Masterminds are very popular in the personal development world and are a great tool for moving your vision forward. You might think they’re a recent phenomenon, but actually, the principle has been used for thousands of years. But what is a mastermind really about?
You may have dabbled in the concept of a mastermind in the past and not even realized it at the time. When you’re in school, teachers throw you together in a group to brainstorm. But a mastermind takes this idea to a new level, incorporating the power of decision and commitment so that everyone involved can move each other forward.
I love masterminds, and in this week’s episode, I’m showing you exactly what a mastermind is, and how they are an amazing tool for problem-solving, imagining new ideas, and creating new results. I’m sharing the value of having like-minded individuals around who are committed to brainstorming and networking, and how this is the perfect environment to expand upon your ideas and goals.
You’re listening to episode seven of the Unlock Your Life podcast. I’m your host Lori Harris, and today we’re talking about a mastermind. What is it, why would you want one, and how does one form one? Let’s get going.
Welcome to the Unlock Your Life podcast, a podcast for highly successful visionary women who want more out of life. If you feel that ache of unfulfillment in your soul, you’re in the right place sis. Join life mastery consultant Lori A. Harris as she teaches you how to stop living for others and finally put yourself first. Let’s dive into today’s show.
Hey fam, hey. How you doing? So I just got back from a little mini vacay. I visited with my family in Palm Springs, or as I like to call it east Hades. It was hot. Really hot. We were blessed with a pool and an outdoor firepit that allowed us to have some smores, roasting some marshmallows, playing games, watching ridiculous TV, and having a good time enjoying family. It was great. I hope you’re having a good time too enjoying the summer and sticking close to the ones you love. It’s the best.
When we last got together, I shared with you never hustle alone. As Hellen Keller says, “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.” So we’re talking about a mastermind. Masterminds are very popular in the personal development world. It’s something that people use to move their vision forward. You would think that they were a recent phenomenon, something in the last century. Actually it’s a tool and principle that’s been used for thousands of years.
There’s a verse in Matthew of the New Testament that says, “For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” So what are we talking about? We’re talking about harnessing the power wherever two or more are gathered, something special can happen.
Think about it. You’ve probably even dabbled in the tools of a mastermind in the past. You’ve been in school and your teacher’s thrown you together with a group of people and said, “Come on. Get together. Brainstorm. Come up with something good.” What the teacher is attempting to help you do is put together the power of your mind and someone else’s mind to get an even better project going. What’s the problem with that? A mastermind is different than just some group project. A mastermind is when a group of people have decided and committed to each other to move their dreams forward for each other.
Now, who are the people that work in a mastermind? Well, the term comes to us from the writer Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich. Napoleon Hill had been contracted by Andrew Carnegie to study the tools of success. How do you do that? By meeting the most successful people of your day. So from 1908 and 25 years thereafter, Napoleon Hill met 500 entrepreneurs to study them and work with them and to see what made them tick. What was the secret of their success?
He discovered that all of these people had this magic thing that he called a mastermind. So Andrew Carnegie did it. Henry Ford did it. Harvey Firestone did it. Even Thomas Edison did it. They got together every year in their winter palaces, probably winter homes in Florida, to get together and to share their hopes, dreams, visions, and ideas. The benefit of that is whenever you get two great people together, you’ve got some power. Get four or five, you’ve got a lot of power.
So what is a mastermind? A mastermind is something way better than a hodgepodge group of people thrown together involuntarily. A mastermind is a group consisting of two or three or more people, two to six is ideal, who meet regularly in the atmosphere or trust. Harmony for the purpose of providing mutual support and encouragement to believe for each other and to do the things for each other that alone a person might find difficult to believe for themselves. That is the power of a mastermind. The power of someone holding your vision and believing for you when it’s hard.
What does Napoleon Hill have to say about it? “The mastermind may be defined as a combination of knowledge and effort in the spirit of harmony between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.” So when you get in a mastermind, you agree to hold each other’s visions and dreams and bring forward your best ideas, your best support, your best learning and knowledge. You come with resources. You come with contacts. You come for the purpose greater than simply networking. You come with the purpose of holding and empowering a dream, a vision, something bigger than something ordinary.
So when you’re in a mastermind, you agree to bring forward all the forms of knowledge that are available to you. Knowledge, resources, networking, and spiritual energy as well. We are all connected to the mastermind, that universal source, that universal power, that infinite intelligence. Call it God, call it life, call it whatever you will, but it’s an all-powerful life force that we all have significantly more energy available to us. When we gather together, we bring forth the power of that mastermind energy.
