Tag Archives: Support

A High Stakes Mastermind Group and My Experience

By Adrianna Huff

I remember when I first heard the word “Mastermind” from my talent manager at work. I thought she was referring to the Mastermind Board Game from the 1970s where players move around different colored pegs. She in fact, wasn’t talking about this game, but actually referring to a group she belonged to where they discussed their goals over a group phone call. Once she explained what a Mastermind group actually was, I was hooked on the idea.

A Mastermind Group is not a new concept

A Mastermind Group is not a new concept, it has been around since Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich” in the 1930s. In theory, a Mastermind Group’s ideal purpose is to get individuals to discuss and encourage one another’s ideas to meet a goal or overall purpose.

As I started my search for a Mastermind Group, I found that there are many varieties. There are groups you can find on Meetup.com, Facebook groups, groups that resemble coaching calls, and groups that are limited in size to a smaller amount of participants (between 5-10 individuals).

I chose to join a smaller group (the upper limit is 6 participants) where I could work with the same members over a period of time and have continual feedback, support, and accountability. In addition, our moderator is not a group participant; instead our moderator facilitates the meeting to ensure we stay on time and don’t get side tracked.

At each meeting, before launching right into business, we all have a few minutes to chat and build our relationships. If I were just speaking to a group of strangers, I would not be prepared to voice my thoughts or explain how I am meeting my goals. Since the participants have all become my business friends, I open up about myself personally and professionally and what I am accomplishing.

In the last 11 months as a participant in a High Stakes Mastermind Group, my goals have changed drastically. Both in my personal and professional life, I have had significant changes (job changes, re-locations, and family additions). Throughout all of these drastic life shifts, there has been one constant: the High Stakes Mastermind Group. As I have adjusted my life and entrepreneurial goals, the group has been there to listen, provide encouragement (and suggestions), and give me an avenue to continue feeling like I am making a difference both in my entrepreneurial journey and someone else’s.

For me the High Stakes Mastermind Group has been more than writing a goal plan, updating the plan, and staying accountable to my goals. (Throughout the last 11 months these have still remained the pillars of purpose in the High Stakes Mastermind Group). For me, the High Stakes Mastermind Group has been a rock during challenging life changes. When I meet with the group, I still feel like I have a purpose (and a brain). Instead of just being a “Mom”, I am still an entrepreneur who is working towards goals.

In the end, the intention of a High Stakes Mastermind Group is to typically have entrepreneurial members use each other as resources for success in their business endeavors. And while this continues to be a large part of the purpose of the High Stakes Mastermind Group for me, it is also a community. It is a community of entrepreneurs who care about each other and work together to meet goals, even if these goals are constantly in flux.

What have been your experiences with a High Stakes Mastermind Group? How has it benefited you, personally or professionally?

Not Enough Reason to Break a Commitment

It takes a special type of person to keep a commitment when life events happen.

We often talk about the essence of High Stakes Mastermind Groups being confidentiality and commitment, and  the closeness that it creates. So when a member has a life changing event, we have the first-row opportunity to envelop them in love and support. In the last few months the HSMmG family has had several “moments” with our members. We welcomed a grand-baby, an engagement, a family move and more. This past Saturday one member became a citizen of the US. After years of giving her talents, and her heart to America.  That’s commitment!

A couple months ago one of my members contacted me and said she needed to speak privately. It turns out that she was going to move several states away. But she said right away, “Don’t worry I’m not leaving the group. I plan to Skype into the meetings.” She’s taking her in-person membership virtual. That takes huge commitment.

What is major to some people is not a lot to overcome for others

If that weren’t enough this member was already pregnant at the time. She had her baby in December. And with the new baby, she’ll move across the country, and with no job prospects in sight, she is still remaining a member of High Stakes Mastermind groups.

It amazes me to have this happen, and to see this kind of commitment to The Mastermind group. That an individual would remain a member of our discussion forum, to be a sounding board to other members, while she takes care of a brand new baby and gets herself established in another state. Whew! That’s a lot!

We have seen a couple members leave before for much less dramatic reasons. Once or twice a member will leave simply because they couldn’t keep themselves accountable. It does take a special type of person to have that kind of commitment to remain a peer advocate for the other members and want to maintain in the peer-to-peer relationship that High Stakes Mastermind Groups provides for them.

If I only had a Crystal Ball

It’s not always possible to know ahead of time if members are not committed. Going into a Mastermind people will tell you exactly what they know you want to hear, and what they want to believe about themselves; that they’re all-in.  But then over time things may change. They don’t show up for every meeting. They make excuses why they didn’t the do the actions and achieve goals they set for themselves.

I had this happen with one particular member.  I would describe this person as a “professional student” always going to workshops, conferences, and seminars, and enrolling in a plethora of classes – all in the name of learning more about their business.  Sounds good.  But the reality is they they got so busy in the appearance of being busy that they never actually did any of their work.  They farmed out their clients to other consultants which meant they had almost no control of the end result, and spent about 40% of their gross earnings to pay sub-contractors.  Naturally their business goals were never met.  They left the group.  As painful as it was at the time, the members ultimately felt better when they knew 100% of them were 100% committed.

