Tag Archives: Trust

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.

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.

 

 

 

Master Mind Reader – What’s the Real Magic Behind Masterminds?

Can You Read My Mind?

Here’s a little personal information, mind you. My husband and I use a laundry basket, which is in our closet, but he also has a large laundry bag that he hangs behind the closet door. In it he puts his extra dirty, grimy, clothes that we don’t want mixed with our better clothing in the laundry basket.

Last Saturday after I started the extra dirty laundry from his bag, he got upset with me because I had “forgotten” a pair of his socks and some shorts. “Where were they?” I asked him.  “They were in my cabinet.” I asked, “How was I supposed to know they were in there?”  He said, “I always have my last things from the day before in the cabinet and I put them in the bag on Saturday morning.”

Well, this was news to me. I asked him, “I have I ever seen you do that?” knowing perfectly well the answer was ‘no’.  He said, “I don’t know.” I asked, “How was I supposed to know that you do that then?”  His answer, “Well I do it every weekend.”  “Do you know what I use to separate my eyelashes every morning after I put on mascara?”   “No, how would I know? I’m not clairvoyant.”

“Well, I said, “I do it every day.”  I know perfectly well he’s never seen me do it.

So here we have a problem of somebody expecting another person to have extrasensory perception (ESP).  I don’t have it.  I facilitate Mastermind Groups – I am not a master at reading minds.

The same is true of your Mastermind members. They aren’t Fortune-Tellers. You have to explain what your goals are and what you’re trying to achieve. Only after you are open and verbal about it can your fellow Mastermind group members actually help you. If a member doesn’t have ability to speak, then a written/printed form is used.  In either case, your fellow Mastermind Group members can’t read your mind. They don’t know what you need. Only if you are open and honest and willing to have a discussion help is there to be had.

It’s really up to you how good of a Mastermind Group participant you are. The group is not there to solve all your problems. The group isn’t there to do the work for you. Studies have shown that people who are in Mastermind Groups and put as much into the group as they expect to get out of it are 15% more likely to accomplish their goals than people who are not in a mastermind group.

Goals have a way of falling apart when you don’t have someone to hold you accountable. When nobody is looking, you may take it easier on yourself. Nobody is watching, you think, so if you fail, it’s not a big deal.

Mastermind groups are like having your own Board of Directors. Except you’re not obligated to do what they tell you – they exist for you. That’s the truly cool part. It’s not just having one accountability partner, but many. They offer you professional relationships where the members support, empower and hold each other accountable for their actions. That is the way that members help each other to achieve their specific goals by coming up with thoughtful, useful and timely information that will add value to the lives and careers of group members.

As a member, you’re being backed by and collaborating with some of the strongest, smartest and best thinkers and leaders out there – the people in some of the top leader and executive roles available. Not only are they helping you by feeding your mind with positive energy and fuel to reach your goals, but you’re helping them, as well.  Some people think, “I have nothing to contribute.  These people are way more accomplished than I am”. Well, allow me to stop you right there.  Everyone has something of value to give, over and over again.  We’ll even empower you to contribute- because it’s the cornerstone of your own accountability. Through accountability we help you master your goals. That’s where the real magic is.

What’s your opinion? What do you think about what I’ve recommended above?
Since I’m not a master mind reader you will have to tell me in the comments below!

Oh, and about those eyelashes – I use a little eyelash comb.

 

Naked and Unafraid- The Benefits of Being Vulnerable in Your Mastermind Group

Masterminders sharing what really happens in their work.

You joined, or are thinking of joining, a High-Stakes Mastermind Group for several reasons. Maybe you’re a solopreneur or an entrepreneur who wants to bounce ideas off of other professionals. Perhaps you want to be able to associate with others who experience the same professional, personal and social challenges and sacrifices that you do in your field. Or maybe you are looking to build your personal network of support and confidants.  Whatever your reason, you should do one thing once you’ve joined the group. You should be completely honest and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

Why would you want to show your true self, with all of your challenges and weaknesses to other people? Won’t they stop respecting you so much? The answer is no. You want to be completely honest and vulnerable with your fellow members, and especially your Mastermind group facilitator, because that is the only way that they can help you diagnose any issues and help you improve to become the very best person and professional that you can be. This is the safe place to be emotionally naked.

