Tag Archives: Succsessful

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?

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.

 

 

Loyalty

Do You Give as Much as You Expect to Get?

Let’s talk a little bit about loyalty, shall we? I’m going to guess that loyalty means different things to different people. Some people think that they’re loyal, to friends, for example, but they are sporadic and undependable; yet satisfy themselves that that is “good enough”.

For me it’s not enough. I’m constantly accused by my husband of having too high expectations of other people. I beg to differ. I don’t expect anything different from other people than what I expect of myself. And one thing I pride myself on is when I have a friend I’m loyal to them and I stay that way.

Some of my friendships have ended and it’s always been when the so-called friend did something really hurtful that directly affected somebody I know, or love, or did something directly to me. Having said that though, I do watch how my friends treat other people. Because that is also a huge indicator of their true character. And true character is, in my book, the be-all-end-all.

For example, years ago an Exchange student of ours had a best friend she made here in the U.S.  These two girls not only treated my daughter horribly, but several other girls at the high school as well.  I would talk to my student about her good friend’s ultimate character, and her choice of friend.  It fell on deaf ears because to her, as long as the friend treated her well, how she treated others didn’t matter.  In the end – the poor character of both girls caused the falling out of several relationships.

I found this portion of the definition of loyalty on Wikipedia: Josiah Royce presented a different definition of the concept in his 1908 book The Philosophy of Loyalty. According to Royce, loyalty is a virtue, indeed a primary virtue, “the heart of all the virtues, the central duty amongst all the duties”. Royce presents loyalty, which he defines at length, as the basic moral principle from which all other principles can be derived. The short definition that he gives of the idea is that loyalty is “the willing and practical and thoroughgoing devotion of a person to a cause”. Loyalty is thoroughgoing in that it is not merely a casual interest but a wholehearted commitment to a cause. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalty)

In my Mastermind groups the loyalty that develops among the members is astonishing and yet I’m not surprised, because I have a tendency to choose people who really have true and loyal character; and for that I’m ever grateful. The expectation of my members to be loyal to each other is a good portion of the very foundation that High Stakes Mastermind Groups are made of.

I don’t particularly have an expectation that they will be loyal to me beyond the year in which somebody is a member. Having said that I’m enormously heartened by the number of members who have said they will continue to be a part of High Stakes Mastermind Groups for as long as they can imagine.

I’m not holding their feet to the fire and I know that there are no guarantees in life. I will tell you this though, hearing those words prompts me to be even more loyal to them in everything I do; during the meetings, behind-the-scenes, and continuously looking for contacts and opportunities to grow the businesses of each and every member. That is at the heart of High Stakes Mastermind Groups. And in their loyalty to the group, we all get as much as we give.

 

 

The Power of “Ding!” – What a Timer Will Do for You

Photo by Veri Ivanova

What a Timer Will Do for You

Do you have a list of “to-dos” and you’re having trouble maintaining your focus so as to get things done? Or maybe you find yourself jumping from one incomplete task to the other or skipping from one project to another. Have you tried setting a timer to help you in accomplishing your list of to-dos?

Well, a timer may just be the solution you need to help you stay focused and get done with, with your list of to-dos.

Most times our excuse for being less efficient is limited time. But the main reason why we’re often less efficient at getting tasks done is that we spend too much time on a single task or project. Setting an alarm could just be the magical solution you need to help you stay focused and spend limited time on a particular task from your list of to-dos. All you have to do is prioritize your tasks and decide how long it will take you to accomplish each of them.

Chances are, you’re most likely going to accomplish the task within the limit you gave yourself. If you were unable finish with that particular task. Or schedule a “meeting” with yourself on your calendar for another working session on that project.

Nothing can motivate you more to be more effective at accomplishing your projects than setting a time limit for yourself.

My timer for this article will soon be up. So, without much ado, below are three reasons why setting a timer is so effective

  1. It gives you speed

Without a timer, you can spend time which would have been enough to accomplish two tasks on accomplishing one only. For instance, I could spend more time developing this piece, but for the fact that the time limit I set for myself is almost up, I need to look for a way to round it up. The implication is that I’m getting this article done at a faster pace than I would have if I had not set an alarm for this task. So, setting a limit for yourself will motivate you to accomplish the task at an incredible speed while resisting distractions.  Since goal accomplishment is the primary objective in High Stakes Mastermind Groups, I not only have to help our members achieve their goals by coaching them to find solutions like this one, I have to model it myself.