The definition of a mastermind could be a group of people made up of six or so people who come together on a regular basis. Maybe they meet weekly or biweekly or monthly to share ideas, thoughts, information, feedback, contacts, and all sorts of resources. So if you put together a group of people from different industries, we know that two heads are better than one. It creates an energy for problem solving or creating new ideas and new results.
Now imagine having that group of people who are permanent, who are gathering together on a regular basis to devote to your dreams, your ideas. Who are committed to problem solving and brainstorming and networking and encouraging and motivating. Holding each other accountable to achieve your goals. Much can be accomplished. People from many industries and different walks of life mixing together benefit from having exposure to different ways of thinking.
So masterminds and working with the principle of mastermind is talking about harnessing the art and science and spiritual aspects of success. What can we do together to bring something forward to change a situation, circumstance, or condition?
Now whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. While these principles are often used to move forward entrepreneurial dreams, the same is true for social consciousness. For raising the awareness of an entire people. Right now we are going through a wave of change in our country and around the world quite frankly. We know that while we can recognize a problem, the level of thinking that brought about that problem will not be the level of thinking that creates a solution to the problem.
This is the understanding that was given to us by Albert Einstein. We’re going to have to think differently and move differently in order to have a different result. The same principals have been used to create societal change, major change in our community here in the United States. I want you to picture it.
It’s 1959 and it’s after the successful Montgomery Boycott. So we’ve had the success of Brown vs. The Board of Education. We’ve won in the courts, but we’ve not yet changed the way people’s lives look on a day to day basis. We have a young man living in Nashville, Tennessee. His name is James Lawson, and he is one of three ministers who start to train the young people of the community. While he is a young man himself, he is talking to the young students and fortifying them with the information they need to lead the sit-ins in the local restaurants and diners of Nashville, Tennessee.
He starts with gathering them. They start to meet with a divine purpose, a defined purpose. They’re getting together. First his first job is just to change their mindset. He works with them to start training them to believe that change is possible, and it had to start within them. So they worked from their small numbers.
He trained them to believe that though their numbers were small, there was a mighty power behind them managing and working with the righteousness of their idea. Their numbers might be small, but what they were trying to do was big, significant, and good for everyone. Good for the community. He helped them to see that it was indeed possible for them to do something bigger than themselves. Not alone but as a collective. You can learn more about James Lawson, his work, his studies in India with the teachings of Gandhi and the non-violence movement by clicking the resources in the show notes.
So we’ve got Reverend Lawson, C.T. Vivian, and Reverend Kelly Miller smith. These ministers take it upon themselves to lead workshops to teach these young students the principles of non-violence and moving a movement forward without force but working from the principle of love. Imagine that. The most important, the most powerful tool that they had in their toolbox was love. He taught them to harness that power, to use that power, and to be prepared to do battle in a different way.
So we have these three ministerial leaders, and we have student leaders as well. Picture it. John Lewis, Diane Nash, Bernard Lafayette, Angeline Butler, Marion Barry, Curtis Murphy, and Paul Laprad. These young people came from this college town of Nashville. They’ve got a lot of schools there in Nashville. The people that were represented in the room? People from Fisk and Meharry and American Baptist Theological Seminary. They are all gathered from multiple schools.
So when I talk to you about Meharry, we’re talking about graduate school. They’re coming there, and they’re working with these young people to move a vision forward. So imagine you’re a medical student, and you’re part of this major movement to move a city forward. It’s not just the city. You’re standing for the principle that as a black person, I deserve, and I step into the image of my worthiness. I force you to see me and to see me well.
I know that the people who listen to this podcast are loving powerful people who care about the world, the environment. About their neighbor, about each other. We want to move the world forward. We want to do something big.
So if you are a professional who has been working on a case by case basis or a patient by patient basis, I want to introduce you to the power of a mastermind. Because a mastermind is something that can move your vision forward in a greater way. We’re talking about expanding your vision, and expanding your ripple. So you’re going to go from micro to macro. Being able to effect change not on an individual basis but on a collective basis. Moving something forward. How will you do that? You don’t go it alone.
So we’re working with a mastermind. So they started with a handful of students, then they moved to 30 or 40. By the time they actually started the sit-ins, they were well over 100. It started in the fall of 1959, but then they actually started to move into doing the sit-ins in February of 1960 and continued until May of 1960. John Lewis said on his first arrest that it was exhilarating, and he had a feeling of independence. For the first time he had that feeling of what it was like to be free.
So when the officers came and they threatened them with their most powerful tool they had—arrest—and the students weren’t afraid, they looked them right in the eye and said, “Okay, well then you’re under arrest.” The students got up and were prepared to go off with the officers for their arrest. Another group of students just came in and took their place. This went on and on and on.
