The Beginner’s Guide To Mastermind Groups – Part I

By Ellesse

mastermind groups
Thanks to Napoleon Hill and his 1937 classic Think & Grow Rich, the concept of masterminding have taken the world by storm.

Successful businessmen – whether the richer industrialists from the early 20th century to the modern day’s business powerhouses – have all confessed to using mastermind groups in a way or another. In case you think this is an exclusive innovation in the commercial world, look around you.

Housewives participate in weekly gatherings to learn different food recipes from one another. College students leverage study groups to work on their term papers. Even seemingly innocuous kids have worked with their classmates to grow their baseball card collections! Amazing, isn’t it?

Perhaps you may be thinking “So what? What has that got to do with me?” Well, think about it. Are you experiencing goals stagnancy and need some fresh ideas to spruce up things? Do you have difficulty with daily motivation on your goals because none of your friends and family support what you’re doing? Have you been searching for someone with a specific skill to partner on a particular project? If yes, a mastermind group can jolly well be the breakthrough you’re looking for!

Why do I say that?

Many months back, I was quite fortunate to be able to join a couple of online mastermind groups. All for slightly different purposes. Not only have I benefited tremendously from the synergy, I’ve got to know a bunch of like minded friends. From all walks of life. From all nationalities. All working for similar goals. What did I give up to join these groups? Well, other than a few hours of my time a day, I don’t think I’ve sacrifice much. In fact, the benefits outweighs the costs so much that I’m glad I’ve done this after all!

So, What Exactly Is A Mastermind Group?

According to Napoleon, the Master Mind is defined to be the

… coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between 2 or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.

In other words, it’s 2 or more people working towards a common goal. They’re just like goal buddies. Except that the commitment to meet up regularly and “officially” is stronger. The way the group is rounded up is also more stringent. So, don’t be surprised if you find that you actually need an invitation to join certain groups. Because at the end of the day, it really depends on what the leader’s intention is when he first started it.

But no matter how different each group can be, some characteristics are still inherently similar:

  1. Synergy Within A Common Goal

    Needless to say, every member must have a similar reason for being there. The difference is, by working on your own individual goal, you’re actually helping the others with theirs. For example, your goal is to be able to earn $x from your home based business every month. By seeking advice on your own business frustrations during the weekly meetings, you’re actually encouraging the rest to consider different business conditions and scenarios. Which can affect their own operations in time to come.

  2. Varied Experience, Expertise & Skill Sets

    Member demographics differ but there’s a very high chance that everyone is of diverse backgrounds and experience levels. Junior members benefit from the greater industry experience and advice of the senior mentors. Senior members can tap on the unique skill sets of junior members. There’s this theory about joining a group whose members are already where you’ll like to be in your life – or who are at least a level above yourself. My only question is, why would these people allow you to be in their circle if you’re not already where they are? Well, unless you pay a premium for it. Like a membership fee. Otherwise, the safer bet is to leverage on your existing skill sets and sell it when there’s an opportunity.

  3. High Accountability & Standards On Quality

    Whatever you’ve promised to achieve with the group is held accountable. You’ll be asked to state your goals, justify them and review your progress on a weekly basis. Imagine being caught in a situation when you’ve nothing new to update since the last meeting. Will you be spurred to action so that you’ve got some progress on your bottom line? Probably very likely, isn’t it? The groups I’m in don’t hold anyone custody for anything. Nor do they hold weekly meetings of such sort. But I guess at the end of the day, it really depends on the mode of the operandi. And how comfortable each team member is, with the way things are pushed forward.

  4. Strong Giving Spirit

    An amazing attribute I’ve seen in the groups I’m in is that most of the members are very generous. They’re very willing to give. Their knowledge. Their time. Even their resources at times. In fact, the more they give, the more they receive. For example, there’s this guy who’ll constantly go the extra mile, give encouragement, positive feedback without the others asking for it. Whenever he has a task for the group, many will step forward and offer assistance.

  5. Limited in Size

    Though the ones I’m in are relatively large online groups, traditional masterminding work best with 5-6 people in a team. Anything smaller loses its group dynamics. Anything bigger becomes difficult to manage. The use of online technologies such as forums, social networking tools etc have made it much easier to manage bigger groups. But in my opinion, a close knitted small team exudes stronger spiritual synergy and flexibility. Which far outweighs the numbers you get from big groups.

Update : For your convenience, here’s the list of articles in this Masterminding series :


15 Responses to “The Beginner’s Guide To Mastermind Groups – Part I”

  1. mariam at 1:42 pm

    Nice breakdown of how this mastermind group concept is distilled to everyday life.

