How Fear Can Ruin Your Mastermind Group
The Success Alliance


How Fear Can Ruin Your Mastermind Group

Let’s cut to the chase: Your mastermind group has been active for a few months and everyone is getting along fine. Then all of a sudden, people stop showing up on time. Or they’re not prepared. Or their creativity is blocked and the group brainstorming stinks. Or they say they have nothing to talk about in their Hot Seat.

What happened?

It’s simple. Mastermind groups ask people to grow and change. People want to grow and change…or at least they say they want to.

But when the rubber hits the road and you ask people to not only set goals but to be held accountable for completing those goals, things fall apart.

Fear raises its ugly head and people in a mastermind group stop working efficiently together. You’ve heard the litany of fears:

  • What if I’m successful? Will it ruin my life?
  • What if I fail? Will it ruin my life?
  • What if others get jealous? Will it ruin my life?
  • What if I run out of money? Will it ruin my life?
  • What if I make the wrong decision? Will it ruin my life?

(Notice how each fear goes to the worst-case scenario? That’s what fear does to us — and that’s how you’ll be able to spot it in your mastermind group Hot Seats.)

How to fix it

First, tell your members that fear is likely to come up in a month or two so that they’re prepared for it. Find out from them what are their common fears around change, growth, and learning curves. Ask them to keep a journal of their thoughts and feelings so that they can identify when fear arrives — and deal with it — before it grabs a hold and won’t let go.

Second, ask the mastermind group to support each other knowing that this sluggish time will happen to nearly everyone in the group. Create space in your meetings for people to talk about their fears and the way they self-sabotage themselves. Brainstorm with each other to discover ways of dealing with the problem.

Finally, keep holding each other accountable to take action. You might need to ratchet back the action items into smaller steps, making them less daunting and more do-able. But don’t allow people to stop taking action and wallow in fear.

Blog reader Ralph C suggests these two additional solutions:

  • Another possible remedy, especially if the group meets live, is to do some physical movement work together. “Stuckness” can frequently be unstuck by breathwork, simple movement, and simple exercises such as one would do in beginning drama improv work. Meeting virtually can make this a bit tougher, but it’s still doable.
  • Exhibiting images/slides and letting members create stories of what the image brings up can also help unblock them.

If you are prepared in advance for this to happen, you will help your mastermind group tough it out during these small crises. After all, that’s why they are in your mastermind group: for support, brainstorming and accountability!

Want to learn how to start a mastermind group? Click here to get my free video tutorial on how to create a mastermind group of your own.

6 thoughts on “How Fear Can Ruin Your Mastermind Group”

  1. Pacaw says:

    I have seen this happen in my group but I didn’t know what to do about it and we ended up breaking up the group instead of dealing with it.

  2. George Whitney says:

    Karyn, what do you do when the members won’t admit that they’re feeling fear? Thanks, George.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      Great question, George. Mastermind groups are supposed to be places of complete honesty. But some people don’t equate their actions (or lack of actions) with fear. So start with actions: what are they doing or not doing that’s sabotaging their success? Then ask, “Why do you think you’re doing that?”

  3. Yvonne A Jones says:

    Thank you for these tips, Karyn. These are invaluable tips to arm myself with as I prepare to launch my new mastermind. You made a really valid point in your previous comment that “some people don’t equate their actions (or lack of actions) with fear.”

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      You’re welcome, Yvonne. I’m glad you’re finding these tips and ideas helpful! Good luck with your new mastermind group. 🙂

  4. William Gammon says:

    The GHOST of Fear has many manifestations. Unfortunately, we humans try to avoid and bury it rather than call it out, face it, and deal successfully with its interference with our life goals and dreams. In reality, once we confront our fears, in most instances, we find them to be smaller than expected to deal with and overcome. No matter what we do, once called out, we can process, plan, and move beyond a fear with a NEW roadmap to the destination we desire, avoiding the pitfalls fear places in our paths.

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