Category Archives: Brain Storming

7 Reasons You Want a Trained Facilitator

Photo by Stefan Stefancik
How is it Different?

As a facilitator, one of the most consistent questions I’m asked about my mastermind groups is, “Is it a networking group?”

While there’s no doubt that networking certainly occurs between the members of the mastermind group, relationships are built and cross referrals happen on a consistent and regular basis.

But at the end of the day, true mastermind groups and networking groups are very different. In a networking group you’ll meet lots of people and it’s really up to you whether you build on those relationships; and have coffee with people outside the regular meetings, or talk to each other about your businesses.

There may also be educational sessions, but nobody’s holding you accountable to make sure that you apply what you’ve learned. But a mastermind group is significantly different. A mastermind group is about accomplishing your goals and holding you accountable to build and grow your own business. And the only way that that’s going to happen is to have a skilled and trained facilitator at the helm.

Here are seven more reasons why having a skilled facilitator is so important.
  1. Not the Chairperson of the Board

A trained Mastermind facilitator knows how to bring out the discussion. They know how to make sure that no one person overwhelms the conversation and monopolizes the group’s time while others sit back quietly, not speaking.  And not being heard.

They will make sure the meeting moves according to the agenda but draw out participation from everyone.

Trained facilitators know how to keep the Mastermind groups structured and moving so that there is value for every minute spent in the Mastermind.

  1. Unbiased

Having an “outsider”, as trained facilitator will also ensure you that you have an impartial and unbiased individual guiding your group. When you have a facilitator who is not a part of your organization, and is completely unbiased yet cares deeply about the success of each individual member, than members of the Mastermind group feel comfortable in confiding with the group. The outside facilitator makes the Mastermind group of safe space to speak honestly, opening without fear of reprisal or embarrassment.

  1. Have Your Success Top of Mind

A trained facilitator also has the skill set to make group members successful.  Mastermind group members grow their businesses at a much greater rate than individuals who are not in Mastermind groups.  If you want your investment to pay off join a group with a trained facilitator.

The facilitator doesn’t answer to a corporation whose agenda must be met.  They have a vested interest in individual member success.  Every member’s.  No other business group environment can equal that claim.  Gymnastics teams yes, business groups – you’re not going to find anything comparable.

  1. Not Your One-to-One Coach

While there can be elements of coaching in a mastermind group the facilitator’s purpose is to make sure that all of the members participate, and help all members with value-adding suggestions; giving resources so that each member has a plethora of information they can apply to their own businesses.  In our groups sometimes the “homework” assignment for one translates into similar goals for the rest of the members.  There’s a good deal of anticipation for the next meeting, “How did yours go?”

Trained Mastermind facilitators are knowledgeable about goal setting and accountability. They know how to make it much more effective than simple brainstorming sessions.  If you want to get things done, be in a Mastermind group with a trained facilitator.

If you want to accomplish your goals you’ll get better “bang for your buck” by going with a group that has a trained Mastermind group facilitator.

  1. It’s a Dirty Job – But Someone’s Gotta Do It

It isn’t a dirty job. Not at all, not even close.  But it did get you to keep reading!

Your facilitator will take on all the logistics of your meeting: time, place, refreshments, note taking, follow-up, message boards, PR, meeting agendas, honestly the list goes on.  And we love doing it.  Even the administrative parts of everything behind the scenes is an aspect that makes for healthy, thriving and productive groups.  Thriving productive groups are comprised of thriving and productive individuals.

  1. Celebrating Your Success

What a party!  We have the same pride in our individual member’s successes as we would if they were our kids.  Like peacocks puffing their chests out.  It’s like, “We did that together!” when one person achieves a milestone, or a goal.  Whether it’s learning to do their own accounting or landing the most elusive client for a six-figure project.  Every success is a celebration. Just writing this blog makes me look forward to our next meeting!

  1. Full Circle

We’re talking about trained facilitators here, right?  So we’re talking about people who have spent their own money and time to complete a course or certification; an investment in themselves so that they can translate that into an investment into you. If you’re a member of a group and your success is stemming from your facilitator’s skills – then tell someone.  Tell a lot of someones.  Give credit where it’s due.  Your facilitator succeeds when you succeed. It comes back to them full circle.

Clear (Life) Vision – Pun intended or meaningful figure of speech?

Focus on Your Life’s Goals and Vision

Do you have the vision to see what you’re doing? Is a clear life vision  a p un intended or meaningful figure of speech?

