Principle #46 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” is Mastermind Your Way to Success.
In general, a mastermind group is simply a group of two or more people working together toward a common goal. When you work with others toward a common goal, you frequently enjoy a synergistic effect that helps you leapfrog your way to success.
Note that people in a mastermind group can be working on different goals. However, they agree to help others. In other words, the common goal of a mastermind group is to help each other.
Mastermind – An Old Idea
It’s a concept that people have talked about for centuries, though it’s not always called a mastermind. Consider this quote from the bible:
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the middle of them.”
– Matthew 18:20
It’s the “I” in the middle of the group that provides the synergy.
Mastermind – New Again
Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, wrote about masterminds in 1937. While researching content for the book, he realized that many successful people harnessed the power of mastermind groups on their path to success. This included people such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and many more.
Successful Elements of a Mastermind Group
Over the years, I’ve participated in many mastermind groups. Some have been by phone, others via Google Hangouts, and one was a local face-to-face meeting. Each of these methods have their own pros and cons, but there are more important characteristics of successful groups. They include:
- Have a size of about 5 or 6. This brings a richness to the meetings with the diverse inputs.
- Meet regularly. It’s common to meet every week or every other week, but on the same day and at the same time. This makes it easier for people to put the meetings in their schedule.
- Specific meeting length. 60 to 90 minutes works well and it makes it easier for people to schedule their time.
- Everyone is given time to participate. If people aren’t given time during meetings, their needs won’t be met and they are less likely to continue.
Creating a Mastermind
If you want to take advantage of this, you can simply create your own mastermind group. Jack has created some resources anyone can use to do so. Click here and scroll down to the link for Principle 46.
Accountability Partners – A Mini Mastermind
Accountability partners can be very effective at helping people make progress. I worked for a couple of years with Tiz Benvenuto as an accountability partner. We started by defining our goals and agreeing to do five things a day to bring us a step closer to achieving our goals. It often worked like this:
- We would send each other a list of five things we planned to accomplish. (We often sent this to each other in the evening with a list of five things we wanted to accomplish the next day.)
- The next day, we’d write (yes or no) next to each item on the list.
- We would create a new list and submit it with our results.
A big benefit of creating a list is that it forces you to think about what you want to do. Ideally, this list is focused on things you need to do to reach your stated goals.
Imagine my list was:
- Post a blog.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes.
- Edit at least 20 pages in current book.
- Complete homework for Coding Dojo course.
- Write at least one new Security+ practice test question for the online test banks.
The next day, my results might look like this:
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes. – Yes
- Post a blog. – Yes
- Write at least one new Security+ practice test question for the online test banks. – Yes
- Complete homework for Coding Dojo course. – No
- Edit at least 20 pages in current book. – Yes
Most people don’t like saying they’re going to do something, but than say that they didn’t, including me. Using an accountability partner like this helps motivate you to take more steps to achieve your goals.
You can exchange your lists via email or with a phone call. If using the phone, it’s best to limit the time to no more than 5 minutes.
Tiz and I don’t do this daily anymore. However, each of us still set annual and monthly goals. Once a month, we share our goals for the next month, along with how we did on the previous month. Even though it’s only once a month, it is still a valuable practice.
About This Post
I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.