Earlier this year I joined a Mastermind.

I had never heard of one until I started listening to podcasts at the beginning of 2017.  It piqued my curiosity and I did a little research.  In case you’re curious, here’s the official definition of “mastermind”:

verb (used with object)

1. to plan and direct (a usually complex project or activity), especially skillfully:

Two colonels had masterminded the revolt.

noun

2. a person who originates or is primarily responsible for the execution of a particular idea, project, or the like:

the masterminds of company policy.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/mastermind?s=t

To join a Mastermind in this current day and age, it is basically a combination of the two definitions above – “A group of people who get together to plan and direct the execution of each individual’s ideas, projects or activities.”

Some Masterminds meet in person for an intense, multi-day, session.  Some Masterminds meet weekly, either in person or over videoconferencing, for a specific time-frame.  I’m sure there’s other formats out there, but these are the two I’m currently familiar with.  The Mastermind I joined met weekly over videoconferencing.  This allowed people from around the world to join in the sessions.

The format is simple – each week, a person in the group is the “focus” person.  The focus person brings an issue or project they are struggling with to the group and asks for ideas on how to solve the problem.  Each member of the group asks questions, if necessary, and then offers their own suggestions and ideas on how they would approach the issue or project.

I went into the sessions without having a clear idea of what I would be getting myself into.  I’m not even sure what I wanted out of the sessions for myself.  I explained that in the first session, nervous that they would point at me and declare me an intruder.  That didn’t happen – they, too, expressed that they didn’t know why they joined and only had vague ideas on what they wanted out of the sessions.

After the first session, I remembered a conversation I had with a family member a few months prior.  We were talking about the insights I had gained about myself earlier in the year – my desires, beliefs, actions; the impostor syndrome I struggled with; and my own lack of self-respect.  They commented, “This conversation is too deep for me!”  THAT is why I joined this Mastermind.  I want the deep conversations.  I want to dig down and find the root of an issue.  I want to know the “why” because the “why” explains the action.

Looking back at the 12 weeks, I have gained the following understandings of both myself and the world around me:

  • We all struggle with areas in our life that aren’t visible to others.
    • This should be a “no-brainer” – but sometimes you must remind yourself of this fact – at least, I do.
  • It is okay to be me and not apologize for it.
    • Using my strengths is not a weakness when others are threatened by them. That is their issue, not mine.
    • Keep doing and being me.
  • There is a solution to my problem/issue.
    • I just need to keep searching and asking until I find the right solution for me.
  • When I find a solution to my problem/issue, seeing the “finished” project in my head does NOT mean that the project is actually complete.
    • I tend to “see” projects in the finished state and when asked about the status of said project, replying with “it’s done”. Only one part – the planning step – is actually complete.  This doesn’t mean the project is complete.
    • This was a HUGE revelation to me! It explains why I have so many incomplete projects lying around in my world.

I’m still gaining insights into myself from things recommended and suggested during the 12 week Mastermind.  I have a list of books, podcasts and ideas waiting to be explored that were suggested, not only to me, but to the others in the group that I too want to dive deeper into.

I now have international friends I can connect with to explore ideas, share wins and encourage them in their struggles while they encourage me in mine.  This is the best take-away from the entire experience.

Would I join another Mastermind if time and money were not factors?  Absolutely.

Would I recommend you join a Mastermind if you are thinking about it?  Definitely.

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