Category Archives: Brain Storming

Taking the Silo out of Solo

Photo by Jeremy Olson

What does it mean to take the “silo out of solo”?

You’ll often hear me say that in High Stakes Mastermind Groups we take the “silo out of solo”. But what exactly does that mean? Here’s the thing: it is lonely at the top.

What that means is that when you’re at the top of an organization, whether you have lots of employees or just a few, maybe you’re a solopreneur with no one around but your office cat, you’ll frequently find that you don’t really have anybody that you can talk to. Especially when it’s within your own company. You’re solo – going at it alone. You’re not going to tell your employees your insecurities, that you have doubts, that you’re debating about signing a new contract, or about a choice that you might make with marketing, or a new product, or any number of things that happen in the day-to-day.

There are hundreds of choices that business owners have to make. And there’s an uncomfortable feeling of having to keep up appearances. Typically that of confidence. How can a team leader, or company leader, show their employees and coworkers that they have occasional doubts and insecurities? We are all human, and we all have these emotions from time to time. But there’s a really difficult stigma, when you’re at the top of an organization, to show these vulnerabilities. But here you are; solo, and in a silo.

Tales from a Bad Experience

In High Stakes Mastermind Groups we welcome those vulnerabilities at the times they occur. I had my own personal experience years ago when I was a member of my very first mastermind group. A friend of mine had invited me to be in this group and it was led by one of the members, which in and of itself is the first mistake because I strongly believe that all mastermind group should be led by an outside facilitator that isn’t a part to the actual mastermind itself. But getting back to the story there was a day when I was under tremendous stress and I was feeling extremely emotional as a result of it. During the meeting I vented. I cried and I was emotional. I felt that of all people, these were the ones that would have my back.
Or so I thought. Imagine my shock when three days after that meeting I got a call from the so-called “leader”, who told me that she and the other members had decided that they didn’t want me in the group anymore. I was shocked and deeply, deeply, hurt. The only person who really didn’t support that choice was the same person who had invited me to the group in the first place.

Going Forward

That experience taught me that in my own mastermind groups I will never let that happen to a member. I’ve told all members when they begin a group that I never allow anyone to be abusive to anybody else, but should the day occur where somebody is having particular trouble, and they need the rest of us to support them, we would be there for them. No questions asked. And we’ve had to be there for our members from time to time. But truthfully it doesn’t happen very often. Our meetings are business based. We conduct business and we hold one another accountable to meeting our business goals. We are a group of strong achievers. But even a strong achiever feels like they’re in a silo from time to time. And that is my why to take the “silo out of solo”. You can even hear a little clip where I reference that during a radio interview: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0gq8tyogjtbte1y/Take%20the%20Silo%20out%20of%20the%20Solo.mp3?dl=0

If you ever find yourself feeling like you would be stronger if you were part of a tribe, and that your business would benefit by having like-minded achievement-oriented individuals around you, who would accept you warts and all, give us a call: 480.646.2400 We’d love to hear from you.

You Can’t Have Epiphanies in a Pigeonhole

You Can’t Have Epiphanies in a Pigeonhole
Photo by Rafael Rodrigues Machado

Comfort can be limiting

The other night at a party, my friend Bob and I got into a discussion about reading books.  How we read them. He’s a diehard Kindle user and I like reading books.  The real ones, with front and back covers and pages in between. Bob was adamant that his way was better.  He likes highlighting passages and making notes.  OK.  Fine. I have a Kindle too. But no matter how insistent Bob got, it wasn’t going to change the fact that I rather read a real book.

Bob was trying to pigeonhole me into always reading my books on a Kindle, Nook or iPad because that’s the way he likes to read, even when I kept telling him I’d rather just read a real book.  I love holding real books!

