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Cooling Off From the Hot Seat

Photo by Daniel McCullough

A friend of mine confided to me that she used to be in a mastermind group, but it simply didn’t work for her. Frustrated with the lack of dialogue and accountability, she left the group.  I asked her questions about her past experience and why she thought it went wrong.

She said that the way their group worked was you had a schedule assigned for when you would be in the “hot seat”. Their group met on a monthly basis and so once a month there was someone who had the hot seat. Her hot seat assignment was four months after she began the group.

She initially joined the mastermind group because she really needed help growing her business. She had a lot of questions and concerns about the direction she was going and choices she needed to make. She wanted to test out new ideas and she wanted to feel like she had somebody that she could talk to. As a new business owner, anxious to have a strong start, she wanted to be able to “pick the brains” of the other members and gain from their insights. She was prepared for the emotional investment that she was going to make in helping each person with their business needs because she had a lot to offer as well.

By the time she got in the hot seat the issues that she had initially come with, when she became a member of the mastermind group, had either fallen by the wayside because she simply was too overwhelmed to address them, or they had become bigger problems, or were initiatives she decided not to try because she was afraid she would fail.

When she finally did get her scheduled chance to be in the hot seat it was of minimum value. Certainly, it had some, but it had significantly diminished from the reason she got into the mastermind group to begin with.  Yet she felt like she had spent the last four months helping everybody else with their businesses – one person at a time.  Having to wait to be in the hot seat sounds a little bit scary. It doesn’t hold conversational value.

There are a lot of mastermind groups that operate that way. In High Stakes Masterminds we just find that we succeed better doing it differently.

It was my members that decided that they prefer to meet every three weeks on a rotational basis. It has worked extremely well for us.  It’s not too frequent contact, like every two weeks, and it’s not big gaps of time in between, like once a month.  Monthly meetings also require that the meetings go really long. Having a meeting every three weeks works really well because of the frequency and having only six members per group we are able to keep our meetings moving along at an efficient 90 minutes each meeting.  Listening to my clients offered a solution to this particular problem.

In our valuable 90 minutes everybody talks every meeting. I don’t call it the hot seat. I don’t personally like that term. But I do call it the “focus seat” and everybody gets a chance to be in the focus seat. In addition, everyone in the group also has time to give them feedback, thoughts, and ideas We have robust conversation around each person’s accountabilities and goals.

You have to shop groups and determine what works well for you. I know that my first group was a disaster for me because we met once a month. Everyone did have a hot seat opportunity, but the facilitator was also a member, and to be quite honest with you she failed in every way imaginable. That experience was a painful disaster. But it did propel me to a training program to become a mastermind facilitator. I’m doing it in what I feel is the right way for my avatar type clients.

How do you know if you’re an avatar type client for High Stakes Mastermind Groups? All it takes is a conversation, and I love having those with prospective members. If you’re cooling off from the hot seat idea learn if High Stakes is right for you.

I look forward to you being in the focus seat.

 

Masterminding Better Communities

Photo by Alexandria Whitefeather: https://www.alexandriawhitefeather.com/

By Stephanie Angelo

Unforgettable Mastermind

I’ll never forget the moment in our High Stakes Mastermind Group meeting when one of our members, Dala Al- Fuwaires, who is the principal of FJI.design specializing in interior design of food and beverage locations, was telling the group about her desire to do something so that she could give back and make her community a better place.

But what to do? When you’re starting a business, and funds are limited, it’s hard to just donate. She also wanted to do something in which her own work could be showcased. Because, after all, she was trying to build her business and get people to know her throughout the community for the quality of her work.

One of the other members, Jessica Corral of Headfarmer said, “Yeah, it’s really important to pay it forward. That’s what I do in my business. We do a new giving plan every year so that we can find a new way to give back to our community.”  “Pay it forward?” said Dala.

Then in an instant she came up with the idea: she wouldn’t just pay it forward, she would design it forward. That moment – that second of true epiphany, was mesmerizing. It was emotional and it was profound. We knew this was no small moment.  Collectively we knew something big had just happened and we were all there to witness it.

