Business Success

What’s a Mastermind Anyway?

September 30, 2014

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

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Mastermind Group-2014-09


If you have been following my posts on social media the last few days, you know that I’ve just returned from a great mastermind group meeting with my coach and mentor, Dan Miller and his wife, Joanne, along with Kent Julian, Chuck Bowen, Andy Traub, James Woosley, and a whole crew of very smart entrepreneurs and career professionals.


As I was posting photos of our group online, someone asked the question: What’s a mastermind?


And then it hit me.


Not everyone has heard the term.


The idea of a mastermind spans centuries. Ben Franklin had a “Junto” – a club for mutual improvement. As mentioned in an earlier article, many great leaders of the early twentieth century formed the Jekyll Island Club. I believe it was as much about being with like-minded leaders as it was about getting away from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives.


Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, defined the term mastermind as “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” In essence, he described this as a “third mind – the mastermind.”


Now while all of that sounds a bit ethereal, here’s the modern day translation.


Let’s imagine you want to do something well beyond anything you’ve ever done before. It’s not impossible, but it is definitely outside your comfort zone. In my case, it was making a giant leap from a very comfortable corporate career into being an entrepreneur.


You know that to make your giant leap (whatever it is), you will have to learn new skills, make new connections, create a plan, and experiment with different approaches. You know it’s going to take a monumental effort. You fear failure. And, frankly, you’re just not sure where to start.


This is your point of definition.


You have two choices: go it alone or get help.


I will tell you that cubicles are full of entrepreneur wannabes who didn’t ask for help.


I’m not saying you can’t make it alone – that you’re not capable. But I will say it’s not wise, and it will take a lot more time and willpower to go it alone. Your growth will be limited.


I can pretty well tell if a person is going to accomplish great things just by looking at who they choose to spend time with. You’ve heard the saying, “You will be the same in ten years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Those you choose to partner with in life have greater influence than you can imagine.


If I could give you one bit of advice, it would be this: Surround yourself with those who are where you want to be and who can help you get there.



For me, that has meant having Dan Miller as my business coach, John Maxwell as my mentor (for decades now), and always, a solid mastermind group that helps me brainstorm for ideas and offers opportunities to collaborate, resources, connections, support, and honest feedback.


Whether you call it a mastermind group or a club or some other creative name, it doesn’t matter. It matters that you have one.


If you need help finding a mastermind group or coach who can help you accomplish your dream, email me at I’d absolutely be thrilled to help you.


  1. Appreciate the reminder that this post serves to address!

  2. Dan Miller says:

    The power of a mastermind is so exponential I can’t imagine anyone seriously interested in personal growth not being part of one. Thanks for being a contributing part of the 48 Days Mastermind.

  3. Claudia Swansey says:

    Dear Deb,

    Your prodigal pupil is coming back into the fold.
    First, appreciate the substance of your messages.
    Both your intellect and common sense approach is
    ever so captivaing and inspiring.

    As a community leader and activist have spent so
    much time working for free; it’s difficult
    to focus and renew my business sense. Being popular
    and Miss Goody To Shoe is not helping me pay my
    bills and provide financial security.

    Therefore, embarking on endeavors to weave skills,
    abilities and connections into becoming a business.
    Already have New York State Business License for
    Rising Families Foundation, Inc.

    Also, premiered a talk show “Rising Long Island.
    Nothing happened, never got off the ground…You can
    view it on Long IslandNY.TV…

    So where do I go from here???

    Thanks for being You!!!

    Peace and Blessings!!


  4. Deb, this is one of the clearest and forward moving definitions of a mastermind I’ve encountered. Even though I’ve facilitated and participated in mastermind groups, your description served to help me help others see the immense value in working with “like-minded” individuals. You are definitely in your zone!

  5. Christine Odle says:

    Such an amazing way to hone your skills, gain knowledge and help others. If you are an Entrepreneur… find a way to either start or be a member of a Mastermind Group!