In my business mastermind groups we won’t pigeonhole you into doing your business the way we want you to.   We help you brainstorm and process your ideas.  We are a sounding board, supporting you in getting your goals accomplished in the best way that’s comfortable for you.  I have a signature system in the way that I work with my clients. Having said that just because it’s a system, doesn’t mean that it’s rigid. It means that it’s a process that works and is successful.

“Pigeonholing” is often a concern when it comes to work, like getting stuck in a niche or considered limited in your capabilities as Cheryl Dahle wrote in her article for Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/52849/escape-your-pigeonhole

The Joy of Epiphany Moments

But I look at it as being limited in your business mastermind choices and worse yet, how the mastermind itself functions. Having said that, I’m not criticizing; just pointing out that there are many different forms and styles of mastermind groups, even once your narrow it down to business masterminds.  You owe it to yourself to investigate before choosing.

One mastermind group I know, sits around a board-room table, like a family does at a dining room table and they just start talking about a topic. It might be marketing, it might be how to do your website; it could be any number of things. They sit and discuss it, and that works for them. That’s the way that group operates.

Another group I know of has a facilitator who sets a curriculum and the groups follows that from A-Z over a six month period.  When the curriculum is complete the groups disbands and another starts.

Our High Stakes Mastermind Groups are based on you being able to process through a single page goal plan that we have helped you developed; so it’s very clear and time honored based on SMART goals.  “SMART” goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Time-bound.

In the course of discussing what is going on in your business, we have an amazing way of processing thoughts and clarifying opportunities our groups result in “ah-ha!” moments. Epiphanies. Sometimes to the point of bringing on tears – happy tears.

We thrive on our ability to be achievement and accountability based sounding boards for our members. I tell each one that their goal plan is a “living document’ because it must flex with changes and updates in their business growth.  That wouldn’t be possible if we clung to the status quo. In fact you could say we’re about taking you out of your pigeonhole.

 

 

Masterminding Can Be Like Parenting Someone Else’s Child

Parenting – if you can do that, you can mastermind.

Some of you may know that I have my fourth exchange student living with us right now. I’ve decided that there are some interesting similarities between parenting somebody else’s child living with you and masterminding.  Now, that may seem like a really weird correlation but read on…

We’ve had four exchange students and so I know that one of the tough things about being the parent of an exchange student is that real life sets in after the “getting to know each other phase” and it’s difficult to parent someone else’s child. As a parent sometimes there are “discipline” types of things that occur. Maybe they’re not emptying the dishwasher when you’ve asked them to, or they’re not getting their homework done and teachers are emailing, or things of that nature.  There are also a lot of great things, just like with your own children, like when they participate in school sports you go and cheer them on.  Or you attend their school play.  You want to support them, and be parents to them, as if they were your own child. Yet there’s this little part that’s detached because this kid doesn’t really belong to you and it’s also temporary.  At some point you hug goodbye at an airport and return home to their empty room.

That’s where I see an interesting connection to Mastermind groups.  When you’re involved in a mastermind group you want to talk about what’s going on in your organization and get feedback from the other members, and sometimes you have to remind yourself that these members don’t really have buy-in to your company, except that they care about your success the same way that you care about their success in their own companies.

Like parenting someone else’s child their success is your own success.  If your fellow Mastermind group members do well in their businesses; they grow their businesses and achieve their goals, then when they succeed you also succeed.  Because you had a connection and involvement in what happened to their business because you were there to give advice, brainstorm, and support them.  In our High Stakes Mastermind Groups, we call it taking the “Silo out of Solo”.

Being in a mastermind group is a responsibility you sign on to – to be a support mechanism for others. And the payoff is really huge.  Just like when you see your own kid walk across that stage and carry away their diploma, there’s a great deal of pride in seeing the success of your fellow Mastermind group members. And the cool thing is they feel pride when you succeed too. And another special feeling, love.

So yeah, Masterminding is a little bit like parenting someone else’s kid.