I couldn’t be more proud of these members who are so committed – to their own personal growth and to the other members of the group. If someone can have a baby and move out of state at the same time and still remain committed anyone can. Would something like this would benefit your own life and your business growth?

And while the members are of our groups are absolutely very special people, they are still people. Human beings with hopes and dreams and aspirations, just like you. All looking to take the “silo out of solo”.  Our members are empowered, energized, respected, trusted and valued. And I have to admit with this kind of commitment from my members, so am I. And grateful every day for that.

 

 

 

 

Strategic Thinker – Sometimes You’re Not Born That Way

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe

A friend of mine, who I found to be the consummate strategic thinker, was a sales and franchising expert. He spent years consulting with people who had sunk their saving into franchises because they were sold on the promises of making money “in their sleep”.  Now they were overworked and in debt.

I’m not saying buying into a franchise is a poor choice.  Not at all.  If you’re prepared, educated, have the funds and are ready to put it a lot of hours.  Practice being a strategic thinker. Think intentionally before you commit.  That’s true of any business decision.  And strategic thinking doesn’t mean you mull over it endlessly.  It means look at the decision from every angle – top, bottom, sides and end to end.  In his article Are You A Strategic Thinker? Test Yourself, Peter Walsh lets you answer for yourself.

Let’s just bring it into a smaller scope for the sake of this blog – your individual business.

Rather than constantly reacting to everything that comes up, keep it a list of the regular questions that your customers, clients, friends and contacts are consistently asking you. Do people at networking events ask you the same questions over and over?  Then the strategic move would be to answer the questions before they are asked. Be prepared with what you need to say, or do, in order to answer your client’s questions.  Anticipate them.

Sometimes the biggest barrier to strategic thinking is simply having the time to think at all. people who allow themselves time to quietly think and reflect upon choices and “the big picture” find ways to connect what would never otherwise have been connected at all and therefore come up with the most brilliant ideas, or comfortably decide which projects to pursue. Like Bill Gates’ famous “Think Weeks”.

Practice being a critical thinker – and not one that’s easily sold on every idea that’s thrown your way. Some people are easy targets for every “shiny object” that’s set before them. Practice saying “no” and giving yourself time to reflect and do research.

The solopreneurs and entrepreneurs I work with nearly always tell me that in one way or another they feel alone, isolated, even “in a silo”.  The best way out of that stifling position is to join a mastermind group. There, in the right group that is, you will feel empowered, energized, respected, trusted, and valued. And you will exercise your strategic thinking.

Most successful strategic thinkers are not born that way but they learned to exercise their strategic thinking “mental muscle” and the best place to do that is in a mastermind group. In a mastermind group you can get honest feedback and fresh ideas from other individuals. There you can verbalize your thoughts and gain clarity from others.  Leaving you the opportunity to make informed decisions.

“Internal” mastermind groups that are within a single organization, work well to develop and enhance strategic thinking.  They are most successful when lead by an outside facilitator who has no bias within the company.

Mastermind groups where not everyone belongs to the same company, or the same industry, are the most beneficial way to do this. In a group of people from different disciplines and different levels of expertise you will get new and fresh ideas in the least homogenized fashion.

There you will also find accountability where your feet are “held to the fire” in the most supportive way so that if you tend towards “analysis paralysis” you’ll be forced to make decisions. That force is what exercises your muscle. It’s a little uncomfortable but over time it helps you think better faster, stronger and more clearly.  Before you know it, voila, you’re a strategic thinker.

 

 

 

Measure Up Your Success

When I look at the tracking chart where I list all of the monthly networking groups I go to, how much time spent at each one, how much it costs to go to the monthly breakfast, or lunch, plus the annual membership fees, I measure how much money really goes out in networking group expenses. I’m not saying it isn’t money well spent.  Well at least in most cases, but not all.

I want to see how much measuring the outcome of my networking gets me in terms of new clients, new contracts and retained relationships as well.

That activity of creating my own Excel spreadsheet which calculates the dollars spent gives me the ability to also plug in the number of hours I spend at these networking groups and how many viable contacts came out of those relationships. It enables me to choose which Association I would remain with and which ones I would cancel.

There’s a saying, “what gets measured gets done” Bearing that in mind will always help you to determine the value you get from your activities and keeps you solidly on track to accomplishing goals.

High stakes Mastermind groups are 100% goal driven but there’s no way that our members can achieve their goals if they don’t even know what they’re going after. And that’s why we have them measure everything.  There are a variety of tools out there like spreadsheets, charts, even calendars.

It doesn’t really matter exactly what you use so long as you use something.  The second step is you review your tracking on a regular basis, even if it means setting automated reminders.

We have our members create whatever tracking tool(s) is/are best for them and then they also design how often they would revisit it.  Options range from every week, every day, once a month, or once a quarter. It has to be whatever is appropriate for that particular endeavor. They might have five different endeavors all being tracked using different tools and measured, or revisited, at a different frequency. This is how we guarantee that their goals are accomplished.

Below I’ll list tips for making clear and measurable goals.

