The Benefits of a Mastermind Retreat

Jan 15, 2013Work Uncaged


Last Friday, I posted about how it’s cool and important to form your own mastermind group. Our group has been together about a year, and this last weekend, we met on a ranch outside of Austin, Texas. Six of the ten members were able to make it (we all have crazy schedules). And it was entirely affordable because we cooked our own food, used a free ranch, and many used airline miles to get there.

And what amazing value! I speak for the others in saying this is one of the most significant weekends of my writing career. Why? Because we all spent time helping each other with our business and vision. Sometimes you can’t see what’s wrong with your efforts until others gently reveal what needs to change. This was a working retreat. Although I’m tired in its aftermath, I’m also invigorated.

Some of the helpful things we did:

  • We stayed on task. And because we were all longing to help the other, we often extended our time to keep the advice going.
  • We looked at each other’s websites and gave constructive critique. You’ll see some tweaks on mine in the next few weeks.
  • We helped plot a novel for one of our members. What a valuable, interesting, amazing exercise. Let me just say that Susie May Warren of My Book Therapy is the real deal. She knows how to help novelists in extremely concrete ways. You really ought to look her up.
  • We taught classes. I taught about Pinterest and how to make a pic on Picmonkey. Watch tomorrow for the FREE PDF I made for the masterminds. You get to receive it too! Yay!
  • We told stories. Of particular value was Randy Ingermanson’s talk on how Advanced Fiction Writing, his highly successful website, came to be. Fascinating! Inspiring.
  • Tracy Higley gave an amazing talk about goals and joy. She asked, “Why do you need to achieve? Is it discontentment or fear at the bottom of it?” So convicting. She also said, “I no longer live by the numbers.” She lives in freedom and joy. Her days are spent pursuing her God-given passion with joy and an open, free mind and heart.
  • The members listed my strengths and weaknesses. (Strengths: fast writer, tech courageous, empathetic to readers, good speaker. Weaknesses: Good at too many things, too many projects, difficulty traveling). There are more weaknesses, I’m sure! But seeing how others viewed me helped me look at everything with fresh eyes. I tend to try to do everything. And I like to do a lot of things. Problem is, I’m burning out, and I’m giving my readers an inconsistent message. They helped me hone in on what I needed to do to make the income I needed this year, and they defined the season I was in. Hooray! So very helpful.
  • We ate together. That always changes the dynamic and brings people closer.
  • We all were willing to hear hard things. We welcomed feedback. And everyone was so kind and gentle as they gave hard advice. It made me want more!

I hope this has convinced you not only to form a mastermind group, but consider taking it to the next level and spend a weekend together. It doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive.

And now for some pictures.


Susie May Warren, Tracy Higley and Yours Truly.

DSC_0343Jim Rubart, Thomas Umstattd, and Randy Ingermanson DSC_0374

The ranch. So pretty!


 I had a severe crush on this tractor.


The group through a leaning barn.


The ranch house.


Just a fun shot.


Sunset at the ranch.

Q4u: If you could go to a Mastermind retreat, what would you like feedback about? What would be constructive for you?