DIY self-employment support: How to start a Master Mind group

by | Mar 27, 2010

“Co-intelligence is intelligence that’s grounded in wholeness, interconnectedness and co-creativity….It is collective, collaborative, synergistic, wise, resonant, heartful, and connected to greater sources of intelligence.” The Co-Intelligence Institute
If you work for yourself, you know that the rewards of flexibility, autonomy, and creative freedom come with a cost: facing day-to-day challenges alone.
Your best ideas can languish without the tools to realize them. You can work your tail off and have little or no revenue to show for it.
It can be heart-breaking.
Wouldn’t it be loverly to have a sort of brain trust, a group of wise and beneficent advocates to help you make your creative visions into profitable realities?
Wouldn’t it great to have someone to turn to who won’t pooh-pooh your ideas, but will help you make them reality?
That’s what a Master Mind group can do.
A Master Mind recap
The Master Mind is the “third mind” that is created when two or more people come together in service of a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony, with the intention of supporting each other. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
When you work for yourself, a Master Mind group gives you access to talent, experience, and skills that you don’t have yourself. And there’s a special grace that comes when you contribute your own wisdom and experience. You get to see in real time how much you have to offer.
When you’re going it alone, this reminder can be golden.
So let’s look at what makes a group into a Master Mind group instead of a coffee klatch or garden-variety networking meeting.
It starts with purpose

Every Master Mind group needs a definite purpose or reason for being. While the purpose of your group may seem obvious to you, defining it will make sure it is clear to all members.
A common purpose guides you when you decide whom to invite to your group. It will help determine everything from the frequency of your meetings to what happens in those meetings.
Your purpose can be quite simple, for example, “To help each other have more profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable businesses by sharing knowledge, experience, and support.”
And yes, it helps to have the purpose written down.
Then there’s harmony
Napoleon Hill, who first defined Master Mind, stresses the importance of coming together in a spirit of harmony. What does that mean in practice?
Harmony is a combination of different musical notes in a melodious chord. In other words, harmony happens when two or more different elements are combined to produce a pleasing result.
In terms of the Master Mind, this means choosing members who have enough in common to pull together toward a common goal, yet who are different enough to bring in a variety of resources and experiences.
It’s okay to be exclusive
Sometimes it can feel uncomfortable to choose members based on what they can bring to the group. Remembering your purpose can help you navigate this tricky territory.
When a member is right for the group, he or she can help others achieve the purpose. In turn, they will be supported in achieving the same purpose.
Choosing members so that your group is diverse enough, but not so diverse as to be fragmented, is not about keeping some people in and soem people out. It’s about ensuring that the group fulfills it’s reason for being. Including too many people who are just alike, or inviting someone who is at a wildly different place in their evolution…um…defeats the purpose. (Couldn’t resist.)
It’s about taking as well as giving
Mutual support is the means by which Master Mind groups function. And “mutual” is a key word here.
In my Master Mind group, we have several people who are really good at giving support, but not so great at asking for it. I happen to be one of those people, or at least I started out that way.
While generosity is a good thing, not asking for support has a subtle muffling effect on the group’s energy. Those who are more willing to ask for what they need may feel that they are receiving too much. There can also be an imbalance of personal power, as if the people who hold back from asking for support are somehow more advanced and together than the others.
One way to get around this is to structure meetings so that everyone takes a turn in the spotlight, whether they think they need it or not. After all, there’s always something that could be eased or improved, and with a little encouragement the most self-sufficient participants can be enticed to receive as well as give.
Structure is not a dirty word
Structure isn’t part of Napoleon Hill’s original definition, but–combined with purpose–it’s what differentiates a Master Mind group from another, less-focused, gathering.
The first structure to determine is how often you’ll meet. I recommend you meet virtually or in person at least twice a month. Less frequent meetings can leave members in the “going it alone” mindset.
The length of meetings will be determined by the number of people in the group and the format. A meeting of 4-5 people can be held in as little as 60 minutes. My Master Mind group, with six members, meets for 90 minutes.
Our meetings begin with a centering practice. At each meeting, a different member leads us in the practice of their choice. Then we have brief check-ins followed by three “spotlights.”
A spotlight focuses on the needs of a single member for 20 minutes. We rotate through the first two spotlights. The third slot is open for whomever has a pressing need.
Some groups prefer to give all members a spotlight in every meeting. This means either shorter spotlights or longer meetings. Keep in mind that meeting fatigue usually sets in after two hours.
The hard-to-articulate blessing
What may not come through this article is the spirit of the Master Mind and how it awakens receptivity and possibility for each member. When we go it alone, creativity can be stifled by fear and self-doubt. We can be paralysed by not knowing what to do next. The Master Mind not only solves those problems, but it reminds us that there is Source of wisdom and vitality that is larger than any one of us operating alone.
Wishing you the best of the Master Mind,

PS: If you would like more information about an upcoming Wise Women’s Master Mind Group, email me at mgordon AT shaboominc DOT com.