Guest Author - Lauren D´Silva
It can be hard to stay motivated and focussed when you are working alone on an area of personal development, whether it is your spiritual growth, a business plan or the Grand Vision you want to manifest in the world. Forming a Mastermind group around you can be invaluable.
I first came across the term ‘mastermind group’ when I was listening to inspirational speaker Joe Vitale, but the idea of forming a support group, engaging a mentor, employing a life coach, or enlisting the aid of a critical friend is an old one & the term Mastermind was coined early last century by Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich. A good support team can make all the difference between a good idea taking off and one petering out for lack of nurturing.
Choosing your group wisely is your key to success. Who are your ideal mastermind buddies? It depends on your aims, but it helps if you know people who genuinely want you to do well. Does that sound too obvious? Well there are some jealous folks out there that don’t like others to succeed, so pick friends that enjoy seeing others prosper.
You may find that all you need is a small group of like minded friends or colleagues to talk to and bounce ideas around with from time to time. Good friends to choose are those who are really open and honest and don’t play power games. It is also good to set up some basic ground rules at the outset, such as confidentiality. What is said in your mastermind group should stay in the mastermind group and not become juicy gossip! You want to feel safe to float ideas past your group without worrying that someone will a) pinch your idea, or b) talk about it to all and sundry or c) squash it flat and leave you feeling deflated. You are aiming to build a mutually supportive group where there is a shared sense of high integrity and trust.
Sometimes a group will form organically, as if by chance and you’ll find you are meeting with people that stimulate new ideas in you, or inspire fresh ways of thinking. These people are worth their weight in gold, especially if they get fired up and are inspired with new ideas themselves too. A virtuous spiral of energy is created within such groups and everyone that is involved is uplifted by it.
If you can’t think of anyone who gets you motivated and thinking positively in this way you could go down the professional path and choose a therapist or a life coach who is ready to help you unpack your ideas and sift through them. Choose someone who demonstrates skill at asking the right questions to open up your thinking and development. Of course you can also have the whole session totally focussed on your needs. Within a group of friends turn taking is de rigour and just as you are helped, so you need to listen and help in turn. Personally I find that is a lovely and satisfying way to work!
When I spent some time with Permaculture specialist Looby Macnamara she brought along a similar idea from the Permaculture world called an Action Learning Guild. I found the following group activity a very helpful and inspiring process. This is an ideal exercise to use within your mastermind group. You need at least one helper to ask you questions and record your answers as a scribe and ideally another person will be available to act as a time keeper, but you could set a timer if there’s just the two of you.
Here’s how the exercise works:
There are four questions for the Scribe to ask you & the timings for each section are provided. For each question you are given the space to speak uninterrupted for the allotted time. If you get stuck then the others will wait patiently until the time is up, as you may find that after a pause you do think of more to say.
These are the questions:
1. What is going well? (2 minutes)
2. What is challenging? (2 minutes)
3. What are your long term goals and visions? (4 minutes)
4. What are your next achievable steps? (2 minutes)
When you have completed the exercise you rotate the roles until everyone has had a turn speaking. At the end of the session your Scribe will read your answers back to you, but instead of saying ‘I’ they will use your name.
I actually found the reading back of my vision to be incredibly moving and the positive emotion it brought up in me told me that my long terms plans were true ‘heart’s desires’. If hearing your vision read back to you leaves you feeling unmoved it may be you need to look at it again as perhaps your heart isn’t really in it. Check you aren’t planning what you feel you ‘should do’ rather than what you really want to do. Your goals need that vital spark of enthusiasm to bring them into your reality.
What you may realise after this exercise is that you aren’t currently supporting your long term goals. It’s amazing how we get busy with day to day things and neglect investing time and energy in our big dreams, which are often the true calling of our souls and part of our life purpose. If that’s the case make sure some time is saved in your schedule to put your next achievable steps into action.
Whichever type of Mastermind group you create aim to meet regularly and joyfully. Your Mastermind shouldn’t become just another obligation; rather it is a huge vote for you and your goals!