Posted by John Behle on December 19, 1998 at 12:19:37:
I forgot to format and post the article that explains the “Mastermind Group”. I’ll do that here. It is titled “Taking the Fear out of Failure”.
TAKING THE FEAR OUT OF FAILURE
Napoleon Hill studied successful people for more years than most of us have been alive. He made a very powerful statement one time that he had never met a successful man that did not have a mastermind group. They may not call it that, but they all have one.
THE POWER OF THE MASTERMIND
A mastermind group is a group of individuals that you can turn to for help, inspiration, motivation, feedback and support.
This concept is the power behind the success of groups like “Alcoholics Anonymous”, “Over-eaters Anonymous” and the myriad of other “12 step groups”. Most follow some version of a 12 step program that we can’t go into here.
A mastermind group follows the same concept. Someone does not have to have some overwhelming addiction they are dealing with to benefit. The concept of a support group can be a powerful aid in propelling you toward success in whatever area you desire.
In the mastermind groups that I have helped to organize and lead, I have seen some great success with the individuals involved and their goals. I have come to believe strongly in the principle and teach those at my seminar how to organize their own group.
I feel there are few other things that can affect your chances of greater success as a mastermind support group. The average individual can accomplish in one year what would have taken ten years otherwise.
Some may spend a lifetime trying to get past the barriers and blocks that can easily be cleared out of the way with a good support group. There may be no more important decision you make than to form a mastermind group. In light of that, here are some things I have found helpful and important in making a successful group.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS - It can be helpful in the group for there to be very friendly relationships. Family and close friends can be a hazard or a help. The difference depends on the commitment of the individuals involved. A family member or close friend may be a support in the process of growth or a support in the tendency to hide. The difference depends on the level of honesty and the willingness to risk. It can be hard for a spouse to point out weaknesses or flaws and they may fear hurting the relationship. This may be overshadowed by others in the group that are not in the same position. Sometimes we tend to support each other in our weakness and the “stories” we like to tell about why we don’t succeed.
OCCUPATIONS - A variety of occupations can be good and complimentary occupations can be helpful. Two or more from the same occupation may feel a threat of competition. That will depend on the which line of work. Two Dentists may not feel any threat of competition where two Discounted Mortgage Brokers may. It can be very helpful to have a range. In one group we had a discounted mortgage broker, a psychologist, a banker, two direct sales people, a screen writer, a college teacher and a writer/artists representative.
HARMONY - To have harmony within the group is essential. Hard feelings or personality conflicts can get in the way. Not to say that different personalities can’t be a great benefit, just that people that don’t like each other or won’t get along can hinder the success of the group.
COMMITMENT - It isn’t so important how successful people in the group are or what their station in life. What matters is their attitude and where they are going. A caution though, people are at their station in life because they chose to be. Until that point is realized and a change in attitude and commitment to change comes, they’ll remain there. This is a group for dreamers that will do what it takes to make their dreams come true - not for the type of dreamer that is afraid to ever wake up.
SIZE - The recommended size of the group is 6 to 12 people. Too few and the synergy may not be there and the divergence of opinion, insight and outreach may be lacking. To have too many may mean someone is lost in the group and gets overlooked. You may want to experiment here. A larger group can work and be beneficial if at the critical times the group separates into their permanent sub-groups. These critical times can be sharing and feedback on goals, individual project feedback and others you deem appropriate.
LEADERSHIP - Every group must have a leader. Continuity can be lacking if this leadership is not done properly. This can happen a couple ways. One is to have one person designated as the leader for a period of from 4 to 12 weeks. A rotation of leaders can happen if there is a set plan to follow. If a leader is there too long, he may not get the benefit or may use his position to hide. If inexperienced leaders are in charge the whole group can suffer. This position should be voluntary and have the unanimous support of the group. Whether to maintain one leader for a period or rotate can be a group decision. Ideally the leader should feel comfortable with or be willing to study the principles and techniques mentioned under THE PROCESS.
LOCATION - The location should be one that is private, convenient and comfortable - but not too comfortable. Nothing should interfere with anyone’s ability to be honest, show emotions or feel at ease. For this reason any location where someone else is coming in and out or is within visual or hearing distance should not be considered - at least for the small group part of a meeting.
GROUND RULES - These are rules set by the group that govern the actions that affect the group. A few that you might consider are:
No children allowed
Be on time
Meeting starting and ending times
No phones, TV, etc.
No missing meetings
No food or drink - unless medical need
Each member will have a project
Each member will set weekly goals
Commitment to success of each group member
The only purpose of ground rules is to provide an atmosphere and setting for a successful meeting. The rules above may not work for everyone, but in different groups some or all have been adopted unanimously. They must be unanimous, in writing and signed by all. The purpose of an ending time was to provide for those who had baby sitters or other commitments. We found the most success with a meeting from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Many times the meeting would continue informally after the ending time, but some might have had to leave.
WEEKLY - We found that for continuity and to give everyone a chance to have the support they needed, the meeting would have to be weekly on one set night. This is tough for many to arrange in their schedules and it works best to have a limited time like 6 weeks. At the end of the time, there may be some turnover in the group. It can be a little draining and even disconcerting to be that committed and working that hard towards a goal.
DISTRACTIONS - This is generally taken care of in the ground rules and meeting location, but it is very important to minimize distractions in every way. This cannot be emphasized enough.
LARGE POSTER PAPER - Brainstorming will be a big part of the group and having an easel and a large tableau of paper is needed to record notes, ideas and information.
THE PROJECT - A requirement for each participant is that they have some kind of a project that they want to accomplish. Examples of projects might be: finishing the basement, starting a used car brokerage, finishing and naming a book, designing and naming a self improvement seminar, starting a multi-level marketing business, writing a screen play.
GOALS - An unconditional part of the process is each individual setting weekly goals. They are in charge of the content and quality of the goals, but must set them.
TOTAL PARTICIPATION - Each individual must participate. The leader and the group as a whole need to help with this goal. This should be a natural part of each individual’s commitment to the group. That commitment means that they will participate for the benefit of others as well as themselves.
PROJECT BRAINSTORMING - One of the vital parts is the brainstorming of individual group member’s projects by the group. This invaluable feedback is a rocket to propel someone toward their goals, avoid mistakes and gain valuable contacts and insight.
DYADS - A dyad is a situation where two (or in cases of an odd number three) people sit facing each other and answer questions and give feedback as to accomplishing goals, how someone feels about a subject, or any question or response directed by the group leader.
CLOSED EYE PROCESSES - This is also called guided imagery. There is no hypnotism involved, just a bit of a “fill in the blank” type scenario where you can learn a great deal about yourself by what you put in the blanks. The principle that it is based on is your immediate (not planned out) response. It can give insight into your feelings and inner thoughts.
WRITING EXERCISES - Again, a fill in the blank type situation where you respond on paper to a question or comment. These may remain private or may be shared in a dyad.
This just gives a brief summary of some of what we have found successful. If you’re interested in learning more, drop me a line or drop by when I am giving a seminar in your city. I’ll direct you to any other information that might be helpful for you.