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What is a mastermind group?
There are two main styles of groups that use this name.
1) a peer model in which a group of people in a similar circumstance with a similar perspective meets for mutual benefit and support of each other's goals.
2) a teacher/trainer model in which an expert offers an intensive learning experience to a defined group of students.
These groups can be free or paid, have a dynamic or flexible membership, and be defined in time, or open-ended.
Where did the term "mastermind" come from, anyway?
In 1937, Napoleon Hill published a book entitled Think and Grow Rich. His intention was to help those who had lost their fortunes in the Depression and World War II. In it, he told the story of Henry Ford suing the Chicago Tribune for libel. As Napoleon Hill tells it, Ford was unable to let the accusation of "ignorant idealist" go unanswered. The Tribune's lawyers questioned him rigorously in their attempt to establish his ignorance beyond a shadow of a doubt. In Hill's telling, Ford manages to gain the upper hand when he loses his patience and replies:
If I should really want to answer the foolish question you have just asked or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting all of my efforts. Now will you kindly tell me why I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge for the purpose of being able to answer questions when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?
Hill took this idea and reshaped it, suggesting that every person could benefit from participating in a group of people gathering to answer each other's questions and support each other's endeavors. He termed this idea a Master Mind group, a team of people pooling their intelligence, expertise and ideas to help each other meet their goals and ideals.
How do I decide what kind of mastermind to join?
This depends entirely on what you're looking for. Questions to consider include:
Do I want a teacher to follow? In the teacher/trainer model you're learning to duplicate your chosen expert's approach. If you want this kind of guidance, your next step is finding the expert you want to learn from. If you're charting your own path, a peer model is likely a better choice for you.
Do I want to learn from other group members and share what I have to offer? If you want to create reciprocal relationships where you are willing to share your experience and expertise, the peer model is probably a great choice for you. If you want to focus your energy on learning and applying concepts, a teacher/trainer model will likely be a better fit.
Do I want to meet new people all the time or get to know a smaller number in depth? Both peer and teacher/trainer models can offer open or closed groups. An open group is made up of whoever shows up to that particular meeting. Sometimes paid groups offer multiple meeting times and though you choose to always attend Mondays at 4pm, others might attend whichever meeting fits into their schedule that particular week. If you prefer to work with a variety of people, look for open meetings or multiple options to choose from. If you'd rather go deep with a few people, look for a closed group that meets at a consistent time with a pre-determined group of people.
Should I pay to join a group? Paid memberships mean that your fellow participants are more invested in the group. Those who have paid a meaningful fee are more likely to put effort into getting their investment back out. This means they're more likely to attend meetings regularly, more likely to engage fully in the conversations, and more likely to act on what they're learning. If you're looking to create momentum in your pursuits, consider looking for a group that has a meaningful fee.
Does the group need a facilitator? A facilitator helps you get the most from the group. Facilitators ensure the conversation is productive, that the time is not dominated by one particularly talkative member, and that everyone is able to participate. Often, the facilitator will take notes for the group as well.
Why do mastermind groups have applications? And why do the applications ask nosy questions?
The magic in a mastermind group is the combination of people involved and that combination can only be created by learning about potential participants. In a teacher/trainer model, the expert is looking for those that will best benefit from their particular expertise. In a peer model, the questions help ensure the participants will be able to help each other because they're working through similar challenges.
Questions about revenue and funding are great examples of this. If one applicant's revenue is six figures and another is pre-revenue, they likely won't have a peer relationship. Instead the six-figure earner will be put in the teacher position. Alternately, if an entrepreneur is self-funded they have different goals and expectations than those with VC funding. Participants with these differences would be best served in separate groups where they can be amongst their peers.
What makes a mastermind good?
There are as many answers to this as participants involved. However, for many people, those answers include:
structure and focus during meetings
opportunity to both offer and receive resources, ideas, strategies & solutions
receiving and offering unmitigated support toward goals
having a group of people cheering on your success, however you've chosen to define it.
a consistent group of engaged participants.
How do I join Mastermind for Women Entrepreneurs?
1. Read through the group information here to ensure this is the group for you.
2. Carefully check the dates to ensure you can make them all.
3. Fill out the application information here.