Flash of Inspiration

That’s where the idea began. Dala created a contest on her website where aspiring local restaurant owners, a person who wanted to expand their already existing line of local restaurants, or even a person who had a food and beverage related retail location could submit an application. The application period was for one month from June 15th to July 15th. At the end of that, Dala would choose a winner. That winner would receive Dala’s expert design services completely pro bono. What an amazing gift to the community! Most fledgling restaurant owners cannot afford designers and they struggle to make their ideas come to life.  Dala was there to make that happen.

Last year’s winner is a pizza restaurant inside a former shipping container at a location in downtown Phoenix where all of the retail and restaurant spaces are previous shipping containers. Freak Brothers Pizza will open this fall of 2018.

It’s worth mentioning that two of the 2017 non-winning contestants we’re so impressed by Dala and the high quality of her work that they hired her for their restaurant designs, her even though they wouldn’t be pro bono. She’s just that good!

The Design it Forward project is now in its second year. Applications will close in just a few days. This year Dala has an ensemble of six industry related professionals who will select the winning application.

This is an incredible gift to the community.

Masterminding Better Communities

For me, as the Chief Focus Officer, and the members of #HighStakesMastermindGroups, we can’t wait to see who will win this year.  And to have a celebratory dinner at the opening of Freak Brothers Pizza.

The Design it Forward project is special.  And this is exactly the kind of idea that is born out of High Stakes Mastermind Groups. It starts with something small or an issue that’s noodling around in somebody’s mind and comes to life because of the power of the people behind it, and the support of the fellow members who are all also entrepreneurs succeeding at building their own businesses.

We exist for unforgettable small moments that become successful business ideas.  Could yours be next?

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 .

 

 

 

Fear and the Entrepreneur

 

Photo from Nordwood Themes – Unsplash

Guest Post by Adrianna Huff

I had been talking with #HighStakesMastermindGroups about signing up for the classes and getting my license for months, possibly years, but as my cursor hovered over the “Submit” button I was still full of fear. Thoughts like: Can I do this? Is this the right move?, What if I mess up?, ran through my head.

According to Psychology Today,

Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger — if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.”

Fear is a normal human reaction. It originally protected us from lion attacks, but is still present in our everyday lives. I’m not exactly running from wild animals in my home in the suburbs, so why do I (did I) feel fear in this situation? In reality, it is because I was jumping into an unknown situation.

According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, “How Fear Helps (and Hurts) Entrepreneurs”, for many entrepreneurs, fear is a constant companion. Not only do you have fear of losing business, but all of your employees could also be hurt if the business is not successful. However, if entrepreneurs get stuck in this fearful mentality, they may find a more challenging climb for their business.

So, that begs the question, what should an entrepreneur do? Have a healthy level of fear. Simple enough, below are a few suggestions.

  1. Reach out to peers in business or your fellow High Stakes Mastermind Group These individuals have either been in a situation of fear or are feeling fearful. Either way, a supportive and understanding peer advisor or colleague can talk you through possible scenarios and brainstorm situations. Sometimes the hardest part of entrepreneurship is being responsible for all of the decisions. Talking with a like minded individual can be powerful support.
  2. Recognize the fear that you have and acknowledge the worst that could happen. Use this fear and understanding to propel yourself forward and push the business in a positive direction. By looking for all the potential issues in the company, you can fix these issues and greatly reduce the fear involved. Consider including steps to mitigate issues and fear in your High Stakes Mastermind Group goal plan.
  3. Power through. Sometimes fear can lead to paralysis by analysis. When there is such a fear of failure (or success for that matter), it can be easy to analyze over and over again. Instead of getting into this loop of analysis, preventing any actual work, make a decision and move forward. It is likely that most decisions can be modified and reversed if necessary.

Fear is a double edged sword. It can propel entrepreneurs to greatness, or it can prevent them from getting any work done. How do you handle fear?

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