Could a Mastermind Help You Succeed?
We recently concluded 12 months of high-level brainstorming with a group of amazing go-getters who enrolled in VFS’s first Mastermind.
From November 2021 to October 2022, we met monthly to kick some serious financial butts and reach some very ambitious goals.
Following are 10 excellent lessons our colleagues shared about their experiences.
1. Give yourself grace
Each month, our masterminders picked 2 or 3 small goals to accomplish over the following 4 weeks.
Most of the time, they achieved them.
And sometimes, they didn’t.
Life, family situations, an increased workload… some circumstances are simply unavoidable.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Not accomplishing your short-term goals doesn’t mean that you are a bad person or a failure.
Keep your chin up, get back in the saddle, and relax. There is always next month.
2. Choose specific goals
“I want to pay off my loans.”
“I want to buy a house.”
“I want to own my own practice.”
Although these are great goals, they’re too vague.
Goals need to be more specific. For example: “On the first of each month, I will transfer $1,000 to a dedicated account to put toward paying my loans off, or to put a down-payment on a house, or to put a down-payment on my future practice loan.”
3. Choose attainable goals
“I want to pay off my loans by the end of next week” sounds lovely, but unless you owe a really small amount, it’s not very likely to happen.
Our masterminders chose some very ambitious goals, yet they were achievable over the course of a year.
Accountability is the secret ingredient of high achievers.
It’s a funny thing. When you commit to reaching a goal to your peers, you are much more likely to reach it.
Unless they have a really good reason or experience a serious crisis, nobody enjoys admitting they didn’t keep their promise.
Accountability makes goal-achieving exponentially more likely to happen. It’s like magic.
When you try to reach goals on your own and life happens, you may or may not have a strong, non-judgmental support system.
When you fail at reaching a goal and you’re part of a mastermind, you have a built-in support system.
If your peers have struggled with a similar situation, they can provide suggestions and share what has worked for them.
Even if they have never faced a similar challenge, the Master Mind (as Napoleon Hill called it), will come up with ideas and solutions.
6. Break it down in chunks
As one of our masterminders said: “You can have it all, but can’t have it all now.”
Yes, you can pay off your debt, take the trip of a lifetime or build the practice of your dreams, yet it’s very unlikely to happen in one month.
However, if you break down a big goal into reasonable chunks, it becomes much more likely you can achieve it in a few months or a few years.
7. Put it in writing
As French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (of “The Little Prince” fame) said: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Each masterminder wrote down their 3 big goals at the beginning of the year. Then they wrote down their smaller goals for the upcoming month.
Putting goals in writing cements them. It makes them more concrete. And it makes you publicly accountable.
8. Be flexible
Life happens. Tragedies occur. People quit.
There are countless, unpredictable events that can force you to put your goal on hold for a while.
And that’s OK. Focus on the crisis, solve it, lick your wounds, and come back stronger when you can.
The goal will still be there, patiently waiting for you.
9. Get things done
When you are on your own, drowning in everyday challenges, it’s all too easy to use “life happened” as an excuse for postponing goals.
“I’ll work on lowering my expenses once I hire a new associate.”
“I’ll have time to work out once I make more money.”
“I’ll improve our practice culture when Mars aligns with Jupiter.”
However, when you’re part of a mastermind, such excuses don’t fly. You need to show up, month after month, and share publicly what you’ve accomplished – albeit to a group of loving and nurturing peers.
And sure enough, masterminders who never missed sessions reached bigger goals than those who were less committed. They got things done – BIG things.
Choosing a reward for a job well done was one of the toughest challenges for our masterminders.
This is typical of high achievers. Their brains are wired that way.
Reaching a goal is easy. Basking in your success is not.
With a little bit of encouragement, some interesting rewards came up: a massage, a mani-pedi, new shoes, cool scrubs, dinner with a friend or a family member, a facial, a concert, an extra day off, a trip, a new bicycle, a necklace, a new watch, fishing gear, a movie, etc.
The challenge is to postpone the reward if the goal was not accomplished.
Our masterminders were so motivated, that most often they did accomplish their goals and therefore, they enjoyed a well-deserved reward.
After a year of hard work, our masterminders reached some very impressive (and confidential) goals, both professionally and personally. They may not have fully believed that their initial commitment was doable in a year or less, yet they absolutely did it.
In all cases, their dedication paid off. Small, monthly milestones led to big, audacious goals.
Congratulations to our first cohort of rock star masterminders!
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified