“Without doubt, the most common weakness of all human beings is the habit of leaving their minds open to the negative influence of other people.” – Napoleon Hill

Mastermind groups have been around for centuries. Many people attribute the popularity of the mastermind to Napoleon Hill’s classic book Think and Grow Rich. Hill studied the richest men of the early 1900’s, and wrote the book as part of his research. One of the common practices of those wealthy men was that they all took part in a mastermind, helping each other solve problems and move forward in their goals.

These days, women, creatives, and right-brain entrepreneur types are designing new models of the mastermind – and the results are even more powerful and holistic than the masterminds of the early 20th century. As someone who is self-employed, an artist, an entrepreneur, and often alone – I’m a huge fan of this model (in addition to coaching) because it connects me with like-minded people.

Otherwise, it’s just too easy to get isolated and stuck. And grouchy!

But what exactly is a mastermind? And how do you know if it’s for you?

Below are six elements of a mastermind group. This will give you an idea of how they work and whether or not you’d like to form a mastermind, or join one.

1 – A Mastermind moves you forward.

Support groups are wonderful because they can help heal a trauma or addiction. A mastermind group, however, is not a support group.

A mastermind is about moving you forward and helping you achieve a dream or a goal. Even if the goal is simply “an authentic happy life,” the mastermind group is about forward motion, not healing the past. This is why many people who try to form casual masterminds wind up disappointed. To sustain forward movement, all members have to hold that level of energy, and set an intention to keep that momentum! This is not always an easy task!

2 – A Mastermind Group is about positive mindsets. Whining is not an option!

In a Mastermind, each person gets an allotted amount of time to present her vision to the group. The person presents her current goals, dreams, and, of course, challenges. She might shed some tears, as this is a natural expression of energy release. But there is little room for whining or staying stuck. Some mastermind groups allow for a five-minute whining period. But then the focus moves back into getting unstuck. Mindsets are a huge part of the mastermind.

3 – A Mastermind Group is not about making sure you’re comfortable.

When you join a Mastermind group, you know it’s not going to be about hanging out in your comfort zone. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons people want to take part in a Mastermind! They know that success rarely comes from inside their comfort zones. Masterminds are effective because they require you to expand beyond your old limits.

4 – A Mastermind Group holds you accountable.

My Conscious Creative Platinum Coaching and Mastermind Group will meet in person three times this year. After our first meeting in April, it became clear that not one of these women will show up for the next meeting without having accomplished the next steps of her dreams and goals. That’s because group energy is powerful.

The group is a “team.” Team spirit is contagious. And there’s wisdom in accountability!

5 – A Mastermind generates ideas and resources.

When a circle of people gives their full attention to one person and her dreams, all kinds ideas are generated. Resources and connections are often discovered in the process. This is a huge benefit to taking part in any group.

6 – There is a mystical quality to the Mastermind.

If I neglected to mention the mystical, I would be hiding a major element of the Mastermind. Napoleon Hill put it this way: “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, the intention of the group creates a higher intelligence that is guiding the group and moving it forward. I don’t discuss this much, but I have felt it in my Platinum group, as well as in the Mastermind group led by my coach. The awareness of this “third” mind helps me trust that even when things get uncomfortable or scary for me or one of the participants – there is something bigger happening.

25 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Skannie

    This sounds very similar to Barbara Sher’s “Success Team” concept. She has an international network of registered Success Team leaders who organise and lead official Success Team programmes. They usually continue under their own steam after the initial programme is completed.

    There are also Success Teams by Phone for people who are on the move or don’t have a team leader in their locality.

    And Barbara encourages people to form their own unofficial success teams if those options aren’t suitable. You can find more information at http://www.barbarasher.com

  • Maria Keiser

    Great article, glad to hear your group is utilizing the mastermind concept the way it was intended. Not only does a Peer Advisory Group/Mastermind help you to brainstorm ideas, but I also like to think of it as preventative medicine. Learning from your peers gives you access to their experiences and helps you to avoid making the mistakes your fellow peers have already made. You do have to leave your comfort zone at the door, but the experience is so powerful that you wouldn’t have it any other way. If you are looking to create or join a group make sure it has the following:

    1. Commitment from all members
    2. Confidentiality agreement
    3. Meeting agenda (keeps you moving forward, eliminates the whining)
    4. Pre-Set schedule (avoids unnecessary admin and helps keep the group committed)
    5. Group Charter/Consititution

    Thank you for the opportunity to share.

  • Candyman

    Christine;
    One of my mastermind sent me this link. Yes, they are powerful!! We come up with thousands of ideas (some not so grand). I usally spend more time thinking of the other members business than my own. These people know more about me and my business than my wife. We are in always looking for opportunities for each other. I am truley blessed to have these folks. We are a strange combination, we have Do it yourself art studio, a farm, a jeweler and a chocolate shop owner.

  • kathreen

    Mastermind Groups work. Plain and simple. Personal experience has showed this to me over and over and over again. Here are just a few things/beliefs that I have been granted through the power of a supportive group: a good home – owned, a new and beloved career – photography, a change of attitude/heart of a partner – husband finally agreeing to me singing again because it’s a big part of me, hiring an excellent housekeeper who helps makes all these possible. Imagine this: PRE-mastermind I was depressed, living in a 2-bedroom tiny apartment w/ ogre+tormentor husband and 3 kids and jobless and nannyless. (Read:In.The.Dumps) POST-Mastermind: see above achieved goals. Oh did I mention all this came to pass in less than 1.5 years total? Thanks Christine, for reminding me to get the MM Group together again as we’ve mostly gotten our goals from the first planning. Time to set new ones!

