How to Start a Mastermind

If I had a secret sauce, this is it. My mastermind group.

This one thing has made a tremendous impact on my life. Like most things in life, any one action or meeting isn’t life changing but through consistency it creates enormous impact.

My Story

In the Summer of 2012, me and my now business partner were working across the table from each other for a manufacturing company. We had both recently started reading and listening to business and personal development books. We would talk about what we were learning and how we were going to put them into action.

After months of a lot of talk and little action, we said to each other, “What if we just did what this book said?”

“This book” was Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. And one of the main concepts is the Mastermind Group.

What is a Mastermind Group?

The concept was coined by Napoleon Hill in 1937 but has been used for centuries. A mastermind group is a group of peers who meet regularly to give each other advice and support. Mastermind groups can also involve brainstorming, educational presentations, and discussing life in general. There is no single teacher with a prepared lesson. A mastermind group is a “meeting of the minds” – a place where you can speak the truth and expect it in return.

In practice, you set goals on your own. You write them down and share them with the group. Each week when you meet, you go over what you did last week to move closer to your goals, what went bad, what went good, and what is in the way. Then you lay out your plan of action for the next week.

Back to My Story…

We set out to start our own Mastermind group. We sought out all of our smart and driven friends. We wanted guys in our same life stage so that we could all add value instead of just taking.

Our life stage at that time was recently married, and recently graduated from college, which meant we were all up to our eyeballs in student debt. In this stage of life, we were all really big Dave Ramsey disciples. We were in debt and wanted to get out of it.

Dave Ramsey actually had his own Mastermind group of some pretty elite businessmen that met periodically. He called it his Eagles Group. His tag line was that he wanted to soar with eagles instead of flock with turkeys. We liked that. So we stole it. 

Our Mastermind is called our Eagles Group. We have met in some form regularly since 2012. The size of the group has ebbed and flowed from 4 to 12 people but there is a core group of 5 that have stuck with it over the years.

Four of the Five Core Members

In the beginning, the common goals were to get out of student loan debt. With the support of our spouses and the group, we all accomplished that. Some of us sold every single thing we owned and moved in with our in-laws and others lived on a very disciplined budget. BUT we all got it done.

The Eagles at a Non-Profit Banquet Together

From there, the group became somewhat of a small business incubator. We would bring ideas to the group and the group would provide constructive feedback, critiques, connections, and encouragement (for the most part). Out of this group came the start of a Crossfit gym that was grown and sold, a buddy and I flipped houses together and bought duplexes, then we started a valet trash business. We prayed through infertility together. We gave council during job loss.

Our Valet Trash Venture

My current venture, Rebus Capital, was a brainchild of our Eagles Group. 3 of the 4 partners make up the core mastermind group and even the name “Rebus” means “soar” in latin. Thank you Dave Ramsey.

I could go on and on about the outcomes of our Eagles Group. These are now my closest friends that I do life with.

Most of the Eagles and Doves

One of the greatest outcomes is that our wives formed their own group, their Doves Group. This is similar in a lot of ways and started out as a Bible study more than anything. Both groups have resulted in intentional groups of friends that we do life with. It requires work and intention to keep them going but the fruits of our labors are lifelong friends and a support system unlike many.

Where I am now.

Our group meetings have taken different forms in different life stages. Having a ton of newborns in the group required some creativity and different hours. The members of our group have grown in a variety of different ways. With that said, what I need now is different. 

I no longer need start up support and critiques. I have moved through the entrepreneurial journey of the rugged individualist that just gets it done to now one of hiring for unique teamwork. But I don’t have enough experience and value to add to other entrepreneurs that have a full team of elite talent attacking their biggest problems. 

To make that transition I hired an executive coach. I know that I need to become a different kind of leader to lead those with world class talent. So I am in a period of transition. I think my mastermind group will change in various stages of my development and I am not sure when that will occur again. 

My Eagles Group is there to support me and keep me accountable to my faith, my wife, my kids, and my fitness. That is where I am at currently. With a coach growing myself to prepare for the next stage of mastermind group.

Prescription to Start Your Own.

  1. Read Think and Grow Rich By: Napoleon Hill. This provides context and perspective on the mastermind. It was written in 1937 but so many books in that genre were inspired by and reference this classic.
  1. Brainstorm and write your own short (1-3 years) and long term goals (3, 5, 10+ years).
  2. Create a list of your friends with the character qualities you would like to improve and have accountability for. Think faith, family, career, fitness, etc.
  3. Go to lunch with them and present the concepts you learned from this blog post and the book.
  4. Have them read the book and come up with their own list of friends.
  5. Once you have 3+ friends that have read the book, understand the concept, and are committed to giving it a try, you are ready to begin.
  6. Decide on a weekly day and time to meet. Make this a recurring time that is automatically in everyone’s calendar. Don’t move it every week. If someone misses one week, so what. They can catch the next one.
  7. Meetings don’t need to be super long. We typically meet for 45 minutes to an hour.
  8. Starting out, have everyone come up with their own short and long term goals and share with the group. This will take different forms based on your group’s needs. We set quarterly goals based on the book The 12 Week Year.
  9. In each meeting, go around the group and share 3 things:
    1. What you did last week to move closer to your goals.
    2. What you plan to do the next week to move closer to your goals.
    3. What obstacles are in the way of your goals.
  10. The group responds as necessary to hold you accountable to what you said you would do, celebrate with you, and help you solve the problems in the way.

It is that simple. Members will come and go. It will take time to develop the core group that is committed. But it is worth it.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about this!

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