Recently I had coffee with a young woman that I know from an association I belong to. She’s an artistic person and therefore a little bit different from most of the people I meet who work in financial businesses, own restaurants, or are in health care, or retail.

Meeting an artist isn’t something that happens to me all the time and I really enjoyed speaking with her. But as we talked about her business I really couldn’t pinpoint exactly where she wanted her future to go. Like most artists she wanted her artwork to be seen on the walls of homes and businesses worldwide; but the big question was, how was she going to get there, and what was it going to do for her?  What did it mean for her future and for her life.

I wondered, do people who start a business have a clear vision of what exactly is the business supposed to do for them?  Clear vision. Hmmmm.

When I wrote my own personal business plan I wrote very specifically not only what my vision for the business was for my clients, but exactly what I wanted my business to do for me.  It’s a part of goal setting that cannot be overlooked.

And those are two very different ideas. My clients know what my vision is for my business and how it affects them.  My unique selling position has everything to do with what benefits them. But, they don’t know what my personal vision is for what my business does for me, nor do they need to. With one exception – I’m able to work the number of hours I choose and earn the amount I want.  I’m able to model the outcome and set the example that my clients want for themselves.

I look at my business plan every single day to make sure that I’m staying on track with my own goals and that my business is doing for me what I intend it to do.  It’s a habit I strongly suggest. Like an appointment with yourself.

If you’re wondering what I mean by my personal vision for my business and what it will do for me; it can be anything as specific as paying off your mortgage, within a specified period of time, being able to go on a dream vacation, buy that bright red Alpha Romeo 4C Coupe, or have the money to move your elderly parents to a high-end full care facility.

Maybe it’s not monetary. It might be to limit the hours that you work each week so that you have time for yourself or time to volunteer in your community.

Whatever it is, when you go into business for yourself you must have a very specific plan and a Life Vision of what exactly the business is supposed to do for you.

Do you have the vision to see what you’re doing? Having trouble defining what that is? Give me a call and we’ll talk about it. It’s easy to get clear vision focus when you have somebody to help you.

 

 

Naked and Unafraid- The Benefits of Being Vulnerable in Your Mastermind Group

Masterminders sharing what really happens in their work.

You joined, or are thinking of joining, a High-Stakes Mastermind Group for several reasons. Maybe you’re a solopreneur or an entrepreneur who wants to bounce ideas off of other professionals. Perhaps you want to be able to associate with others who experience the same professional, personal and social challenges and sacrifices that you do in your field. Or maybe you are looking to build your personal network of support and confidants.  Whatever your reason, you should do one thing once you’ve joined the group. You should be completely honest and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

Why would you want to show your true self, with all of your challenges and weaknesses to other people? Won’t they stop respecting you so much? The answer is no. You want to be completely honest and vulnerable with your fellow members, and especially your Mastermind group facilitator, because that is the only way that they can help you diagnose any issues and help you improve to become the very best person and professional that you can be. This is the safe place to be emotionally naked.

Think about it – if they don’t know what the problem is, how can they give the advice that you’ve joined the group for?

Remember each member is in the same position.  You may feel like they’re holding your emotional cards – but you’re holding theirs as well.

In the blog by William Butler, The Benefits of Being Vulnerable he writes:

Risking vulnerability allows you to be, or have:

  • deeper degree of honesty
  • greater degree of transparency
  • higher level of understanding
  • deeper relationships
  • honestly yourself
  • less defensive
  • less lonely than that of isolation
  • more accountable
  • more courageous
  • more sensitive and tenderhearted
  • truly human

Source: http://www.williambutler.ca/2013/09/power-vulnerable/

There’s something extremely freeing about being vulnerable and releasing the weight of your most stressful business decisions, confusing questions, and untried ideas. It humanizes all of us to let down our guards and be…well, human.

What may look like the weakest form of humanness is actually what takes the most strength – vulnerability.

In her TED Talk Brené Brown said, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Your time is precious. Clearly, you’ve joined a Mastermind group to get something out of it. Get the most out of it by allowing yourself to be vulnerable – emotionally naked and unafraid. That’s how you can help others to help you.

 

 

Five Benefits of Being in a Group of Positive Thinkers

Positive Group Positive Benefits
There’s a famous quote:
Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?

It’s famous for a reason – because it’s true. You can pick up the attitudes of others, and be influenced by the moods of those around you – your family members, your colleagues, your bosses, and even the woman working at the checkout at the grocery store.  Make sure when you pick up and attitude it’s a positive one.

