In business, one is the worst number. One of anything means you’re vulnerable. Reliance on one traffic source, one type of media for customers, one distribution channel for sales, or one big client for revenue are all bad situations to be in. But these are all preventable and you can continually work hard to reduce your reliance on the one thing.
But what about YOU? There’s only ever going to be one of you so how can you reduce your reliance on yourself?
The reality is, you simply can not know everything (despite what you may tell yourself and others around you). So if you try to solve every problem alone or blindly believe “your way” is the only way, then you’re needlessly limiting your business growth.
The answer, of course, is getting help from other people. But I’m not talking about employees, outsourced workers, or even paid consultants. I mean getting expert guidance from other business owners who have been in your shoes. In other words, your peers.
Napolean Hill, author of Think And Grow Rich, called this sort of “coordination of knowledge and effort” a mastermind. If you’re not already participating in a mastermind, then I recommend you join or start one of your own soon. Here’s why…
Benefits of a Mastermind
There are 4 key benefits of participating in a mastermind:
- As previously mentioned, you do not know everything. So your mastermind members can fill in the gaps you may or may not already be aware of. It’s certainly a lot faster, easier, and cheaper to get your questions answered by someone who has “been in your shoes” versus trial and error.
- Accountability and inspiration to grow your business faster. Typically at the end of mastermind meetings, members will verbally set goals they want to achieve before the next meeting. By stating your goals out loud you’re chances of hitting them go up significantly.
- Access to resources. I’m sure you’re familiar with the “6 degrees of separation” idea. In a mastermind, people and tools you need are usually just one introduction away.
- Deeper understanding of your own core skillsets. Everyone shares their own expertise to help others in the mastermind. So as you teach others, you’ll further increase and clarify your own knowledge.
An Example From Henry Ford
One of my favorite stories related to masterminds is the one about Henry Ford when he was on the stand testifying in court. Mr. Ford was suing a newspaper for printing an article that called him “an ignorant pacifist.” So the attorney grilled Mr. Ford with elementary historical questions in an attempt to prove he was in fact ignorant and uneducated.
Mr. Ford had very little formal schooling so he could not accurately answer any of the attorneys questions. But eventually Mr. Ford had had enough and he said,
“If I should really WANT to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer ANY question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”
That doesn’t sound like an ignorant man to me. Despite a lack of education, Henry Ford rose up to be one of the wealthiest men in America by leveraging the knowledge of OTHER people. Just think about what you can do with a mastermind AND an education!