Artists benefit from relationships with other artists. Period.
It doesn’t matter what the medium is—having contact with other creative individuals is inspiring, motivating, and truly necessary. This is because whether you’re a hobbyist painter or a professional artist, there is one common element we all have in our day-to-day lives: isolation in the studio.
It’s hard to remain artistically stimulated and motivated in that isolation. . . and once you’ve come back from an art-related seminar or workshop feeling refreshed and inspired just by being in the company of other artists, you know exactly how big a difference those relationships make.
Now imagine a support group that celebrates your accomplishments, stimulates your muse, exchanges ideas and experiences, and helps you develop your potential not once a year, but every single day! Sound good?
If so, you should seriously consider starting or joining a mastermind group.
What is a mastermind group?
A mastermind group meets regularly, either in person or online, to support, encourage, and celebrate the realization of goals for every member of the group.
The group’s mission is to assist each member in identifying solutions for their specific issues and concerns, as well as provide social and business contacts for the isolated artist and/or art entrepreneur.
Mastermind groups are often instrumental in the increased production, prosperity and success of their members. Groups may meet physically when the participants are located in close proximity to one another, or online and over the phone when members live in different areas.
How do you start an online mastermind group?
First, every mastermind group must start with a few core members. Here are some suggestions for choosing them:
1. Identify four or five individuals who aspire to a higher rate of productivity and wish to grow artistically and professionally.
2. Look for artists who work daily and who possess integrity, honesty and are completely trustworthy.
3. Make sure all potential participants realize the extent of the commitment they need to have to the group.
Second, you will also need a place to meet online (and all members must have internet access). These are just a few ways to host an online discussion group:
1. A listserv—a free email discussion group—allows a member to post an email message that will go out to every member of the group.
2. Yahoo! Groups is an easy option for hosting a discussion group.
3. Self-hosted forum software (if you have a tech-savvy member) works well too.
Check online for other alternatives, but be sure that your choice has a private option. Most online groups are public by default, allowing all posts to be available on the internet. This is not always helpful for a mastermind group.
Third, and finally, you will also want to create a mission statement and group guidelines. For example:
“We believe in the philosophy of a mastermind association. Together we will work toward the same purpose or goal of professional and personal success.”
Your guidelines should relate to these essential rules:
1. Confidentiality: Any information shared inside the group is confidential and should not to be shared with anyone outside the group.
2. Accountability: All members are expected to set and reach weekly goals.
3. Commitment: Members must commit to support each other in their individual goals.
4. Prudence and Discretion: Artist members should feel free to discuss business or artistic ideas, and any offers or opportunities presented to them.
Each member will sign an agreement stating the mission statement and guidelines.
How do you organize a mastermind group meeting?
If all group members live relatively close together, meetings held in a public facility or in the studios of the participants may be a possibility. Otherwise, I suggest regular communication through an online discussion group paired with a weekly telephone meeting at a specific time and day each week.
Monday works well for telephone conferences because individual goals and plans for the week may be shared and discussed.
Using three-way calling is quite economical for groups of five or less, although all members must have three-way calling capability. The facilitator calls the first, second, and third members. The third member then calls the remaining participants.
There are also free options found on the internet. Just Google “free conference calling” for a selection of other ideas.
Here are some suggestions for your meetings:
1. Each member should get a chance to facilitate the meetings, so plan to rotate facilitators weekly.
2. Schedule any group business or planned topics to last one hour. The facilitator will move participants through the agenda to keep them on-focus.
3. Always leave time at the end for informal discussion. Those that cannot stay for chat may disconnect.
4. Post an agenda to the online discussion list for the group to review and prepare for the next meeting.
5. Look for opportunities to meet at seminars, tradeshows or art fairs, or schedule retreats with a set time for meetings as well as social interaction. These events bring members closer and strengthen the bonds within a group.
What are some ways to use your online meeting place?
The following list contains some ideas for using your internet forum or online discussion list (and of course, there may be others as well).
1. Collaborate to create an agenda for the next meeting
2. Archive the minutes from each meeting
3. Post short and long-term goals
4. Share images
5. Meet the needs of individuals within the group
6. Post inspirational messages or images
7. Share personal and professional accomplishments at week-end
8. Log personal progress daily, weekly and monthly
What results can you expect?
Look for reduced procrastination (along with enhanced productivity), more satisfaction in personal and professional achievement, ongoing support, increased concentration and motivation, and opportunities for education and enrichment.
In fact, within days of launching your new mastermind group I have no doubt that you will be amazed at the improvement in your attitude and work habits.
Please feel free to contact me and share your experience with your own mastermind group at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear your story!