Positive Attitude

Think about it – someone’s can-do attitude about a difficult project will give you a more confident feeling about the work you’re about to take on, while the checkout lady’s crummy mood can put you in a bad mood as well. Studies show that even your health can be influenced by your attitude. Someone with a sunny, positive attitude, positive vibes, and a good outlook on life may very well enjoy better health than an eternal pessimist.

Think of an instance at work or an event at home that turned out the way you wanted it to. Now try to imagine your attitude at the time. In each case, your attitude was likely pretty positive. You can bet that that very attitude led you to make the choices that ended in your success. Conversely, negative attitudes defeat us, even before we begin.

Psychologists agree that in order to live a happy, engaged, and meaningful life, you have to think positively. Optimists see the bright side of things, and believe that changes can be made to improve a situation.

Connections

As a business person, someone in a leadership position, someone who has the power to influence others, or as an entrepreneur, you need to surround yourself with positive people. This becomes especially important when you are self-employed and don’t have traditional support from professional superiors within your company. When you make connections with people who are positive thinkers, these people become the ones who will help you on your path to success.

Where do you find these positive people, who have similar ambitions, aspirations for success, and beliefs that a positive outlook can change your trajectory in life? Look no further than a Mastermind group.

Support

These groups, who are full of people just like you – smart, strong, forward-thinking, open-minded, progressive and positive – are here to support you. Whereas naysayers might put down your ideas, your peers in the Mastermind group will be the ones to urge you to develop your ideas, explore your options and think outside the proverbial box. They are the ones who are excited about change, instead of resistant to it. Ultimately, a positive thinking Mastermind group will add value to your life.

Value

These people didn’t get to the top in their executive roles for no reason. The people in Mastermind groups got there because they typically have a different way of thinking than the average working person. Imagine if you had them act as each other’s allies, colleagues and collaborators?

In addition to influencing the way you approach your business (and ultimately, your life) Mastermind group members help each other solve problems, give opinions and help you see things from a different perspective, energize you to do your best and motivate you. They will challenge you to rise to the top (and stay there) and give you the momentum to reach your goals, whatever they are. They will improve your communication skills, introduce you to other people and to new ideas and methods you can apply to your company.

You Become Who You Associate With

Remember, you can’t always control the outcome. There will be times that you will fail. But you can control your attitude, which is the filter through which you see the world and a tool with which you make decisions. Choose a positive attitude by surrounding yourself with positive people, and watch your rate of success rise.

Remember that in order to be a high-stakes thinker, you need to surround yourself with like-minded people. If the people you surround yourself with are positive, confident and open-minded, you will start thinking that way too.

After all, you become who you associate with.

 

The Ultimate Success Plan – Masterminding with Confidants

Senior Lady Giving an idea to her Colleagues
Mastermind member sharing an idea to her group

The Ultimate Success Plan – Masterminding with Confidants

The journey to the top of your game, no matter what industry you’re in, can be a very lonely one, especially if you are a solopreneur or an entrepreneur. Sometimes, it will seem like nobody really understands you, from the professional challenges you face to the personal and social sacrifices that are sometimes involved with such a heavy time commitment as running your own business.

So as you climb the ladder, it’s exceptionally important to build your personal network of support and confidants.  “Confidants”.  Interesting word, right?  Webster’s Dictionary describes “confidant” as “one to whom secrets are confided”.  I can tell you from my years of Mastermind experience that one of the toughest issues that holds people back from progress is not having anyone to talk to.  And I mean really talk to.

Confidants can help you in a number of ways. People that you meet in High Stakes Mastermind groups, for example, understand what challenges you’re facing, because they’re in the same positions and know those challenges to be true. Over time relationships and trust builds, which allow for the sharing of ideas, solutions and strategies. Confidants willingly share advice with you that worked in similar situations for them.

Confidants are important for every business person, but are even more important when you’re self-employed. This is because for much of the time, you’re likely working independently, or with your staff, without the aid of a corporate headquarters. Often, this means that you have no peers to bounce ideas for solutions and strategies off of. Those you are working with are often not on the same level.

Mastermind group members are often in other lines of work, and they can become true confidants with nothing to gain from your industry secrets.

One final promise for having confidants in a Mastermind group: that it’s an especially good idea to have confidants who are as successful and trained as you are, or even more so, to discuss ideas and strategies with – and to help you discover solutions to problems unique to your business.

We know confidentiality is so important our members sign a promissory agreement. But fear not, you’ll still see the evidence of it – in their success.

Stephanie

Humming bird only teeny tiny