I’ve written about Mastermind groups for writers before and they can be wonderful.
Now I want to introduce you to the group I’m currently in. It’s different because the makeup of the group is different. Instead of being aimed at writers, each of the five members has a different sort of business.
I’m, of course the writer and I also do whole life coaching. Carol is an interior designer who also practices Reiki. Frederic is a poet, a photographer and a healer. Claudia is a substantial editor for academics and book writers. And Cait, one of the founding members, is a safety engineer who is part owner of the Aspen Risk Management Group.
Mastermind groups vary widely
Mastermind groups come in a wide variety of purposes and formats. Although I found great value in meeting with other writers, I find even more meeting with a wider variety of folks. In our case each of us is self-employed.
We came together originally because three of us belonged to another type of group and decided we wanted to work a bit more deeply. Since then we’ve invited others and two of them have stuck for quite awhile.
What I’ve noticed over time is that we all have the same basic problems or challenges. The most prevalent is how to successfully market our services. As you can see, some of us have websites, others don’t. Of the two that don’t, one is considering resurrecting an old one and the other has begun defining the kind of site they want.
But marketing isn’t our only topic.
We’ve talked about how to kick our creativity in gear when we find ourselves in a slump. We’ve asked for support for better eating and exercise habits. We’ve consulted with each other about the best software and computer equipment. We’ve comforted each other when there’s been a death in a family and celebrated when new babies are born.
How we organize our group
One of the things that distinguishes Mastermind groups from many other kinds of groups is that each one has a purpose and a format. Our purpose is to “Support each other in our businesses and life.”
We meet in a coffee shop and after we’ve all got our beverages and have settled at our table one of us asks, often me, “Who has wins they want to report?” Someone volunteers to start, and one by one each of us talks briefly about our wins for the week just past – how did we win in business and life. Our shares often include a bit about our success with the things we said we would accomplish the week before. Opening with wins seems to set the positive tone we want.
Another way we differ is that we don’t time our speaking, although if we grow much we may have to.
Next, we open it up
When the wins are complete we open it up. Generally the question is “Who has something they’d like help with?”
One person states a problem, issue or situation they’ve got they’d like to hear suggestions about. We’ve handled everything from how to invoice to how to be sure we actually get the invoices out. Problem clients are often the topic, with solid suggestions made by everyone. Occasionally someone will ask about a personal situation. We allow that because as entrepreneurs who love what we offer the world it’s sometimes impossible to separate the personal from the professional – or that separation feels false.
Sometimes we have time for a second topic, often not.
Before the meeting ends we go around the table one last time and each of us speaks what we want to get done, to be accountable for, in the week to come. Most of us find this truly helpful.
Our agenda looks like this:
- Problem solving
It’s simple and it works well for us.
Mastermind groups set their own purpose and agenda. We meet for an hour and a half – others meet for longer or shorter times. Some prefer the more formal atmosphere of a conference room, others like us enjoy coffee shops.
If you’d like to start a Mastermind you can find all sorts of information on the web. Or you could adopt our methods and format and see how they work. My advice is two fold:
- Do it
- Keep it simple
Write well, often and set up your own Mastermind group
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash