Do you want to improve your leadership, management, and all skills related to business and entrepreneurship? Are you thinking about joining a mastermind to do so but are in doubt about its efficiency? In this episode, my guest, Aaron Walker, convinces us that being in one is not just about group coaching or leaders meeting other leaders. Aaron is the Founder of Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind Group and The Mastermind Playbook. He is also the author of View from the Top, a must-read book that helps you fully understand how to live a life of success and significance. Listen to this engaging chat as he and I scratch the surface on his mastermind and the importance of building relationships and how it can impact your life.
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The Mastermind Playbook With Aaron Walker
Our guest expert is uniquely qualified to talk to you about the concept of masterminding. His name is Aaron Walker. He’s a repeat guest. He’s founded more than a dozen companies over the years. He attributes a lot of his success to surrounding with mastermind partners or mentors. People like Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Ken Abraham and all kinds of amazing entrepreneurs. He’s the Founder of Iron Sharpens Iron, which is a mastermind that hosts fifteen groups with national and international members. He’s the author of View From the Top.
If his name sounds a little familiar, if you’ve been with us for a while, that’s probably ringing in your head. Why? If you go to GrowthToFreedom.com/115 and GrowthToFreedom.com/28, you will find that he’s been a guest of ours before. He is also the Founder of The Mastermind Playbook, which is an incredible resource for starting, running and scaling masterminds. You might be asking yourself, “Why masterminds? I keep hearing about masterminds. They’re everywhere.” What makes this unique? Why it works? How can it work for you not only as a student but also as part of your business model? Aaron, welcome to the show. How are you?
Dan, I hope I can measure up to that introduction right there. You are awesome. Thank you. I don’t get many opportunities to be three-peat. You’ve been gracious to have me on. I’ve been looking forward to being your guest.
It’s easy to say yes because of all the great, amazing things you’re doing, Aaron. I want to dive right into it. For our readers who don’t know about Aaron Walker and what you’re up to, why are you doing what you’re doing with Iron Sharpens Iron and masterminds?
Years ago, I retired. I said, “For the final time.” My wife said, “Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when it happens.” Robin and I celebrate 40 years of marriage and she said, “You’re working in harder than you’ve worked in our entire marriage.” The reason is that it’s making a significant difference in the lives of the participants. I went to my Mastermind group with Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller and some of those guys and they said, “What are you going to do now that you’re retiring?” I said, “Nothing. I’m finished.” They said, “You’re way too young to quit. You need to think about coaching and teaching other people how to live a life of success and significance.” I did.
I started coaching one-on-one. I started doing some podcast interviews. I quickly realized I had landed in my zone of genius, and that was helping encourage other people to be all that they could be. We have fifteen groups of men. We have three groups of women. We’ve launched a group for emerging men, 20 to 25 years old. We’re soon to launch our nineteenth mastermind group. I’m probably getting more encouragement and satisfaction out of this. I can sit here and talk about all of our businesses. This is our fourteenth business. I don’t want to do that. I want us to talk about masterminds being in community and how it can impact a lot of your readers.
Let’s dive into it. This term, mastermind, gets thrown out there a lot. For you, what is a mastermind? What is it not?Isolation is the enemy to excellence. - Aaron Walker Click To Tweet
First of all, what it’s not is group coaching. A lot of people don’t want to start masterminds because they don’t think they have all the answers. It’s a myth. A perception of mastermind is that I get a bunch of people together and they come in the group and they sit at my feet and I give them the sage wisdom. That’s not what masterminds are. It’s the benefit, collectively, of everyone in the group. What you’re doing is presenting a framework. You’re hosting the group and the benefit comes from all the interaction from everyone.
A lot of people did join our mastermind originally because it was my group and they wanted to join, but quickly they get in and they see the value of the other people. It’s simply this. There are all kinds of fancy definitions as to what masterminds are, where two more minds gather together and it forms a third. You hear all that. What the truth is, it’s a board of non-biased trusted advisors that can come together and know you exactly long term and can help you make decisions. You and I have a casual relationship, not an intimate relationship, but if I were to come into you and you were to ask me, “Big A, what should I do about this?” You give me a scenario. Without a lot of background information, without knowing your goals, without knowing your core values, your mission statement, without knowing where you’ve been and where you want to go, I couldn’t fairly offer advice. That’s what the mastermind does. They know your history.
The guy that I go and see regularly and have been for years did a study on my life. He said, “Every 36 to 48 months, you do something radical. You either buy a business. You sell a business. You buy a property. You do something big. The reason is you’re a creator developer. You’re not a maintainer manager.” Without having the preview of all that information, he can’t help me in the future. He doesn’t know what mine and Robin’s objectives are for our life. He doesn’t know how I think. He doesn’t know how to process things. That’s what a mastermind gives you. You then can come in, you can share with them what you’re trying to accomplish and they can give you good advice.
