Productivity

The Power Of Mastermind Groups

 October 27, 2021

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Have you heard of mastermind groups but aren't sure what they are or what happens at one?

Could joining a mastermind or focus group help you reach your goals faster?

In This Episode, You'll Discover:

  • What happens at a mastermind group
  • The power of a supportive community
  • How accountability partners can change your business & your life
  • How to get more confidence in growing your business

Helpful Resources:

Focus Club

Click for full episode transcript

Gordon   We just wanted you all to listen into a conversation we've been having - just kind of highlights from the conversations we've been having this weekend as we've been on a retreat together. So, Jessica, why don't you start off?


Jessica    I'm Jessica Tappana, and I have a group practice, private pay practice in Columbia, Missouri. And then I also have Simplified SEO consulting, helping therapists who have websites get them to show up better on search engines.


Whitney  I'm Whitney Owens, and I own a group practice in Savannah, Georgia, called Waters Edge Counseling. We just hired our ninth therapist this week, so I'm really super excited about that. Cash pay only. And then I also do consulting through Practice Of The Practice, helping people build and scale group practices, and also have a podcast of Faith in Practice podcast about using faith within your business.


Uriah     We have four States covered here, right?


Gordon  Yes.


Uriah     Where are you from, Gordon?


Gordon  I'm from Tennessee.


Uriah     So Tennessee, Missouri, Georgia, and California.


Whitney  And we're recording in in North Carolina.


Uriah      I'm Uriah Guilford. I've got a group practice in Northern California working with families called Guilford Family Counseling. And I've also got a business called Productive Therapist, and we provide world class virtual assistants for therapists so they can get more done and have more fun.


Gordon  Awesome. Well, a thought that occurred to me this morning as I was thinking about this recording is that all of us have at least two businesses that we're running. And so what's that been like for everybody? I mean, just making that dive. A theme that people hear from me a lot on the podcast is how it's important to maybe try to diversify income at times. And so what have you learned about that?


Uriah     I'll make a quick comment real quick. That's part of the reason why we came together to support each other with the unique challenges of owning multiple businesses. Sorry, I messed up your question!


Gordon  No, that's fine.


Jessica   I think there's so much that goes into it, right. And it is a unique challenge. And that's what I appreciate about having this group of people that are also balancing those hats and those different roles. And, yeah, it's great that I can bounce things off you guys, because sometimes it feels like…. I don't know if people on the podcast can hear, but there's little birdie….!


Gordon   We've got a birdie clock here!


Whitney  For the past three days, every time it goes off, we all like, look around scared! Oh, my gosh!


Jessica   But I feel like the thing I love about having two businesses is there's always excitement, right? Like, there may be days where I wake up and I feel a little bit less excited about doing one thing, but I can be super excited about doing the other thing. And there can be that balance. And I often have said it feels like a lot of people in my world don't see the full picture of what it's like to have both, and maybe don't see some of the stress that comes with that. But I think one of the realizations that I've had in talking to you guys and my self-exploration is that I think that I bring ‘Me’, no matter which business I'm working in at that moment, and that really my values and my priorities might look different in how they show up in each of the businesses. But I'm still ‘Me’. And at the end of the day, I'm finding more similarities, like I do this over there, and I really appreciate that. And it's very similar, actually, to how I approach this thing over in this business.


Gordon  I think one thing about our weekend together that has helped me a great deal, as we know, as practice owners and business owners that can get very isolating at times. And I think what comes with that, at least for me, is a little bit, if not a lot, sometimes of Imposter Syndrome. We're really feeling like what we're doing just doesn't seem genuine or that sort of thing. And it was affirming for me to hear from them their impression of what I'm doing and being able to share all that with each other. So why don't we take turns just kind of…you’ve kind of led us off here, Jessica, with kind of what you're learning along the way with through this weekend. So what else? What are the thoughts to you guys?


