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I remember when I heard someone say “mastermind group” for the first time. It sounded like a strange thing. But it’s not anything weird or exclusive!

A mastermind is simply a group of people meeting regularly to improve together.

What’s the difference between a mastermind group and an accountability partner?

A mastermind group will typically have several people as opposed to just two. A group size of half a dozen is ideal.

Mastermind groups are a place to get feedback and insight on your situation. Unlike a coach, the partners in your mastermind group should be near your level. The idea is to grow together.

If you’re wanting to start your own mastermind (or you’re curious about them), this episode is for you.

We talk about whether or not you should start your own mastermind group or join an existing one, where to find the people, and how often you should meet.

The most interesting part is the breakdown of what happens inside. I share what goes down in a mastermind session on today’s episode.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • A mastermind group is comprised of people at your level, growing together.
  • Anyone can and should start a mastermind group (no matter what level you’re at).
  • Shoot for a group size of about six people. Don’t make it too large.
  • As you add more people to a mastermind group, the time it takes for everyone to give feedback to everyone else increases exponentially.
  • Look for people who are good communicators.
  • Over-communicate your expectations for each other.
  • Protect confidentiality within the group.
  • Mastermind groups don’t really have a leader—everyone is at an equal level and everyone treats each other equally.
  • Start your own mastermind group if you can’t find one out there that fits your needs and your values.
  • Allow for extra breathing room at your mastermind retreat so you can process things.
  • A mastermind retreat will have structured sessions, but it’s also about the one-off conversations that happened.
Show Notes
  • 02:09 Sean: What is the difference between a mastermind group and an accountability partner? A mastermind group will typically have several people. Around half a dozen or so is ideal. It’s usually not going to just be two people. That’s a little bit different. Mastermind groups are more of a place to get feedback, insights, and perspective from people. Yes, they’re on a similar level, kind of like accountability partners.
  • 02:42 Also, you could be in different industries, different types of businesses. It’s less about keeping you on track every single week with your regular commitments and more of a meeting of the minds. “Let’s strategize here! Let’s see how we can all help each other. We’re here to grow.” With accountability, you want to have the big picture in mind.
  • Accountability is more about making sure you get things done, and mastermind groups are about whether you’re doing the right things.

  • 03:18 Ben: Mastermind groups feel more like they’re zoomed out, looking at everything from a higher level perspective. There is an aspect of that with accountability. You have the end goal in mind, but the mastermind group seems very much about, “You have these goals, but let’s look out even farther. What are you going to do after you accomplish this goal? Have you thought about that? Have you thought about this specific approach?”
  • 03:53 A lot of really interesting things come from that zoomed out perspective, especially because those people aren’t necessarily in it with you. They’re able to look at those things from a different perspective, with a little bit more distance. The thing about being the guy doing your thing is that you’re in it. You have an emotional connection to what you’re doing. In some ways, that’s good. It’s good to be that invested, but sometimes we can get so emotionally connected to an idea or a way of doing something that we shut off other ideas. That’s where a mastermind group is really beneficial.
  • 04:39 Sean: I only recently, in 2015, started participating in a mastermind group. Unlike a coach or a mentor, a mastermind group is comprised of people who are on a similar level to you. You’re growing with each other. That’s the idea. I could see it being a case where someone outgrows their mastermind and they need a new one. That makes sense. A healthy mastermind group would be supportive of that. Even if we really like the person, if we felt like this was no longer a good fit for them or they needed more than what we could provide, we would wish them well.
  • 05:21 “Upward and onward! Keep going!” A mastermind group is people at your level, where you’re growing with them. You feel like they have the same level of ambition and drive. The people you want to position yourself around are people who have qualities that the person you want to be has.
  • 05:44 Ben: I think they’re also people who would want for you to be able to grow out of that group. They would want that level of success for you.
  • 05:55 Sean: We all want it for each other. Hopefully, we grow together. We’re very invested in one another’s success. You don’t necessarily have to be in the same industry. In fact, I think it can help to have diversified perspectives. It’s like what we talked about with accountability partners.
  • It’s helpful to have some people in your industry and some in different industries.

  • 06:20 You want similarities and some complimentary people.

How Many People Should You Have?

