Sometimes it can be challenging to adhere to your plans and checklists all on your own. In this talk I share on how partnering with others can help you stay on track and accountable to your big dreams. In 4 easy steps you can create your own goals-accountability group – otherwise known as a ‘Mastermind’.

Transcribed from the video:
For forever I had been a person who just loved checklists, to-do lists, crossing things off, getting things done. “Let’s do this,” was my MO. In my previous business I was called Admin Guru. I liked administrative tasks and management, and was a director of operations for other online business and life coaches. When I started my journey into entrepreneurship, I realized that, just putting things on a list and checking them off wasn’t quite enough. This quote resonated with me: “In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” This is ‘busy-work’ basically, where we can just be directed by the day-to-day minutia – and life starts to live us and we’re not really directing the show anymore. We’re actually, like Bob Proctor says, ‘extras’ in the movie of our own life. We’re not actually playing in the lead role. The ‘tail is wagging the dog’ in essence.

Entrepreneurship made me become more intentional with my goals. That’s when I started creating vision boards. That’s also when I started loving the quest for my favorite planner every year. I would map out my big vision and I put things in the planner and map them out – break them down by the quarter, thenĀ  by the month, by the week and by the days. I knew it was really important to have those 3 most important things every day and they had to be connected to my ‘WHY’ in my business. Regarding the three most important things, I always want to be asking myself, “Why are am I doing these things? Are they aligned with my bigger vision? What I have in my planner, etc.?” How ever you map out your your big dreams, you want to make sure that, when you start to reverse engineer that the smaller tasks – the shorter term goals – are aligned with the bigger goals.

What I found was, doing this all on my own – not to say that I haven’t hired life coaches and business coaches throughout the years – trying to adhere to my own lists and daily planner goals became an interesting challenge sometimes. I am the type of person that would occasionally be like “Nah. I don’t really feel like doing that particular task because it’s pushing me out of my comfort zone.” Or, “That doesn’t seem inspiring to me.” Or, “It’s not something that I feel like doing, so I’m just going to shift it in my calendar. I’m going to move it to tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next week.” I was still getting the easier tasks done or – the things that felt easy to me in my business, but the things that were really going to help me manifest the bigger intentional goals, they were the more challenging things I struggled with doing on my own.

During that time, I read the classic book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’, by Napoleon Hill. He said he defines the master mind as the coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose. Napoleon Hill suggests that by bringing two or more minds together, you tap into a third intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind or a master mind. That’s where the term mastermind comes from, and it’s really quite something, when you get two or more people together that the resources and the knowledge and the support, advice, encouragement that you can draw upon from a group of people does sort of become an entity in and of itself. That’s the benefit of creating one of these groups.

Here are the 4 steps to creating your own group:

1) The Who.
Make your list – I brain-dumped a bunch of names of women on paper, some who I already knew and some who I aspired to know or rub shoulders with. I’d heard this quote – you may have heard it, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Not that you’re going to be spending 24 hours a day with these dream people for your goals group, but you want to try to collaborate and be connected with like-minded people. You want to collaborate with people who are doing things that excite you. You also want to feel that you’re all sort of on the same level. So if you’re a startup, you might want to try and find other people that are around the same startup phase or maybe a year or two ahead. If you’re at 10 years in business, you would probably want to be finding people who are a little more advanced in their entrepreneurial journey.
After the list is made, start approaching people. Write an email to them and say, “Hey, I’m thinking about doing this mastermind/goals group idea. Would you be interested in participating?” I put it out to, I don’t know, about 12 women and it got distilled down to 6 of us. So there were six women.

2) The When
You can have your meetup once a month, or once a quarter whatever works. The first time I got together with the first goals group I’m talking about we met every 6 weeks. If you’re self-employed, you can do it during the day. But the first group I got together with, it didn’t work for some of the women to do it during the day so we would meet in the evening. We met from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, for two hours.

One of the things that I wanted to make sure of is that, it didn’t turn into like a girl’s night. At nighttime people are kind of more relaxed, some people want to bring wine and chill out. You want to make sure that, if there is going to be some social time, that it’s not in the set hours of your … Like I said, our mastermind was from 7PM to 9:00 PM. If people wanted to socialize, and we would have snacks and stuff, they had to come at 6:30. We would do a little catch-up between 6:30 and 7:00 and then if people wanted to hang out after 9:00 PM for some social time, from 9:00 till 9:30 we did that as well. So it was a roughly three hours in total, but we were really firm on the beginning and end time of the mastermind itself. You put it in your calendar, you adhere to that. Re: picking times – If you’ve ever used Doodle, great tool – it’s nice to use to get a consensus on a date/time.

3) The Where
If you’re all in the same city or town you can meet in-person, which is what we were doing in the evening and we would take turns hosting in and around Toronto in our houses. Of course, Zoom and these types of meetups are great as well, especially if you’re in a different part of the world, which makes masterminds on Zoom amazing. Even Facebook groups can be a goals group of sorts. If you take a course and a group is created with that particular course, you get to feed off, contribute to the input, remain accountable in the Facebook group.

Next, this is the juiciest in importance –

4) The How
How does it work? How is the outline set up? There are so many different ways to run this. It is good to have someone who’s kind of taken on the role of facilitator. You can rotate with the different hosts each time and say, “Okay. This time you’re going to be the facilitator. You’re going to follow the agenda, keep people in line with the timing.” To get an outline for a meeting agenda, I started looking at a bunch of different planners and seeing how people had their set up. Different people like to work in different ways. I’ve got, Leoni Dawson, Danielle LaPorte, the Passion Planner.