Uriah     I think one of the most valuable things for me, honestly, is the feedback that I get from the three of you. We’ve only been together for maybe six months or so as a group. But the feedback is invaluable. I literally wrote down all these questions and all I wanted was to get your thoughts on what I'm working on, what I'm thinking about, because even though I have a leadership team for both of my businesses, they still don't understand what it's like to be in my shoes and to be making the kind of decisions that I'm making. And so we can sit on a boat on the lake and eat some sandwiches and have some beverages, ask those questions! ‘Do you think I should go this way or this way?’ Because even though we might seem like we always know what we're doing to the outside world - possibly! - we're just trying to figure it out as we go. So I have, like, 1000% more confidence now that the three of you have said, I think what you should do is this. Yeah.


Jessica   Thank you.


Whitney  That's so cool. It's just cool. Like, we all struggle. But then knowing that we're helping one another and hearing your experience is really humbling as well.


Uriah     And it shapes the future of our businesses, all of us.


Gordon   What would you say have been the big things for you?


Whitney  The community. I’m an extrovert, if you haven't figured that out yet! And so the pandemic has been very isolating. But then also it's isolating - and you kind of spoke to this. Jessica - being a practice owner, being a consultant. Another thing that we some of us have in common here is like caring for people that have special needs to some capacity. And so having people who understand that part about me, getting out of the house and being with people and just seeing that there's a world outside of my little world. I get so used to my bubble, the consulting that I do, but there's so many amazing people doing great things. Like last night we got to get together with some amazing people and hear about their businesses. And you just realize that there's so much connection and the importance that if we connect, the practice is going to move forward or the work of counseling. And so that's been really helpful for me and just bringing my confidence back up in who I am, getting affirmation from you guys.


Gordon   Yeah. Well, the thing that I think is so important for anybody, regardless of which stage they are in their practice is to be able to have a group of people that are trusted that you can be totally vulnerable with and share your life. I mean, as we know, as therapists and counselors, that's the power of therapy and power of groups is having that community where you can absolutely share everything. Rachel, you might want to…..


Uriah      We share everything…birdie clocks and phone calls! I've had a handful of mastermind groups I've been in over the years. A couple of them started and then didn't really go on. And people weren't, like, maybe it was not the right group of people at the right time. And it was disappointing. But there's two main mastermind groups that I've been in that have, like, one launched Productive Therapist; I think that was with Ernesto and Maureen and a couple other folks, and who knows what's coming next for all of us after this one?!  But I really believe in it. I tell everybody, like, find a mastermind group. It could be peer-led. It could be facilitator-led. It almost doesn't matter.


Jessica   But it's awesome listening to you guys. The thing that's really sticking out to me is the confidence you’re - like you said - I have more confidence taking the next steps, and I think that that's what I'm leaving with, too. I didn't come as prepared with a great list of very specific questions. When we talked about our intentions at the beginning of this get-together, I was like, just figuring out the next three months, and I haven't had any major change in direction that I'm going to take. But I feel really confident of the steps I've taken. Even just you guys ask me questions, like, oh, well, why do you interact with that stuff? But that way, why do you do this, even just having to give those reasoning and listening to your thoughts and your observations? I'm like, Oh, I like this path that I'm on. The changes that we've made. It simplified in the last six months. I really like having to talk about those. I feel like I'm going back with this renewed excitement.


Whitney  Like, let's take those next steps, more good energy!


Gordon    Yeah.


Jessica   And that excitement is so important, right? Because owning a business is hard. Running a practice is hard. Managing people is hard. Coping with clients and hearing their heaviness is hard. And we need to take care of ourselves so we can go back with that energy, right?


Gordon   Yeah. Well, the other thing, too, is with this weekend that we've been on is we didn't really come with a specific agenda. There's been really very little to no structure to any of it, although we've had a great time. The cards that we've been doing.


Whitney  Michael Chastains, Michael Chastang.


Gordon   Shout out to Michael, and I'll probably have links in the show notes here how you can sign changes cards. And they're really cool. And we've been asking some very deep questions of each other. And at least for me, it's really just been, again, affirming. I've said that already. But to be able to do those kinds of things.


