I belong to a “Mastermind Group.” What is that, you ask? A Mastermind Group is basically an informal association of several persons who commit to helping or supporting each other in reaching their goals. Some groups are quite large and quite formal; mine consists of two other freelance graphic designers besides myself who otherwise tend to work alone. But size doesn’t matter – purpose does.
So what is our purpose? Each of us creates lists of monthly goals and we are kept accountable by sharing and reporting our progress to the other two. We give advice and information when solicited, from feedback regarding each other’s work, to sharing knowledge of techniques and software, to handling clients, vendors, and contracts, to congratulations when a project goes well.
And how do we do this? Well, we do send e-mails sharing pertinent articles we’ve read or asking for feedback on something we’ve just designed. But we also have regularly-scheduled 3-way sessions with an agenda. Since the three of us live in 3 widely separated states (we met at a conference several years ago), we come together by telephone conference call for about 90 minutes every other week. And if we need to, we can log on via the web to a computer-sharing program and see what is on each other’s computer desktops, too.
I think you can guess some of the benefits of a Mastermind Group. We’re more than just a support group for each other; we’re all helping each other succeed. We get the benefit of other points of view, we have a chance to share our background and learning in the context of a project or goal, we get inspired by other approaches, and we do this freely and unconditionally – there are no jealousies or hidden agendas. We value and respect each other’s strengths and differences. And the contributions we give are as fulfilling to the giver as they are helpful to the receiver.
And the grand result of all this is that we are able to move ahead with our goals and stay focused on them. I’d say we all consider this activity to be an essential part of our “success plan,” and I say that because we’ve often commented to each other that we’re getting real value out of our sessions. Far from wasting time every other week, we all feel we’ve invested our time wisely.
If you’re a freelancer or know someone who is, I think you’ll find value in a Mastermind Group. They come in all types and sizes, so shop around to find the best fit, or start your own. And start reaping the benefits!