Speaking of good advice, Aaron, what have you seen? I have my own view of it. I believe in masterminds and have invested hundreds of thousands, close to millions of dollars in all kinds of different versions of masterminds, consulting, advising. What have you seen the transformation, the breakthroughs that people get as a result of this intimate working of getting a board of trusted advisors together to help put a focus on you? Whatever it is that you have an issue with to help get to that next level, speak of that a little bit.
I’ll take you to a real intimate situation. First of all, these mastermind groups that we’re referring to, a lot of them are group coaching. They’ve mislabeled them into being masterminds where you come in for six weeks and you have somebody that’s instructing for 60 minutes or 90 minutes, that is group coaching. For us, it’s 60% professional, 30% personal and 10% spiritual. That’s the way we’ve broken it down. Dan, I came home one time with a pocket full of money to a house full of strangers and I almost lost my family as a result of chasing business. I love business. I love to grow them obviously. We’ve owned fourteen of them. If I come home one day with that pocket full of money to a house full of strangers, I still end up a loser. I don’t want people to end up a loser.
They’ve sacrificed their family at the altar of money and they don’t even know who their wife is. They don’t know who their little boy’s baseball coach is and they haven’t been to their little girl’s piano recital in years. They don’t know anything about their education and what’s going on. They provide shelter and they provide resources for their family. That’s not being the dad that you were called to be. That’s not being the husband that you were called to be. What we try to encourage is that we help you in every area of your life. We try to help you set boundaries.
Dan, I know you’re a hardworking guy. If you’re working from 4:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night, it doesn’t leave much room to do anything else. We try to establish those boundaries. If there’s some substance abuse that’s going on, whether you’re numbing yourself with alcohol or prescription drugs or whatever the case may be or maybe you’re traveling out of town and you’re misbehaving. Your wife wouldn’t be really excited about the type of behavior that’s being performed. You’re not spending time with your children and educating them and nurturing them from a father’s perspective, you’ll be successful from the world’s perspective but from your home, you’re not going to be successful.
Let’s look at the statistics. Fifty-five percent of all marriages end in divorce. There’s a reason for that. We help you take a self-evaluation, a personal assessment of your personal life, and then the personal things that you’re involved in and then the spiritual aspect. There’s a component. Many people are more spiritual than others, but it is a component of our lives. We focus on all these. We have strict accountability tools that we use. It’s a digital process where there are ten questions that we ask you every single week and you answer those, yes or no, I did or I didn’t do it.
The other thing is the upper limit challenges that we’re faced with. We all have upper limit challenges, regardless of how much money you have, regardless of how much success. I’ve been in a room with a lot of successful guys for a long time. Privately they’ll tell you, “I don’t know what to do next. This is the first time I’ve been in this position or this situation.” I’ve had the distinct privilege of walking with Dave Ramsey for 28 years. Dave and I have been close friends. I was his second sponsor. I sponsored his show for 21 consecutive years. The first time I met Dave, there were three employees. Now they have 957. They’re about to build their second headquarters. They already have outgrown it. They’ve only been there for about for several months. He’s growing at a fast pace. I’ve been behind the scenes where he said, “I’m not sure what I should do.” Dave has got a lot of answers. He doesn’t have all the answers, no more than you do, or know more than I do.
When you know somebody intimately, you can walk alongside them and you can say, “That sounds good but if you would consider this aspect.” We only have one life experience. We only have one set of filters. When we’re too close to the bottle, we can’t read the label. Other people see you differently than you see yourself. I had a real problem with being arrogant and condescending when I was in my 30s. I was a poor kid at eighteen years old. I sold my first business at 27 years old and I thought, “I’m the golden kid. I can do anything.” I started becoming condescending to a lot of people and my friends got around me and they said, “That’s not going to serve you well long-term.” I would embellish things. I said, “I’m not embellishing. I’m making it interesting.” My friend said, “People are not going to trust you long-term if you don’t tell it exactly right.” It takes time and you don’t earn that right in a quick period of time. You earn that right over time. That’s what the masterminds give you. It’s countless. It’s limitless, the benefits of being around the same people for an extended period of time.
As you’re reading or watching, what would it be worth to you to have somebody or a group of people working side by side walking with you to help you hit those upper limit breakthroughs, to help you identify the upper limit issues, the problems, the dangers, the threats? Would it be worth having somebody that truly knows what works for you? What serves you? What doesn’t? Call out the truth. The first progress starts by telling the truth. That’s a snapshot of some of what masterminding can be.
