These past weeks I get my energy from connecting in a different way. I mentioned already a bit on my Facebook page and Instagram about having started a Masterminding group here in Oman. And reflecting on how the three of us feel and the group dynamic I want to share a bit more because there certainly is something behind the “power of masterminding”.
You might be able to relate that working on your own can feel lonely at times. We have so many ideas that are spinning around in our head but nobody to share them with. And yes we have our own schedules and goals but there are moments when they become very flexible and just get moved from week to week. Oh and not to forget the times when we feel deflated, discouraged by our own thoughts.
All these are reasons for me to be in a masterminding group. A group of like-minded people who
- crave some sharing and weekly accountability.
- feel a bit lost and lonely in their process.
- want a safe place to verbalise all the ideas and thoughts.
- apprecite constructive feedback.
And a place where – when needed – you get a (friendly) kick in the butt to take action or a hug when you need a pick me up.
The idea of creating a masterminding group goes back almost 3 years ago when I was co-director at the FEW Women’s Start-Up Club in Tokyo, Japan. In the first session, we encouraged participants to see if they can find groups to partner up for additional support through the year. Now, you might wonder what masterminding is?
A mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members. The concept was coined in 1925 by author Napoleon Hill. Hill discussed the idea of the Master Mind, which referred to two or more people coming together in harmony to solve problems. (extract Wikipedia).
For our group, we follow the “hot seat” structure and the following guidelines. But keep in mind, if you set up such a group privately you don’t want to have it too rigid, too “office-like”. Yet, at the same time, you need to have a structure in place so that all participants get something out of it.
The procedure on “hot seat” masterminding
The host of the meeting is in charge to organize the meeting, time, keep track during the meeting.
Everyone gets 15-20 min in the “hot seat” (we are only 3 people, the bigger the group you might want to go down to 10-15min. And I suggest 4- max 6 people).
- When in the hot seat it is your turn to share:
- What are you working on?
- What is working for you?
- What you need help with?
- When NOT in the hot seat
- Listen carefully to the hot-seat
- Share ideas, resources and advice to tackle the problem/issue outlined
- Everyone takes turns to announce individual action items for the next meeting at the end of each meeting.
- Fix the next meeting date and time before you leave.
Prior to the next meeting, the host sends a reminder and a short follow up and if the group likes, some check-in throughout the week.
To be honest I struggled for quite a long time to find a group. I looked for a local group and a group within some online communities. But it can be hard, may it be due to schedules, time difference and other commitments. And then I had a group but … we moved and all fell apart again due to the not matching time zones. Yes, timing can be a bitch.
So when we moved in August I still had the idea of masterminding in my head but didn’t push it. I did my own thing, made sure the family and I feel settled and worked on my own. But I must have mentioned the idea during a coffee with a new friend here. I believe it went something in the direction that I work better with accountability and feel lonely at times when working. But since we had just moved, and I didn’t know that many people, respectively what makes the people around me “tick”, I left it at that. It was on my “something for later” list.
Now, fast forward a few weeks, and I got a very excited call from that friend. She had just met somebody else who was new at our school. She didn’t know her but felt a good vibe. And “I think she could use a masterminding group, something you once mentioned. And by the way, me too.” I in return knew that third person but never discussed the masterminding with her. But since excitements where high I called her directly. She was totally stunned as she wasn’t sure what we had in mind. So I explained the idea behind it and she was sold. We set up a whatsapp group, fixed the first session, had a get-to-know and kick-off meeting…and the rest is history. Yes, timing can be just right at times!
This group is different than my previous groups in the way that we are all in completely different fields. In the previous group, we were all a bit similar, but for me the differences seems to work better.
Our personalities are similar though and even if we are a small group, we don’t wander off topic, stay focused, respect each others time. And what is discussed within the masterminding group stays within the group. A group like that can only work with honesty, respect and commitment – and some fun. Never forget the fun part among all seriousness!
A group like that should challenge and encourage you but never put you down. You should leave such meetings energised and motivated, not deflated.
Here is what my partners in crime say about our masterminding group:
- Different talents work together and share.
- Having a safe space to voice my vision, get feedback on plans and support in executing them.
- Accountability is key for me (Obliger, anyone?! Gretchen Rubin)
- Speaking out loud about your problems helps to sort them in your mind. Combined with the viewpoint of your team members it gets clear pretty fast. There is no space to fool yourself.
- Like-mindedness amongst expat women who get me and my multi-cultural crazy life experiences.
- Having to report back at the next meeting about your weekly goals makes you stay on path.
- It’s nice to feel that you are not lost as there is someone to reach out to.
- To share a laugh, a coffee and get stuff done that regualr folks at home don’t deal with.
And these are some of my take-aways:
- Ideas and thoughts sometimes just spin around in my head (and my notebook). But verbalising them is powerful and gets them sorted. Ideas become real.
- Accountability is key, I don’t want to let my partners down. And if I didn’t manage my goal I share why not. Was it just a timely issue or do I feel stuck, can my partners help?
- Speaking out loud about your worries and concerns lessens their power and makes space for action.
- I feel supported and encouraged to step out of the safe zone, to take the next step.
- There is no sugar coating but honest feedback and if needed a kick in the butt or a hug.
But disregarding all the business-related benefits, a mastermind group can become more. It’s a safe place when you feel lost. And who doesn’t feel lost at times?
The power of masterminding – do you feel this might be something for you, too? Don’t shy away to share that thought with others around you. No, it might not happen directly, but once you planted the seed it will grow, the right persons will hear about it and you will be able to create the group that fits your personality and needs.
Some more thoughts when it comes to creating your own or joining a masterminding group can be found here.
Or do you already feel the power of masterminding, are you in a group? I would love to hear how it works out for you in the comments. Perhaps you have more ideas to share?
I hope you find your ease – and mastermind – wherever you are,