A few weeks ago, while binge-reading articles on Medium, I came across this article about “How to start your own mastermind group”. Looking for content to share with a good friend of mine, I chose this one.

The next time we talked, he told me that he liked the article but that the selection had surprised him. Why? He saw us as a mastermind group already.

He was right. In my mind, a mastermind group consisted of at least four high-performers in their 30s. Then I realized a mastermind could be two people at a completely different life stage as well – just like us.

The Beginning

We have been friends since high school and chose a similar path after graduation – a work and study program in Hamburg. Out of our group of friends, we were one of the few that left our home town, but we weren’t a mastermind back then. We both hustled 9 to 5 and finished our bachelor studies. Our ways parted and reconnected more intensively about a year ago.

Funny enough, we chose similar paths again by choosing to get a Master’s degree in a different country.

What was more impressive: our mindsets changed correspondingly. We both realized the 9 to 5 model wasn’t for us. We are both advocates for lifelong learning, and both got into personal development. We were both introduced and intrigued by the Stoic philosophy.
And most importantly, we both decided that we want to live on our own terms.

At first, we started to connect more regularly – chatting about what was going on in our lives. We shared business ideas. Talked about books we read that inspired us. Habits was a topic of interest as well as minimalism. We summarized the essence of talks we attended. And, of course, pictured the bright future ahead of us.

At the same time, we laughed at how we are “cocktailpreneurs.” Every time we had beers together, we talked about how we would be entrepreneurs someday, but we never executed.

The Practice

After half a year, I realized this relationship had a profound impact on both of us and kickstarted our personal development journey.

When I visited him in Lisbon in May this year, it all got more “serious”. I told him that I would quit my job and move to Lisbon so we could focus together on building something awesome.

After brainstorming possible business ideas, cash flow jobs, scholarships/funding opportunities, we started a Trello Workspace to keep it all in one place. Because we realized before that we lacked focus for execution, we knew this was necessary: We dedicated one board to note what we wanted to accomplish every month.

Another practice we started each month: Each of us must select three articles, videos, or other content that we found intriguing or inspiring. Until the end of the month, we challenged each other to summarize the shared piece in a Googe Doc.

We found that we both consume a lot of material but often lack the discipline to take notes. So this was a matter to combat our laziness.

Here an example from this month:

articlesummaries

We also put all our personal projects into the same Trello space so we could see in more detail what the other one is doing. This measure empowered us to help each other in a more focused way and to ask the right questions.

The Benefits

#1 My mastermind helps me become more accountable

It is not just the notetaking that becomes easier because it’s for someone else, too. Everything we talk about something becomes more concrete in my head. When I struggle to explain a concept to him about something that I read, I realize that I have to get more into it.

I find myself doing the work that I told him I would. Executing my goals to implement daily habits such as reading, journaling, or meditating, becomes more manageable. In big parts because I don’t want to disappoint him.

#2 It broadens my horizons

Our meetings always give me new insights. Of course, sometimes we have read similar books or heard the same things, but usually, I take away something new.

My mastermind buddy has introduced me to meditation and lend me the Headspace book to help me on my journey.

He introduced me to digital minimalism and told me how bad Facebook and Instagram are. It caused me to become more aware of my social media habit and deactivate my social accounts. (Though I have to admit: After six weeks now, I got Facebook back because I want to promote some of the things I have been writing. 😉 )

And obviously, my reading list has been growing ever since because he reads about exciting topics and tells me about them afterward.

#3 It helps me reflect and get a second opinion

Whenever challenges arise, I discuss them with my mastermind buddy. Whether it’s about relationships or a severe injury – I can rely on someone listening and looking to help.

Because we both follow similar teachings, he sometimes reminds me of some parts related to my problem. Almost like a teacher, he helps me to reflect and refocus.

When I am making a decision, I tell him and ask for his opinion. This outside perspective has proven worthy plenty of times.

#4 It provides a room where I can express my ideas without being judged

Have you ever sat with your family at the dinner table and told them about your dream of becoming a digital nomad? I have. And the response was – let’s say – mixed.

“That will never work, where do you get your crazy ideas? How are you going to pay for rent? Why would you even do this?”

Enough of this narrow-mindedness and naysayers – my mastermind group is where I can escape and express my dreams. It’s where someone meets me with positive realism. It’s more of a

“This might be challenging, but let’s see how we could do that.”

than what I described above.

Having room to express your dreams, goals, or ideas is invaluable. Because if you can not expresse them, you are less likely to work on them.

#5 It lets me connect with someone who has similar goals

We both strive for freedom. We want to create our future and not let others dictate it.

To be more concrete, this leads to one of our recent projects: we bought a van and are building it into a camper — a dream of ours since we were young.

Connecting with someone who has similar goals helps you archive them faster.

Is it perfect?

I am inclined to say yes. But there are a few things that we could improve.

We could set more regular meetings to make the mastermind even more productive.

We could do a more regular and thorough goal review of our life goals together.

We could add a third person at some point, to increase perspective.

But as we both like to keep it simplistic we just leave it like that for the moment. The way we are doing it right now works very well for us.

Conclusion

A mastermind does not have to be big to be of high value to you. The most important ingredient is to have similar goals, to trust each other, and to conduct regular contact.

Even without realizing that I already had a mastermind group, it has had a profound impact on me.

I finally execute and climb the mountain towards living my own terms.

It will only go uphill from here when I move in with my mastermind buddy and friend in September.

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