Category Archives: Mastermind groups entrepreneurs

What Can Skillshare do for You?

Stephanie Angelo

Guest Post by Adrianna Huff

Disclaimer: I have paid for my own Skillshare membership, and this post is not sponsored by Skillshare. (#NotAnAd)

Lifelong learner

I call myself a lifelong learner, and when I find a great learning resource (at an affordable price), I have to share it. I’ve heard about Skillshare for a while now in various articles and blog posts over the years, but it wasn’t until our CFO (Chief Focus Officer) Stephanie Angelo from the High Stakes Mastermind Group started presenting Skillshare videos that I picked up a membership and started watching.

Skillshare is an online learning platform where teachers post videos that students can watch. Typically there are also projects that can be completed. What is great about Skillshare, is that anyone with a membership can watch videos that are of interest. Learners do not have to enroll in classes, and there is feedback from instructors. New videos are posted constantly, and as of this blog post there are over 21,000 classes.

Videos on all topics

There are videos on all topics, from Photography to Productivity, and I found myself being drawn to and watching videos relating to Entrepreneurship, Passive Income, Productivity and Efficiency Measures, and Developing a Great Workplace.

Stephanie currently has two classes live on Skillshare, “How to Make Workplace Accountability Cooler Than Your Competitors Do” and “Mastering Strategic Thinking Skills for Maximum Impact in Your Organization”. I watched both lessons (they were about 45 minutes each), which provided me with good information without leaving me committed for hours.

As a finance person, I found the workplace accountability lesson to be valuable in that Stephanie explained how workplace accountability can hurt companies in both productivity, but also the bottom line. For entrepreneurs especially, workers without accountability can de-rail a really successful company and make the already difficult entrepreneurial journey more challenging.

Strategic thinking

Additionally, the strategic thinking lesson was a great reminder to me to do two things in my own life and career work: think proactively and spend some time just thinking. I can sometimes get mired into the small details making my life very reactionary. By remembering to actually look at my goals and my entrepreneurial horizon I can develop new opportunities. As well, instead of just jumping (sometimes without thinking) I should take a step back and actually look at the whole picture.

What Stephanie teaches in her videos, is the same way she approaches our High Stakes Mastermind Group meetings. We have accountability from her to meet our goals as well as proactive work to keep our businesses moving forward. I would highly recommend both of her videos and to start taking Skillshare classes.

Have you heard of Skillshare? What are your favorite learning resources?

Stephanie Angelo creates #businessmastermind teams that make more money, blow away the competition and have better businesses as a result. Talk to Stephanie about #HighStakesMastermindGroups either by phone (480) 646-2400 or email at Stephanie@StephanieAngelo.com .

 

 

 

Handling “Stuckness”

Photo by Rob Potter

By Adrianna Huff

A few years ago, I started to feel stuck. I didn’t just wake up one morning and feel stuck, but rather it snuck up on me slowly. Since it felt like more of a professional “stuckness”, I started frantically applying for jobs, looking for classes, and haphazardly trying to change my professional world. I wasted a lot of money, and ended up feeling a little burnt out before I found my right direction.

I learned some valuable lessons on feeling stuck and how to handle “stuckness”. Here are the suggestions I would give to myself in the future.

  1. Assess the current situation:

For me at least, feeling stuck drives from not being challenged. Instead of making a drastic movement to get out of “stuckness”, take a minute and review the situation. Talk about it with a friend, co-worker, or fellow High Stakes Mastermind Group member. Is there a new role or challenge that I can be taking? Can I find a new niche within what I am doing that will give me the challenge? Sometimes, it just takes a little thinking outside the box to find a new opportunity to get unstuck.

