Chances are that you have seen and solved this puzzle. This little beauty is the nine dots puzzle. The instructions for the puzzle are to connect the dots by drawing four straight continuous lines. The lines must pass through each of the nine dots. You cannot lift the pencil from the paper until complete. All of the possible solutions require that you exceed the bounds of the dots. This puzzle is thought to be the source of the now cliché phrase “think outside the box”.
I think that this elusive thing that we call genius is primarily a matter of perspective. As a project manager, I spend a lot of time working with teams. When I gather a new team I ask them to be present and engaged through every discussion. I remind them that they have not only been chosen for their knowledge or skills in one area. They have also been selected for the way they can contribute to the team. If you spend 80% of your time hammering you tend to think that everything looks like a nail. Assembling a team of people with varied skills and tools is an easy way to create a diverse toolbox. They can help you put down your hammer and look at your old problems from the perspective of a new tool.
What if you are a solitary entrepreneur? How can you assemble a team to help you shift perspectives and inspire your genius? Enter the mastermind group. A mastermind group is a peer to peer mentor-ship used to help members achieve greater results together. The concept was coined in 1925 by author Napoleon Hill in his book ‘The Law of Success‘. Joining or creating the RIGHT mastermind group can hone your skills, inspire your genius, and change your life.
Mastermind groups can be formed for a multitude of purposes. Of course, as I mentioned, they can be used to support business ventures but also spiritual, political, or personal growth to name just a few. It’s just like a fitness buddy. Someone to hold you accountable, someone to cheer you on, someone to inspire you when things get tough. It’s also someone who is just as excited about what you are doing as you are!
So let’s talk about some of the things you should look for in the right mastermind group.
- Similar goals – If I am training to run a marathon and you are training to compete for Mr. Universe we probably aren’t going to be great fitness buddies. We have very different needs. However, your bodybuilding training business and my marathon gear shop would be a mastermind match made in fitness heaven. Marketing, growth, business planning and much more could help open up new avenues of thought. What’s your mission and can you find others with similar missions?
- Maturity level – It’s important that the mastermind group members are a similar place in their progress to the goal. The beauty of a peer to peer mentorship is that of sharing strengths. If the maturity level is off balanced it will quickly lose the joy for those not able to progress. A great way to measure maturity is documented plans or (if appropriate) contact list counts or sales figures.
- Time commitment – How much time are willing to commit to the group? There should be homework. There should be actions that you assign for yourself. Groups will meet as often as weekly and if you are joining one it should be a priority. They can she short term midterm or long term but everyone should share the same level of commitment for however long the group agrees.
- Group Management – How will the group be managed? Who is at the helm? What is the meeting structure? All of these are very important to the fit of your right group and often it’s just a matter of trial and error until you find what works for you.
What do you think? Are you ready to collaborate your way into some genius ideas that will change your life?
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