How Do You Build True Influence? The Mastermind Guide

Aaron Walker
Jan 29, 2021


One reason I’m comfortable focusing on others is how I view God - as a Father who cares about me. I trust Him to make time and provision for things I want and need.

If there’s one line that’s become a popular quote from Stephen Covey, it’s this one from his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:



We must seek first to understand, then to be understood.”



It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But you can imagine how difficult it is to actually do. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve walked into a conversation thinking mainly about myself, I’d be getting ranked up there with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.



Today, I want to dig deep on this, because if it takes me 1000 more blogs just to get people to see it, it’s worth the effort. We aren’t interested in understanding others, are we? We’re interested in being understood, and that’s the problem. The two go together. Like the old Frank Sinatra tune, “You can’t have one without the other.”



If you’re a Christian life coach like me, this equation gets even more difficult. But I learned from my mentor, Bob Warren - you have to reach a point in life where you’re sick of talking about yourself. I used to watch him interact with people, and never breathe a word about his astounding success and achievements.



I wondered how Bob did it. Now I know. Seeking first to understand involves a conscious decision to “shut down” your internal self, the one constantly crying for attention.



You have to trust that there will be time and provision for your wants and needs. I think one reason most people don’t behave that way is their faith needs maturing.



One reason I’m comfortable focusing on others is how I view God - as a Father who cares about me. I trust Him to make time and provision for things I want and need. When I take this approach, He consistently comes through for me.



If that’s how people behave when they know and trust their Father, it’s not surprising that so many people do the opposite … because they don’t know and trust Him. Why would they?



We’re swimming in a fatherless culture, where strong male role models are a dying breed. We have a hard time explaining God as Father in the church. A lot of people get a bad impression of fathers from their own dads.



Maybe some of this strikes a nerve with you. I know it would with me, if I wasn’t surrounded and supported by the members of our online mastermind groups. Even though I had a great father … I know how I can get if I’m isolated.



Maybe you’ve gone dry, dull or worse in 2020. It’s time to wake up! One way you can do that is by joining one of our groups. I encourage you to head over and apply straight away!



Why Go The Road Less Traveled?


It can feel awkward, even foolish at first to choose the road less traveled… until it starts to work.

I don’t know exactly what F. Scott Fitzgerald was thinking about when he wrote The Road Less Traveled. But I know what I think about when I choose that road. It can feel awkward, even foolish at first … until it starts to work. Let’s talk about the two roads you can take, in understanding other people.



We live in a world full of people whose only thought is themselves. That’s what authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne call a “red ocean strategy.” There are sharks everywhere when you go that route, and blood in the water. That’s the first road.



But what if someone meets you, and you’re as curious as a detective at a mystery dinner theater … about them? After spending most of their time interacting with other self-centered people, what kind of an oasis would you be, because you actually care?



I’ve always believed this about Bob, my mentor: one reason he was so successful is because people found him to be like a loving father. He was patient, kind, curious, gentle, strong, wise and discerning.



Just like what you’d expect from a good father - he knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.



Why shouldn’t you be that man, or woman? What could possibly be bad about becoming like Bob?



“Nothing,” you might say. “It’s just that nobody looks at me that way.”



Well, I’d question your assumptions. You never know for sure how people really look at you. But if you’re feeling a little unnoticed or under-appreciated, it might be time to rethink the way you do things.



Let me tell you a story I recently heard, that gave me a “glimpse” of what we’re really doing in ISI.



A man I’ve mentored over the last year contributes to our team in a number of ways. He transformed from being broke into becoming a successful entrepreneur and CEO.



As his business grew, he couldn’t keep up with the demand for his service, so he hired some young Millennials to work with him.



Using the example he’d experienced in our business masterminds … he started running his team meetings the same way. He created an entire company culture based on ISI mastermind meetings.



He had no idea of the impact on these young people. But one day, shortly before Christmas, one of them showed up at his door with a personalized gift they’d all pitched in to buy for him.



They all sent handwritten cards and notes of appreciation for his leadership. And all he did was imitate what he’d learned how to do in our online meetings!



Does this make you curious about masterminds? I encourage you to apply, and experience the difference for yourself. Follow this link to get your application in today.



How To Understand, So You Can Be Understood



I don’t know why I’ve never put this into words, but I realized one day - our mastermind business is a huge success because we value story. Every person we serve has a story.



They have memories - recent experiences, successes and failures that they recall.



They have current challenges - issues, relationships and tasks they’re working through.



And they have fears and aspirations - how they feel about things that have yet to happen.



But … does our shallow culture care about any of this?



We can learn more about fictional characters in Star Wars on YouTube than we can about our next-door neighbor’s latest “wins.” But one helps sell advertising, while the other appears to be a waste of our own time, at best.



If this is how we look at people’s stories, I will gladly take the road less traveled until my dying day. Who wants to be part of such an empty, shallow, insincere culture?



But when our mastermind groups show up, the first thing we talk about is wins. Recent, uplifting stories of success, victory, recovery, improvement, fun and growth. Wins fire me up. If you and I ever speak by phone or Zoom ... lead off with a win.



The next item we always cover is man in the middle. This is a chance for our members to reveal the parts of life that are currently not working. Relationship struggles, difficulties in business, life changes - we face them together, and dig deep to find the true source of the pain.



Finally, we look for resolutions and set goals. We talk about what we expect to see in members’ lives, as they take action to turn things around. This is our way of pointing toward an improving future, where members overcome upper limit challenges, and score a new set of wins.



As I thought about it, I realized - this is the way life is really supposed to go. From victory, to struggle, to victory again. It’s the “rocket fuel” of mastermind groups.



Do you want to be part of this? If so, I encourage you to head over to our website and get your application turned in!

Begin Your Climb!

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