  1. Work becomes more like a game challenge

Nobody can say he or she gets tired of playing and winning his or her favorite game. The moment you set a timer to accomplish a particular task, it becomes as though you are playing your favorite game of which your primary goal is to win. Beating the timer you set for a given task is like winning the game in the sense that you feel happy about it.

  1. You Work With More Focus

Setting a timer for 15, 30 or 60 minutes will help you tune out distractions; this is because you know you need to stay focused in order to complete your task before the time runs out. And since you already know what you need to accomplish during that time frame, you won’t waste time trying to multi-task.

Okay, my egg timer just went off, so I think it’s time to wrap up this productivity tip! You should try using a timer today and see how it goes. Personally, I use either a simple egg timer or the timer on my phone. And if there are so many distractions, then put your phone in airplane mode and get to work!  I also don’t allow my email to flag a notification, or make a sound for incoming messages.

So that’s it, now you know how beneficial using a timer can be – it really helps in keeping you organized as you’re able to check off each and every task on your to-do list.

Strategic Thinker – Sometimes You’re Not Born That Way

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe

A friend of mine, who I found to be the consummate strategic thinker, was a sales and franchising expert. He spent years consulting with people who had sunk their saving into franchises because they were sold on the promises of making money “in their sleep”.  Now they were overworked and in debt.

I’m not saying buying into a franchise is a poor choice.  Not at all.  If you’re prepared, educated, have the funds and are ready to put it a lot of hours.  Practice being a strategic thinker. Think intentionally before you commit.  That’s true of any business decision.  And strategic thinking doesn’t mean you mull over it endlessly.  It means look at the decision from every angle – top, bottom, sides and end to end.  In his article Are You A Strategic Thinker? Test Yourself, Peter Walsh lets you answer for yourself.

Let’s just bring it into a smaller scope for the sake of this blog – your individual business.

Rather than constantly reacting to everything that comes up, keep it a list of the regular questions that your customers, clients, friends and contacts are consistently asking you. Do people at networking events ask you the same questions over and over?  Then the strategic move would be to answer the questions before they are asked. Be prepared with what you need to say, or do, in order to answer your client’s questions.  Anticipate them.

Sometimes the biggest barrier to strategic thinking is simply having the time to think at all. people who allow themselves time to quietly think and reflect upon choices and “the big picture” find ways to connect what would never otherwise have been connected at all and therefore come up with the most brilliant ideas, or comfortably decide which projects to pursue. Like Bill Gates’ famous “Think Weeks”.

Practice being a critical thinker – and not one that’s easily sold on every idea that’s thrown your way. Some people are easy targets for every “shiny object” that’s set before them. Practice saying “no” and giving yourself time to reflect and do research.

The solopreneurs and entrepreneurs I work with nearly always tell me that in one way or another they feel alone, isolated, even “in a silo”.  The best way out of that stifling position is to join a mastermind group. There, in the right group that is, you will feel empowered, energized, respected, trusted, and valued. And you will exercise your strategic thinking.

Most successful strategic thinkers are not born that way but they learned to exercise their strategic thinking “mental muscle” and the best place to do that is in a mastermind group. In a mastermind group you can get honest feedback and fresh ideas from other individuals. There you can verbalize your thoughts and gain clarity from others.  Leaving you the opportunity to make informed decisions.

“Internal” mastermind groups that are within a single organization, work well to develop and enhance strategic thinking.  They are most successful when lead by an outside facilitator who has no bias within the company.

Mastermind groups where not everyone belongs to the same company, or the same industry, are the most beneficial way to do this. In a group of people from different disciplines and different levels of expertise you will get new and fresh ideas in the least homogenized fashion.

There you will also find accountability where your feet are “held to the fire” in the most supportive way so that if you tend towards “analysis paralysis” you’ll be forced to make decisions. That force is what exercises your muscle. It’s a little uncomfortable but over time it helps you think better faster, stronger and more clearly.  Before you know it, voila, you’re a strategic thinker.