What about being able to tune in on your business, personal, the spiritual side of things? If you give your family, your kids, your wife, leftovers, how’s that going to show up in your business? It will. It may have a lag time for a couple of months, maybe even a couple of years, but it will catch up. What is that costing you by not getting it right? We’re going to take a deeper dive into the power of a mastermind, some of the discoveries that Aaron has made. What he’s learned working with and mentoring and serving over fifteen groups working also side by side with some of the greats like Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Ken Abraham and a whole lot more. Aaron, I want to dive right back into it. Masterminding is something that we both believe in and have for a long time, either on purpose or an accident. In many ways, it comes from being a servant leader. Speak to the idea that at times it’s smart to be a good follower, to learn how to be a great leader. Speak to that and how it applies in masterminds.
One of the things that I did early on, when I was in my 20s and 30s, my focus was solely on me. Dan, you know from previous interviews that in 2001, I had a horrific automobile accident where I ran over and killed a pedestrian on my way to the office. What I realized out of that was I was a taker. I wasn’t a giver. What I’ve concentrated on since 2001 is being the giver and not the taker. My legacy would have been a poor kid from Nashville, Tennessee makes enough money to retire at age 27 and nobody cares. I said, “I don’t want that to be my legacy. What I want my legacy to be is, ‘Dan’s life is better as a result of having interacted with me.’” I changed that to a servant’s mentality. I don’t mean a doorman. I’m a ruthless businessman. That’s not what I’m talking about. I want to help you accomplish your goals and your dreams. As a result of that, you’re the person that wants to serve me because of it. The natural reciprocity is to serve those that are being served.
Are some people going to take advantage of you? Absolutely. That’s the cost and the nature of doing business. The truth is we’re far more successful financially today than we’ve ever been. We’re 100 times significant breathing into the lives of others, helping them accomplish their goals and dreams. You do need to be that servant leader. You need to be somebody that helps propel them to the next level. The best thing that you can do in these, initially, is to listen, to be quiet. I’ve led a lot of organizations and had a young guy come up to me one day and he said, “I feel like I need to add more into the meetings.” I said, “If you’ve got something to say, then say it. If you’re talking to hear yourself talk to thank your adding value, we’ve got enough people like that.” Add value when you should add value. God gifted us with two ears and one mouth. There’s a reason for that. We need to be listening twice as much as we’re talking. That’s what you’re lending yourself towards when you ask about, how can we be a great servant leader?Masterminds are non-biased, trusted advisors that come together to help you make decisions. - Aaron Walker Click To Tweet
There’s something to be said, Aaron, about the idea of showing up as both a student and a teacher at the same time or the beneficiary. Also, the benefactor in an environment like this and having a board of advisors, having trusted advisors, where you contribute and get value interchangeably. Speak to that a little bit.
You can always be the mentor and the mentee. We have people in our organization. We’ve had hundreds and hundreds go through Iron Sharpens Iron. We’ve even had people in for seven years. The same ten people have been meeting in the same group every Monday, 2:00 for seven years. The value is exponentially greater each and every year because they know each other better. They have shared experiences. They’re going in business with each other together. They’re traveling together. Their wives are getting to know each other better. It’s the value of being long-term.
What I would encourage you to do, think through what it is that you’re looking for or what it is that you’re missing. I say that isolation is the enemy to excellence. If you want your life to go to the next level, God created us to be in community and you can’t be all that you could be alone. No one had tremendous success alone in isolation. For me, I’ve had many opportunities to do great things. To get to the point where I make the best choice, it takes those non-biased trusted advisors to surround me to help me make those decisions. Many people are successful today, but they don’t have those trusted advisors. They don’t have people around them that can help them make the tough decisions. A lot of people say, “Things are good for me.” Things are not always going to be good for you. If you’re not investing the time and energy now in people and giving, when it’s your turn, there’s going to be no one there.
Speaking of being able to give, add value, and show up in a certain way, Aaron. Whether it’s your community, Iron Sharpens Iron where you’ve worked with fifteen groups, hundreds and hundreds of people or even a local church community, what are some of the big mistakes that people make when they get involved in a community, a group, in this case, a mastermind?
The biggest mistake is they try to go too fast. They try to get an exponential return right out of the gate. I’m a long-term thinker. I started planning for retirement when I was eighteen years old, when I first started my first business making contributions to my retirement. I think in decades. I don’t think in weeks or months. That’s served me well long-term because I delay gratification for the greater good later. Dan, when I first started my first company, I took an $18,000 salary for nine years. I could have lived a much nicer lifestyle, bought a much bigger house, driven a much nicer car, but because I put the money back into the company, we grew it. We bought other locations through acquisition and then I was able to sell it to a Fortune 500. It’s the same way in these groups. If you’re expecting a return right out of the gate, you’re going to be sorely disappointed because there’s a trust factor. They’ve got to get to know you better and you’ve got to get to know them better, then you earn the right to breathe life into someone.
I had a guy, it was on a call and he’s a great guy. He has been with me for years. He said something that was crass that he should have never said. We got off the call. Before I could call him, he texts me and he said, “I know I messed up.” I called him and I said, “Let’s talk for a moment.” He said, “Okay.” I said, “I’m going to do all the talking. I want you to listen for about twenty minutes.” He said, “Okay.” I continued to go down this trail saying what I’ve seen in him over the past years, how I’ve seen this divergent from what he was to what he is now, his disposition. His attitude had changed. He’d become angrier. I pointed back to a specific time in his career and I said, “This is when it took place.” Do you know what he said? I thought to myself, “He’s either going to quit or he’s going to be grateful.” He said, “I’m grateful that you’re telling me this. I’ve recognized it as well but now you’ve clarified it and I want you to help me fix it.” If he hadn’t been in the group for a number of years, I didn’t have that permission. I couldn’t have said those difficult things to him.
On the same note, there was a guy paying his dues. He was only showing up about 50% of the time. I let this go on for about 3 or 4 months and I called him, “I’m asking you to resign from the group.” He said, “I’m paying my dues.” I said, “It’s not about paying your dues. Other men are coming to the group to hear what you have to say. You’re only there 50% of the time. You don’t do the accountability tool. You’re not reading the books. You’re not coming to the live events. You’re adding no value. We are paying money to hear what you have to say and you’re not there. I’m asking you to resign.” He did. If you don’t show up and you don’t participate, you can’t add value to other people. I would suggest that when you do get in a group, whether it’s my group or any other group, invest the energy, do the homework, and do the reps. I can give you the framework but if you don’t do the work, you’re not going to get the benefit.
Speaking of the work, one of the key pieces, and there are several not only in your program but in others, is accountability. Aaron, speak to the idea of accountability. Also, give a glimpse of what is in your mind, accountability, and what is it not because there are a lot of people preaching accountability when it’s not accountability.
The truth is we can only be held accountable if we want to be held accountable. You can’t impose accountability on anyone. They’re not going to receive it. We ultimately have to hold ourselves accountable. Where the tool has been official is if I were to tell you I’m going to exercise three days a week. I am exercising 5 or 6 days a week because of my accountability partners. They said, “Big A, if you’re going to last long-term, you’re going to have to stay in shape, and the only way you can do that is watching your diet and exercise.”
Dan, I’ll go on record, I initially hated to exercise. It’s something that I’ve never been good at, but I’m almost 60 and so I have to start paying attention to it. I’ve got a lot of people depending and counting on me. Every day, they would send a text message, “Did you exercise?” I didn’t want them to go, “Big A is a loser.” I didn’t exercise. I wanted to say, “Yes, I did.” I’ve exercised 3 to 6 times a week. I’ve hired a trainer. I love it now. I’m going to the gym because now I’m looking forward to it. I’m getting the benefit. I’m seeing the benefit. I’m feeling better. That would not have happened had I not had accountability. I would have still been like, “I’ll find something else to do.”
There are many areas. On a call, one of the questions is, would your family be pleased with everything that you’re watching on TV or looking at on the internet? This guy is an upstanding guy. He’s got money to burn. It’s not a problem for him, finances. He came on the call and he said, “I was out of town this week. To be honest with you, nobody would have been pleased with something that I watched online while I was gone.” I text him afterward and I said, “What’s the deal?” He said, “I was tired. I was alone. There was nobody there and I made a mistake.” The accountability tool is the reason that he fessed up. He said, “I want to be honorable. I want to tell you the truth.” The same way with exercising, the way we diet, the way we save money, the way you treat your wife, the way you treat your husband, these questions are on this accountability form. It may not make you do it. One that we put on there is, “Are you texting while driving?” That touches a nerve with a lot of people.
The thing is that I personally can attest to running over and killing a pedestrian. Thank God I wasn’t doing anything I shouldn’t have been doing. He ran out in front of me. He didn’t see me coming. Dan, what if it was a little kid on a bicycle, five-years-old, and you’re going through the neighborhood and you’re texting or checking Facebook, you run over that little kid? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go tell his mom, “Facebook or my texts couldn’t wait and now you’re not going to get to see your little boy get raised.” I don’t want that on my conscience. This accountability is making all these people think about their actions. Ultimately, we want to be responsible people. All I’ll say is accountability helps.
Think about that for yourself. What would happen for you if you had more clarity, more accountability day-to-day? Would it make you perform better? Would you go through some of the upper limits, so to speak, to get to that next level breakthrough? Having that Iron Sharpening Iron to make you better mentally, physically, socially, spiritually, emotionally, financially, what would that be worth for you? What would it be worth for you to have that type of clarity and accountability on certain areas of your business like the marketing you’re doing, the sales you’re doing, the finance, the operations, and a whole lot more? How would it impact you? That’s the power of masterminding. We’ve scratched the surface, Aaron.
I’ve got to tell one more, quick story. This is worth it. A guy called me, “Big A, I heard you’re on a podcast interview and I want to join your mastermind. Your mastermind dues are going to take a lot of my income.” I said, “How much do you make?” He told me and I said, “Our dues are not that much but compared to your income.” He said, “I don’t have a choice. Everything else I’ve tried has not worked out well.” I’ll tell you some figures. He said, “I’m making $18,000 a year.” He lives in Alberta, Canada. He said, “I’ve got to join. I’ve been following you for years. I love what you teach, your principles, your core values. I love everything you’re doing and I want to join.” I said, “This is a big part of your income.” He said, “I don’t have anything left. I’ve got to do it.”People are not going to trust you long term if you don't tell things exactly right. - Aaron Walker Click To Tweet
In eighteen months, his income went from $18,000 a year to $300,000 a year. The reason it did is that he was intensely focused. He got rid of all the distractions. He got rid of the shiny object syndrome. He narrowed his focus. He got in a niche market and he did the work every single day. We implemented the Brian Moran, The 12 Week Year program. He implemented that strategy in eighteen months, doing $300,000 a year. I said, “Why didn’t you do that before?” He said, “I didn’t have the accountability. I didn’t have the non-biased trusted advisors around me. I didn’t have to tell everybody every week what I was doing. I was doing my own thing and I was procrastinating and that’s our biggest enemy. I’ll do it next week. I’ll do it next month. I’ll do it next year. You guys wouldn’t let me up. You made me do it every week.” As a result of that, look at the financial gain that he had, plus in many other areas of his life. That’s one of dozens and dozens that have happened to over the course of being in these mastermind groups. It gives you that level of focus, Dan.
If you’re looking for that level of focus, I want to encourage you to connect with Aaron, connect with his group, connect with his resources, tools and more. Aaron, where can people go to learn more about what you’re up to?
I appreciate that. We’ve done two things that will be impactful to your audience. One is we would love to have you submit an application. If you’re a lady, we have an amazing Women’s Group that my wife and my daughter and another lady are heading up. They’re having huge success with the women’s groups. We have the Emerging Man. If you’re 20 to 25, we have a mastermind that has reduced price because it’s our way of giving back. We want to help you. You can join Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind. The easiest thing to do is to go to ViewFromTheTop.com and you can have total access to us there.
If you’re saying, “I would love to do masterminds but I want to start my own.” I had people that were calling and they were hiring me to teach them to do the mastermind groups. They were paying me ridiculous amounts of money to coach them. We have nineteen groups. We have a social proof and what we’re doing works. My daughter, which is the COO of our company, walked in my office one day and she said, “Why don’t we create a Playbook?” It took us a year to create this Playbook, our entire team. It is unbelievable, Dan. We teach you how to start, grow, and scale your own mastermind. There are 30 professional videos. There are 90 worksheets, tools, lead magnets and courses within the Playbook.
If you want to do it on your own, here’s what’s cool, two groups of ten people in a group is a six-figure income. I can’t tell you how many people, podcast host coaches, thought leaders, are adding this on and I’m teaching them exactly to do what we’ve done. Any of those things, reach out to me at ViewFromTheTop.com or go to TheMastermindPlaybook.com and schedule an appointment with one of our team members. We’ll be happy to discuss with you how you can do that also.
I want to encourage you to go check out what Aaron is doing and get access to his groups, his communities, his masterminds, ViewFromTheTop.com. If you’re looking for a way to add a tool to your business with as little as twenty people and adding six-figures to your business model, you might want to take a look at what Aaron can show you at TheMastermindPlaybook.com. Aaron, as we wind this down, the story of going from $18,000 to $300,000 and a main focus of this weekly accountability, what would you say? Let me speak to the elephant in the room here. Someone might be thinking or possibly reading going, “What about the guilt? What about the shame or the uncertain feeling of having the spotlight on me for my business and I’m not measuring up? I’m not good enough.” Speak to that a little bit.
We all have these voices in our head that says, “You’re not good enough. You can never measure up.” That’s the enemy. It’s a lie. I hear those things. I’ll lay in bed sometimes at night and I’ll go, “Robin, what if nobody hires me?” She goes, “Would you shut up and go to sleep? Are you crazy? You’re going to be fine.” I tell people that all the time. We all have those voices in our heads. Here’s the thing. The danger to me is, what am I missing? What is it that I could do that I’m not? For me, I don’t want to be successful at the wrong thing. I want to be successful in the right thing. I always say you’ve got to develop a mindset of, “I can do this.” It helps you to get around people that encourage you and edify you and lift your arms up and spur you on and to tell me the truth.