  • 06:27 Sean: I would not recommend having more than six, seven, or eight at the most. It starts to get really intense and really complicated. In today’s episode, we’re going to break down what goes on inside a mastermind session, when you should meet, how often you should meet, and where you find the people to start the group, all that stuff. It involves focusing on each person in various different sessions. When you add a person to a group of six, you’re not adding one person. You’re adding six new relationships.
  • 07:05 It gets exponentially complicated. Everyone wants to provide personalized advice to someone. It would be awkward if someone was in the hot seat, they shared some stuff, and five people give their thoughts and input and the sixth person doesn’t. Everyone wants to contribute.
  • As you add more people to a mastermind group, the time it takes for everyone to give feedback to everyone else increases exponentially.

  • 07:33 The more sessions you have, it’s just a multiplier.
  • 07:36 Ben: You’re not only considering what you’re sharing, but you’re considering what you’re sharing through the filter of how you would communicate to each individual person based on the relationship you have with them. Maybe you know these other five people really well, and then another person comes in who doesn’t know you quite as well. Now, you have to add some context in order for that to make sense.
  • 08:01 Sean: It’s an intimacy thing, too. You add more and more people, and what you would say on stage to an auditorium is different from what you would say with a group of four or five other people. That’s something very precious, something you want to protect and preserve. Before we get too deep into things, let’s talk about what a mastermind group is. We’ll talk about how to find these people, a great one being seanwes conference.
  • 08:32 Didn’t several people do that? I know John, Alex, and those guys in Europe started a mastermind after the conference. They even had their own little business retreat half a year later, in Europe. Go to, and you can still get your ticket for $500 less than the full price. The price is going up. Enroll now if you want to lock in that ticket. It’s going to be an amazing time. These are really incredible people.
  • 09:08 Who knows what it turns into? Maybe you find a mastermind group. Maybe you find a business partner. These are the people you want to be around.

What Is a Mastermind Group?

  • 09:19 Sean: It’s a group of people meeting regularly to improve together. Like we mentioned, it’s a place of intimacy and closeness. This is a tight-knit group. It’s not exclusive, like, “We’re in this mastermind and you can’t join us.” It’s personal. You want to be vulnerable, because that’s where you’re going to get the breakthroughs. You have to feel comfortable with these people, and that comes over time.
  • 09:50 You have to spend time with them. It’s that place of intimacy, closeness, and vulnerability. It’s simultaneously a place of security. You should feel like your mastermind group is a safe place to share things. Maybe these are things you wouldn’t normally share with other people.
  • 10:10 Ben: Confidentiality is such an important factor. Knowing that you can trust one another, knowing that you can be open and honest—having that level of confidence in other people and being able to share that candidly is super important when it comes to introducing new ideas and insights into your experience, whether that’s in business or life.
  • You have to work hard to protect confidentiality.

  • 10:48 It seems like there needs to be some sort of vetting process, or at least an understanding in the group that, “If we’re going to invite someone in, these are some things they have to understand, some things they have to be on board with. We have to believe this person will hold what we share in confidence and that this is a safe space. Otherwise, we can’t get out of this what we need to.”

Should There Be a Leader?

  • 11:17 Sean: Someone had asked earlier, “Is there a leader?”
  • 11:20 Cory: I like that question. I’m curious what Sean’s going to say. My immediate thought is, there has to be. Somebody has to be running this. Like, “Alright, here’s what we’re going to do today. Here’s what we’ll do tomorrow. We’ll take turns.” Someone has to set the stage, right?
  • 11:40 Sean: Yeah, that’s a great point. Naturally, someone is going to start this. Naturally, people might see them as the leader. Should you have a designated leader? I don’t think you really need to do that. Here’s what we’ve done that works. We have taken turns heading up the hosting of a mastermind retreat in different locations. That’s gone really well. We divvy up the responsibilities and someone is hosting it. They do the research on where it should be. We’ll get into that a little bit more, locations and how often and all that stuff.
  • Mastermind groups don’t really have a leader; everyone is at an equal level and everyone treats each other equally.

  • 12:40 We all try and share those responsibilities. I don’t think you necessarily have to have a leader. Although, like you said, Ben, if there is someone who has started something and they’ve taken on this natural leadership role, it shouldn’t just be up to them whether someone new gets to join. It needs to be something that is a group decision. Whether someone new gets to join should be brought to the group and discussed. It was when I joined a group, I believe. The group I’m in talked about it, and people vouched for me.

Should You Start a Mastermind Group?