The students learned that once they had faced arrest, they had faced their biggest fears. These young people who came from good families who had been taught to be good and to be compliant and not to bring shame on their families. Once they had faced the biggest fear they had, they were unstoppable. So their 30 to 40 went to well over 100. Then there were over 300 students participating in this movement. It just continued to grow and grow and grow.
So eventually the city had to negotiate with them. Eventually their vision of desegregation became their reality by means of nonviolence. By means of love. So these young people faced down being sprayed with insecticide, having water poured over their heads.
James Lawson prepared them for what is going to happen. He helped them to know that people are going to say ugly, nasty words. They’re going to use the n-word. They’re going to use the n-word lover towards our white brothers and sisters who worked together with us as allies. They are going to attack you. You have to be self-assured in who you are and what you’re doing and what you stand for.
He prepared the students mentally. He prepared them for what it’s going to be like to be arrested. He prepared them for you may very well be physically attacked, and your response is to love them. To love those and to infuse the room with love and love for each other by means of non-violence. They were taught to withhold insults, jeers, sneers, and physical violence. They were taught how to protect themselves when attacked. This is what they did. So within a few months, they achieved their goals.
So, how do you harness the power of a mastermind? Well, first you gather at least one other person who’s willing to meet with you and share and hold your vision. In my community where I was trained, we call them partners in believing. I also love mastermind partner or mastermind sister or mastermind sibling. You’re harnessing the power of a mastermind. So you agree that you’re going to do it. You agree to meet in an atmosphere of excitement and expectations.
You start with a brief period of sharing. You’re going to talk about what’s going well, what are the wins? You’re going to express your gratitude for what is doing well, and then you let everyone express. This is not the time to complain and get bogged down with problems. While you might share a problem or concern, you do it from the point of view of I’m bringing this issue, this concern forward for us to collectively address it and evaluate it. Then ask this additional party to join and bring forces to you in order to tap into that collective mind, and new ideas will come.
Now you want to encourage ideas to come forward and share networks or resources with your mastermind sibs or partners. The facilitator’s going to guide the steps each time. We want to hear from the mastermind group with what’s going well. What’s been a challenge? What have you done since the last time we met? What’s the progress that’s being made?
It works also as an accountability circle because you are not just thinking about yourself. You’re thinking about your mastermind partners as well. You think about them when you’re not together, and you are inviting the land of the solution to come upon you so that you can share ideas with them when you’re not together and bring them back to the group, into the sacred circle.
Make sure you have created a sacred circle where people feel safe sharing their vulnerabilities, sharing their fears, and sharing what’s not going well so that they can move it forward into a round of success and positivity. Now it’s important that people feel safe in expressing their needs. They make known their personal request and receive in the process the full attention and support of everyone there in the mastermind circle. Then they release their request into the circle, and the circle responds that I know that it is done. Your request has been heard. What you have asked for will be provided for you.
So decide to meet weekly. Decide when you come to the circle that you’re going to play full out. Everyone agrees to share ideas, support, contacts, information, feedback. Anything that’s going to advance the individual and the group goals. Start with positive feedback. Have something good to say since the last time we’ve met. Then share whatever is coming up for you. Share your opportunities. Share what’s come and experienced since the last time we met. Then also share whatever concerns or problems you have.
Have someone keep time because you’re getting together only for the purpose of harnessing the power of the mastermind. So you don’t want to get off track. You don’t want it to devolve into a complaining session as well. Share your appreciations and your gratitude and end the session with your gratitude.
So when you want to move something forward, you don’t have to do it by yourself. You don’t have to go alone. You can harness the power of a mastermind and get at least one mastermind partner, one partner in believing who can hold that vision for you when it’s hard, when things don’t seem to be working out, when you can’t see the end of the trail. You know what you want, but you don’t know all the steps to get there. Harness the power of a mastermind and watch what happens.
Well, we’ve done it again. We’ve reached the end of another episode of the Unlock Your Life podcast. I’ve shared with you the tips and tools you need to start a mastermind. I hope I’ve encouraged you to get one going so that you can move your vision for the future forward, and create a world that you love being in. Be the person you love being.
To celebrate the launch of this show, I’m giving away a soft cushy Unlock Your Life hoodie. I’m giving it to five lucky winners who follow, rate, and review this show. I want your honest feedback. It doesn’t have to be a five star review, but I hope you’re enjoying the show. I want to know what I can do to make it even better and bring even more value to you.
Visit loriaharris.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how you can enter. I’ll be announcing the winners shortly in upcoming episodes. That’s loriaharris.com/podcast to enter the contest. I can’t wait to hear from you. Until next time, it’s your life. Make it a great one.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Unlock Your Life podcast. If you want more information on how you can transform your life and do it quickly, visit loriaharris.com. See it on the next episode of the Unlock Your Life podcast.