Eben Pagan’s Blog

Master Your MasterMind

Posted in Business, Communication, Psychology, Success by ebenpagan on January 9, 2009

Possibly the most important and profound action you can take to create change, transformation and success in your life is to build and participate in a “MasterMind.”

What is a MasterMind, you ask?

A MasterMind is a group of people who have common interests and goals, who get together on a regular basis to support each other in growth and development toward actualizing those interests and goals. It’s a dedicated group of people who share at least some values, perspectives and objectives in common, who understand that the power of the “group mind” is exponentially more powerful than the sum of the individual minds from which the group is composed.

The first person I know of that explicitly described the concept in detail is Napoleon Hill (in his book “Think And Grow Rich”).

Hill said that no individual can achieve great power with out a MasterMind. My experience (and the experience of every powerful person I know) confirms this idea.

To me, one of the most “magical” powers of the MasterMind is that it affects you on a subconscious level… without you having to “do” anything.

We humans are programmed by everything that happens around us. We tend to be MOST programmed by what we see, hear, and experience others doing.

Not what we read, not what we think, not what we feel. We’re influenced by the OTHERS around us. We literally become those that we surround ourselves with.

Want to know how much a person makes per year? Find their five closest friends and average their incomes. That’s the answer.

Want to know how healthy a person is? Find their five closest friends and average their health.

Want to know what a person’s aspirations are?

You get the picture.

So how does one create a MasterMind group, and how does one make sure that they’re doing it “right”?

Here are a few pointers, based on my experience:

  1. Make sure most of the people in the MasterMind are FAR beyond you. At least 3-5 years down the road you’re trying to travel. 5-10 years is even better. This isn’t a non-profit organization or a charity event, so don’t treat it like one. You’re in this to GROW. (All the while knowing that if you grow to your full potential, you’ll be able to do much more effective charity work later in your life.)
  2. If you do allow others who are behind you on the road to success in your chosen area, make sure that they have MASSIVE POTENTIAL. You’d better be feeling in your gut that they’re a super-star, and it’s only a matter of time before they pass you.
  3. Meet regularly in person. If you are located in different geographic locations, it’s fine to meet by phone often. But get together live, in-person regularly.
  4. It’s great to have a few different MasterMinds for different parts of your life. A physical-health based MasterMind can be just as valuable to you personally as a financial MasterMind. Again, just make sure that the members are beyond you.
  5. Make sure that the people you invite to the MasterMind can add massive value to the OTHER MEMBERS. Remember, you’re inviting people who are beyond you. They’re going to get a lot more value from the group and the other members than they are from you. Carefully select members who will get value from each other. Keep yourself out of the equation mentally.
  6. Be the “hassle remover” for the group. Handle the schedule. Handle the details. Do the annoying administrative stuff that noone else wants to do. You be the one to set up the teleconference bridge meeting line, or the meeting space reservations. You be the one to walk next door and tell the neighbors to be quiet because they’re disturbing your meeting. You be the one to go out and get more drinks for the group because everyone is thirsty.
  7. Remember, the value to you isn’t the tangible things you’re going to get. Don’t focus on material gain. What you’re going to get is the personal GROWTH that comes from being around evolved beings. Let the others have the perks and material rewards of the group. You sit back like the “dumb fox” and allow your mind to receive the higher-level transmissions that are coming from the others around you.

Here are some questions I got when I Twittered about creating a MasterMind, with my answers (I tried to answer many of the questions I got above, but here are a few that will help fill this out a bit):

Q: How do you build or “fill up” your group?

A: Start with one or two people that you think would be great “anchor” members of the group – people you might know or have some influence with. Once you get them, tell other members that you’re inviting about these anchors – and connect up the benefit of MasterMinding with those anchors. Again, keep yourself out of the equation. Use the power of each individual you attract to attract others. Be patient. Wait until you have a good core group before starting. Don’t just let people in because you’re in a hurry.

Q: How do you conduct the meetings?

A: A good starting format would be to create a group with 6 members. Meet weekly for 60-90 minutes on the phone or in person. Each week, ONE of the members is the “focus” of the meeting. Start off by having that member share: 1) Their biggest challenge, 2) Their biggest opportunity. Next, the other 5 members of the group brainstorm to help that person reduce or eliminate their biggest challeng, and take advantage of their biggest opportunity. You, as the “organizer” or faciliatator, makes sure that no-one hogs the mic, that everyone is heard, etc. Key here is all 6 minds focused on ONE person’s situation, challenge and opportunity.

Q: How do you keep your MasterMind members motivated and involved in the group?

