As I sit down to write this, Mrs. Dollar and I have just finished getting the place ready for company. We’re having some friends over tonight for pizza and board games. But they are more than friends, really. They represent our “Mastermind Group.”
The group consists of two other couples, fairly young like ourselves, and all just getting started on their journey to freedom. We met at our real estate investing club and we’re all at different stages in our lives and relationships. Some are married, some are not. Some are planning for kids and some are still enjoying their youth. But the one thing that we all have in common is a shared desire to take control of our finances and put our money to work for us, instead of working for money.
Since we’re all landlords, it’s great to get together and swap stories. We can learn a lot from each other’s successes and challenges. When one couple finds a new tool or system to improve their business, they gladly share it with the others. When one couple has problems with their tenants or with maintenance, we can all benefit from their experience and apply the lessons to our own business. We can share reviews of vendors, compare bids between contractors and overall make more informed decisions than if we were by ourselves.
But this idea of sharing and learning extends beyond business. When you associate with growth-oriented people, you can learn a lot from each other about life in-general. Since the foundation of success is psychological, it’s important to surround yourself with people who are successful. You can only achieve what you believe you can, and being around people who believe gets you headed in the right direction.
Competition in capitalism spurs innovation. Would we have three (or four?) generations of iPods if the original iPod were the only music player on the market? What incentive would Apple have to improve it? With so many music players to choose from, Apple needs to continually improve their products to remain competitive and maintain their market share.
Similarly, competition within your circle of friends can make you stretch to reach your goals. As long as the competition remains friendly, it can be a really useful motivator for helping you achieve milestones: in business, fitness, finance or otherwise.
For competition to be successful, you should only try to compete with people who are “in your league.” And most importantly: don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t winning! The point is not to crush the competition, the point is to make progress towards your own goals.
Some people don’t do well with competition but in reality, the only person you need to beat is your past self. If you are making progress against that guy or gal, then you’re really winning, no matter how your friends are doing.
When you are working towards a goal, having an “accountability partner” is a documented method for improving your chance of success. It turns out that disappointing ourselves is not nearly as heartbreaking as disappointing someone else. This effect is magnified when you have multiple accountability partners or a whole group of them! I know that when I chat with my mastermind group, they’re going to ask about our progress: “How’s the search for the next house? Have you made any offers?” Knowing that I’ll have to answer these questions, spurs me to take action.
Again, this works for any goal, no matter what it is!
- Having a “gym buddy” makes you far less likely to skip out on your fitness
- Keeping a public food diary or a little weight loss widget on your blog will motivate you to make better nutrition decisions
- It’s far less common, but having a “money buddy” might be what you need to kick the spending habit or get out debt. My fellow blogger, Aloysa at MyBrokenCoin.com is using this tactic right now. You can see her progress to pay off her debt right on the sidebar of her blog.
Well, I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep the heading alliteration going but I pulled it off.
Having a group of like-minded friends can be a huge boost in your ability to achieve your goals, financial or not. And even if you don’t have any “financial friends” you can surely find plenty on the internet. The personal finance blog-o-sphere is full of people at various stages of financial success and there’s a community out there for you.
I’m not saying that you have to ditch your unsuccessful friends and find new ones. Far from it! But I wouldn’t take any advice from negative people, if I were you
How about y’all? Do you guys have a mastermind group or something similar? What have your experiences been and how has it helped you achieve your goals?