What is a Mastermind? In his 1925 book, The Law of Success, Napoleon Hill originated the concept of a peer-to-peer mentoring group where members help each other learn and grow.
In a Mastermind community, members share their thoughts, ideas, and goals while providing group accountability and ongoing support for each other’s development.
For this article, we sat down to chat with Michael Lovitch, who has not only been a member of many Mastermind communities himself, but who also runs his own. We wanted to gain insights on choosing the right group, and Michael shares some great information!
Before he founded three multi-million-dollar companies, Michael was a special education teacher. He then started a
publishing company that was focused on psychology books. He believes that joining Mastermind groups played a pivotal role in his growth.
Lovitch first joined a Mastermind community in 2004, when he was marketing his own company and wished to learn more about digital marketing. Anyone who wants to learn and grow can benefit from a Mastermind, he says.
Over the years, he participated in various Mastermind groups. “Some Masterminds are good, some are bad, some are okay,” he says. “Make sure that you vet them.” He learned there is something for everyone out there if you screen prospective groups carefully. Another key? Remember you’re there to both give and receive – you need to be contributing to the group just as much as you’re benefitting.
Michael does note that private coaching is the most effective tool for developing a specific capability. However, if you can’t afford a private coach, or you need a broad range of knowledge on a certain topic, a Mastermind does provide the benefits of peer coaching. It’s basically a think tank and support group all in one, composed of people bound by a common interest or goal. If you’ve identified a gap in your knowledge or in your company, you could join a Mastermind that will help you fill it.
Groups often have a theme, like developing a public personality, cultivating leadership, boosting online presence, or learning a specific growth technique, Lovitch says. For example, Ezra Firestone focuses on e-commerce, and James Franco concentrates on systems in business. Whatever your area of interest, hone in on Masterminds focused on that topic.
How to Find a Mastermind?
- At conferences, keep your eyes open for opportunities to join Mastermind groups in your area of interest.
- Throw out the idea to your social media groups and see who bites.
- Ask for personal recommendations from colleagues.
How to Vet a Mastermind?
“The vetting process is huge,” says Lovitch. The objective when vetting a Mastermind is to say, “This is what I want out of a Mastermind. Will this group help me to reach my goal?”
1. Determine whether the focus and format of the group meet your needs.
• What are its objectives?
• What is the meeting format?
• How many members does it have? • How much are members expected to spend on travel?
2. Evaluate the leadership.
• Does a professional facilitator guide group discussion?
• Does the group leader have expertise in the group topic?
3. What is the selection process for members?
• Can anyone join, or are there criteria?
• Will you need take part in an interview?
• Are you talking to a group leader or a salesperson before entering the group?
4. What do members say about the group?
• How has it helped them to grow?
• Do you already know people in the group whom you respect?
• Do current members plan to stay with the group?
Ensure the group’s level of expertise will challenge you, but not be too far over your head. “If it’s peer-to-peer, you want to bring something to the table because you don’t want to be the weak link,” says Lovitch. Likewise, you want to make sure that the other participants have experiences and backgrounds you can benefit from too.
“A Mastermind implies everybody sharing equally. Make sure that it’s set up that way,” he says.
Be wary of groups that just want your money. “Is it always yes? Are they just trying to get cash from a lot of people?” Lovitch asks. Consider how you feel when interacting with the participants, as a Mastermind will involve lots of connecting and conversations with the other members.
Do you feel encouraged to share? Do you admire their work? If those dimensions are lacking, you won’t be likely to grow, says Lovitch.
How to Leverage a Mastermind?
- Strive to both contribute and learn. “You don’t want to be that guy that’s getting help all the time and never giving back,” says Lovitch. “Find a group where you add value and feel good about going.”
- Stay as long as you’re enjoying and benefiting from it. If you’ve accomplished your goal, you might find another group – or if everyone is still learning and growing together, you might continue with it, Lovitch advises.
According to Lovitch, the comradery is the best part of belonging to a Mastermind. You know somebody always has your back – and you have theirs. That in itself is a huge confidence builder!