“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”
Today, we talk about the most valuable weapon in your arsenal—the power of the mastermind.
Great success never comes solely on the back of one’s own efforts. Think about some of the most iconic business leaders on the planet:
- Iconic tech mogul Jeff Bezos (what a difference 20 years makes) does not pick and pack the orders at Amazon;
- Renegade businessman Elon Musk does not insert the battery pack for Tesla vehicles, nor does he design the pressurized capsule for SpaceX rockets; and
- Spanx founder Sara Blakely, the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, does not cut and sew her shapewear garments.
Bezos, Musk and Blakely are undoubtedly brilliant in their respective fields and were quite literally hands-on when their companies launched, but their most valuable—and by far the most underrated— attribute is their ability to build a team of inspired individuals who align with their values, believe in their mission, and commit to making their shared dreams a reality. Their own contributions were just the tip of the iceberg.
When efforts toward a common purpose are aligned, the results are amplified exponentially. Napoleon Hill believed this principle to be so valuable that he dedicated an entire chapter to it in Think and Grow Rich, the bestselling self-help book of all time.
What Makes a Good Mastermind?
For those new to the mastermind world, the below criteria will help you get the ball rolling. Look for people who:
- Come from diverse backgrounds so they can offer wisdom from outside your own expertise
- Check their egos at the door to promote honest and candid feedback
- Treat others with respect and integrity so everyone is comfortable to share wholeheartedly
- Have a positive mental attitude to keep everyone excited about the process
- Dream big for the most impact
- Work like their lives literally depend on it (which they do!)
- Recognize the value in catching up regularly
It’s human nature to want to recruit your best friends, but diversity is the spice of life—especially when it comes to mastermind groups (or any effective management team). Only bring in those who fulfill all the above characteristics.
Start off with 4-6 people so enough time can be allocated to each person. Elect a chairperson to lead each meeting, share responsibilities, and set action items. Learn from experience and calibrate as much as you need (e.g. agenda, participants, frequency or venue) so you can continuously increase your effectiveness.
Over time, you’ll feel comfortable branching out your mastermind abilities to achieve superior performance in all areas of your life. The below scenario, “Mastermind in Practice”, is an example of how it might be used when brainstorming new business ideas.
Mastermind in Practice
The mastermind principle can be used for superior success regardless of where you’re at in life. To help illustrate the process, let’s look at one scenario in detail. Enter “Josh” and “Gabrielle” who both want to brainstorm ideas for a new business.
With a sip of coffee, Josh excitedly strolls to his desk and turns on his laptop. The aspiring entrepreneur has big dreams and a good work ethic, two qualities he hopes will help him realize his goal of being his own boss.
Josh spends most of his time sitting at home mapping out ideas, researching industries that excite him, and jotting down any “a-ha” moments. Residing almost completely in his comfort zone, Josh doesn’t realize the importance of exposure, accountability andassistance.
Eventually, the 26-year-old comes up with what he fervently believes is a comprehensive strategy. Drawing mostly on instincts, he brings his product to market alone.
On the other side of town, Gabrielle smiles. She’s just finished writing down a list of eight people in her network who, despite being from different backgrounds, are already working on ideas they’re passionate about. Although it seemed like a call out of the blue, Gabrielle contacts them and suggests they all catch up to tap into their combined expertise. Of the eight she contacted, five are able to attend.
Before they catch up, Gabrielle has each person complete the Success Plan Template (Excel | PDF). In the first meeting, they enthusiastically discuss their values and what’s most important to them. With each participant crystal clear on everyone’s unique definition of success, the group now has total clarity on how they can help each person individually. Connected by their ambition, integrity and passion, the group bond quickly. They willingly help Gabrielle brainstorm her ideas, elevate her belief in what’s possible, and add in missing pieces she never could have considered. The group also introduce her to others in their respective networks who can help her succeed.
With a comprehensive plan that has been acid-tested by dozens of people, Gabrielle brings her product to market. Using her tremendous faith in the mastermind principle, she then builds out a team who believe in the mission and are excited to change lives with the new product.
If Josh and Gabrielle had a product launch in the same industry, who do you think would be the most successful over the long-term?
Using our analogy from earlier, the tip of the iceberg is what we can do alone. Instead, peek underwater at the rest of the iceberg and harness true power.
It is impossible to succeed alone; in fact, going it alone might be your death knell. To paraphrase from Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy:
“In the free market, those who ignore the mastermind principle will inevitably find themselves tied to the tracks as a thundering locomotive approaches. Instead, use the power of the mastermind to build your own locomotive.”
Those who harness the true power of the mastermind—defined as “organized and intelligently directed knowledge”—change the world. Create your own definition of success, find your tribe, and feel the thrill of victory.
Onwards and upwards always,
PS – Here’s a step by step guide to turbocharging your personal brand.