  • 13:19 Sean: Should you be the one to start? Should you be that leader, that person showing initiative, or do you just go out and find a group to join? Which is the better route to go? We had an episode a while back called How to Build a Community, and it was a similar situation. When do you build a community vs. join an existing one?
  • 13:41 The answer lies in this: can you find one that aligns with your values, one that already exists? Is there something out there that you know of that you feel like is a good fit for you, or aligns with your values and the level you’re at? All of that stuff. If so, I would recommend you join it and contribute as much as possible there.
  • You can become a very significant part of a group that already exists by showing up and just contributing.

  • 14:10 If you can’t find that thing, if you feel like there’s no home for you, if you’ve tried and put yourself out there for an extended period of time, you’ve met people, you’ve discovered masterminds and they didn’t seem like the right fit for you, that’s when I think it is a good idea to start one. You should start a mastermind group if there isn’t anything out there that fits your needs and your values.
  • 14:35 Ben: David in the chat said, “If a group requires a leader to continue moving forward, it’s not a mastermind. It’s a coaching relationship.” I wanted to unpack that a little bit here. A lot of this has to do with the motivation. The motivation for a person going out and seeking a mentor is that they know that a mentor is further down the road in their same industry, or at least in their same lifestyle or business pursuit, and can offer them insight.
  • 15:08 They can’t reciprocate that. On the other hand, a mentor looking for someone to be their mentee has valuable information, and they’re willing to share it. They want to give that away. They’re not necessarily looking for compensation or for that mentee to be a voice into their business. Those motivations are completely different from the mastermind.
  • In a mastermind, the motivation is to surround yourself with people whom you can provide value to and who can speak back into your experience.

  • 15:56 Because you all come from different perspectives but you’re all at the same level, you can enjoy the sharing of ideas with one another without feeling like there’s an imbalance in what’s being given and received.
  • 16:10 Sean: So in flow chart style, if you have a group where you feel like, “None of us is really the leader,” good. There’s nothing you need to fix. The other piece to the flow chart is that if you have a situation where you started something or someone else started it and they feel like the leader, then you want to make sure this doesn’t turn into some kind of dictatorship. It needs to be a shared thing. There shouldn’t be one person calling the shots. This is a group.
  • 16:39 Ben: There’s a difference between a leader and someone who is more administratively minded than everyone else in the group, who has a much easier time coordinating things. We all bring our strengths to the table. Someone may have leadership qualities that allow them to pick up the slack in areas where everyone else is weak. That doesn’t necessarily make them in charge of the group.
  • 17:08 Sean: Right. We have different things we divvy up, but certain people make the food. You don’t want other people to make the food.
  • 17:18 Ben: Like, “Okay, everybody make something… Except for you, Sean. I would rather you not.”
  • 18:24 Sean: I don’t do any of the cooking. I’m going to a retreat this summer where they’re having a chef prepare the meals, and I think that’s pretty smart. Someone is always better at cooking, and they’re like, “Yeah, I want to serve everyone,” but you kind of wonder, “Are they bitter that we’re not helping make the food?” It’s better just to not worry about that.
  • Within a mastermind group, people have different strengths.

  • 18:56 Maybe someone is better at doing research and finding a location. That’s fine.

What Happens in a Mastermind Group?

  • 19:14 Sean: I’ll speak to my example personally. We meet twice a year in person on a retreat. I know that other groups do a mix of mastermind and accountability that’s like, “We get on a weekly call and we chat.” I don’t have any experience there, so I can’t say what works. Maybe that works way better than what we do. The situation we’re in is that we’re all at a stage in our businesses where we’re very busy, we all have a lot of employees.
  • 19:46 But we’re not to the point that we’ve grown so big that we have all these employees and people to manage employees, projects, and all this stuff, to where we’re CEOs sitting back, super big picture. We’re all still at the place where we’re growing and we’re delegating, but we’re very involved. We’re very busy. We only meet twice a year. We might shoot some emails back and forth once a quarter or something.
  • 20:16 “How is it going?” A quick little check in. Basically, we do these deep dive sessions in a physical location. We all go to a physical location for several days, and we have these sessions. Could you do these online? Maybe. I don’t know. I haven’t done it. Theoretically, yes.
  • 20:40 Ben: I really like the idea of going somewhere.
  • 20:43 Sean: I have such a hard time imagining it. You’re in between things. The last place we were at, there was a pool. We’ve been other places where there was hiking and other activities. You end up hanging out with people, playing some games, eating meals, preparing meals, doing a little bit of work here and there, and you have these offshoot conversations that build off of the deeper dive sessions you did, where you’re sharing your situation and your update. You can’t structure that so much.
  • We have structured sessions, but a mastermind retreat is also about the one-off conversations.

  • 21:27 When we’re driving in the car and someone says something, that’s the one thing I remember from the whole retreat. You can’t replicate that online. You just can’t. I really would recommend getting in person. I’m not saying you can’t do this online. We show up, and we don’t do anything that first evening. That’s too intense. We’re just showing up. We’re saying hi. We have dinner. We might play a game on the first night. We just hang out and talk.
  • 22:00 We haven’t seen each other in a while, so it’s good to catch up. The second day, that’s where we start getting into more sessions. We try not to do more than half a day of sessions, because they’re very intense. We do half a day of sessions and then activities, food, whatever.

Session Breakdown

  • 22:19 Sean: The first part is letting people know where you are, checking in. “Here’s my update.” Each of us will prepare an update for our session. You don’t go into a session unprepared. Like, “Well, let’s see what’s happened.” No, item by item, you give your update in a condensed format. We would usually do a 60 or a 90 minute session per person. It’s really hard to get more than three of those in a day, because they’re intense. It’s kind of like a focused block of time.
  • 22:53 If you get three 90 minute focused blocks of time, that’s a really good day. We’ll do a 90 minute focus session. The first 20 minutes or so are spent providing your update. Where are you? What are the things you’ve been working on? What are the struggles you’re experiencing? Then everyone goes around, and right off the bat, they’re providing feedback on your situation for those 90 minutes. We’re hashing things out. You’re writing like crazy on your laptop, taking notes.
  • You’re getting feedback from these people with different experience, perspectives, and industries.

  • 23:29 You’re taking notes, taking notes. This is the session breakdown:
    1. Updates
    2. Goals
    3. Challenges
    4. Commitments
  • 23:46 These are the four parts. You’re going to provide updates on your situation, goals, which are places you want to go, things you want to accomplish and where you’re headed, and then the challenges you’re experiencing right now. Finally, what are the things you’re going to commit to? This is what happens during this 90 minute session. There’s another session that happens after everyone has done their individual deep dives, which I’ll talk about.
  • 24:21 David just said, “How is a goal different from a commitment?” A goal is something you want to do. A commitment is what you’re going to do. A goal is something you want to accomplish, where you’re going. A commitment is the thing you’re doing now to get there, the things you’ll do between this retreat and the next retreat to get closer to the goal. The update is all you talking. The goals are still you talking, like, “Here’s where I’m at. Now here’s where I want to be.”
  • 24:51 “Here’s what’s keeping me from getting there.” During that part of the session, other people are giving you insight. “Here’s how you can get over these struggles. Here’s how you can get past these hurdles.” Once you get a good idea of what you can do, then you say what you will do. That’s the fourth part, the commitment.
  • You can make a commitment to accomplish a goal, but you can’t make a goal to accomplish a commitment.

  • 25:19 Ben: I get what you’re saying. When I think about a project, the project is a noun, and then there are tasks. Those tasks are verbs, and those are the things I’m going to do so the noun can actually become a thing. That’s the difference I see between commitments and goals. A commitment is the steps, the specific things you’re going to do along the way to actually reaching that goal.
  • 25:53 Sean: There’s this deep dive, and we do that for each person. This is 90 minutes. Maybe you get three done in a day. This is where it gets tough. If you’re doing three a day and you have more than six people, and you don’t want to spend the first day going hard into the sessions after being jetlagged and stuff, already, you’re talking about three days. It’s tough.
  • Allow for breathing room at the mastermind retreat so you can process things.

  • 26:18 You wouldn’t want to do six 90 minute sessions back to back. It’s insane. You need that processing time. You need to recoup. It’s very intensive. It sounds relaxing and part of it can be, but it really is intensive. Give yourself that time. Then there are the conversations that happen during the down time. During the physical activities or whatever else you’re mixing into the retreat, you can have these side conversations where you build off of things.

