I hit the gym for the first time in a long time right after Christmas and New Year’s. Due to having a stress fracture and a crazy travel schedule, I’ve gained five pounds. So I figured I better slog at the gym before I can’t slip into my jeans. My husband and I are pretty good accountability exercise partners, but I know I can easily let my work get in the way of exercise during the work week. Perhaps I need an exercise partner like the ones I’ve seen requested in the ladies’ locker room bulletin board. NEED A WORKOUT FRIEND TO HELP ME LOSE 45 LBS! NEED SOMEONE TO HELP ME STAY MOTIVATED 2-3 DAYS A WEEK FOR EVENING WORKOUTS. HELP!!!!!
Then I realized I already have accountability partners—my mastermind group that’s been meeting once a month since April 2015. Joining this group was one of the best things I did for myself in 2015 and I know I’ll reap more of the benefits in 2016. Led by an awesome life coach, our leader is awesome at facilitating the meetings, which rotate in different members’ homes and offices. The word “mastermind” might seem new to you, but it goes back 75 years to author/journalist Napoleon Hill’s day. Napoleon Hill advocated the formation of masterminds so that a group of your peers can help you achieve greater heights than doing so on your own. The seven of us meet for two and a half hours with one person in the “hot seat.” The hot seat member is the focus of the meeting and we go over that person’s personal/business opportunities and challenges in peer-to-peer mentorship. It’s so much easier to listen to advice that’s coming outside of you by colleagues who really want you to succeed and grow. We all come from different industries, but we share a common philosophy of continuous learning, giving back to the community and leadership experience.
Since I’ve been meeting with my group, I’ve learned to value my time and my worth more and to raise my prices. I’ve also learned how to not to be dragged down by failures and disappointments—it’s all part of my education because “life can get crunchy sometimes,” our leader says. I was in a mastermind group five years ago, which has since disbanded, and that group helped me start my correspondence class, which has been going strong since 2010. I also changed what I call myself. I used to say “freelance editor,” but that wording got people confused. I now say “editor for hire.”
Four of the top benefits of a mastermind group are:
- The group makes you think bigger and challenges you to write that book, start that business, raise your prices. The group also makes you do your “homework” and holds you accountable at every meeting so that your dreams do become reality.
- You have a ready-made set of advisors who are there to help you when life gets “crunchy.”
- You now are able to extend your network, meet the colleagues of your mastermind team and grow your business in ways you maybe never thought possible.
- You’ll learn something new or you’ll think about a problem in a different way because someone on your mastermind team has experienced what you’ve experienced before. I find this to be one of the great benefits of my own mastermind.
So how do you join a mastermind? You may already be in one and not realize it. Perhaps your book club, writers’ critique group, running group or church band is its own mastermind. If you are part of an entrepreneur’s network, you can ask around to find out how your successful peers keep themselves accountable (because ALL successful people have a coach or mentor who holds them accountable). Throw it out to the Universe that you’re looking for a mastermind group and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. That’s how I was invited to join my two mastermind groups.
Goals are great, but if you don’t have someone holding your feet to the fire through a mastermind, you may end up with the same goals you had five years ago. Speaking of the number “five,” I better hit the gym. So good luck and make 2016 your best year yet!