Writers come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, and from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, and belief systems. We write fiction and nonfiction. We live in the United States, Asia, or Europe. Some of us write dark fiction, while others write inspiring nonfiction. But this isn’t the only type of diversity within the author community.
Because we are human, we tend to gravitate toward other people who have the same belief systems and values as we do. We look for others who enjoy the same music, art, or sports. We are always on the lookout for other authors who live in the same city or have the same family dynamics as we do.
Because we naturally gravitate toward others like us, we begin to enter what social media experts call an echo chamber. The idea is that when you begin to like and engage with opinions that are similar to yours, social media shows you more of those like-minded opinions. The algorithm that runs social media platforms is intentionally trying to show you what it thinks you want, and so you create a reinforcing feedback loop. On the surface, this does not sound like a bad thing.
But an echo chamber can become quite limiting. We begin to lose the perspectives of others, or we only look at issues through one lens because everybody else is looking through that same lens. The same thing can happen in an author community. If you naturally gravitate toward the people who are most like you, you will begin to share the same opinions as those people. Over time, your habits are formed, and it makes it difficult for you to deal with new challenges because you are sharing solutions that come from those same types of people.
In a mastermind group, however, diversity is king or queen. When I set up my mastermind groups, I am intentional about finding people from all walks of life, of all ages, and from different backgrounds.
It has happened more times than I can count. Someone brings an issue or concern to the hot seat in the mastermind group, and the writers most like the person with the problem can’t think of an innovative solution. And then, someone will talk about an experience they had in a completely different situation or context, and therein lies the possible solution.
For example, there are many parallels between writing and working out. Both activities require an unwavering commitment, a solid system, good habits, and strong discipline. You must go to the gym even when you don’t feel like it, when it’s dark and cold outside, or when the rest of the family is still sleeping. In the same way, you must write even when you don’t feel like it, and that is much easier to do if you’ve built a routine and strong habits.
One time, a member of my mastermind group who is a personal trainer, had a solution that fixed a seemingly unrelated problem brought by the person on the hot seat. These types of transferable skill sets are impossible to predict and highly valuable when they are shared.
But the only way you can plant the seed in a mastermind group is to have people with different life experiences and perspectives. The idea is not to agree with everyone in the mastermind, but instead, to leverage the different life experiences and broaden your perspective on how a problem can be solved.
And this does not always occur in the most obvious of ways. Many people assume that older writers are more knowledgeable or wiser than younger ones, and while that can be the case in some circumstances, it is not a hard and fast rule. Many times, I have witnessed newer writers providing solutions to more experienced ones because they have a different perspective.
Once you’ve learned a skill, your ability to improve that skill diminishes over time. You make the most progress learning anything when you are first starting out. However, you have to be careful of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which will make it seem as though you are better than you are when you first begin. But if you can get past this blind spot, especially with the help of a mastermind group, you can then race up the learning curve to a point where it levels out.
Once your learning has leveled—unless you have external accountability—it is difficult to improve, which is why it is so important to hear the experiences of other people and apply some of those tactics to restart your learning curve.
Even a concrete distinction such as living in a different city or a different country can provide a perspective in a mastermind group that you might not see. Work history, relationship history—these can have a dramatic impact on how an author approaches a problem. Diversity of experience becomes an asset for those who have not yet had that issue or are trying to avoid it.
In this case, diversity is an extremely important component of what will become an exclusive mastermind group. It is a bit of a paradox in that you are selecting people to be in the mastermind group, but that diversity needs to be part of the selection process, which will eventually benefit the entire group.
It takes a lot of energy to participate in mastermind groups, but, as well, you’ll reap a lot of energy, too. Want to take your writing chops and business savvy to the next level? Check out The Author Success Mastermind group at https://theauthorsuccessmastermind.com/join/