    I have come to the realization that this is part of online strategies so this is a good reminder.

    I think bigger groups can work but it will be only natural that sub groups will eventually break off only to rejoin the parent for team shuffling and new ideas.

    I look forward to the rest of your article series!

  2. Al at 7P at 12:44 am

    This is a great article Ellese. I’ve been hearing about mastermind groups but didn’t know where it came from. I really like this idea.

  3. Al at 7P at 12:45 am

    … i hit “Enter” before proofreading. Sorry for misspelling your name, Ellesse!

  4. Ellesse at 2:13 am

    @Mariam, I was in the mastermind group game about the same time as you do and yes, I truly appreciate the benefits I’ve obtained. In my opinion, bigger groups serves as a congregating point, for all like minded pals to gather. Finding the right mastermind group branch off from there. I would say this works very well for both offline and online strategies, just that in the offline world, the impersonal touch may work better.

    @Al, no problem about the misspell. And I’m glad you liked this idea. There are a few sites written on “Mastermind Groups” but I’m trying to consolidate the main points and take it on with a perspective using my own experience. And also for experimenting and broadening on the concept by creating one for Goal Setting College readers. That will be exciting!

  5. Albert | UrbanMonk.Net at 4:06 am

    WOW! Been waiting for this, and you certainly didn’t disappoint! And this is one kick-ass new template you’re using, Ellesse! It really hit me when I opened it, I was like woo! :D

    Albert | UrbanMonk.Net
    Modern personal development, entwined with ancient spirituality.

  6. Monika @ The Writers Manifesto at 1:46 pm

    Hi Ellesse,

    I also loved your post. I had nothing but great experience with master mind groups so far. And right now I’m involved in yet one more and can’t wait of what will become of it. :-)

  7. Ellesse at 1:33 am

    @Albert, dear Mr Monk, I’ve really gotta hand it to you for such a wacky comment! You never fail to make me laugh off my seat. Haha! Thanks for your wonderful words on the new template. It was a premium theme I’ve bought. Did some minor changes and here it is. Gotta tweak it before the new year! That was one of my December goals subtasks!

    @Monika, you’re a great contributor all mastermind groups would love to have! It never fail to amaze me even till now, how some of the mastermind group members were so selfless with their resources. And yes, in case you’re wondering, you’re definitely one of them!

  8. Liane Barker at 4:33 am

    Dear Ellesse

    I have instigated a mastermind group in our town for women in business and I have come across your site. Fantastic information and ideas. Having read Napoleon Hill….and studied it through a mastermind group it helped me with the goals I was trying to achieve. I am also looking at creating an on-line forum from the smaller face to face group. Your articles are encouraging and have assisted me on what to offer our group. Thank you

  9. Ellesse at 4:14 pm

    @Liane I’m really glad you find it useful. Sad to say, the mastermind group I’ve joined whilst writing the articles have disbanded but I did learned a lot from the members in the process. Obstacles will come your way but don’t ever ever give up! Because the benefits will definitely outweigh the hassle.

    By the way, if you’re looking for an easy free social network cum forum for your group, try It’s pretty scalable (so you don’t really have to worry if your group’s getting bigger), private and more importantly, it’s free. :)

  10. Liane Barker at 11:19 pm

    Thank you for the information Ellesse

  11. Cory Crabb at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing this content very easy to read and makes a lot of sense. Looking forward to more of your posts ill make sure to keep coming back.

    Our Masterminds Group
    Cory Crabb

  12. Ellesse at 8:21 am

    @Cory Thks! Your words made my day :)

  13. Daniel Holmes at 1:01 pm

    Great article Ellesse ,

    Wonderful to see so much interesting info on what is a Mastermind Group. As the owner of a Online Mastermind Groups Social Niche Network, which I started after being inspired by; John Assaraf’s book “the Answer” I set out to create the #1 resource of tools and info to help Mastermind Groups get started @ More and more everyday since starting back in early 2009 the word is catching on about the benefits of having, or belonging to a Mastermind Group…thanks to articles like yours.

    Great Job!

    Best regards, Daniel

  14. Ellesse at 4:49 am

    @Daniel Nice to see how your mastermind social network will pan out. It’s a novel idea given the fact that people facebooks, twits, social network a lot. Keep us updated of your progress :)

  15. Carol Ann Miller at 12:02 pm

    This is Awesome and such wonderful people that i have talked to here are willing to help teach you all about Master mind Groups. This was a God sent and i found this by faith with the help of a caring and generous networker like me.
    Love you all


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