"Health, happiness and success depend upon the fighting spirit of each person. The big thing is not what happens to us in life - but what we do about what happens to us." George Allen

I am always looking for solutions. The concept of the mastermind group is vividly described by Napoleon Hill in "Think and Grow Rich". Consider the people in your life that are supportive of you. Identify the people willing to give you honest feedback and genuinely want the best for you. Who are the mentors, close friends or professional associates that you trust?

You might already have a support system, people you turn to for advice and to confide in. Do you have a network of people you speak with about aspects of your life? The mastermind group will give you accountability and support on the goal that you are working toward. Napoleon Hill defined the "Master Mind" as "coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose".

Think about the direction you are heading toward, are your goals primarily personal or professional? This affects the type of people chosen to be in your group. The most successful people realize they do not have all of the answers and look to others for guidance and insight as they work toward specific goals.

The next aspect to consider is the purpose of the mastermind group. One type of mastermind group is solely designed to help you reach your goals. A second alternative is to have the people on the group working toward the same goal or project. The other option is to have a group of people that each have goals and they use the group for support in reaching their individual goals. Napoleon Hill states "No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind [the master mind]." The benefit of working toward goals, no matter which type of group you choose, is the insight and accountability you receive from the other members of the group.

Three key tips increase the success of the mastermind group include specific goals for each group member, trusting the group members and having ground rules.

1. Have a common goal and meaning for the group. The mastermind group's purpose is to advise as a way to help each group member reach peak potential. The bonus is getting a group of people with differing perspectives. Each member is a necessary part of the group offering insights that could help you reach your goals sooner than if you were just working on your own. Each person's unique experience and perspective will propel you toward attaining your goals at a faster pace than working toward your goal alone.

2. Trusting the other group members is necessary in a mastermind group. The group offers accountability and support. Harmony will develop as the group forms and each person is committed to work toward their goal as well as being a support for the other members of the mastermind group. Because each person is working toward their own goal as they support the other members of the group, this creates an incentive to be fully vested in the group. Creating a safe and healthy group dynamic is necessary for it to function effectively.

3. Developing ground rules that are agreed to by all group members clarifies expectations. Although many mastermind groups are lay-led without a facilitator, developing norms helps to build trust and commitment. Another option is having a leader who will facilitate the discussion and coordinate the group.
Mastermind groups can take many different forms. Some of these include King Arthur's Round Table and his advisers, a council, board of directors and support group meetings. As a result of Napoleon Hill, mastermind groups are becoming more mainstream.

You are more likely to reach your goals, and at a faster pace, being part of a mastermind group than you are alone. Take the time to determine your goals, choose like minded people you trust and that have a willingness to participate, then take the next step to developing the group. The payoff will be well worth the time and energy committed to this unique opportunity.

Activity: If were ready to join a mastermind group, what would your primary goal be? Personal or business? Think of people that you know that have been a support for you, whether family, teachers, friends or associates. Consider how these people supported you. A mastermind group can be as small as two people. When forming one it is best to have an even number of members for balance.

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From Loren Fogelman, the success expert, founder of Mindset for Marketing Success.