“Individuality is fine. As long as we do it together.” – Frank Burns, M*A*S*H
A recurring theme of our recent strategic retreats was that many of us entrepreneurs work in isolation.
We all love being our own boss; it’s a pleasure and a privilege; and it can also be daunting when we’re the one supplying all the energy, focus and drive.
I discovered (the hard way) that one of the few downsides of running your own business is going it alone.
Many of you know I in Hawaii for 17 years. I loved living in Paradise, and didn’t really realize how professionally isolating it was until I moved to the Mainland – the Wash DC area.
A colleague Rebecca Morgan, (co-founder of SpeakerNetNews.com) and I roomed together at a convention that year. We stayed up late every night debriefing what we’d learned and swapping best-practice tips.
We decided to continue this rewarding collaboration by creating a master-mind group and inviting 5 carefully selected peers to join us in monthly phone calls and twice-a-year in-person meetings.
At our first meeting, we were “going around the table” updating each other on our priority projects and pinpointing where and how we could use help.
When it was my turn, I said, “I’m thoroughly enjoying this and I’m glad to be part of it. I just can’t think of anything I need help with, so I’ll donate my time back to the group.”
It was quiet for a moment. Then Rebecca (bless her heart) said, “Well, what are you working on right now?”
“I’m re-doing my website.”
“We can help you with that, “Rebecca said confidently.
And she was right. A half hour later, my website was infinitely better because of the group’s suggestions.
My subsequent epiphany was, “It had been so long since I had asked for help, I had forgotten how.”
Since there hadn’t been any other professional speakers on Maui at that time, I didn’t have anyone to “talk shop” with.
The few times I did share my business activities with acquaintances, they simply didn’t have the industry knowledge to be able to give informed advice.
So, I stopped asking. I ended up doing everything myself. And that worked pretty well. As the saying goes, it was what it was.
But I had an epiphany while discussing an online info-product I was developing with my master-mind group.
Val asked, “Why are you only offering one pricing option? Why not bundle your CD’s together and offer three different packages so people can buy at their own comfort level?”
Uh, duh. Why wasn’t I doing that? Because it had never occurred to me.
That’s just one of the many advantages gained from having a variety of people bring their combined expertise to the table (so to speak) – people who have your back … and your front.
As entrepreneurs, we often get so close to our work; we can’t see it clearly anymore.
That’s one of the many advantages of being part of a strategic master-mind.
Peers can often pinpoint our blind-spots and tell exactly what we need to do differently to break through an impasse.
Group brainstorming not only saves us a lot of trial-and-terror learning; it’s the quickest way to dramatically improve and expedite results.
Lily Tomlin said, “Remember, we’re all in this … alone.”
Are you trying to get your bandwagon out of your garage … all on your own?
Maybe you don’t know anyone who has experience with what you’re pursuing.
Or, you live in an isolated area and you’re working solo because there doesn’t seem to be any alternative.
Or, somewhere along the way you were taught not to “bother” people by asking for their help, so your default is to be self-sufficient rather than seeking support?
If there’s anything I’ve learned after interviewing thousands of SerenDestineers; it’s that strategically aligning with compatible colleagues who have our best interests at heart is a non-negotiable for creating a propserous business and a rewarding life where the light’s on in our eyes.
The good news is, we don’t have struggle to figure everything out on our own. We can go it alone … together.
A wonderful example of a group that does an excellent job of providing highly interactive mastermind groups for its membera is EO – Entrepreneurs Organization. http://www.eonetwork.org/Pages/welcome.aspx
EO members love having access to best practices and best practicers at their chapter meetings, national conferences and global events – but they all agree that participating in their EO mastermindmind groups (FORUMS) is a life-changing, business-enhancing, rising-tide-raising-all-boats experience.
Are you tired of going it alone?
If so, check out EO and explore how you can reach out and align with professional peers who have your back and front.