Welcome to The Dare to Scale Show

Episode 4

How a Peer Group Mastermind Can Work for You

In today's Dare to Scale show, we sit down with Dhiren Bhatia of Elevated Entrepreneur Podcast to talk about a topic very dear and near to us, a Mastermind group. This was first described by Napoleon Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich, as a group of peers who come together to solve their problems with input and advice from one another.
Tune in to learn more about what a mastermind group is, how it operates, and why it is so powerful for you to be a part of, if you want to absolutely level up in your business.
Episode Highlights:
  • 06:35 The difference between a facilitated mastermind and a casual, social mastermind
  • 07:25 Where did the concept of a mastermind come from and why is it so essential for any founder, business owner, or entrepreneur to be a part of?
  • 12:42 The role of accountability in achieving your goals
  • 13:41 What Pearson's Law is all about
  • 18:58 Is having a coach just the same as having a mastermind?
  • 20:34 The 3 different layers every business owner, founder or entrepreneur needs to surround themselves with
  • 30:12 How a mastermind group works or operates
  • 31:30 Differences between an in-person and online mastermind session
  • 39:04 How does being under the spotlight or hot seat figure into the mastermind
  • 44:00 The importance of having a mindset of adaptability and how one learns to ask open, honest and laser-focused, solution-driven questions
  • 50:00 The greatest thing about being part of a mastermind
Dhiren Bhatia's Top 3 tips for anyone looking to be part of a mastermind:
- Surround yourself with your support networks, and multiple layers of that (a coach, mastermind, and a group of mentors with specific expertise in your chosen industry)
- Your mastermind group doesn't have to be from the same industry. The more diverse, the better.
- Find a group facilitator.
Evan Le Clus' Takeaways:
- Accountability – coming to the table, being honest with what you want to talk about, take advice from the group go away and report back on it, do something about it and report back what you did. It validates the time that everybody else spent helping you.
- Check the ego at the door – When we realize that we don't know everything, we're actually opening ourselves up to the possibility of learning something from somebody else. It's okay to empty your cup a little bit so you can put more in.
- Consistency – Showing up month after month after month because that way, you receive the value.
Warsha Joshi's Takeaways:
- Be authentic in sharing when you sit down to share, to help yourself and help your business. Trust the process, trust the people around you, trust the facilitator holding you up.
- Take the brainstorming solutions that are coming to you without judgment.
- You get what you give, sit down with a perspective not to take away, but to give. Sit down to add value to your peers, put that as your priority, and you will notice you will actually walk away 10x than the effort that you put in.
Episode Transcript
Warsha 0:01

Welcome to the Dare to Scale show with me Warsha.

Evan 0:05

And me, Evan.

Warsha 0:06

So, what is Dare to Scale? Over the years that we've been coaching founders and business owners, much like yourselves, we work through a framework called Dare to Scale.

Evan 0:17

Dare to Scale, indeed. That framework has helped loads of business owners. And that is what this show is all about. So put on your big picture, thinking hat.

Warsha 0:28

Oh, and your headphones, and come join us and enjoy the ride.

Hello Hello, you guys. Welcome to today's wonderful episode, my name is Warsha your host.

Evan 0:44

And I'm Evan, your other host.

Warsha 0:46

Your other host. And today, there is going to be a third voice on this mastermind. And that is of Dhiren Bhatia, who also runs his own show called The Elevated Entrepreneur. And we are today going to be talking about a fabulous topic called masterminds.

Evan 1:03

The masterminds and the value that you get as an individual as a business owner. So, your giving and taking and the value that you get from being associated with a bunch of really great likeminded people. Stay tuned to the end, where we help you identify that transformation you'll go through when you've been part of a mastermind.

Dhiren 1:21

So, Warsha, Evan, welcome to a fantastic cross collaboration episode. We're doing an episode, or Dare to Scale podcast, as well as the Elevated Entrepreneur. It's a first for me, and I'm super excited.

Warsha 1:35

It's a first for us as well

Evan 1:37

Absolutely first for us as well it's a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to be chatting together.

Dhiren 1:41

Absolutely. And I wanted all of us to get together and talk about a topic that's near and dear to all of us called masterminds. And I've been a member now for some time. And I think it would be great for all of our audiences to really understand what it is and what it can do for them and for their business.

Warsha 1:58


Evan 1:59

Just peel back some of the mystique.

Dhiren 2:01


Warsha 2:02

Yeah, before we go into what is a mastermind and why mastermind, I want to ask you why did you even think about talking about a mastermind Dhiren?

