The concept of the “master mind alliance” was introduced by Napoleon Hill in his book from the 1920s, The Law of Success, and expanded upon in his 1930s book, Think And Grow Rich. While Napoleon Hill called it a “master mind alliance,” it’s been shortened and modernized to “mastermind group.” Mastermind groups have been around since the beginning of time. Even Benjamin Franklin belonged to such a group, which he called a Junto. But it was Napoleon Hill who explained it clearly and encouraged people to gather together in a structured, repeatable environment for the success of all. Napoleon Hill wrote about the mastermind group principle as:
“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
“No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third invisible mind.”Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill wrote and taught extensively for decades. Throughout his career, he advocated the use of mastermind groups as a way of taking your personal and professional life to the next level.Hill originally said that when two people got together, a third mind, the Master Mind, was created. To him, it was a separate force in the conversation and had an energetic/spiritual connotation. Over the past 85 years, it’s morphed from “master mind alliance” to “mastermind group,” but the meaning and underlying principles are still the same.
Most people think the first mention of mastermind groups was written by Hill in his Think and Grow Rich. But nearly 10 years earlier, he wrote The Law of Success, and talks about “the Master Mind” and how it’s a friendly alliance among people to support each other with their plans. In The Law of Success, Hill adds another element to the idea of a mastermind group: the group helps to organize useful knowledge, creating a virtual encyclopedia from which each member can draw information.
Hill continues his thoughts on the master mind in The Magic Ladder of Success: “The process of mind blending here described as a “Mastermind” may be likened to the act of one who connects many electric batteries to a single transmission wire, thereby ‘stepping up’ the power passing over that line by the amount of energy the batteries carry…Each mind, through the principle of mind chemistry, stimulates all the other minds in the group.”
In Think and Grow Rich, he talked about something called a “mastermind alliance.” He goes on to describe a mastermind group as, “A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.”
Napoleon Hill feels so strongly about this that he says, “Maintain perfect harmony between yourself and every member of your mastermind group. If you fail to carry out this instruction to the letter, you may expect to meet with failure. The master mind principle cannot obtain where perfect harmony does not prevail.”
That’s a strong message about what makes a mastermind group succeed or fail.
In Master Key to Riches, Napoleon Hill says, “Every mind needs friendly contact with other minds, for food of expansion and growth.”
To Hill mastermind groups are established to help create an environment that nurtures and supports growth.
Notice how he uses the word “friendly” throughout his discussion of mastermind groups? Hill believed that a harmonious group of two or more people who come together for a specific purpose, or around a specific topic, bring forth the power of creativity and support that you can’t find when you go it alone.
“Now here are some interesting facts about the mastermind which give you an idea of how important it is and how necessary that you embrace this principle and make use of it in attaining success in your chosen occupation. First of all, it is the principle through which you may borrow and use the education, the experience, the influence, and perhaps the capital of other people in carrying out your own plans in life.
It is the principle through which you can accomplish in one year more than you could accomplish without it in a lifetime if you depended entirely on your own efforts for success.”
What is a Mastermind group exactly?
Mastermind groups offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen your business and personal skills. A mastermind group helps you and your mastermind group members achieve success. Members challenge each other to set strong goals, and more importantly, to accomplish them.
Mastermind group facilitators start and run groups. They help the group to dive deeply into discussions, and work with members to create success — as each member defines it. Facilitators are the secret to thriving mastermind groups. I’ve seen plenty of groups fail because of poor leadership.
Through a mastermind group process, first you create a goal, then design a plan to achieve it. The group helps you with creative ideas and wise decisions-making. Then, as you begin to implement your plan, you bring both success stories and problems to the group. Success stories are applauded (loudly!), and problems are solved through peer brainstorming and collective, creative thinking.
What a mastermind group is NOT
- It’s not a class. While your group can vote to bring in guest speakers and teachers occasionally, the main focus of a mastermind group is the brainstorming and accountability support among the group members.
- It’s not group coaching. Mastermind groups are about the MEMBERS sharing with each other, not about the Facilitator coaching individuals in a group setting. You get everyone’s feedback, advice and support. Yes, if the Facilitator is an expert on the topic, by all means, chime in. But keep the conversation balanced between all members.
- It’s not a networking group. While you may share leads and resources with each other, it is not the main focus of the meetings. However, through your connections with other members, you will find plenty of joint venture opportunities, lead sharing, and professional networking.