I’m fearful of missing an opportunity more than I’m fearful of failure. If you have a mindset of, “I can do it and I fear that I’m going to miss an opportunity.” If I don’t have these trusted advisors that can get all out of me that I was intended to do to push me, it’s why I have a trainer. When I’m lying on that bed and he goes, “Come on, you’ve got one more.” I’m like, “I would have set this down two reps ago.” It’s in that motion that the muscle tears down. I gave it 48 hours to rest and then I go back and I can do it again. That’s what mastermind members do for us, “Come on, you got this. You can push through.” It encourages me to have a team around me that helps me go to that next level. Dan, I wouldn’t even be remotely close to the success that I’ve had without the mastermind members that I’ve had for years. I want every one of your audience to experience the same.
How would it impact you if you could have the ability to have other peers that can help lift you up, that can help encourage you, that can help you do those extra reps to get to that next level? That’s what a mastermind can do. If you’re looking for a way to go to that next level, to break through some of those barriers, maybe if you’ve hit a plateau, then check out what Aaron has got available, ViewFromTheTop.com. If you want to add this type of model to your business streams of income, then go check out TheMastermindPlaybook.com. Aaron, what is something I should have asked you that we didn’t get a chance to cover in our time?
Don’t have the perception that if you do start a mastermind group, that you have to have all the answers. Dan, if you had a party at your house and you’ve invited us to your beautiful home, you’ve introduced us to your beautiful family, you’ve placed a setting at the table for us to sit down. People are not looking to you for all the answers. It’s all the guests. That’s what you’re able to do with The Mastermind Playbook. I would encourage you to think logically about what a mastermind group is. That’s where everybody, including the facilitator, participates, and then you too. I feel like, even daily, I need to be paying to be in the group that I host because I learned so much. It’s given me the opportunity to meet many amazing people, the opportunities that I’ve had to do other businesses, the people that I’ve hired.
It affords you many opportunities when you start hosting mastermind groups when you start participating. When you’re in a group with 150 participants like we have, you’re in a group of ten but you have total access, we’re in nine different countries. It gives you an introduction to all the states and to other countries. Relationships are our number one asset. When you’ve developed many relationships, it affords you other opportunities. Stop being in isolation, get involved in the community. Get involved in a mastermind group and it’ll take your life to new heights.
Isolation is the enemy of excellence. Think about it. What is it costing you if you lean your ladder on the wrong wall? Wouldn’t you want to find out what the right ladder or what right wall of success is? Save the time and money. That’s what a mastermind can help you do. If you want to get access to someone who’s got a diverse background, over 150 members, who still keeps it intimate and hasn’t forgotten his roots, forgotten where he’s come from and is a student of his process, then go check out what Aaron has put together for you at ViewFromTheTop.com.
Aaron, I like to shift things in a more personal basis as well. One of the greatest masterminds we all have to a degree is at home when we have the right relationship. You brought up Robin numerous times not only in this show but also in some of our previous interviews as well. Speak to the mastermind that you have with Robin and what it’s meant for you. That time that you shared the story in a previous segment where you went more into detail about the accident and overcoming that, what was it like with Robin? What did she do for you to help you transform and get through that experience?
I hope I can make this through emotional because Robin is near and dear to my heart, obviously. She’s my biggest advocate. Robin and I started dating in high school. Two weeks after we graduated, we got married. Robin has always been there for me to spur me on, whether it was accomplishing something in business or for our family. She’s always been my rock in every situation, that’s because we pay each other the same respect. We’ve built clear boundaries. We’ve built a framework for our marriage that is uncompromised, the things, the values that we stand for. Robin and I, we’re Christian by faith. Our common denominator is Christ. That’s where we go when we have an impasse. That’s where we go when there’s something in our marriage that we can’t work out.Don't look at masterminds as an expense. It's an investment. - Aaron Walker Click To Tweet
We’ve been open to counseling. We have someone that we’ve been going to for years, not when just things are bad but when things are good because we want to make sure we’re maximizing our relationship. Robin will go independent of me. I will with her. Sometimes we’ll go together. We want to be sure that we’re living our life to its full potential. Life is an adventure and I don’t want to miss it. We don’t get to do over. This is the only opportunity that we’ve got to give it all we’ve got.
