In my Training Ahead article in the April–May issue of the Copyediting newsletter, I discussed why editors should create or find a mastermind group. My own mastermind group held a retreat in January 2016, and the experience was intense, supportive, thoughtful, positive, and amazing. I thought I’d write it up so you could create your own.
Why should you take the time to go on a mastermind retreat? It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day aspects of running your business and neglect time for planning what comes next. A mastermind retreat breaks your routine and puts you in an open, supportive environment so you can devote time to working on the things that will push your business forward.
In this blog post and my next one, I’ll discuss how to plan and host your own mastermind group retreat.
Find Your Group of Colleagues
My mastermind group was already established as a supportive community before we decided to create a retreat. Most of us had known each other online for years and had met in person at various conferences. We are at similar places in our careers and “clicked” as a group. Erin Brenner and I had even formed a new company together.
We would chat a lot online, giving and getting support, blowing off steam, and having fun. Occasionally, we’d touch on bigger business issues than we could easily discuss in an online chat or in person between conference sessions. We decided to get together for a retreat as a group so we could focus exclusively on each other and our businesses.
To create your own mastermind group or retreat, look for colleagues who are at a similar phase in their careers or businesses and maybe have similar goals for growth. The goals don’t have to be the same; a variety of ideas to brainstorm on can be helpful for everyone. Attendance needn’t be mandatory, either. Our group has eight members, and seven of us made it to the retreat.
Reach out to colleagues you would like to brainstorm with, whether or not they’re in your industry. Start communicating now to find your tribe, and then start sharing ideas. You need to feel comfortable sharing confidential information in the group. Seeing colleagues as collaborators, rather than as competitors, is key to being open and getting substantive help.
Schedule a Time That Works
Scheduling can be tricky, of course. Our group eventually settled on early January. We felt it was a great way to kick off a new year, and it was at least six weeks before the ACES annual conference, which most of us were planning to attend. We chose to have our retreat midweek (Wednesday and Thursday), so that we could take advantage of lower hotel rates during the week and be with our families on the weekends.
Choose a Place
Our group is somewhat spread out; we have members from Ohio, Wisconsin, Ontario, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts. We chose Chicago as our retreat location because it was easy, fairly quick, and relatively inexpensive to get to. (Although it was bitterly cold!) We may have benefited from off-season rates, and we definitely enjoyed the advantages of having many restaurants and other amenities within walking distance near the Magnificent Mile!
We wanted to travel to a different city so that we could really focus on each other and not be pulled into our daily obligations. Getting out of your daily routine can spur a shift in thinking. While it was impossible for all of us to completely shed work obligations while we retreated, we were able to minimize the amount of work we had to do. And it was fun to cowork at the conference table!
Book a Venue
Finding the right venue was tricky. Hotel meeting rooms are expensive, aren’t set up for small groups, and often require more money to be spent on catering. We looked for hotels with suites and even B&Bs where we might take over a dining room or other common area. DoubleTree by Hilton came to our rescue. Its parlor suite has a lounge area and a large table. There were two adjoining rooms, so we slept four people in the three-room suite for a really great midweek price. We did all our work there at the table.
Once you have chosen a date, location, and venue, there’s a little more planning to do to make your retreat a success. I’ll cover what to do in my next blog post.
Also be sure to read “Why Editors Should Have a Mastermind Group” in the April–May 2016 issue of Copyediting newsletter.