Hot Seat

  • 26:44 Sean: Let’s say you’ve done all of those deep dive sessions. What we’ve done, and I’ve talked about this before, is a session called Unsolicited Advice (Related: e209 Unsolicited Advice—Recap of A Mastermind Retreat). This is where, after all of the deep dive sessions have happened, on the last night, we do Unsolicited Advice.
  • 27:03 The person who’s in the hot seat has to be quiet. They’re sitting there in the group, we set a timer for 10 minutes, and we talk about that person as if they’re not in the room. They can’t say anything. They can only take notes.
  • 27:18 Ben: I don’t know what it actually looks like when you guys do it, but I imagine the people who are not in the hot seat sitting in a circle, talking to each other. It’s audible. They aren’t whispering or whatever. The other person is sitting outside of that circle at a table or something, taking notes. I would prefer that. Being in the circle, being able to see everybody’s faces would make me feel so uncomfortable—not that I would want to speak up, but I wouldn’t want to make eye contact with anybody.
  • 28:00 I feel like my very presence there, and them being able to see my expressions… I don’t want any communication off of me to influence the conversation. Does that makes sense?
  • 28:10 Sean: It does. I totally understand that.
  • During Unsolicited Advice, you’re taking notes, your head is down, and you’re focused.

  • 28:36 You could make a face when someone says something you don’t like, that shocks you, but you want to be quiet because you want that raw feedback. For 10 minutes, you sit there, listen, and take notes. It’s very insightful. This is usually on the third day or the fourth day, if you go that long. You’ve built up a lot of rapport and trust, and you need that first, before you have this kind of a session.
  • 29:07 Then you get five minutes. It’s a timed thing, because this stuff can go a long time. You get five minutes to respond to the feedback. It’s not defending yourself. That’s not the point. You say, “This was good. I appreciate that. Can you clarify here?” if it changes anything. The point isn’t to defend yourself. You get a few minutes.

What I Want for You

  • 29:30 Sean: Then, we added a new session called What I Want for You. This is a fireside hangout, and each person gets to say, “This is what I want for you,” to every other person. That’s a really good session, especially to repair the brutal beating you might get in Unsolicited Advice.
  • 29:53 Cory: I’m curious, specifically, what that looks like. Is that everybody talking about one person, what they want for him, or one person says what they want for every person?
  • 30:03 Sean: Focus on a person.
  • 30:06 Ben: They get all of it at once.
  • 30:09 Sean: Yeah, because otherwise, you’re going to be sitting there talking for 20 minutes, trying to shift focus and context with each person. We establish a context by focusing on a person. We’re like, “Oh yeah, they’re dealing with this and that,” and you can be thinking about your thing for them while other people are talking.

Communicate Expectations

  • 30:41 Sean: Martine says, “I have participated in one mastermind and it was great—however, one thing that was an issue is expectations were laid out at the start.” That sounds like a good thing. I wonder if she meant that they weren’t laid out. “People weren’t on the same page for the mastermind. Some people were trying to coach, some were finding solutions, some were listening… My question is, what’s the best way to approach setting group expectations?
  • 31:21 Communicate, communicate, communicate, over-communicate. Communicate until you’ve communicated too much, and then communicate some more. How do you know when you’ve communicated enough, Cory?
  • 31:30 Cory: When they can say, effectively, what you said back.

When you hear your message out of the mouth of the other person, then you’ve communicated enough.

  • 31:32 Sean: Not when they say, “I know.” Not when they say, “You told me.” Only when you hear it from them, when they’re like, “Okay, for my session, I’m going to do this.” You’re like, “Exactly.” That’s it.
  • 32:33 More communication. Communication solves all expectation problems. More of it. Before you meet, get on a call. Recap the call in an email. Ask people what they got out of the call. Start an email thread. Go back and forth. Send out a list of steps in your itinerary before you do the retreat. When you get there, recap those. “Hey, this is why we’re here. This is what we’re going to do. Does anyone have any questions?”
  • 33:01 “Cory, what do you understand that we’re going to do?” Reiterating, reiterating. To the point where people are like, “I get it, I get it.” That’s what you want.
  • 33:11 Ben: Kind of like I do with my kids.
  • 33:14 Sean: Yeah, but are they really listening?
  • 33:31 Ben: “Okay, repeat back.” I’ll be positive that they were not listening.
  • 33:36 Sean: And they can repeat back?
  • 33:38 Ben: Word for word.

