In 1938, Napoleon Hill published a business classic that is still read today, “Think and Grow Rich.” In “Think and Grow Rich,” Hill describes the concept of a “Mastermind.” In Hill’s book, the mastermind is for the purpose of enhancing the knowledge and skills of a single individual. In today’s world, it has come to mean so much more for business owners.
The mastermind of today comes in many shapes and sizes but on average has six to eight members who come together for the purpose of enhancing the skills and knowledge of the entire group. The amount of time they spend together regularly and the frequency that they meet may vary, but the goal is the same – shared knowledge is for the benefit of the individuals and the collective group.
Quite often, this group will have a facilitator. The facilitator helps the group move forward when it gets stuck and ensures that the time the group spends together is not focused on a single individual. For business owners this can be an extremely valuable time because it is the one place they feel like they can really tell the truth. Often business owners feel like they are all alone in their challenges, that no one understands what they are dealing with and they shouldn’t tell anyone about their challenges for fear that they will lose respect.
The mastermind gives individuals the freedom to be honest because there is a commitment to confidentiality and a lack of judgment of any kind. The group listens, may or may not provide advice, asks questions, sometimes challenges, but is there as a constant and frequently, there is a shared experience within the group. Business owners believe they are the only one who has the issues they have and no one else will understand what they are dealing with. The mastermind gives them the truth, which is, no matter what your business is, it is unusual for you to be the only person who has ever struggled with the issues you have.
Another value add of the mastermind is the confidentiality that is ensured. Knowing that the environment is safe can be so powerful for the members who have been carrying a heavy load all by themselves. It is not easy to know that you are not making as much money as you did last year or that your employees are not performing the way that you would like them to or that you have no idea how you are going to pay all of your bills next month.
Often business owners think, if I just had a partner, that would solve all of my challenges. The partner would handle all of the stuff I do not want to and I could bounce all of this stuff on my mind off of that person. Of course, the fallacy of this logic is that having a partner can bring its own unique set of challenges. Having things happen that were never thought of or considered is part of the world of being a business owner. Every business owner faces things that they never anticipated or believed were possible, but it is what the business owner does with the challenge that can completely change their world and their business.