In this new, three-part series, I’m going to explore the secret powers of the mastermind learning model. Although I’m approaching it as a professional writer, mastermind groups have been proven to work across disciplines and in many different vocations.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” – Epictetus

Unless you’ve been part of a mastermind group, it is difficult to conceptualize the untapped secret powers for moving your career forward, whether you participate in an author mastermind group or one in a different profession.

In a mastermind group, you don’t have to choose between one learning modality or another—you get the best of both worlds.

On the one hand, we’ve never been more connected to each other with the ability to interact with so many like-minded people. Social media has allowed us to reach out and connect across the globe, asynchronously, and with people who have the same aspirations as we do. The problem is that there are so many people and so many opinions that we become overwhelmed with the prospect of sifting through those responses.

A simple Google search posing a single question may result in millions of results, and while having Google is indispensable, most of those millions of webpages are not only useless but can be paralyzing when we try to figure out how we’re going to sift through them for the answer.

On the other hand, we treasure and value real-world friendships. Whether it’s a writing partner who lives around the block or a critique group that you meet in a coffee shop on Thursday nights, these people can help you grow as a writer and a person.

However, they don’t come without a price. In critique groups, competition can subtly influence the feedback given. And if there isn’t a designated leader, critique groups can fade over time.

If you have a friend who is also a writer, this can bring some level of comfort, but it also has its disadvantages. A friend is going to be less likely to tell you the truth or say something honestly when they know it could hurt your feelings.

The mastermind group approach is the best of both worlds. Gathering in a group of 10 to 15 people, you get the diversity of opinions and ideas that you would in a large Facebook group. You’re guaranteed to have people coming from different backgrounds, having different life experiences, and different experiences within the publishing industry.

And at the same time, if you are joining a mastermind group for the first time, you’re most likely interacting with people you have not met before. Unlike your friend from around the block, there are no preexisting relationships that could affect the way people share or critique your work. Of course, you develop friendships over time, but in the beginning, the group values transparency, people are vulnerable and direct, and therefore, the relationships begin in a positive and caring place.

No other learning modality is as powerful as the mastermind model. And after spending 25 years in education, I’ve studied and taught many. In the next few posts, I’ll share some of the benefits I’ve experienced personally, as both a participant and an organizer of mastermind groups.

In the next post, we’ll examine how being a member of a mastermind group can help build and reinforce self-discipline, an absolute essential for any writer wanting to become a career author.

Interested in joining a mastermind group for authors? If so, go to and hear what my current and former mastermind attendees had to say about their experience in the group. Applications now being accepted for the January 2020 session; the application deadline is November 24, 2019.