If you’re married, I want you to look at your spouse in the same way. I want you to maximize those opportunities as you go forward and have a great life. You’re going to have ups and downs. Where there are two of you together, you can accomplish so much more than when you’re doing it alone. I would say great communication, outserve your spouse. If you can put your faith and confidence in your faith like Robin and I have, it will also give you that common denominator that you can go to when times are tough and situations are at a crossroads. For us, that’s the way we’ve handled our relationship.
I’m curious when you are being adventurous in your business, maybe to a degree where Robin feels that you’re being too adventurous in your business, how does that show up? How does that communication take place?
Robin, if she were here, she trusts me implicitly to make the decisions for our family. I’ll get her counseled. At the end of the day, she wants me to make the decision. She said, “You’ve gotten us this far and I trust that you’ll take care of us for the remainder of our life. I know that you’re not going to do anything that’s going to adversely affect us to the best of your ability.” Robin will give me that right. We do pray about decisions that we make. We do consult each other. As I get older, I will say this, I’ve got somewhat of a formula. I don’t have as long to recover now as I did when I was a young man. I’ve got to be a little bit more cautious.
There’s a percentage of our net worth that we’re willing to venture. I would suggest that would work for most couples, not a dollar amount but a percentage of your net worth. It’s like investing in the market. There’s a certain amount that you will put in bonds and securities. There’s a certain percentage that you would invest that would be a little riskier. For us, we’ve got that percentage that we’re willing. I’ll take a rough ride but I don’t want to do anything at this point that will knock us out of our saddle. She will defer to me on the majority of our business decisions.
What can you remember, Aaron, has been your toughest business learning lesson mistake, error, that you made and what did you learn from it?
It goes back to what we’ve already been talking about. I thought that I had all the answers. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I was always thinking, “I’m a smart guy. I’ve sold a company to a Fortune 500 at an early age. I’ve had some real estate success.” It got me in trouble believing in my own press clippings. When I had a schedule that was unmonitored and I had plenty of money, that’s a recipe for disaster. What I needed was more advisors at that time. I needed more people around me to help me make better decisions. Quite honestly, Dan, it almost got me in real trouble. I would suggest that you have an accountability group.
For years, I’ve been meeting every Friday morning at 6:00 AM with three guys and they ask me these pointed questions that hold me accountable. I have an accountability group inside of our organization that holds me accountable for the things that we talked about earlier. I have an advisors team and our facilitators that ask me pointed questions. I avail myself for them to ask any questions that they want and that has served me well. It kept me from making terrible decisions. When you’re making those decisions alone, you don’t have privy to many things that you need to know from those trusted advisors. I would suggest, get that accountability group, get those trusted advisors, get that mastermind group in place, and it will save you from a lot of heartaches.
If you want to learn how to put something like this in place and get connected to an amazing community or Iron Sharpens Iron, men or women or emerging men, go check out ViewFromTheTop.com. Speak to the elephant in the room, Aaron, on this idea. There might be somebody reading, they might say to themselves, “Aaron, I appreciate that for others. We need that support. I’m a freer spirit and I’m more intuitive as an entrepreneur. Having that type of tight accountability might limit my ability to grow.” Speak to that, I’ll even call it out, misthinking.
Let’s go back to the original group that I’ve referred to earlier. When Dave Ramsey invited me to join his mastermind group, it’s no secret. I’m not sharing anything I shouldn’t. Dave can pretty much do anything he wants to financially. He’s got a company. He’s on 800 radio stations around the world. He has 1,000 employees. He could pretty much do anything he wanted to, obviously. He elects to have a trusted advisor group. We were called The Eagles. Dan Miller has 48 Days to the Work you Love. Dan has been successful. Ken Abraham has written over a hundred books for Payne Stewart, Joel Osteen, you name it. He wrote Lisa Beamer’s book, Let’s Roll! The list goes on. He sold tens of millions of copies of books. He’s a free-spirited guy and he’s an artist, needless to say. He chooses to have people in his corner, ten people that advise him, and give him feedback.
Jeff Moseley is a good friend of mine, he owned INO Records. MercyMe is one of his labels. A successful guy, he’s an artsy guy. He has a record label. He chooses to have people in his corner. Other people see you differently than you see yourself. When you have these trusted advisors, it makes common sense. Somebody asked me, “How far back these masterminds go?” I said, “Jesus had twelve around him and he could have probably done anything he wanted to do as well for those in the faith, but he chose twelve people to surround him, ongoing, to help him make decisions.” It’s the same.
There’s not a person listening to my voice that has all the answers, not one. Why would you not subject yourself to the scrutiny of other people that could help maximize your potential rather than trying to figure it out on your own and go down that path? The school of hard knocks is tough and sometimes it can knock you down and it can keep you there longer than you want to stay. I elect to open myself up to a select group of people that can help me make the best decision. If you have the general consensus of the multitude, more than likely, they’re going to give you good feedback.