  • Eileen Keane

    Christine,
    I have spoken to many of my friends about Mastermind groups. Not a single one is interested. What do you do in this situation? I was going to join BNI but couldn’t afford it.

  • marian

    I’m in Uk and game!

  • Julie

    Christine, similar to Martina, I hope you don’t mind me using your blog to try to connect with some like-minded people.

    Would any of the UK based ‘postees’ consider trying this? It would be completely new territory for me, but I’m very willing to give it a go. Julie

  • Christine Kane

    martina – i hope you find some like-minded people! let us know!

    erin – yes i’ll write about this.

  • Martina

    Sorry, Christine, I hope you don´t mind, I just use your forum to send a call to Germany asking for like mindet people:

    Wenn jemand aus Deutschland das liest und weiß worum es hier geht, melde sich bitte bei mir. ich habe es ziemlich satt für mich allein zu sein in dieser Welt in der sich die meisten ihr Leben den miesen Nachrichten entsprechend ausrichten.
    Es muss doch auch in Deutschland Menschen/Künstler geben, die noch ihre eigenen Gedanken denken. Bis bald?

  • Erin S

    I’m also interested in forming a group, but I’m not sure where to start. I look forward to hearing your suggestions, Christine.

  • Marie

    Great post – very encouraging, since I work with negative people, to be reminded that positive ones exist!

    This is my big question – I’m confused about pushing outside of the comfort zone. Do I have to do it all the time – and with things that I really don’t want to do at all, simply to say that I pushed outside of my comfort zone? Is it too boring and comfortable to push forward in the area I want to master? Example – let’s say I want to write a play. Is it too predictable and safe to push myself in writing – should I be skydiving and quitting my day job too (just to show how radical and extreme I am)? I see the merit in this advice – but how much is enough? One could easy push too much, just to claim that one pushed at all (and that seems very silly).

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks all! I’ve gotten some questions via email and twitter and facebook about how to start a mastermind and make something happen – I’ll ponder this and see if I can write a post about how I first did it.

  • Ana

    Hello Christine:
    Good to your post. Thanks for the explanation I had heard about this mastermind, but it was not wise either. This is enriching. I like the idea organizes me to implement it, create a group where the motivation to flow to all components of the group. Great. Thank you very much this has been inspiring.

  • Sukie Curtis

    Sounds great, Christine. I’m part of a small intentional circle of women, but we are more of a general-focus group. A group focused on dreams and goals and helping to support its members and keep them moving…that sounds powerful! I do know how amazing “group spirit” can be!

    Sukie

  • Giulietta

    Hi Christine,

    Thanks for highlighting the amazing mastermind and Mr. Hill’s book. I need to reread it! Amazing that we are returning to ideas from the late 30’s. He knew the score. The collective energy really works! Am in a small on-line one and it’s great!

    thx

    G.

  • Pidge

    Wow — thanks Christine for this post. I’d heard of Mastermind groups before, but never quite understood what exactly they were. Now that I have your eloquent explanation, I too am thinking “Hey, how do I start/join one of these?” If anyone else here is in the San Francisco Bay Area and is interested — drop me a line. pidgemeade@yahoo.com

  • Lilly

    I have been looking for something like this all my life, I just never realized what it was exactly or ever thought to create it! I seem to be the one with energy for others and their dreams, and I push them forward, not letting them sink back into their comfort zones or let go of a goal.

    But in the last year, I’ve really craved having someone there for me in that capacity to help me with my dreams, which are abundant. A whole group of these people would be unreal! It’s hard to find that in friends who aren’t ready to look or move forward.

    This post seems to be about organizing a group of “Extreme Encouragers”. I’m all for it.

    And there are no coincidences – I was meant to read this post today! Thank you, Christine.

  • Jen Osborn

    What is the best way to find or start a Mastermind group? I’m ready to take this next step and I think it would not only be beneficial to me, but that I have a lot to give to such a group!

  • Mary Miller

    I truly feel (I can’t believe I’m gonna say this)….outstanding in my field (ALONE) as a comedian/wannabe songwriter living on my farm in Ohio. The isolation can be daunting, and all I end up with is a bumper crop of frustration in my field of dreams. My sweetie is a songwriter and just naturally very funny, and he’s working with me on songwriting-but he’s not into masterminding. The practice of coming together to affirm & encourage in a mastermind group is so powerful, and the mystical element is just…well…downright incredible-it’s great to have your mastermind partners to call up and do the “girl scream” with as your (and their) dreams are manifested. Anyone in the Columbus, Ohio area interested in getting together? :)Thanks Christine, for raising the awareness of masterminding. Reading you blogs truly helps me to feel less isolated, as I feel you have created a creative community here. Thanks also, to all you fellow members of the community-I gain new insights from your comments, too.

  • Laura

    Mastermind groups work at so many levels to move its members forward. I wonder if any of the guilds from the Middle Ages had “mastermind” qualities. Or were the artists’ studios like mastermind groups. Just wunderin’.

  • Leslie

    YES, it’s definitely for me! I have worked on my own mind throughout my life and it becomes clearer and clearer to me how much better I do when I have a group. On my own, I too easily fall back into less-than-productive thinking patterns. With the energy of a positive, like-minded group and the insight of a coach or teacher, I remember what’s possible and keep moving forward into it.

  • PPP

    I too live in the UK – I would love to be part of one!!!

  • Allison

    Also in the UK and not heard about it before. Sounds powerful.

  • Julie

    Wow! This post is so appropriate for me as I sit down at my PC to pen another essay – feeling isolated and alone. I’m not aware of this Mastermind support being so common in the UK, however, it has really given me food for thought to seek one out or create one and I will let you know the outcome. Thank you so much.