by Achim Nowak

Why I Believe in the Power of Masterminds

June 27, 2022

2003 was a year that changed my life. I don’t use the phrase “changed my life” lightly – it did. I was completing a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology and International Relations at New York University. I got a contract to write my first book. AND I joined my first Mastermind Group.

Every other Monday evening, five of us met for two hours in an office on West 23rd Street in Manhattan. The meetings were hosted and facilitated by Kathi Elster, a small-business strategist. This was a group for successful small business owners who wanted to accelerate their business impact by sharing and receiving wisdom from other small-business owners. We met for a period of nine months. Participants had been personally vetted by Kathi. I was the “new kid on the block” who was just launching his first business.

The lessons I learned in this Mastermind Group were more impactful than anything I learned in Graduate School. My colleagues helped me clarify the business model for Influens, the firm I was about to launch. They showed me how to define a clearly global brand. Offered practical and well-tested guidance on the many micro-decisions I was making and would have to make in the future.

My fellow Masterminders acted like my own private advisory board. That’s the power of a Mastermind Group.

Influens became a highly successful business.

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others succeed.”

Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill started it all

The notion of a Mastermind was first popularized by American success thinker Napoleon Hill in his seminal book “Think and Grow Rich,” published in 1937. Hill stresses the obvious benefits that I just mentioned from my own Mastermind experience. More importantly, perhaps, Hill emphasizes the psychic impact of communing with exceptional like-minded colleagues. No two minds, Hill writes, ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind. (Hill, Think and Grow Rich, Fall River Press Edition, 2012, 125)

The third mind, or Mastermind, is the collective energy and wisdom that are unleashed through group interaction. This energy lasts well beyond the conversations that occur, and it exponentially accelerates the personal growth of every individual in a Mastermind Group.

While Hill focuses on the use of Masterminds to build business success, the principles work powerfully for any committed group of individuals who share a common purpose. As I reflect on the many experiences that have shaped my life over the last 2 decades, one thread connects all dots. I participated in Masterminds.

  • I joined a Mastermind Group for writers. It led to the publication of 3 books.
  • I joined the Mastermind Group with Kathi. It led to the successful launch of not one but 2 firms.
  • I joined a Mastermind Group for folks who host Masterminds. It led to the successful launch of my C-Suite Masterminds and the FOURTH ACT Masterminds I currently host.
  • I participate in a Mastermind Group with 4 top coaches from every part of the world. The conversations we have in this group shape every key business decision I make. Lise, Damian, Zoltan, Paul and I have been in conversation for over 3 years now.

I mention the names of my fellow Masterminders because any Mastermind is only as compelling as the collective energy and wisdom of the individuals in the group. It’s why the best Masterminds are invitation-only.

How Do I Get Invited Into a Mastermind?

Folks often ask me, so how does one get invited into one of your Masterminds?

I love the question. Curating a Mastermind Group is a bit of science and a lot of art.

Here’s how this works with the FOURTH ACT Masterminds I host. I just completed work with one cohort and will launch a new one this fall. The curation process is, thus, very much on my mind.

It all begins with the purpose for a Mastermind. The purpose for a FOURTH ACT Mastermind is very specific. It starts with a question: IF LIFE IS A FIVE-ACT PLAY, WHAT WILL YOU DO IN YOUR FOURTH ACT?

More about this question and who joins a FOURTH ACT Mastermind: You’re a highly accomplished professional. You are proud of the impact your work has had in the world. You relish the many relationships it has birthed.

And yet, you know, the time has come. You’re done with doing what you’ve been doing. You’re NOT done being of service to the world.

That’s the starting point for participating a FOURTH ACT Mastermind. And what exactly is a FOURTH ACT?

I’m a former professional theater director. The great classic plays – the ones by Shakespeare, Aristophanes – all run in 5 acts. So does each hour-long television drama

The FOURTH ACT – it’s the one after primal conflicts have peaked and unraveled. The agita of life is behind us. The pieces suddenly start to fit. At its finest, it is our Act of untethered renewal and possibility.

We’re not in our FIRST ACT any more, and we’re not in our last. There IS a FOURTH ACT, and perhaps a Fifth. How do we make them the sweetest, the most rewarding and the most adventurous Acts yet?

That’s the purpose for a FOURTH ACT Mastermind.

  • Many of my Mastermind participants are sent to me by previous Masterminders.
  • If you read the preceding paragraphs and are thinking, hey, I would like to be invited, fill out an application form and we’ll have a conversation: CLICK HERE TO APPLY
  • You may also wish to listen to some of the MY FOURTH ACT podcast conversations I host. They mirror the inspired chats we have in the MY FOURTH ACT Mastermind:
  • I occasionally host a FREE two-hour Mastermind Tasting. A virtual Tasting allows anyone who is intrigued by the FOURTH ACT Mastermind to get a taste of the sort of conversations that happen in the Mastermind. It also provides me with a chance to meet folks I don’t know. I often hear folks in a Tasting and get excited and think to myself – I would like to invite her/him into my next group!
  • Most importantly, there is no selling of any sort in a Mastermind Tasting. Mastermind curation is never about selling anything – it is about convening the 7 or 8 individuals whose lives will be elevated by being in conversation with each other.
  • I will host a rare Mastermind Tasting on Thursday, 7/14 from Noon – 2 PM EST. Participation is limited to 6 individuals, and these slots go fast. Click here if you would like to participate in a Tasting.

Best wishes for a wonderful week. I know mine is always better because I’m masterminding with amazing peeps.

(954) 921-3014
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