When Andrew Carnegie arrived in the United States from Scotland in 1848, he had nothing. He had no inheritance, no proper education or special skill set, and he certainly had none of the $300 billion fortune he amassed later in his life.
Carnegie credited his success to his mastermind group in an interview with Napoleon Hill (The Author of Think and Grow Rich), in which he said:
‘Well, if you want to know how I got my money, I will refer you to these men here on my staff; they got it for me. We have here in this business a mastermind. It is not my mind and it is not the mind of any other man on my staff, but the sum total of all these minds that I have gathered around me that constitute a master mind in the steel business.
I have been many years gathering these men around me and building this mind. Each man contributes an important part to the building of this mind. I do not always agree with all the men on my staff, on all matters, nor do they always agree with me. Perhaps some of us do not like each other from a personal viewpoint, but I know that I need these men and they know that they need me in the maintenance of this master mind that is necessary in carrying on this steel business.’
Although Carnegie was the first person to coin the term ‘mastermind’, and Napoleon Hill the first to popularize it, the concept itself predated them. Socrates had his academy, Benjamin Franklin had The Junto, and a little closer to our times, we had Tolkien and The Inklings who would meet each week to read their works out loud and offer constructive criticism, commentary, and support. Some of the most legendary literary works – such as The Hobbit and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia) – were born out of these meetings.
This goes to show that, regardless of industry, all successful people recognize the power of masterminds. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill writes:
‘Analyse the record of any man who has accumulated a great fortune, and many of those who have accumulated modest fortunes, and you will find that they have either consciously or unconsciously employed the master mind principle.’
So why should you join a mastermind group?
Entrepreneurship can be quite lonely but having like-minded people that you can talk to and discuss your ideas with will help you get organised, process your ideas better, and you’ll also get to make connections that you never would have made otherwise. Furthermore, you’ll have people to hold you accountable, which means you’ll be more likely to stay on track and get all the important things done.
When someone hears you talk about your business each week or month, they get to know you, your business, your goals, and your challenges, such that when you propose an idea about where you could go with your business, they can give you great feedback.
At Oi, we run a mastermind group for small business owners. Each mastermind group consists of nine non-competing business owners who meet every month for half a day to discuss their problems and challenges and to create ideas for moving forward. Every member gets a turn on the hot seat, where they spend the first five minutes telling everyone else about their business goals and challenges. They’re then asked questions about these goals and challenges. Afterwards, they take a seat back and quietly listen as the other members discuss their problems and provide their insight and suggestions.
If you’d like to explore the power of masterminds, visit www.outside-ideas.com/mastermind-9.