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What’s a Mastermind?

Growing solo needn’t mean growing alone when you could be growing along with others who share your ambitions.

You may have heard of the concept of a mastermind, and unfortunately, the term has become diluted to mean many things.  Here’s how to spot the helpful real deal.

A mastermind group gathers people on a regular basis around a shared commitment to transformation. For example, a mastermind group might be organized around a commitment to weight loss, business growth, or emotional wellness. Members accomplish more together than they might individually.

Mastermind lore reports that Benjamin Franklin started a successful mastermind group, and the rest of his story is indeed history. Client Diann Roche, Bluebird Business Solutions, sent me this great photo of another historic mastermind group. 


Picture1The Author’s Group

 John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807-1892

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882

John Lothrop Motley, 1814 -1877

Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804 – 1864

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 – 1882

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., 1809 – 1894

Amos Bronson Alcott, 1799 – 1888

James Russell Lowell, 1819 -1891

Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, 1807 – 1873

Washington DC Portrait Gallery


The usual mastermind features strict confidentiality, regularly scheduled meetings, accountability, and facilitation.

Many mastermind groups are self-organized and operate without charging members to participate. But few are sustainable enough for meaningful impact without the commitment devices of cash on the barrelhead and a facilitator accepting responsibility for the group’s success.

I call my own mastermind groups the Circle of Trust, now heading into a second decade of monthly meetings with many charter members still in attendance.

I’ve made further adaptations that have proven to be improvements on this centuries old idea.

Inspired by the conversations that emerged during the Missouri Bank Business Edge course, I twisted the tradition to amp up the value in what members cheekily call group therapy for business owners, or their entrepreneurial think tank.

I added documentation to remind members of the conversations, my own expertise as a working solopreneur and mentor, and a prepaid membership fee to increase commitment.

Find a local group in your area by searching the term online. You’ll also find an infinite number of “group coaching calls” and other virtual mastermind options that I’ve not tried personally, but have clients who find them helpful.

Whether you join one of my Circles in Kansas City, or find a mastermind near you, peer power is one of the best ways to grow solo, but not alone.

2 Responses to What’s a Mastermind?

  1. Allen DeNormandie June 6, 2018 at 4:56 pm #

    Do you have a mastermind group that meets in the Chicago area?

  2. Dodie Jacobi June 7, 2018 at 10:42 pm #

    Hi Allen, I don’t. Maybe you should start one as you suggested on Linked In! If you decide you want to turn it into a revenue generating program, let me know. I created an eguide detailing how I launched and run Circle of Trust groups in Kansas City, one of my most successful programs with members who’ve been in since inception.

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