There is the Life Purpose Playbook, which is Judy Duque’s. And Judy’s on the call. Judy and I are great friends and her planner is wonderful as well. So Googling I would say is the best way that I found meeting guidelines, and it’s been a work in progress. The first goals group I ever started was in 2014, so we’re talking six years later and I’ve been in several. I’ve honed and refined. The group I get together with now it’s just three women, three of us meet and we meet every quarter. And we actually follow Sheila Cummin’s ‘Productive Planner’, which I like using right now. Btw, the vision board and the planner together work really nicely. You’ll find there is some refining that goes along with the initial growth of the group. But if you’ve got some basic outlines and you meet every month it will evolve. There are worksheets that you can find online as well. If you don’t want to use a planner, just Google ‘mastermind worksheets’.

Okay, the most important things at the mastermind is the hot seat. The hot seat is a well-known term for an individual, personalized, dedicated attention. Each person in the group gets a set amount of time to have the focus on them in the Hot Seat, and they get to talk about their biggest challenge. It’s usually just one thing or two things that you’re going to be talking about for that meetup that you are aiming to accomplish. Then you draw input from the rest of the group. So you can talk about an obstacle or a barrier to that particular goal that you want to attain or acquire. Then, the amazing thing is that the group just has so much to offer in resources to support your issue. You can get referrals, website URLs, email addresses of people to contact you. It’s just a wealth of information that gets shared to you and you’re going to leave with all of these solutions, leads to follow up on, new-found inspiration and new action steps to take.

Right now in the meetup that I do every quarter with three women, we get 15 minutes each for the Hot Seat and that is the ‘reflection time’. We get 15 minutes to reflect on our past quarter, and then later on in the meetup we get another 15 minutes after we’ve done some written work to share on our plans. Because our mastermind right now is three hours long. We go from 9:30am to 12:30PM, once a quarter. And you want to put deadlines to these plans. You want to make sure that you say, “I want to have this done by the end of this quarter.” Or, “I want to have this done by the end of this month.”

Using a timer is really important too. Otherwise, people will just tend to ramble. People get really excited and all fired up when they have information to share, but it’s really important to use a timer. Especially if you’ve got a bigger group.

LASTLY – Celebrating your accomplishments. Maybe this should be Step #5!
We tend to so often just check things off the list. We say out loud in the goals group – the things that we achieved, and then immediately move on to the next thing. The next thing we want to get done, the next thing we want to accomplish. That’s great, but think about how much work you put into accomplishing that goal. Think about how you stretched yourself. Think about how you got out of your comfort zone. That’s the other great thing about being in a mastermind, is you really do stay accountable. You stay accountable because you are driven by knowing that you’re going to be meeting up with these people again, and you want to be able to share some celebrations. You want to be able to inspire others and just keep moving towards your big dreams. You can brainstorm on how you might celebrate. Maybe you want to treat yourself to a massage. Maybe you want to go out with your girlfriends after the mastermind for dinner. Maybe you want to get your nails done. Whatever lights you up, I highly recommend you write on a list different ways that you would want to celebrate once you get to that next milestone.

Wrapping up some final notes. I recommend that they’re all in the same business or all, each and every individual in a completely and different business. Now, that doesn’t seem very profound but here’s why. Being in all of the same business is great, because then you’re all in the same industry, and you can collaborate and share how things are working for you in that business. Of course, being in all different businesses, that’s pretty obvious as to why that’s helpful as well. I was in a goal group at the beginning where we were all differing, but then people dropped out and then a friend would invite a friend and it got to the point where I was in this mastermind and there were four women in the restaurant industry, and two of us in different businesses. What I found this focus was always on the restaurant industry in every meetup. Finally, I left the group and let them do their own mastermind and they decided to just make it strictly for people in that business. I went off for a while and then I ended up starting my own new one again down the road. But that’s really important, I think.
Then the other one is, you want to find people with motivation and with the equal drive and commitment. That is because, again, in a group that I was in, some of the women were just there to have wine and social catch-up. We would get derailed, and not that there’s anything wrong with having a mastermind where you address personal issues as well. In fact, in every group I’m in, we don’t just talk business. In fact, one of the women who’s in my mastermind right now, she’s a business owner, but her personal goal is to write a book. That’s still something she talks about when she’s on the hot seat. But what I’m saying is, you want people who are committed to staying accountable. I found in a couple of cases women who, this is nothing against them whatsoever, but they would come every meetup and we would reflect on what she said she was going to do and it would never get done. She just wouldn’t stay accountable to her goals. I was starting to scratch my head and ask, “What is she coming for if she’s not going to at least try …” She would take all of our advice, support and our encouragement, but then nothing would shift.

Q&A time. How do you stay accountable to your goals and what is your big goal you’re aiming for and how will you celebrate when it’s accomplished?

I should mention that I have a mastermind already that I facilitate once a month. It’s called Manifesting Miracles Group. See the detailed info here. The way it’s run up until now is it’s a once-a-month get-together in the past is, it would be strictly for my vision board alumni. People who have created a digital vision board with me and I’ve got a companion guide worksheets that go with looking at your vision board, picking one big goal and then working through it at the mastermind. But now I’m opening it up to anyone who would like support regardless if they’ve done a vision board with me or not.

Now, this mastermind is also a co-working session. So we do reflection, we do planning and then we set an intention and we actually get sh*t done while we’re all together with regards to that one goal. We chunk it down into a small action step and we do one or two action steps moving towards that goal in the Manifesting Miracles group. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to join us!

BONUS!! Judy and collaborated on this ‘Goal Group Formula’ worksheet, it’s for anybody that would love to just make notes from this training on starting your own goals group, you can start off with the who, the when the where, and the how. You can download it here!