I’m often asked how I guarantee success in the High Stakes Mastermind Groups and the answer is that is that I cannot make somebody be successful only they can make themselves be successful in their own goals. However we do everything possible to make sure they have every tool they could possibly need in order to be successful. When we make our measurements and we get them done.

I have also my own measurements for myself because if I’m not on track and not holding myself accountable who will be? If I’m not accountable to my own goals how can I help my members be successful?

It sounds geeky but I have three excel sheets just for tracking my own progress.

Would you benefit from being in a mastermind group that’s facilitated by somebody who’s helping you monitor and track what you’re doing? Our options are both Live and Virtual groups.

Tips for making clear and measurable goals

Write in very specific terms with ambitious, yet doable deadlines i.e.:

  • I will make 5 cold calls every week.
  • I will post on Social Media 3x per site every week day.
  • I will write two articles and have them published in six publications by December 31, 2017.
  • I will complete my online Project Management course by June 30, 2018.

Tracking systems

There are hundreds of tracking systems available. Although I can’t speak for Mac users, those of you who use Microsoft will find several built-in Excel options that you can modify.  Just open Excel and it will show you several samples.  There are more online.

I use simple Excel spreadsheets I create myself, and I set Outlook reminders.  However, others can be found in libraries, business books, from your local government SBA or SCORE organizations.

Michael Gerber, the author of the E-Myth books has books available for a breadth of professions and they include charts and tracking examples.  You can find more on his site http://michaelegerbercompanies.com/web/.

Look back at your own personal goals from the past year and see how many of them actually got accomplished. Then start tracking new goals using measurement tools like Excel spreadsheets, reminder systems or whatever you need. See how much you accomplish – and recognize where and how you’re spending time and money.

You’ll be amazed at what’s being measured and getting done.

Most people I know have trouble clarifying their goals and figuring out how to measure them. Contact me here for help.

 

Master Mind Reader – What’s the Real Magic Behind Masterminds?

Can You Read My Mind?

Here’s a little personal information, mind you. My husband and I use a laundry basket, which is in our closet, but he also has a large laundry bag that he hangs behind the closet door. In it he puts his extra dirty, grimy, clothes that we don’t want mixed with our better clothing in the laundry basket.

Last Saturday after I started the extra dirty laundry from his bag, he got upset with me because I had “forgotten” a pair of his socks and some shorts. “Where were they?” I asked him.  “They were in my cabinet.” I asked, “How was I supposed to know they were in there?”  He said, “I always have my last things from the day before in the cabinet and I put them in the bag on Saturday morning.”

Well, this was news to me. I asked him, “I have I ever seen you do that?” knowing perfectly well the answer was ‘no’.  He said, “I don’t know.” I asked, “How was I supposed to know that you do that then?”  His answer, “Well I do it every weekend.”  “Do you know what I use to separate my eyelashes every morning after I put on mascara?”   “No, how would I know? I’m not clairvoyant.”

“Well, I said, “I do it every day.”  I know perfectly well he’s never seen me do it.

So here we have a problem of somebody expecting another person to have extrasensory perception (ESP).  I don’t have it.  I facilitate Mastermind Groups – I am not a master at reading minds.

The same is true of your Mastermind members. They aren’t Fortune-Tellers. You have to explain what your goals are and what you’re trying to achieve. Only after you are open and verbal about it can your fellow Mastermind group members actually help you. If a member doesn’t have ability to speak, then a written/printed form is used.  In either case, your fellow Mastermind Group members can’t read your mind. They don’t know what you need. Only if you are open and honest and willing to have a discussion help is there to be had.

It’s really up to you how good of a Mastermind Group participant you are. The group is not there to solve all your problems. The group isn’t there to do the work for you. Studies have shown that people who are in Mastermind Groups and put as much into the group as they expect to get out of it are 15% more likely to accomplish their goals than people who are not in a mastermind group.

Goals have a way of falling apart when you don’t have someone to hold you accountable. When nobody is looking, you may take it easier on yourself. Nobody is watching, you think, so if you fail, it’s not a big deal.

Mastermind groups are like having your own Board of Directors. Except you’re not obligated to do what they tell you – they exist for you. That’s the truly cool part. It’s not just having one accountability partner, but many. They offer you professional relationships where the members support, empower and hold each other accountable for their actions. That is the way that members help each other to achieve their specific goals by coming up with thoughtful, useful and timely information that will add value to the lives and careers of group members.

As a member, you’re being backed by and collaborating with some of the strongest, smartest and best thinkers and leaders out there – the people in some of the top leader and executive roles available. Not only are they helping you by feeding your mind with positive energy and fuel to reach your goals, but you’re helping them, as well.  Some people think, “I have nothing to contribute.  These people are way more accomplished than I am”. Well, allow me to stop you right there.  Everyone has something of value to give, over and over again.  We’ll even empower you to contribute- because it’s the cornerstone of your own accountability. Through accountability we help you master your goals. That’s where the real magic is.

What’s your opinion? What do you think about what I’ve recommended above?
Since I’m not a master mind reader you will have to tell me in the comments below!

Oh, and about those eyelashes – I use a little eyelash comb.