Why I Don’t Participate in Masterminds

Every few months, I’m approached by someone and asked if I would be interested in joining a mastermind that they are running or are part of it.  Without fail, every single time someone asks, I politely decline.

This happened to me last week and the person who asked was curious as to why I wasn’t interested, assuming that I just must already being a mastermind group or am too busy.

My response of, “I don’t like them and I just find them really boring” caught him off-guard.

Let me start by saying that for some people, they get a tremendous amount out of being part of that kind of group and it really helps them stay on track and grow their business.

I think that’s awesome and if you’re one of those people, “Go you!”

But for me, not so much.

I just find it mentally exhausting.  You spend a fair bit of time listening to other people talk about themselves while other people in the group try and be supportive but at the same time, find ways to constructively criticize them.

It’s all perfectly well intended, but I just find it boring.

There are probably a half dozen people who I talk to about my business and occasionally will bounce an idea off them.  If I’m struggling with something where I’m looking for some perspective or I just need to get something off my chest, I will generally have a chat with one of those folks.

It’s a fluid situation, relatively informal and I might talk to any single one of those folks about my business once every three or four months.

In simple terms, I’m driving the bus, I have a map and when I’m not entirely sure if I’m headed in the right direction, I might phone a friend.  Or not.

I’d also say that those half dozen people that I occasionally talk to about stuff do the same in return with me.  Nothing formal, just an email or something on Messenger every few months along the lines of, “Hey man, I’m having some thoughts… What do you think about…” and then they tell me what their thinking and ask my opinion.

It’s kind of like an informal peer group that I have of people who are pretty successful and are still actually practitioners instead of just “coaches”.

Some people have gotten really quite offended when they invited me into their mastermind and I’ve rejected – I remember one woman who sent me a harshly worded message when she found out I wasn’t interested in joining a mastermind she was a part of.  She said,

“You’re not better than us and you could probably learn a lot.”

And that’s kind of the crux of it…

I am not “better” than anyone and I accept that, but I am 100% certain I wouldn’t learn anything from them because I’m not open to it.

  1. To learn something, you have to be receptive – you have to want to learn.  Whenever I’ve gone to those kinds of things, I go into one of two modes:
    I actively engage my brain and try to “help” people with their problems which is really quite draining after a couple of hours; or,
  2.  I sit there and try to pretend like I’m listening when I’m really wishing I was just about anywhere else in the world.

And I almost never share anything about my business.

Maybe it’s a trust thing or my ego, but I just don’t like talking about what I’m doing in group settings like that.  My way of solving problems is not to “bat some ideas” around with strangers, but to sit down quietly by myself and work on the problem.

Once I have a potential solution, then I might toss it around with one of those confidantes that I mentioned earlier.

“Oh but Sean, you just haven’t been in the right Mastermind setting yet.”

Yeah… No.

I have tried numerous times – I’ve been in paid sessions, free groups, groups with hugely successful people and masterminds of up and comers.  I’ve tried multiple formats and styles, facilitated and free form.

It’s just not something I enjoy or get much out of it – in fact, I end up being wildly uncomfortable in that kind of setting after about 45 minutes.

It’s just not for me.

The reality is, everyone has their own process.  Some people love being in groups and digging into their problems in an open forum whereas other people prefer to come up with their own solutions and run them past a close advisor.

Why write this post?

Simple.  Some of you are like me and maybe not as confident.  You see all these people “masterminding” and you find yourself bored feckless in those environments while wondering what’s wrong with you.

I figured since I’m a bit of an outlier in this regard, it might help a few of you to know that you’re not alone.

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