“No mind is complete by itself. It needs contact and association with other minds to grow and expand.” – Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill, one of the most influential business authors of all time, offered in his book Think and Grow Rich a technique that he deemed critical to building success in any business: the Master Mind Group.
Hill defines a Master Mind Group as: “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.” Hill always capitalized the two words for emphasis. Steel mogul Andrew Carnegie credits a Master Mind Group as the reason for his incredible success. I’ve used Master Mind Groups myself over the years to help me build my family’s small Detroit-based florist shop into global business with sales in excess of $750 million dollars.
I like to define a Master Mind Group as two or more people who come together to share successes, encourage one another and build on each other’s ideas. It’s a place where you can get your emotional and creative tank refueled.
Here are some things a Master Mind Group can offer you:
1. Wisdom: My first Master Mind Group consisted of three other individuals who were all senior to me in age and experience. These three were very good friends, and they were truly their own Master Mind Group. At the time I thought of them as mentors, and I suppose they thought of me more as an apprentice, however now I can see that this was clearly a Master Mind Group. They helped me in many ways, but the most noteworthy was when I was introduced to the fourth member of their group. Leo H. who was a very successful businessman, approached me when I was just starting out in my family’s business, and he saw that I was very determined to make it work. I was also recovering from a recent bullet wound obtained when someone tried to rob our store. He discussed practical things like vision boards and how to steer a conversation — things all of us need to know. But this mentor told me some other things that I have never forgotten: He said that “Positive thoughts attract positive results,” and he emphasized that “Everything in life has both positive and negative elements. It’s up to you to find the positive ones.” He also said to dress for success, and that good manners make a person. And the thing I’ve used the most: “Forgive Yourself. If you fail, just get up and start again!”
I have drawn (and still draw) from the words of that first mentor, or Master Mind meeting, to fuel me when I get tired, to inspire me when I’m out of ideas and to encourage me when things get tough, as they always do at some point in business and life.
2. Growth: Tapping into a Master Mind Group was a great help to me in the 1990s as well, when I needed to expand my company into the complicated emerging Internet world. Learning about the electronic world was less intimating because I had the support of other like-minded individuals, and we learned together. I used a Master Mind Group most recently when I decided to write a book. The encouragement and similar goals of other writers helped me to achieve Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY bestseller success. I could not have done any of this alone.
3. Ingenuity: There were times when I felt sure there was only one way to do something, but then the members of my group showed me another way. One such time, I was able to get free radio air time when our business had no advertising dollars. A wise businessman advised me to barter, so I offered free flowers for an event in exchange for ad space. This expanded into our business supplying various radio stations with plants, as well as collaborating on set material for ABC and CBS television shows.
There is power in meeting with others. You’ll gain new ideas, new insights and new friends who will encourage you along the way. As Hill says: “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”
Building your Master Mind Group: Choose the members of your group carefully. They should be individuals with which you share an affinity for certain things; people who are living their own lives positively. Keep topics on target, starting with each member sharing some good news and offering encouragement to others. Divisive topics such as politics should be taboo.
Most of us don’t have any extra time to spend on frivolous meetings. I implore you not to consider a Master Mind Group frivolous, but instead, necessary. Hill said, “Deliberately seek the company of people who influence you to think, and act on building the life you desire.” With today’s technology, your members could be spread across the world, or just down the street, and you can meet via video conference. It’s well worth it.
Belonging to a group of Master Minds has helped shape me into who I am today, both in business and in life. Listen. That’s the key. Listen with your mind wide open. Because I was open-minded and willing to humble myself to heed the support and advice of others, my businesses have thrived.
No man is an island. Find a mentor. Be a mentor. And together, pursue your dreams.
Wes Berry is a keynote speaker and the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the book Big Things Have Small Beginnings. His business career took him from a $60-thousand-dollar-a-year failing family flower shop in Detroit, from which he built a $60-million-dollar international company with more than $750 million dollars in sales. Wes can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can learn more at his website www.wesberrygroup.com.