Mastermind Groups & Networking

  • 34:16 Sean: Lauren says, “What are the pros and cons of having people in similar or different industries in group? Does it matter what the ratio of the types of industries are involved in the groups? For example, three photographers, one software developer, a film maker, and one clothes retailer.” I don’t know.
  • 34:36 Cory: You’re all there for each other’s success. Does it matter?
  • 34:40 Sean: The question is about whether it matters, what the proper ratio is. I don’t know that there is a magic one. If you think it’s the right people, I think it’s good. If you share the values and you’re respectful. I don’t know. Any combination of industries in any ratio, can be good.
  • 35:01 Ben: I like the idea of getting in a group with people who are in different industries. There is potential for sharing even in similar industries, I guess.
  • 35:14 Sean: Maybe it’s like, if the industry is different but you feel like that person could have valuable feedback for the industry you’re in, and the same for everyone, then it’s good. If you can’t possibly think of a way that you could contribute to their situation or visa versa, then maybe it wouldn’t be a good fit. That’s just a theory, though, because I haven’t been in a mastermind with all different groups.
  • 35:41 Jesus says, “I’ve thought about making a mastermind group of filmmakers who can share email lists, so we can sell our films via an awesome affiliate program.” Okay. That’s a good idea. That’s kind of just like an affiliate partnership. I suppose you could be affiliate partners with people you’re in a mastermind group with. There’s overlap, or there could be anyway.
  • 36:06 Ben: Yeah, but that’s not the original purpose or intent of the mastermind group.
  • 36:19 Sean: Ben, do you feel like you have a good idea of what goes down?
  • 36:23 Ben: I do. One of the questions I have is this: I’m in a networking group, and the purpose is very different. That’s more about referrals and stuff like that, but we do have some time where we share what we do, what we’re doing that works, and those kinds of things. I know that the purpose of a mastermind isn’t necessarily to get referrals through other businesses. It seems like, if you’re talking about investing your time into relationships with people, the mastermind group is really the better one to go with.
  • 37:06 You get deeper. People don’t just understand that you’re a guy who does this thing, but they really understand you and the kind of clients you want to work with. A referral you could get through a mastermind group would be worth a lot more than through your traditional networking group. I’m thinking out loud. Maybe it’s not an either/or kind of thing.
  • 37:33 Maybe somebody’s thinking, “I have something similar to that in this networking group that I go to. They kind of know what I do, and we give each other advice.” I want to make a case for this intimate, smaller group of people who can go really, really deep with you.
  • When someone understands you at more than just a surface level, knows your goals, and knows what you’re about, they can share specific insights and give you valuable information.

  • 38:14 Sean: This is honestly a huge benefit that you don’t think about or talk about. Christopher just said, “Networking and referrals I’m sure happen, but doesn’t strike me as a reason to attend a mastermind group.” It’s not typically on the forefront of your mind. I wouldn’t say that this is the reason to join. It’s a great thing that happens, more often than you would think. Other people have their own networks.
  • 38:39 I’ll be sitting there and someone’s like, “Oh yeah, you should do this with this other person.” They just text them, and they’re like, “Sure, I’d love to.” Things happen. It’s pretty cool. Martine just followed up, “Good point about really clear communication, setting expectations. It does rely on having more of a leader for that to work, but good advice.” I was talking about setting expectations and communicating.

Collaborative Partnership

  • 39:07 Sean: If only one person is doing it, then it seems like you have a leader. I’m not necessarily saying that you have to have a leader. You don’t need a leader person, but ideally, you have people who are so good at communication, they’re all doing this. Look for people who are good communicators.
  • 39:26 Ben: I also don’t think the approach is, “Hey, this is how we need to run it, guys.” The approach is more like, “I was listening to this podcast or reading this article, and these are some of the things they say work really well. In my own experience, these are things that work really well. Do you guys feel okay with using this structure to run this group?”
  • 39:46 Sean: It’s a dialogue.
  • 39:47 Ben: A leader does invite other voices, but they are the ones who make the decision.
  • In a collaborative partnership, someone might come with more ideas than another person, but they’re laying those ideas out on the table.

  • 40:04 They’re saying, “This is what I have to give to this group,” and then the group, together, decides what that is going to look like. That’s very important. It’s important enough that if you sense that there’s somebody who has ideas, but they’re hesitant to give because you exude that authoritative leadership quality, recognize that and call them to the table. Say, “Hey, we want everyone to have input here.” That is a leadership move. That’s calling something out of them.
  • 40:42 That’s also laying down your authority in some ways, too, and sacrificing it to the group. That’s the big difference between a mastermind group and something that a person is in charge of.

What if People Don’t Know Each Other?

  • 41:02 Cory: I love this topic of mastermind groups. I forget until we talk about it, and then I’m like, “Man, I really do want this.” We talked about it on Lambo Goal one time, and it’s so exciting (Related: Lambo Goal e065 Why You Should Be in a Mastermind Group). My first question is, what if you have a list of people and you’re like, “These would be my ideal four to six people. This would be so good.”
  • 41:25 You know them all, they’re really great, but they don’t know each other. Maybe you could share your experience. Did you go into this mastermind group not really knowing them? You probably didn’t meet all of them in person, but did you know them? Were you getting to know them?
  • 41:41 Sean: I had a good idea of the situation for maybe half of them. Several other people I didn’t know. The problem solves itself when you do the sessions with the initial update. “In a nutshell, here’s where I’m at. One, two, three, four.” You have to build that relationship over time. I’m going to this retreat this summer that is not my core mastermind group, but it’s very similar. It’s a smaller group. It’s less than a dozen, but it’s not a mastermind.
  • 42:23 It’s a small, intimate retreat. I know some of the people and I know of others, but I don’t know everyone well. I’m going in with that. That’s okay.
  • You have to start building the relationship somewhere, but if you feel like something isn’t connecting, don’t force it.

  • 42:46 Don’t force it, but also be okay with things not being completely perfect from the beginning. Let the relationship evolve and develop. I’m very excited to go to my next core mastermind retreat. It’s our third, fourth, or fifth one, so it’s going to be so much better, because we’ve gotten to that place of deep connection.
  • 43:11 Cory: This is still my first question. I do have a second one. Do you email? Do you video call? What if it’s a three day retreat, and they’re going to spend money on flights and stuff, but they haven’t met each other. Do you get to know each other beforehand?
  • 43:23 Sean: I would highly recommend it. Have a couple of Google Hangouts. Touch base individually on Skype. That’s all good. It can’t make things worse. In my case, I knew several people personally pretty well and I knew of the other people, so it was less of this huge leap. It’s similar with people in the Community who start masterminds. You already have this idea of who people are.

Competing Groups

  • 43:51 Cory: Second question. What if you say, “Hey, I want you to be in this mastermind group I’m starting,” and they’re like, “I want to start one too, and I have a list of four other people”? What do you do?
  • 44:03 Sean: This is a funny story. I had a similar situation, but not exactly. This retreat I’m going to over the summer, it’s headed up by someone I know. Someone else I know, who is in my mastermind group, wanted to start a similar thing. “Hey, what about a dozen people in this situation? We go do this and connect?” These two people wanted to start the same thing. I was like, “They should talk to each other.”
  • 44:30 I connected them. I was like, “It sounds like you both should know each other, but it also sounds like you’re trying to do a similar thing.” They talked, and once they hashed it out, one person was better for the job. The other wasn’t ready, wasn’t quite ready to do it in this time. It gave way to one person just doing it.
  • 44:53 Ben: Rachel was trying to organize a mastermind group with some folks, and there were people interested. When they finally got to the part of the conversation where they were talking about what these meetings were going to look like, a couple of people bowed out at that point, because they realized, “That’s more of a commitment than I thought this was going to be. I can’t do that.”
  • When you start getting into the details, the issue of too many people trying to start or join a mastermind tends to work itself out.

  • 45:30 People have various expectations going into it.
  • 45:34 Cory: Great answers. Those are awesome.

Is There a Minimum Level?

  • 45:38 Ben: I had a question at the very beginning that, up until this point, I had forgotten to ask. We’ve talked about all being kind of at the same level. Is there a minimum level for everyone that’s going to be involved? Is there a minimum level for starting a mastermind group? Like, “You all have to at least be at a Level 3,” or, “You all have to at least be at a Level 5.”
  • 46:13 Sean: I don’t think so. The point is, people at a similar level wanting to grow together.
  • 46:22 Ben: So even if you’re just starting out, finding other people who are just starting out, that can be a mastermind?
  • 46:28 Sean: Yes. Don’t think of it as, “A mastermind is the best and the smartest. I’m not at the top level yet, so I can’t do this.”
  • A mastermind group is just a concept and a structure, so anyone can and should start one.