Sweet! Power of Shared Experiences

Photo by Charisse Kenion

Does it help you to know that potentially hundreds of other people are also reading this newsletter? What you’re doing is sharing an experience even though you’re not sharing it together. Studies have shown that people who experience something alone experience it at a different level as when they are actually sharing it with other people at the exact same time.

“…in another recent Psychological Science study that found that sharing experiences—even with a complete stranger—makes people rate those experiences as more intense than people who underwent them alone. In that experiment, students reported liking a square of 70-percent dark chocolate more when they ate it at the same time as another study participant. They said the chocolate was more “flavorful” than those who ate it alone. This holds for negative experiences, too: Those who ate a square of 90-percent dark chocolate—shown in pre-tests to be unpleasant—rated it as less tasty when they ate it at the same time as someone else.” The Importance of Sharing Experiences, Olga Khazan Oct. 16, 2014

One of the extraordinarily powerful aspects of being in a mastermind group is that although each individual member is dealing with their own experiences based on the business that they own, or the company in which they work, the fact that they are discussing these elements together helps them share the experience of assisting one another to accomplish goals, resolve issues and realize future plans.

It hasn’t mattered whether this takes place during the in-person meetings or the virtual groups. They all continue to be powerful, robust meaningful and successful. I’m excited to say that in May we will be having our first-ever retreat. Besides a full working agenda, we have lots of fun planned too. And I can’t wait to let one of our members loose in the kitchen – the foodie in the group who has volunteered to be our chef!

Is there something missing for you that can be resolved by being a member of a Mastermind group? Contact me for an exploratory conversation to see what this could do for you. We have a Virtual Mastermind group launching on March 19th. Registration closes February 24th. Could this be the group for you? How would your life improve if you could share experiences with people who understand you, “walk in your shoes” too, and is facilitated by an experienced group leader who will ensure that you are heard every time and tracking to accomplish your goals?

Being in a Mastermind is one of the most powerful and life changing experiences you can ask for. And sometimes it does include chocolate!

Fear and the Entrepreneur

 

Photo from Nordwood Themes – Unsplash

By Stephanie Angelo and Adrianna Huff

Adrianna once wrote, “I had been talking with #HighStakesMastermindGroups about signing up for the mastermind groups and getting my  real estate 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.
    If fear is gripping you – this is not the time to lash out, make knee-jerk decisions, or be dishonest.  It’s the time to talk it through.  Help and compromise are there to be had. Remember your reputation could be at stake.
  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?

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.

 

Confidence and Confidants

Photo by Farah Kanaan, www.KeepExploring.co (High Stakes Mastermind Group member)

Do You Have Confidence and Confidants?

The subject of confidants came up in our #HighStakesMastermindGroups today, because within the groups we grow to have such a great deal of trust between members, that they really tell each other things that would not be said to anyone else.  They know that what they say stays in the room because everybody signs a confidentiality agreement. But it does go farther than that, the members of the groups develop really close bonds and they become very comfortable in their ability to tell each other things that they would not be able to say to anybody else.

As their leader (and observer) that feels great because I know that I’ve been the catalyst in bringing these people together that become so close to one another. It is a little different for me because I don’t confide in them, so they really don’t have a lot of knowledge about my own personal life – and it needs to be that way.  Although I feel very comfortable in the fact that if something really went ‘south’ and I needed them, I know they would be there for me.

Why it Matters

The journey to the top of your game, no matter what industry you are in, can be a very lonely one. Sometimes, it will seem like nobody really understands, from the professional challenges you face to the personal and social sacrifices that are sometimes involved with such a heavy time commitment.

As you climb the ladder, it’s important to build your personal network of support and confidants.

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 are in the same positions and know those challenges to be true. Over time, a relationship and trust builds, which allow for the sharing of ideas and advice.

Confidants become even more important when you are self-employed 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 off of for solutions and strategies. Those you are working with are often not on the same level, so it’s a good idea to have confidants who are as successful and trained as you to discuss things with and to help you find solutions to unique problems.

Who Has Your Back?

One final argument for having confidants in a Mastermind group: because these people are often in other lines of work, they can become true confidants with nothing to gain from your industry secrets.  And they “have your back”.

I’ll never forget how a former mentor of mine once said that Mastermind groups are to grow “confidence and confidants” – and I am very confident that we have successfully done both.

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?