Denise Brosseau - Building Well-Connected Leaders
Why I have a Mastermind Group…
Last October, I was invited by my friend Sam Horn to join a mastermind group . Sam is a world-class writer, speaker and book coach and also one of the people I most admire for her brilliant dedication to the success of others. A few years ago, I recommended her to be the pitch coach for the Springboard venture conferences, and I have watched her work her magic helping these women entrepreneurs succinctly and compellingly tell their stories in order to raise funding for their businesses. Sam is also my mentor, so when she let me know she and Mary LoVerde were starting a mastermind group, I was thrilled to be invited to join.
Since October, the group has met in person in Colorado and DC and spoken by phone regularly. In a few weeks, they will all be staying with me in Silicon Valley, and several of us will be speaking at the Invent Your Future Conference. In the months since we came together, we have supported each other in starting blogs, writing book proposals and crafting business plans. We have also taken the time to celebrate the birth of a grandchild, the beginning of an adoption process and the completion of a home renovation. The group has become a safe place for me to let my hair down and ask tough questions - about my clients, my business and my dreams for the future. It has also been a learning experience and a place where I can share my expertise and learn from the experiences of other wise women.
If you have never heard of a mastermind group, I believe the concept began to gain traction with the publication of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich in the 1930’s. Being part of a mastermind group was listed as one of Hill’s 16 success principles, based on his 20 years of interviews with the men of his time who had achieved great wealth. By combining several great minds together, Hill’s research showed, mastermind groups create an even greater possibility of each member’s success than when individuals work in isolation.
When I joined Sam and Mary’s mastermind group, I had no idea what to expect – none of us did. But as we continue to meet, we explore new ideas, together, about what this group can be and how we can best support each other. We have invited guests to our meetings – including an Enneagram master, a speaker coach and a dance instructor, and each have enriched our shared experience. We have hosted dinners and cheese tastings in each other’s honor, held meditation sessions, created dream boards and shared our favorite massage therapists. It has all far exceeded my expectations.
If anyone had asked me if I had time to fit one more thing in my life last year, I would have said no. I travel a lot for my work and I have a lot of board meetings and volunteer activities, on top of my clients and speaking engagements. But I know that the mastermind group has been one of the highlights of the last 6 months and I am eager to see what unfolds for the next six months we are committed to meeting. I would welcome you to consider forming your own mastermind group. If you do, here is my top 10 list of things to consider to make sure it is successful.
- Pick members who can leave their egos at the door. This is all about US not all about YOU.
- Set aside time to get together in person, even if it’s every 2-3 months, rather than relying only on phone meetings. Its far easier to create shared experiences when you have time to let your hair down and don’t have a fixed deadline.
- Variety is good – you don’t need a fixed meeting structure or agenda that stays the same each time.On the other hand, you do need some structure – in our case we make sure that everyone gets at least 15-45 minutes each time we get together to share their ideas and get input from others.
- Share the burden of organizing and leading the group – we rotate each call and each meeting so that a different person is in charge each time.
- Set guidelines/expectations up front. We set a norm that everyone would prioritize questions/emails/calls from other members of the group and this responsiveness had made the group work.
- Have fun together. We make sure to play, as well as work, when we get together.
- Confidentiality. I can’t stress this enough. You need to create a safe space among the group and this begins with confidentiality.
- Honor each other’s resistance to change. I have been surprised at the breakthroughs we have achieved because we’ve been able to talk about and support each other in overcoming our own resistance to whatever obstacles we have faced. No guilt, no pressure, just support and listening.
If you want to learn more about mastermind groups, I welcome you to be in touch with me!
- Celebrate each other’s successes. It is amazing how fast that incredible achievement you’ve been working towards can lose its luster when you don’t have someone to celebrate it with you. I have found my mastermind group is really happy to celebrate my achievements with me, which makes them all the more meaningful.
Posted by Denise Brosseau on 4th April, 2011 | Comments
Tags: Mastermind, Sam Horn, Mary LoVerde
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