  1. Complete some outside of work training:
    While I would like to think I get my entire professional fulfillment from work, this isn’t true. In the future, I would look for classes to take to broaden my career knowledge or personal interests. There are opportunities through Skillshare.com (including those taught by High Stakes Mastermind Group leader, Stephanie Angelo), Coursera.com, local community college classes, and even webinars online. Not only could I have continued to develop myself professionally, but I may have found personal fulfillment in the training.
  2. Research, Research, Research:
    I sound like my music instructor from my childhood (practice, practice, practice), but I can’t stress more the importance of research. If you decide to change roles or the way you structure your business, read about the benefits and implications. Make sure it is a good fit, before jumping.
  3. Step away:
    One of the best things for me when I feel stuck is to step away from the situation. I don’t mean to completely avoid it, but instead I try to stop focusing on it. Stepping away for a short break provides me with clarity, and allows me to think clearly. Instead of feeling like I must fix the problem, I am able to make sure I know what I need. Again, speaking with a friend, co-worker, or your fellow High Stakes Mastermind participant may provide you with a new perspective.
  4. Make a plan of action:
    Instead of acting in panic mode, slowly and carefully make a plan of action. I don’t know of any situations that have been well handled in a reactionary state. Draft up a goal plan (like we do in our High Stakes Mastermind Group) and make logical steps to complete those goals. Either have your High Stakes Mastermind Group hold you accountable or a friend or co-worker can keep you accountable to your new action plan.
  5. Give yourself grace:
    If in the end, if you take what you believe to be a well considered leap, and it doesn’t work out, give yourself grace. Everyone makes mistakes, I firmly believe it is better to try something new (and later find out it was not right) than to live in constant fear of not making the right choice. I would rather learn my decision did not completely meet my needs than to live in a state of “if only”.

How do you handle “stuckness”? Do you have any additional suggestions on how to make professional or personal changes?

 

Adrianna Huff is a member of High Stakes Mastermind Groups

 

 

 

Productivity Hacks

Six easy hacks can change your life

By guest writer Adrianna Huff

Now that I am a Mom, I find that if I get lucky, I can get four hours total of productive work during the day. Unfortunately, this time is not in one four-hour chunk, but about four one-hour chunks. With my new time constraint, I have found myself devouring information on how to be my most productive self.

Based on my research and firsthand experience, these are my best productivity hacks.

1. Develop a Structure: Without creating some structure to my day, I end up mindlessly reading articles and not actually getting anything done. For some, this structure could look like meetings on Mondays, designing on Tuesdays, and so forth. If you develop a structure, and time block yourself for specific activities that you only do during those times, you will likely be more productive and efficient. Some individuals even go so far as to only respond to emails pertinent to their daily structure on the assigned days, but I’m not that strict.

2. Write Everything Down: When I am my most productive self, I am a list making machine. I have my to-do list, my call list, and my idea list. If I have everything written down on my list, I don’t have to expend brain power time trying to remember what I need to do. In addition, when I accomplish a task, I get to have the feeling of immense success by crossing it off the list. Finally, when I find myself with a spare few minutes, for example if I arrive early to a meeting, or a call ends early, I can knock out a small task and get a little more done.

3. Work When I am Most Productive: I am a morning person, and my best ideas occur when I am somewhat refreshed after a night of sleep. Thus, in my daily structure, you will see me writing in the morning and administrative tasks when I am the most tired. By working with my body’s natural productivity inclinations, I don’t waste valuable time working on mindless tasks when I am most alert.

4. Make a “Landing Zone”: Having all of my important paperwork in one specific landing zone makes it much easier to crank through the work. As soon as it comes to me (mail, email, carrier pigeon), I open it, assess it, and put it in the landing zone as needed. When I have the pre-assigned chunk of time to work on this task, I no longer have to look for it, or remember to do it. The work is staring me right in the face. Again, by taking out the brain power of remembering the task, I can be more productive.

5. Unsubscribe or Unfollow: My email inbox can be a time suck for me. Between the emails I need to read and respond to as well as all of the emails I have subscribed to throughout the years, it is easy to lose large chunks of time to the less important emails. Periodically, I set aside a 15-20 minute chunk of time to actually unsubscribe or unfollow these emails. Without the constant barrage of unnecessary content, I can stay more focused when my email is staring back at me. And if I decide the need to get certain subscription based emails again, I can always re-follow.

6. Set a deadline: In Tim Ferriss’ book, “The Four Hour Work Week”, Ferriss explains that working more efficiently for a few hours can vastly increase productivity. This may seem like a no-brainer idea, but forcing shorter deadlines forces you to actually work more efficiently. If I give myself two weeks, I am likely to start working on the task in 2 weeks, if I give myself 2 days, I am more likely to complete it right away.

What are your great productivity hacks? How do you keep yourself accountable and motivated?

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.