I used to experience that a lot, and I speak to many micro business owners who feel the same way.
Introducing your imaginary personal mastermind group
A few years back I found a way to get access to a mastermind group of the very best advisors, mentors and experts. These are people who I previously would never have dreamed I could have on my team.
I meet with my personal mastermind group often, and they’ve done wonders for my business. They’re amazing people who really care about me, understand my goals and challenges intimately, and are always there when I need them. I strongly suggest you do what I did and get your own business mastermind support group working for you.
I put my mastermind group together after reading the excellent book Think and Grow Rich. The author, Napoleon Hill suggests that you create your own team of advisors… in your imagination.
Recruit the best team for the job
Your mastermind group should ideally consist of three to five people. They can be historical figures, successful business people you admire, or anyone you find inspirational.
Choose individuals you know will have a positive impact on you and your business, and ideally, enlist help from people with a range of personalities and skills.
Get to know your team
Study the people in your mastermind group. Learn whatever you can about their lives, their businesses, how they made money or succeeded in their endeavours. Useful tools include biographies, online resources, newsletters, Twitter and any other method you can think of.
This is an ongoing exercise. The more deeply acquainted you become with your mastermind team, the more they’ll be able to assist you.
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Call a virtual meeting
When you need help making a business decision or feel like bouncing some ideas around, call a virtual meeting with your mastermind group.
Have your meeting wherever it’s easiest for you to imagine connecting with your imaginary mentors. Perhaps in a quiet room, out walking or sitting in a cafe.
Take the problems you want to discuss with them. Write down an agenda (I use a mind map), and focus on one agenda item at a time.
Picture your personal mastermind group sitting there with you and ask each one’s opinion about every agenda item.
Encourage robust discussion
You won’t get the full value from this practice if you stick to asking your masterminds simple questions like ‘What would you do in this situation?’
Instead, ask them to see your entire business through their own eyes and experience. How could you learn from their lessons and apply them to your own challenges? How did they react when they faced a problem that was similar to the one you’re dealing with now?
If someone gives their point of view, have another person interrupt with their own take on it. What would person B say in response to person A’s suggestion? Which parts of it would they agree with? What would they object to, and how?
Listen to them debating the issues. If they get rowdy because their styles clash a little, enjoy watching them bash things out. And take particular notice of things they agree on.
Minute your meetings
Take notes. I scribble my thoughts on each branch of the mind map that formed my original agenda.
Go through your minutes and determine what you’ll action. Schedule it.
Foster an open mind
I know it might sound a bit odd imagining these people, but if you can get over that this exercise is extremely powerful. Don’t judge it until you’ve given it a go.
No one knows you’re doing it. It’s your secret. Okay, everyone knows I do it now, but I can deal with that. The benefits to my business have been extraordinary.
Who are you going to invite to your imaginary mastermind group? Nominate your dream team below!