Whitney  I'm going to be spontaneous that we should do a card here at the end of the episode. Once we get to the end, let's do one card and everyone can see it. And it's been an experience for us. I would love to just share a little bit about how we all met because I think there's something to be said for getting out of your comfort zone and meeting people that you maybe wouldn't even necessarily think would be someone that you'd get close to and taking risks in that. And so I'll share a little bit about kind of how - and you all fill in some of the details. So Gordon was the first one that I met and actually had heard his name many times before I met you. Yes. We met through Joe’s group, Next Level Living Room. And you're in a different mastermind, I think, than I was at the time. And he invited all of us to come to his house. And I was like, Okay, here are his list of people going - I’m going to meet Gordon Brewer. It was on my agenda to become your friend because I admired you in the work you were doing with your podcast already. You were on my friend agenda! That was so neat. But, like, even thinking about going to Next Level Living Room and how nervous I was to go and meet all these practice center because I felt like an imposter who had this tiny little group practice that really I wasn't even making money yet. And everything about getting there was awful. Like the weather was terrible. My flight literally got canceled the night before, and it was the next morning. It's just completely canceled - anyway, ended up getting there on three flights, and so really grateful for that. And so it's like we connected.


Uriah      How long ago was that?


Whitney  That was 2018 - April of that year.


Gordon   And there was like a foot of snow on the ground in Traverse.


Whitney  Yes. I love wearing my boots. 


Jessica   You're from Georgia. Snow!


Whitney  I was like, Let me take my snow boots. Yes. And then I met Jessica, also through a mastermind group. And some mastermind groups are just this amazing way to connect our first real conversation.


Jessica   It was on the phone. You were helping me find a VA. And you said you introduced me to the VA change things, my friend. And he said, Here, let me hop on a call with you. And we talked on the phone. It was such a good moment because we hadn't really met in person. We hadn't really had individual conversations. And I distinctly remember walking around barefoot in my backyard talking to you about this. And it was so helpful because I'd had issues people to help. I'd gone through, like, several VAs, and you're like, Okay, girl, you got to change your approach here.


Uriah      That's so cool.


Whitney  I could think of lots of calls and where I was sitting when we had conversations on the phone about really important business things.


Uriah      And that was the first one Jessica and I met 2019 at Therapy Reimagined conference in sort of an impromptu mastermind group. Literally. We're all sitting around, like, talking about ideas about online courses. And we were sitting next to each other and talking about SEO.


Jessica   I knew nobody. I was so scared going to that conference! I was more nervous to go that conference than I'd ever been to go to any conference before because I didn't know anybody. And  Marissa Lawton. I ran into her the first day and we'd spoken online before. And so I was like, okay, I kind of sort of know one person, and she's awesome. And then, yeah, we ended up at the end just with this group of just groups.


Uriah      We were sort of all, like, group coaching each other, like in the hotel bar!


Jessica   I was wishing that I have notes and was writing it down. But I still got so much because literally, everyone's, like, here's a tidbit here. Amazing.


Gordon   That's right.


Uriah     I don't know how you, I mean, you invited me to this.


Whitney  Basically, I'm on your podcast.


Gordon   Yes.


Whitney  So with group practice boss, we were trying to interview somebody about goal setting, I believe.


Gordon   Yes.


Whitney  And I reached out to another consultant. She said she was busy, but I should reach out to Uriah Guilford. I was like, I've heard his name before. And so I emailed you and you came on. And while I'm doing the interview, I was like, Dang, this guy's cool. Like, I like that guy! And then you came on the podcast. I can't remember if it was one or the other. It was around the same time. And so when we were creating this group and I was just thinking about the types of people I wanted to be spending my time with, you came to mind. And I was like, I don't think he's going to want to do this. I'm going to get my guts together because we don't really know each other, right? Like, you barely knew who I was. And I'm like, you want to be in a mastermind group.


Uriah      Medium size, ask somebody that you don't know very much.


Whitney  And you were like, sure, tell me more. And I was like….


Uriah      I mean, in fact, I almost broke up with my other mastermind group for this one, but I stayed in both!


Whitney  Yeah.


Jessica   I remember us talking. And you're like, Have you met Uriah? I was like, yeah, he's really cool. He taught me how to send my own contact, my own information to my phone. Do you remember?!