Dhiren 2:13

That's a great question. I have been a member of mastermind, and a founding member and I've been a member now almost under two years. And it's been a phenomenal experience. And I feel that that learning that elevation that has happened to me as an entrepreneur, because of that mastermind is worth sharing. There's so much mind space that has grown, and the ability to make decisions faster, quicker, because I had this Hi, I wanted to bring that to my audience as well and show them how this is helpful. Now, I know that both of you also run a mastermind because I am part of your masterminds. What made you come to this discussion about masterminds?

Warsha 2:52

Oh, you want to take that.

Evan 2:56

Is the opportunity to share how powerful they are. And then from our perspective, when you're facilitating the actual mastermind, itself, that's one thing to lead the group through the thought process. And that's obviously a structured peer to peer group. But equally, it sharing the value that we see that comes out of the group. And the power that you have in the group is just something you cannot put a price on.

Dhiren 3:22

Absolutely agreed. Warsha, what are your thoughts?

Warsha 3:26

As Evan said, so rightly, when you're facilitating something like this? facilitating it in itself is a very rewarding process. And importantly, why we are here is because when you see people's faces, when they get their AHA's, when they walk away with value that they hadn't even thought that's going to come out of this, as facilitators, we think that there should be more people being part of something so phenomenal. Because if there is one thing that's going to help their businesses aside from getting a coach or a mentor, it's actually learning from your peers. And so few people know what this is, and even fewer are actually part of one.

Dhiren 4:11

Absolutely. I'm probably jumping ahead; I was going to talk about being in the hot seat. That's one of the funniest experiences you can have as a mastermind member, we'll come back to that.

Evan 4:21

And what we should share is both of us have actually sat in the hot seat.

Warsha 4:25

That is true we have.

Evan 4:27

So, as far as that goes, we know how uncomfortable that can be.

Dhiren 4:30

I actually didn't know that you guys had in the hot seat too.

Warsha 4:31

We do because would you believe we're actually part of our own mastermind?

Dhiren 4:32

I did not know that.

Warsha 4:31

Yeah, but just as a coach always has a coach. And if we're running a mastermind, we are actually part of our own mastermind as well.

Dhiren 4:33

This is like a meeting of the gods then.

Evan 4:47

Absolutely. Mingle with!

Dhiren 4:54

So, you guys have your own mastermind and then you facilitate one.

Evan 4:57

Exactly we practice what we preach.

Dhiren 4:59


Evan 5:00

It really does help peel those onion layers back.

Warsha 5:04

Dhiren you are part of the Dare to Scale mastermind, aren't you?

Dhiren 5:07

I am Yes.

Warsha 5:09

So, what is a mastermind?

Dhiren 5:12

I'll go first, I'll give you my take on it.

Warsha 5:12


Dhiren 5:13

As I was saying earlier, it's a meeting of the minds. It's a place where I be myself, whether that's fearful, unsure, it's a safe place for me to come into, and really just unload my fears. And in return, I get a lot of love and support from my members from my peers. And I get to utilize their brain space in making a decision.

Evan 5:38

If you guys, look, there are many kinds of masterminds all the way from social to business, peer to peer groups. And as far as that goes, with the peer group, the like mindedness is definitely a very good starting point. So, similar kind of experiences in business, for example, where somebody is in a different industry, but has had the challenge that you're facing. So, there's been a solution. And that can be shared as part of the mastermind as a way forward. Nothing any of us have done has not been done before. So, what we're doing is we're leveraging that collective intelligence, and by everybody coming together, and you essentially creating like an additional mind, if you will, that just taps into the universe. It's a really satiric in a way. But you know what, it is so powerful, and it actually does work. So, you get that experience is on the table, and there's AHA's everywhere. And you find that way forward.

Dhiren 6:34

So, what I heard there was there's a peer to peer board, which is facilitated versus non facilitated?

Evan 6:42

Definitely, there's many flavors.

Warsha 6:43

Yes. So, there were two points that you made Evan, and one was the facilitated versus the casual the social masterminds, if you will, which, in a way could just be your hobby network. That's a mastermind in itself. Because when you are part of a hobby, and your fellow hobbyists come together, you are learning from each other, you are practicing that hobby together, because as you learn from each other, you're all growing at the same pace at the same state and you're all headed towards a similar destination. Like what you said, it is about tapping into the collective intelligence and thus the other point that you were making. I want to add a little bit about that. When we say what is a mastermind, maybe it's useful to know, where did this all start? So, who first coined the word mastermind, what is a mastermind? So, as you said, when people come together, you're almost creating a third mind tapping into the universe. But it was exactly like that. Just over 100 years ago, when Napoleon Hill brought out the book, Think and Grow Rich, he first talked about a mastermind in that I'm sure anybody who's read the book would remember that the book was almost a project given to Napoleon Hill to research to look into the lives of successful men in those days successful business women and what made them successful.