Think about it – if they don’t know what the problem is, how can they give the advice that you’ve joined the group for?

Remember each member is in the same position.  You may feel like they’re holding your emotional cards – but you’re holding theirs as well.

In the blog by William Butler, The Benefits of Being Vulnerable he writes:

Risking vulnerability allows you to be, or have:

  • deeper degree of honesty
  • greater degree of transparency
  • higher level of understanding
  • deeper relationships
  • honestly yourself
  • less defensive
  • less lonely than that of isolation
  • more accountable
  • more courageous
  • more sensitive and tenderhearted
  • truly human

Source: http://www.williambutler.ca/2013/09/power-vulnerable/

There’s something extremely freeing about being vulnerable and releasing the weight of your most stressful business decisions, confusing questions, and untried ideas. It humanizes all of us to let down our guards and be…well, human.

What may look like the weakest form of humanness is actually what takes the most strength – vulnerability.

In her TED Talk Brené Brown said, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Your time is precious. Clearly, you’ve joined a Mastermind group to get something out of it. Get the most out of it by allowing yourself to be vulnerable – emotionally naked and unafraid. That’s how you can help others to help you.

 

 

Five Benefits of Being in a Group of Positive Thinkers

Positive Group Positive Benefits
There’s a famous quote:
Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?

It’s famous for a reason – because it’s true. You can pick up the attitudes of others, and be influenced by the moods of those around you – your family members, your colleagues, your bosses, and even the woman working at the checkout at the grocery store.  Make sure when you pick up and attitude it’s a positive one.

Positive Attitude

Think about it – someone’s can-do attitude about a difficult project will give you a more confident feeling about the work you’re about to take on, while the checkout lady’s crummy mood can put you in a bad mood as well. Studies show that even your health can be influenced by your attitude. Someone with a sunny, positive attitude, positive vibes, and a good outlook on life may very well enjoy better health than an eternal pessimist.

Think of an instance at work or an event at home that turned out the way you wanted it to. Now try to imagine your attitude at the time. In each case, your attitude was likely pretty positive. You can bet that that very attitude led you to make the choices that ended in your success. Conversely, negative attitudes defeat us, even before we begin.

Psychologists agree that in order to live a happy, engaged, and meaningful life, you have to think positively. Optimists see the bright side of things, and believe that changes can be made to improve a situation.

Connections

As a business person, someone in a leadership position, someone who has the power to influence others, or as an entrepreneur, you need to surround yourself with positive people. This becomes especially important when you are self-employed and don’t have traditional support from professional superiors within your company. When you make connections with people who are positive thinkers, these people become the ones who will help you on your path to success.

Where do you find these positive people, who have similar ambitions, aspirations for success, and beliefs that a positive outlook can change your trajectory in life? Look no further than a Mastermind group.

Support

These groups, who are full of people just like you – smart, strong, forward-thinking, open-minded, progressive and positive – are here to support you. Whereas naysayers might put down your ideas, your peers in the Mastermind group will be the ones to urge you to develop your ideas, explore your options and think outside the proverbial box. They are the ones who are excited about change, instead of resistant to it. Ultimately, a positive thinking Mastermind group will add value to your life.

Value

These people didn’t get to the top in their executive roles for no reason. The people in Mastermind groups got there because they typically have a different way of thinking than the average working person. Imagine if you had them act as each other’s allies, colleagues and collaborators?

In addition to influencing the way you approach your business (and ultimately, your life) Mastermind group members help each other solve problems, give opinions and help you see things from a different perspective, energize you to do your best and motivate you. They will challenge you to rise to the top (and stay there) and give you the momentum to reach your goals, whatever they are. They will improve your communication skills, introduce you to other people and to new ideas and methods you can apply to your company.

You Become Who You Associate With

Remember, you can’t always control the outcome. There will be times that you will fail. But you can control your attitude, which is the filter through which you see the world and a tool with which you make decisions. Choose a positive attitude by surrounding yourself with positive people, and watch your rate of success rise.

Remember that in order to be a high-stakes thinker, you need to surround yourself with like-minded people. If the people you surround yourself with are positive, confident and open-minded, you will start thinking that way too.

After all, you become who you associate with.