What’s a Mastermind?

The concept of a “Master Mind” was first introduced by Napoleon Hill in his 1925 book, The Law of Success, and has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the last decade, particularly among entrepreneurs and executives.

Traditionally, a Mastermind is a peer-to-peer mentoring group that meets on a regular basis. During meetings, professionals – often from the same industry or function – give and receive advice on each other’s business challenges.

I think it’s a great concept but I’ve tweaked the design to serve a slightly different purpose. The topics have been broadened from business challenges to more foundational life questions and I’ve purposefully included a much more diverse audience. In essence, I’ve created an “intellectual potluck.”

Why participate?

I started the Mastermind with three goals in mind:

  • Learn: While work can be stimulating, many of us long for the deeper, more philosophical conversations that we had as students or very early in our careers. Moreover, it’s become increasingly challenging to find safe spaces to try out new ideas without fear of offending others or being judged.
  • Build community: I started the Mastermind during the height of Covid-19, when I, like many, was struggling to feel connected. In addition to creating a regular social interaction, I believe that more substantive conversations – in this case, those centered on values and beliefs – allow people to get to know each other more quickly and more fully.
  • Have fun: For those who enjoy new experiences, a Mastermind can be a ton of fun. In a typical meeting, I’ll feel inspired when someone shares a bold idea or vision, humbled during a moment of vulnerability, and lighter after a joke is made. More than anything, though, it feels good to use my brain and connect with other people in new ways.

How does it work?

The Mastermind group consists of 6-10 participants and meets every-other-week for 90 minutes at a time. Participants are expected to attend at least 80% of meetings.

In advance of each meeting, I select a topic and share a range of articles to seed the discussion. In some instances, I’ll share additional pre-work to get folks thinking.

Example topics include:

You can find the full list of masterminds here.

During the meeting, I facilitate a group discussion on the selected topic. Mostly, however, I hold space for participants to share their experiences, reflect on each other’s comments, and otherwise grapple with challenging subjects.

How can I get involved?

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, you can join the waitlist for an upcoming session.

If this is something you’d like to try on your own, you’re welcome to assemble your own group and use the materials assembled on this site for free. All I ask in return is that you let me know (1) what worked well (2) what you improved upon, and (3) if you came up with any particularly engaging topics. That’s it!

What are participants saying?

“It has been not only stimulating, but down right fun to gather and discuss big ideas with thoughtful people. Having a group where you are comfortable sharing your ideas, knowing that you’ll be both challenged and respected, truly engenders thought provoking discourse. As an entrepreneur and new father, I tend to spend a lot of energy in two very rewarding, but narrow channels. The chance to expand those horizons every other week has been a blast.”

“I truly look forward to the Mastermind each week.  Not only do I learn something new from the interesting pre-work and engaging discussions, but I also feel a sense of community with a group of folks with whom I might not have otherwise connected.  So many conversations and interactions today feel superficial, transactional, or just brief because we’re all so busy; it is nice to slow down and engage with something and someone on a deeper level.”

I wanted to thank you for setting up the Mastermind discussion group. This has been a wonderful, insightful, and thought-provoking experience to date. I really enjoy the readings you’ve selected and the individuals you have participating in this group are a remarkable cross section of people with unique perspectives to share. I look forward to these discussions every two weeks and am really grateful for the break it represents from my home social network.”