
The benefits of having a supportive mastermind group are plenty:
1.You have a group of people available to help you succeed.
2.You get the benefit of differing perspectives, input and feedback.
3.Your mastermind team can bring resources and connections to the table you might not have had on your own.
4.You receive accountability and inspiration from the group, thus enabling you to maintain focus in achieving your goals.
Napoleon Hill even went so far as to say there was a mystical quality created when a mastermind group was formed. He said: “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”
In other words, your ability to create things in the world is increased by having that invisible “third mind” of the mastermind group.
Creating a mastermind group does not necessarily require 50 men, as Carnegie used. Your mastermind group can be as small as two people and as big as your ability to coordinate it.
There are two basic types of mastermind groups: One which is focused on the success and vision of one individual, and one that is focused on helping everyone in the group.
The mastermind group Carnegie had was solely directed at his personal vision. The 50 men in the group were not all there to discuss their own projects. They were all focused on one main goal: the building of a steel empire.
This is actually the classical definition of a mastermind group, and creating one isn’t as hard as you might think.
To create a mastermind group that is dedicated to helping you achieve your personal goals, you can simply reach out to people in your network and explain to them that you are seeking their help as an advisor and part of your mastermind team. Consider this your own personal board of directors.
You’d be surprised at how willing many people are to help when asked, since it is an honor to be asked for an advice or an opinion. You don’t necessarily need to meet with your entire team in person in a formal setting. You might chat with each individually on the phone, or set up an email discussion list.
Thomas Leonard, considered by many to be the founder of modern day personal coaching, used to set up what he called “R&D teams” for his projects (R&D stands for “research and development). These R&D teams he created consisted entirely of email lists where he would throw out ideas and projects for group feedback. Through this process, he was able to create a thriving coaching community at Coachville.com.
No-one was paid to be a part of Leonard’s R&D teams, but they were quite popular because they gave the members a sense of contribution and ownership in the projects.
The second type of mastermind group is one where all members of the group are meeting to support one another in achieving a goal. These types of groups are everywhere, but aren’t always named mastermind groups. An Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is a form of a mastermind group, where the members get together to support each other in their sobriety.
More often, when someone mentions that a mastermind group is forming, they mean a group dedicated to success and achievement. You can create a group that is led by a facilitator (sometimes paid), or a group that is run by members. These groups can meet in person, over a telephone conference line, or even in online chat rooms.
Finally, don’t forget that your friends and family can become a mastermind support system for you. (Unfortunately, the reverse is also true – negative friends and family can equally drag you down, so be careful.) If you don’t have the time to start or join a formal mastermind group, you might be lucky enough to find a good friend to share your successes with. Such a friend is one who unconditionally supports you and isn’t covertly blocking your progress through their own jealousies and insecurities.
Such friends are hard to find sometimes, but if you can get one, consider yourself quite lucky.
However you create a mastermind support system for yourself, consider it an essential part of your success plan. As Napoleon Hill said:
“Analyze the record of any man who has accumulated a great fortune, and many of those who have accumulated modest fortunes, and you will find that they have either consciously, or unconsciously employed the ‘Master Mind’ principle.”