The Blessing of the “Gap” at the End of Each Year
If you’ve read any of our recent posts, you know how much detail goes into creating a powerful vision for your mastermind group.
I want to encourage you to think about the opportunity in front of us for a season like 2021, and ask yourself: “How far am I willing to go?”
Now, don’t get nervous! I’m not asking you to be prepared to give your life away. But of all the times and eras I’ve lived through, I’ve never seen one so rich with opportunity for people in the mastermind business. For many people, this is one of the loneliest, scariest times in their lives. You have a chance to make a difference for them!
Most people I know who run online mastermind groups take advantage of this “lull” in between Christmas and New Year. It’s a transitionary moment, like when you’re in a major airport and you have to ride a train to get to the terminal where your flight takes off. There isn’t much else to do besides think.
If I were in your shoes, that’s what I’d do. Let’s say you’re trying to start your first group, and you keep running into the same old thoughts - “I don’t know that many people who would want to join!” Well, I know that isn’t true. If you pulled out your phone right now and we started going through your contacts, you could find at least a few potential members.
But even before you do that, top facilitators agree: it’s a good idea to get a clear vision on the kind of members you’re looking for. You might be like me, and know an awful lot of people. That means a whole lot more scrolling, to find the right ones!
What I’m trying to help you see is that if you know who that ideal client is, and how they think and behave ahead of time - you don’t have to get “lost in the weeds,” thumbing through the “classified ads” in your network.
This also applies to running mastermind groups online. You can go the hard route of learning what not to do, piece by piece. Or you can give yourself a huge head start by picking up The Mastermind Playbook.
Why Strategy Takes Time … and NOW Is Critical
Have you heard people say things like, “I can’t wait until 2020 is over?” I don’t know if this is the best way to look at things … but I know it informs how a lot of people make decisions. People think about the time of year and the future, when thinking about what to do with their income.
Sometimes, the calendar does affect decisions we make. You have to get your charitable giving and your retirement contributions in by a certain date, or the taxman will tell you they don’t count. I get it.
But most of the time, people put a lot more false hope on a date change than they should. Practically, they put off a lot of decisions and actions until January 2nd, when the dust of the holidays is settled. Then, they pick up the pace again.
If you want to catch the wave of people’s new agendas in early January, you’d better be prepared. Today’s market has the expectation that you “know what people are thinking before they know it themselves.” Don’t ignore this advice! You can learn a lot about a potential member’s awareness or interest in joining masterminds, simply by doing research.
Research takes time, as you know. I wish it just showed up on a silver platter. I hate doing research. I’m very fortunate, though, to have a great team with plenty of people who love it. And the fun part is evaluating the data they come back with. I’m all ears, when it comes to serving people the way they want to be served.
Vision also takes time. Once you’ve got some knowledge of what your target market wants, or thinks about … it’s time to figure out how to present it to them in an attractive way. Your marketing strategy needs to speak to their frustrations, fears, longings and dreams. This is where 2020 gives you an unfair advantage … nobody knows how this will all end up! So they’ll be looking for people like you to help them navigate.
So, if you’re laying low during the Christmas - New Year break … do you see value in getting up a little early, making yourself a cup of coffee and taking time to think?
Maybe you’ve got too many details and loose ends floating around in your head. You can fix a lot of those issues with the systems, processes and automation we’ve built into The Mastermind Playbook.
How To Sit Still … And Let Your Vision Rise
Now we’re not going all “New Age” on you, so don’t freak out. But what I’m about to suggest may not sound like what you’d expect. We’re talking about creating a vision and marketing strategy - not a spiritual retreat!
But one lesson I’ve learned from coaches and mentors over the years is that vision can’t compete with noise. Whether that noise comes from distractions, or even good things, like running your business day-to-day - your ability to create vision will stay silent and hidden. You need a situation without deadlines, to-do’s or obligations.
So, if you’re like me on the DISC profile, you need to take the risk of not doing much for a few days. You can let off the accelerator, if there’s a good purpose like taking care of family, or pursuing vision and values. Your business won’t die because you aren’t going “pedal-to-the-metal” 365 days a year.
Here are a few things I do, to break away from the “busy-ness” and focus on vision.
Robin and I bought a hot tub for our back porch a few years ago, and I love it. It enables me to have time outside, any time of year, because it’s covered, and it’s warm. Even on the coldest winter days with rain pouring, I can go and sit outside, peacefully, by myself.
Sitting there, with the buzz of the jets bubbling the water … I can think. I can ask myself questions about anything. I’ve learned to ask a lot of them over and over, to get more and more detail about my client avatar.
I’m not trying to get you buy a hot tub. For some of my friends, it’s sitting by a fireplace, while others like to climb up to the loft in their barn. Whatever you do, you need to find solitude and silence. That’s where visions come from.
Somebody once said “If you make a living with your mind, you should relax with your hands, and vice versa.” So when it’s time for me to go play, you know where I’ll be - walking the Station Camp Greenway, or fishing in the Cumberland River. Or playing golf.
Over and over, I’ve noticed - great ideas come to me when I’m doing these things, especially by myself or just with one or two trusted friends. These activities create time and space - two things that are in short supply, unless you live out in the boondocks.
You also need to give yourself permission to say, “This is who I am … and this is who I am not.” Business masterminds succeed because members are curated. There are plenty of people out there who can “afford” your group … but that doesn’t mean they should be part of it.
I recommend you keep a journal or device to write down the thoughts that come to you while you do this. You’ll get a lot of them, but you shouldn’t keep or use every single one. Sooner or later, they’re going to clash with each other somehow. You might as well get rid of as many conflicts as you can ahead of time.