Gordon   Yeah. It's been just a rich relationship. And I'm looking forward to all of this continuing. And I will say that I've gotten more done this weekend, even though we have no agenda and just being able to get focused and thinking about the goals not only for my life, just individually, because as I've shared on the podcast, I've got some challenges with my wife and her disability, but also just getting a refocus with the practice of therapy and what the direction I want it to go. And then also my private practice itself. And what's funny is you hired somebody….


Whitney  Like, five.


Gordon   Yeah.


Whitney  I hired five people last week.


Jessica   But two, we've been here that I've sent them, right.


Gordon   You and I hired somebody the same day, which is cool for our practices. Again, I think the one thing about this group and really kind of maybe the point to this episode is create a community for yourself. If you're not in one, find one, get involved and take the risk of getting to know people that maybe you don't. The other thing, too, is I think therapists are pretty safe people. So that's been nice. And just how we treat each other with our inner world is all…I think that's important thing.


Uriah      Also, the power of downtime and resting and recharging, even when you're not being productive, like, makes you so much more energized and productive when you get there. So whatever the thing is.


Jessica   Like when you go out on a boat and you come back with new ideas for business.


Uriah     Walking in nature, whatever it is.


Gordon   Yeah. So we did a hike and the boat on the same day. And then as we're recording this, we're in Lake Louis, North Carolina. My family has a place here, and we're just kind of just chilling and just doing that kind of work. And then we got together with some other private practice consultants last night and today in Asheville today. So a shout out to Ernesto Segmundo and Alison Perrier and Jane Carter Kasala, Michael Dietrich Chastain. Yeah. So a little bit of name dropping here on this!


Uriah      But anyway, do we want to finish one or do you want the one on the bottom? That’s pretty good.


Jessica   Oh, okay.


Uriah      The question is - it's under the category of Guts - What helps you feel bold? I'll go first, so nobody steals my answer! Having the support and affirmation of the three of you makes me feel confident. Like I said before, confident and bold.


Gordon   That's very fair.


Uriah      That's the best answer!


Whitney  That's definitely my answer as well, actually.


Gordon   Well, I would just say what I would add is being vulnerable.


Jessica   And making big moves. I've never hired five people across the two businesses before.


Whitney  That's huge.


Jessica   And I can only do it because of the support of the teams that I have at both businesses. And you guys have been so instrumental in my leadership ability. But I think part of, like you said, having this team here means that I think there will be bumps along the way onboarding that many people, even with the help of my amazing team, that are, without a doubt, smarter than I am. But I'll still run into those challenges and knowing I come back to you guys to be like, Okay, guys, remind me never to hire this many people again, or this part of the system is broken.


Uriah      And it worked out amazingly, that's going to happen, too.


Gordon   Okay. Good.


Jessica   A lot of it is figuring out how much that I can outsource, but do so while maintaining that quality, which is something else, not outside our business, but delegate internally. That makes me much more confident. Like, okay, I can make this big move.


Gordon   That's great.


Uriah      That's one of the takeaways, I think.


Gordon   Yeah. You got one more card to close this with?


Uriah      Here's a Nourishment card: What usually helps you feel wonderfully rested?


Jessica   A lazy day at home with my family where nothing in particular is expected and no work.


Uriah       I actually really like unstructured time. So when there's not a plan and I can kind of decide what I feel like doing right now, sitting down on the porch reading a book, listening to music.


Gordon   That's great.


Uriah      And without kids asking me for things, right?!


Whitney  So I'm going to go back to what we just talked about. But I feel rested when I'm in a community where I can fully be myself, right?


Gordon   You don't feel like the pressure of being on.


Uriah      And I think for you to not be in a place where you don't have to take care of other people so much, right?


Gordon   Yeah. It is good.


Uriah      How about you?


Gordon   Yeah, I would say the same. And I think as simple as this is, it's just simply some good sleep. It's just not a quiet place and not having to set my alarm and just getting up when we get up. That's been great.


Uriah      I agree.


Gordon   Yeah.


Uriah      This was fun.


Gordon   Yeah, it is. Yeah.


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Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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