Napoleon Hill, in Think and Grow Rich, shared his ideas about a mastermind being something that shows up any time two or more are gathered… the ‘third mind.’

I think of this ‘third mind’ as an opening to access the collective consciousness, or Source if you will, and I experience this all the time on retreat. It’s why retreats are so powerful.

But, the question that comes up often then is, what is a Mastermind Retreat if ALL retreats actually create that ‘third mind’ or ‘master mind’?

ALL retreats, when held with a level of energy that allows for the flow of energy and empowerment of the individual participants, creates a master mind.

The only exception would be a ‘retreat’ in which the leader hasn’t done her or his own inner work, and there is no allowance for varying perspectives and ideas. (Has anyone experienced one like this where the leader isn’t secure in their content and leadership enough to allow for tapping into that third mind of creative ideas? I’ve heard stories of such things and I totally get it as a leader!)

Yet there is a distinction of a Mastermind Retreat that I hold as different from what I call a Content Retreat (and there is also a Combo Retreat which is a hybrid of the two).

In a true Mastermind Retreat, the content of the retreat is generated by the participants rather than the leader.

The leader will create the CONTEXT for the retreat, and may even create an EXPERIENCE to set the tone for transformation, but the actual content arises in the space created and the format and structure that allows for participants to ask the questions and create the direction of the retreat based on their specific needs.

Is one better than the other? No. Each has its place. I personally love to lead a Combo Retreat the most, though I do all three types for different purposes.

The Evolution of Mastermind

I have been in business 10 years, I have not been around since the beginning of time of the idea of “Masterminds.” However, what I have seen is an evolution in the use of this term. I believe originally when coaches and consultants and mentors offered a Mastermind it was in the true sense of the word — a group of individuals coming together to share the power of the third mind to solve their problems or further their vision.

Soon, however, the “Mastermind” became a blanket phrase for any group program, generally offered at a higher investment level, and often including live “retreats” in the program.

I use “retreats” in quotes because some of these programs would include retreats as I define them, and others were simply exclusive trainings for people in the program.

(To me the distinction retreat is reserved for something transformational in nature, designed to create a new awareness rather than simply disseminate information).

So “Mastermind” could have been used to describe a group of people going through the same training together, or a deeply transformational journey, or anything in between.

Now, I’m not sharing this in judgment, only as perspective to help you to name your programs and decide what you will do at them.

I believe ANY form of gathering live has tremendous value, whether it’s called a mastermind or a program or an immersion or incubator or anything in between.

But a true mastermind is a gathering of a group where the individuals in the group generate the questions to be answered.

And it can be designed to be transformational, or it can be designed at the level of information exchange.

When someone says “I’m going to my mastermind” this means that they are attending a live component of a larger program that includes live gatherings (which may or may not be retreats depending on the skills and intentions of the host).

I personally don’t use the word “Mastermind” to describe my current programs (though I have in the past). Though my programs definitely include this component of bringing people together in mutual support, I put more emphasis on designing experiences that create transformation, so my live retreats are more crafted than a true mastermind would be. I like to use the live gathering for that which can’t be accomplished by phone.

I do, however, like to participate in masterminds at times depending on the stage of business I am in and the growth I am seeking. Sometimes I know I want more transformation. Other times I need new ideas and support. Some stages require a combination (my favorite offerings).

What do you feel you most need at this stage in your evolution? And are you getting that support currently?

What are you most uniquely designed to offer in your business? Do you want to host mastermind retreats within a transformational program? Do you want to host transformational retreats within a mastermind program? Or are you more of a one-off experience kind of girl or guy? Whatever you call it, knowing what you are bringing forward is key.

What program design will best support your clients in having the results they seek with you?

If you’re not yet sure if you want to design retreats, Masterminds or otherwise, into your business model, or you want to expand your view of what it is to host retreats in your business, our new Retreat Confidence Incubator is in full effect — October 3rd is the last day to join the program before we take off without you. This is an entry-level exploration ($77) with advanced topics (like tempo and timing and creating a Sourced Experience™).

Our podcast episode about masterminds is currently on hold. Stay tuned for the next episode


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