Business Women Connect: What is the Secret to your Success?

What is the secret to your success? Successful people are asked this all the time.

Certainly taking massive action is part of it.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing what scares you is part of it.

Most high-level achievers have another important secret — a supportive community.

I’ve been involved in mastermind groups; participating and leading groups, for many years. They are a critical part of my success.

So what is a mastermind group exactly?

Mastermind groups offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen your business and personal skills. A mastermind group helps you and your group members achieve success.

Participants challenge each other to set important goals, and more importantly, to accomplish them. The group requires commitment, confidentiality, and willingness to be creative and brainstorm ideas/solutions, and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion. Mastermind group members act as catalysts for growth, devil’s advocates and supportive colleagues. This is the essence and value of mastermind groups.

While you can start your own group, here are a few guidelines to get the most out of a mastermind.

1. Get people with a similar level of commitment to their businesses and the group.

The members of the mastermind have to commit to showing up, not just for the mastermind meetings but for their businesses and lives.

Someone who doesn’t care and isn’t working for results will drain the energy of the entire group.

2. Find a mastermind with a leader.

While groups occasionally form after events where people meet, it’s unusual for them to continue and to be effective in creating the support that group members need.

A leader can make sure that every member gets equal focus, and that ideas are supported, but also constructively criticized.

3. Set up a structure for meetings and interactions.

Having a set structure for mastermind meetings will keep them from devolving into gossip or complaining sessions, and will keep one person from inappropriately dominating the meetings.

Building a business can be a lonely endeavor. Having a community that supports you in building your business creates an environment for success that will help you skyrocket your results.

What you’ll get from belonging to a mastermind group.

In a mastermind group, the agenda belongs to the group and each person’s participation and commitment is key. Your mastermind partners give you feedback, help you brainstorm new possibilities and set up accountability structures that keep you focused and on track. You create a community of supportive colleagues who brainstorm together to move the members to new heights.

You’ll gain tremendous insights which improve your business and personal life. Your mastermind group is like having an objective board of directors, a success team, and a peer advisory group, all rolled into one. Whether you find an existing mastermind group to join, or start a group of your own, you’ll love what this group process can help you accomplish.

Shelly Aristizabal is the new President of Business Women Connect. She is a seasoned business coach, advisor and speaker who helps entrepreneurs network to success. Learn more about Shelly and her recently published book This Is Your Year at, &