If you want good feedback, if you want to see your highest potential, if you want to get to that next level, find a way to connect to a group of like-minded people. Ideally, go check out what Aaron has put together at ViewFromTheTop.com. A quick story, I had been a part of masterminds, coaching, consulting, advisor groups, for years. I remember in one group that I had gotten and I had sold a company substantially. It was a high eight-figure company that I sold. I went through a serious depression. Rather than getting connected to the group, I disconnected out of embarrassment, out of humiliation. I thought I was the only one. I went into this place of isolation. I went through this for months and months. It was a hard time. I got reconnected.
It was one of the greatest learning lessons because when I finally got the truth and I was able to be vulnerable enough to open and not let the voices get in my heart’s way, I was able to share what I was feeling. Sixty percent of the room was like, “We’ve been there. Why did you do this to yourself?” It cost me probably six months of serious pain. I don’t want to see that happen to you. Whether it’s our group, whether it’s Aaron’s group, some group, get connected to a peer group, a mastermind concept, it will transform your life. It will transform your relationships. It will transform your business. ViewFromTheTop.com, check out what he’s got available for you. Aaron, what would be 1 to 3 action steps that you would hope our readers would take from our time together?
Obviously, get involved in a group. Even if you can’t afford to get in a group at this time, many people tell me that all the time, and I always say, “It’s not an expense. It’s an investment.” You’re going to see returns as you’ve never envisioned possible. Don’t look at it as an expense. It’s an investment. The next thing, if you say, “I don’t have it,” get an accountability group. Get 3 or 4 people that are in your community that you can meet with on a regular basis. Share your heart and they can give you directions, it’s the next thing that I would do. Simply avail yourself to the scrutiny of other people.
I do an exercise that you can do as well. I’ll write out ten questions and I’ll send it to people that know me the best. I will say, “How do you see me interacting with these people? How do you see me? Am I condescending? Am I arrogant? Am I humble? Am I willing to take advice?” I’ll ask 8 or 10 hard questions and that will give you a sense of direction as to some of the things that you could do to possibly find some people in your community that you could associate with. I know that you think you want me to get in your group, get in any group. It doesn’t matter to me. We’re doing fine. I would love to have you. It’s not for everybody. Our groups are not, because we’re regimented. We’re methodical. We get it done. If you don’t show up, we ask you to leave. We’re not a coffee club. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s for people that want to move their life to the next level. Think through it. If you’re interested, reach out to me at ViewFromTheTop.com. I’d love to have a chat with you.
I want to encourage you to go check out what Aaron is doing. He’s got fascinating tools, resources, strategies, of course, the mastermind, ViewFromTheTop.com. Aaron, it’s been such a pleasure to have you with us to share your wisdom, insight and all the amazing things that you’re doing. You’re changing lives and what a gift.
Thank you. I appreciate it, Dan. Thanks a lot. Have a good rest of the day.
You too. I want to encourage you, take action with what Aaron has shared with you. What would it be worth to have accountability day-to-day? Iron does sharpen iron day-to-day. What would it be worth to have peer support, to have trusted advisors, a board of advisors to help counsel you mentally, physically, socially, spiritually, emotionally on business areas, personal areas, and spiritual areas? How would it impact the game for you? What’s it costing you if you aren’t and if you don’t? Put two people side by side. Person A has this type of accountability, masterminding, whatever you want to call it, the support. Person B is a leaf in the wind trying to go at it alone. Which one is going to get better results? I would buy for A. We want you to be an A. We want you to get the results. We want maximum success, maximum potential, the next level breakthrough. It starts with you. Make the decision. Find a way, whether it’s Aaron’s community, our community, some community. Go check out what Aaron has got at View From The Top. Thanks for being with us. You never want to miss an episode. Go to GrowthToFreedom.com/subscribe. Seize the day. We’ll see you next time on GrowthToFreedom.com.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Iron Sharpens Iron
- View From the Top
- The 12 Week Year
- Women’s Group
- Emerging Man
- 48 Days to the Work you Love
- Payne Stewart
- Let’s Roll!
About Aaron Walker
Aaron Walker has founded more than a dozen companies over the past 41 years. He attributes much of his success to having surrounded himself with his mastermind counterparts. Aaron spent a decade meeting weekly with Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Ken Abraham, and five other amazing entrepreneurs.
Aaron is the founder of Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind that now hosts 15 groups with National and International members. Aaron is the author of View From The Top, a must-read to fully understand how to live a life of success and significance.
Also, the founder of The Mastermind Playbook an incredible resource for starting, running, and scaling masterminds. Aaron lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Robin of 40 years and he has two incredible daughters and five beautiful grandchildren.