How to Avoid Overwhelm, Hack Growth, and Get Results 3X Faster (in your pajamas)

half-life-2-3478

mastermind-eliteIt’s been about 3 weeks since the Bright Ideas Mastermind Elite mastermind group was launched, and so far, the participation and ideas shared have been absolutely wonderful.

But more on that in a minute.

First, I want to address a very real problem that I, and many other entrepreneurs experience on an all-too-regular basis. The problem I’m talking about is overwhelm; caused largely by information overload and trying to do too many things simultaneously.

According to Dr. Paul Hammerness and Margaret Moore, authors of Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life, multitasking increases the chances of making mistakes and missing important information and cues. Multitaskers are also less likely to retain information in working memory, which can hinder problem solving and creativity.

And when do I find that I try to multitask the most?

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and am trying to “beat it down” by being uber-productive.

Yeah, right.

Let’s be honest here. NO ONE is productive when they are feeling overwhelmed. I’m sure as hell not. Just ask my wife.

(Feeling overwhelmed was one of the reasons why we recently spent all day working on our 90 day strategic plan.)

What Causes Overwhelm?

The root cause of overwhelm is simply having too much to do at one time. You didn’t need me to tell you that, did you?

Of course not.

Like you, I’m a hard-charging, fire-breathing, gonna-kick-some-butt entrepreneur, and because I’m wired this way (thanks mom and dad??), I find it very difficult to just ignore what I see as potential opportunities.

So, instead of ignoring them, I just add a “little task” to my to-do list, because I’m “sure” I’ll have “more time” later to investigate the idea.

Sound familiar?

Do I ever get back to investigating the idea? Yes, sometimes I do, but more often than not my to-do list just grows…and then keeps on growing to the point that I can’t bear to even look at the bloody thing any longer.

If you can relate, go ahead and leave a comment below. Or, if you don’t have time now, you can just put it on your to-do list and come back later *smirk*.

How to Growth Hack

half-life-2-3478Back when I was in my 20s, I spent waaaaay too much time playing a first-person-shooter game called Half Life. The game was insanely addictive and I poured hours into it.

Often, I would get “stuck” in a level and would then invest far too much time trying to figure out how to complete the level.

One day, someone told me about something called a “walk through”.

A what?

A walk through is a guide that was created by someone else who’s already completed the level. Not only do they describe in detail how to get through the level in the least amount of time, but they also would tell you how to find and unlock every bonus along your way.

Talk about helpful!

With walk throughs, I no longer had to spend hours trying to find the super-duper bonus or hidden room. No more frustration, no more taking 3X as long as I needed. Armed with a good walk through I could now blast my way through the level in record time.

So what the hell does a walk through for Half Life have to do with feeling overwhelmed?

Plenty.

In a game, many people actually enjoy the time-consuming hunt for the bonuses, etc…

But in business? I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely ZERO interest in learning things the hard way. When it comes to business, I’m all about speed and efficiency. I want results now, dammit.

A Mastermind is a Walk Through for Business

If you are like me and you want to avoid overwhelm and get results faster, then I suggest that you find yourself a mastermind to join because being in a mastermind is like having your very own “walk through for business”.

As the name suggests, the collective intelligence of a group of people all focused on solving the same problems is far superior to just one person trying to do it on their own.

Back when I ran my Dyrand Systems (IT Managed Service Provider), there was always so much to learn and do that I often felt extremely overwhelmed.

mastermind-tpAnd then I decided to join a mastermind full of other people that ran companies like mine.

Now I was a part of a close-knit group of like-minded people, all trying to solve similar problems. Did participating completely eliminate overwhelm? No, but, thanks to my not having to re-create the wheel with every new idea, my participation drastically reduced overwhelm-related stress.

As a member of the group, each time I discovered a new idea that I wanted to test, the very first thing I would do was to communicate with the other members of the group to ask them if they’d tested it. Many times, I found that my “new idea” had already been tried by another member without success.

