Mastermind groups, also known as learning communities, circles of trust and communities of practice, dating back to ancient times. The term “mastermind group” was coined by Napoleon Hill in 1925 for a behavior that he found common among successful professionals including Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, and Charles Schwab.
Our mastermind group brought eleven of us together and initiated and deepened our healing bonds. We share in each other’s victories and struggles, we help each other, and most importantly, we know we are not alone. That positive energy is contagious.
Numerous websites and readings describe how to start a mastermind group. Here are the basic ingredients:
The group: Between 5-12 peers who share a commitment to the domain (e.g., women’s leadership, career stage, clinical specialty, book club, etc.), value learning from each other, and are committed to engaging in joint activities and mutual support.
The process: Determine frequency, time, modality, ground rules etc. One of the most important things to do early is to create a safe space; agree that any confidential disclosures will stay in the group. Virtual meetings can help optimize timing around family and professional obligations.
General format — 5-step meeting process:
1. Pre-meeting probe. We circulate a probe ahead of the meeting so individuals can bring contributions & reflections (e.g., time management hacks, book/ conference learnings, 30-day challenge, stay interviews, etc.)
2. Check-ins and updates.
3. Topic of the day
4. Wrap up and plan for next session
5. Capture – sending a few bullet points after the meeting can allow others who missed to join the discussion and add resources
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