Limbic “Brainiacs” Giving Incentive to Masterminds

Limbic Brain- Its Positive Effects on Commitment to a Business Mastermind Group

By Guest Blogger
What is the Limbic Brain?

The limbic brain is that part of the brain that deals with emotions, memories, instincts, and arousal (stimulation). It is the emotional switchboard of the brain. The limbic system consists subparts like the hippocampus, hypothalamus, and amygdala.  These help in controlling various emotional, endocrine, voluntary and visceral responses to our environments featuring in our daily activities. The best function of the limbic system is the emotion control, while a part of this system called the hippocampus helps in the formation and retaining of memories, which is very crucial for development and learning.  Some of the functions performed by the limbic brain: remembering of past events, making choices based on experience, movement control based on past learning, perceive threats from surroundings, form sensory preferences, etc.

What’s the Connection?

A business Mastermind Group is a group created with the aim of brainstorming and collaborating together to achieve a particular set of goals. This concept was initialized by Napoleon Hill around 75 years ago in his book “Think and Grow Rich”. A Mastermind Group helps individuals to navigate through challenges using the collective ideas of other people. These groups are for real change, growth and trust. They are entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who believe they can easily achieve their set goals through working with high-productive and accountable people.

Joining a Mastermind Group helps to eliminate isolation. Working collaboratively with a mastermind group can be very advantageous, it helps to maximize profit as it integrates business ideas from different sects of experienced people. The benefits of Mastermind Groups  includes insights from the skills and expertise of others, solutions and ideas from brainstorming, trusted network of others who are supportive, a professional community, goal mastering, an instant and valuable support network, accountability and real progress in business, problem-solving sessions, etc.

The brain plays a very important role in the control of the body system. It is responsible for all the human body activities. The brain is divided into different segments which perform their distinct functions. One of these segments is the limbic brain, responsible for memory and emotion control. The way people react to various stimuli is determined by how the limbic brain controls the emotion or how it is aroused. The functionality of the limbic system, to a great extent, affects human social interaction especially commitment to some things like membership of a Mastermind Group. Different parts of the limbic system perform various functions that control human reaction. Below are some of the major parts:

  • Thalamus: It is responsible for detecting and relaying information from the human senses. This part helps in sharing of knowledge among Mastermind Group members as people perceive things differently which will bring about maximization of ideas.
  • Hypothalamus: It acts as the regulator of hormone control. It helps to maintain body homeostasis. Its interaction with other parts of the limbic brain helps it to control the part of the body responsible for “fight and flight” response. Hypothalamus regulates human emotions as this will help in their relationship with one another in a Mastermind Group.
  • Amygdala: This is tied to fear and anxious emotions. It assists in the development of memories especially emotional events and emergencies. Activeness of members of a Mastermind Group is essential, and members must be anxious to seek more knowledge from others.
  • Hippocampus: It is generally associated with memory and focus. This part of the limbic brain helps in retaining of memory/ learning. The main purpose of a Mastermind is for individual development, i.e. gaining more knowledge and experience for maximum output. Hippocampus can help in achieving this.
  • Cingulate gyrus: it is involved in many sections of memory and emotion. This performs similar functions with the hippocampus.
In Summary

The limbic brain plays an essential function in the human brain which tends to affect the cognitive and social behavior of people thereby affecting their productivity. Being in a Mastermind Group is determined by the functionality of the limbic brain which helps in emotion control influencing person’s social interaction decision. The limbic brain regulates the emotional decisions effecting how people react to external stimuli such as being in a Mastermind.

Membership in a Mastermind Group is a part which aids maximization of profit thereby arousing the interest of people to participate more because of its financial benefits. Self-development and enhancement is also a major concern for Mastermind, improving the intellectual competence of its members. This is made possible by the retaining memory function of the limbic brain, storing information/knowledge for future purposes.

Mastermind group members are people who believe they can easily achieve their set goals through working with high-productive and accountable people – and can thank their Limbic brain for the incentive.

 

 

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.