Phew! Now I didn’t have to blow X hours figuring that out for myself. What a relief! (Remember, the mastermind members are all experienced business people, so I could trust what they told me.)

Not only did I not have to waste time testing ideas that had already been proven not to work, but I was also regularly exposed to new ideas that I probably would not have otherwise discovered and many of these ideas are why my company was ranked as one of the PROFIT 100 fastest growing companies in Canada for two years in a row.

Thanks to my fellow mastermind members, I was able to hack the hell out of growth!

Bam. Take that Mr Overwhelm!

What to Look For in a Mastermind Group

There are literally thousands and thousands of mastermind groups on the planet, so finding one that will be a good fit can be a chore.

Here’s how I find the ones that I joined back then: I called other CEOs in my industry and asked them for recommendations. Brilliant, eh?

Of course, now, thanks to the Google, if you don’t feel like calling other CEOs, you can also search to your heart’s content.

That said, I think you are nuts if you skip making the calls, because, as was the case for me, making those “cold calls” most often led to some very productive discussions and a few of them even led to what have become long-term friendships (Hi Mike, Josh).

IdeaLightBulbHandsNurturingAside from recommendations from others, I would also suggest that you pick a mastermind whose members are as closely focused on the business you are in as possible. Ideally, they do EXACTLY what you do, because the more similar the business, the more valuable the ideas shared in the group will be.

How Much To Invest?

In terms of cost, I would suggest you join the most expensive mastermind group that you can afford.

Why spend top dollar?

Simple. High priced groups attract more successful members. Simple as that.

Who would you rather surround yourself with? People just scraping by, or people who are running 7 or 8 figure businesses? The answer is kinda obvious, isn’t it?

Does that mean that you should join a group that costs $1,000 a month right away? If you can afford it, yes; however, if you can’t and your business is tiny compared to the size of the other member’s businesses, then no. Instead, I’d suggest you find a group more suited to your current situation for now. You can always join the more expensive group later on if you find that you are outgrowing the current one.

Does Your Location Matter?

In terms of location, the groups that I used to be a part of, and the the group that I now run, all have members from all over the place. In the old days (2005-ish), I’d hop on a plane 4 times a year to fly down to a resort for a three day meeting. For the more expensive groups, this is still pretty common; however, given how easy it is to meet online to share ideas, I don’t feel like flying to a location is as necessary as it once was.

Instead spending money on hotels and plane tickets, join an online group and then spend what you saved either on the dues for the group, or, if you can afford it, hire yourself a VA to help get some work off your plate.

If you know of a good group, please share the name down in the comments.

If you are an independent marketing consultant, freelancer, or small agency and you want to mastermind with others who are building the same type of business as you are, then check out the Bright Ideas Mastermind Elite.

The Bright Ideas Mastermind Elite

The group that I currently run meets online once per month and we have a daily discussion via a private Facebook group.

The online meetings are just that. We use GotoMeeting and hold an online discussion during which we all take turns sharing what we’ve learned since the last meeting, what is working, what isn’t, etc… We also have a hot seat each month where one member can volunteer to have the other members do a critique on whatever they like. Could be a website, a landing page, a free report, a proposal template, etc.

Possibly even more valuable than the monthly meeting has been the Facebook group. In the group, on a daily basis I and the other members are sharing ideas and asking questions.

Here’s just a few examples of what has been shared recently:

  • Mike shared a landing page that he is testing for lead capture in the dental niche
  • I shared how I’ve increased website traffic by 59.44% over the last 30 days
  • Todd asked questions about how to handle recurring billing to clients and got several answers
  • Bobby shared a diagram of his 3-step lead generation direct mail campaign
  • I shared the results of a recent mailing that I did and promised to do the same with the next one
  • Todd shared an interview he did with a guy who’s getting a 38% conversion rate on a lead generation campaign

What Current Members Are Saying

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If getting to participate in our discussion is something that appeals to you, then I encourage you to apply for membership now.

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