A: If you have to motivate and involve them, then you’ve probably chosen the wrong members. Let them go, move on, and find members who are self-motivated – and who have a natural bent toward contributing and being involved. Trying to change people who don’t want to be changed is hard, unrewarding work. There are enough super-stars in the world that you’ll have no trouble finding them to be in your MasterMind.

In the “final analysis” there’s nothing more important to your growth in life than having intentional MasterMinds – and there’s no skill more valuable than the ability to create MasterMinds, facilitate them, and nurture them.

For more on the topic, I highly recommend Napoleon Hill’s book “Think And Grow Rich” – and get the newly-published “Original Version”. It has many important elements that were removed from later versions. (This is the one to get: Think And Grow Rich – Restored And Revised)

Now do everyone a favor, and leave your best ideas for creating, building, and facilitating a MasterMind below in the comments. Please don’t just write “good post” or “I like that”… instead, add some value and contribute to this conversation with an insight, a practice, or a resource that we can all use to create, bu9ild, and faciliate our MasterMinds. Thank you!

[You can also follow me for free on Twitter HERE.]

All Stressed Out, Nowhere To Go

Posted in Psychology, Success by ebenpagan on December 28, 2008

I’m considering creating a video training program to help others reduce or eliminate stress from various parts of their lives. It seems that many people experience too much stress, but they have nowhere to go for answers about how to eliminate it. I’d like to fix that.

From what I’ve learned in my own research over the years, stress is the “main culprit” behind such diverse robbers of life as:

  • Weight gain
  • Sickness
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems
  • Fear and pessimism
  • Lack of focus and productivity
  • Career and business failure

…and a host of other issues.

The way I’m thinking of it right now, over-exposure to “negative stress” manifests itself in our 3 “human realms” – physically, emotionally, and mentally.

  • Physical stress manifests as tension
  • Emotional stress manifests as anxiety
  • Mental stress manifests as worry

Over the past several years, I’ve consciously worked to find the roots of these various types of stress manifestations, and to create solutions and preventative measure. I’m talking about everything from meditation and conscious muscle relaxation… to positive self-talk and emotional dissociation exercises… and everything in between. I’ve solved a lot of my own issues with stress, and helped others with many of their issues as well.

Right now, I’m most interested in creating education and training programs that will have the highest impact on the most people, and this just seems to be an area where a lot of people are in need right now. The combination of “attention fragmentation” that’s resulting from the modern business/connected environment plus an overall mood of uncertainty is dialing up the stress levels of people everywhere.

So basically I’m trying to figure out if this would be a project that’s worth investing my time and attention in.

Do me a favor: Leave me a comment below, and let me know your thoughts about this. Right now, I’m thinking about creating a 30-90 day video training program (similar to my Wake Up Productive time management/productivity training)… specifically focused on helping others to reduce or eliminate various types of negative stress in their lives (and possibly INCREASE the “positive” types of stress while they’re at it) – to create maximum success, focus, calm, joy, and overall fulfillment with life.

The program would be for everyone, but it would probably have a focus on the “success” aspect of life – as most of us want to reduce stress, anxiety, tension, worry etc. in order to ACHIEVE something.

What do you think? Would you invest in a program like this one? What do you think the right PRICE would be for it?

Do you have any recommendations of books, audio programs or videos I should reference to add to my own experience? Any tips of your own? Any key thinkers in this area I might not know about?

Go wild in the comments – I appreciate it!

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Posted in Business, Good Books, Psychology, Success by ebenpagan on December 2, 2008

I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” – and it was a good read. Very valuable. Major takeaways are:

  1. Initial conditions matter. Think Chaos Theory. Complex systems that evolve over time (which humans are, and groups of humans are) can be very sensitive to initial conditions. For humans, influential initial conditions can be other people, key training, early advantages, access to tools and resources, etc.
  2. Practice matters. 10,000 hours seems to be the magic “inflection point” that results in “genius.”
  3. Culture matters. What’s acceptable in your culture can influence your thinking and behavior in major ways.

My action steps after reading this book:

  1. Pay more attention to the first experiences that customers, partners, and team members have with our business, our team members, and our products. Better induction processes, better training, and better relationship-building leads to bigger success.
  2. Teach and coach others to practice their craft more often, and for longer. Essentially all of the key successes in my life came after YEARS of focused practice. Encourage practice consistently with others.
  3. Work on our business’ culture. It just happens that I interviewed Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) a few days ago, and most of his focus is on their company culture. This book helped me understand more of the nuances of the importance of aligning and consciously creating culture.

Part of my personal approach to life and success over the past several years is to surround myself with people that “are” what I want to become, and it will happen almost automatically. This book helped me to realize just how important it is to “take control” of your “influences” if you want to direct your own success.

Overall, it’s a good book. Read it:

Outliers: The Story of Success