Evan 8:04

It was almost like best practices of his time.

Warsha 8:06

Best practices yeah, what were they doing differently, that they were achieving these results and achieving these heights of success. And one of the things that he talked about was a mastermind, because what he noticed that these people, in today's terminology, hang around together. So, these people formed that little group in those days, but instead of calling it a mastermind, they came together at regular intervals, and talked about where they were in their creative journey on their business journey. Say, for example, one of the earliest known masterminds is the mastermind that was formed between Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and a few others. So, they would meet regularly and talk about their own individual journeys and present some of the challenges they may be facing. That is what Napoleon Hill first identified as when two people come together, what you're creating is a third mind. And that third mind, is that higher mind that you're creating, which is where the creative ideas now going to flow from. In a sense, that is what a mastermind is.

Dhiren 9:17

Absolutely. I just want to go back one step. So, I'm actually part of something very similar what you mentioned earlier, which is called an unstructured mastermind, and I'm part of that too, in addition to being part of the Dare to Scale board, and there's a marked difference. And I wanted to just draw some color around that. So, like you said, all it is a bunch of friends who meet together, we're all entrepreneurs are great friends, and we get together on a monthly basis, we help each other out with some problems. That is very different from what a mastermind is, and especially a structured mastermind, right?

Evan 9:47

I think it is very, very different. If there's one thing that you find that's noticeably different, what is it?

Dhiren 9:54

The lack of a facilitator? It makes a huge difference.

Evan 9:58

Is there anything else I'm actually looking specifically for?

Dhiren 10:02

I think it also accountability that it is. In that group, we say we'll do things. And we'll say we'll come back to this. But there's no push behind to say, Have I done it.

Evan 10:14

There's no consequence.

Dhiren 10:15

Yeah. And I just wanted to draw that out for our listeners to know there is a difference in an actual mastermind, which is facilitated accountability LED, whereas you can also meet for fun, not that we need funding with for purpose, but it's more.

Evan 10:27

It's less serious stuff. And you're getting ideas from people around the table. But what can be like a solution that can be used for a particular problem. And that's fantastic. As you said, there may not be accountability on it. It reminds me of a long time ago, there was a guy I used to work with, he said, either stop complaining or do something.

Warsha 10:45


Evan 10:46

It really is. If you're coming to the mastermind, and you keep presenting the same problem, dude, do something. You're not draining us of all of our support and love for you do something.

Dhiren 10:57

100% are there any other types of masterminds? So, we've talked about a facilitated versus, and facilitated.

Warsha 11:05

Again, it just goes back to what I said earlier Dhiren, anyone who comes together to talk about a common topic is a mastermind, like your hobbies club is a mastermind in itself, because you're coming there for a specific purpose. Maybe you go rock climbing, that's a mastermind episode.

Dhiren 11:21

Because you're aligned by your purpose in your vision.

Warsha 11:24


Evan 11:25

Common purpose.

Warsha 11:25

Common purpose, and you're all headed towards the same destination. So, when we are now specifically talking about the peer to peer groups, or you're talking about the social versus a facilitated mastermind, I think we are talking more from the context of a business mastermind. So, a mastermind really is where you come together for a common purpose.

Evan 11:50

Look within a business, we call it brainstorming. Right? So, you come together with the various heads of department and you brainstorm on a way forward and opinion in a particular challenge. That is still a mastermind. So, it may have different names applied to it. But the underlying purpose and the underlying result that you're looking for is fairly common.

Dhiren 12:10

Right? You brought up a good point, I could have a mastermind within my own organization, with my team members and department heads. But I think I want to draw out the interesting fact here. And we were talking about this affair, maybe as entrepreneurs, we don't hold ourselves accountable, we don't answer to anybody as such.

Warsha 12:26


Dhiren 12:27

So when you're in that team, lead mastermind, you're typically the person that's running the show, which is very different from my experience with Dare to Scale, where I'm not the one that's sort of leading the charge.

Warsha 12:37


Dhiren 12:38

And also being held accountable. You guys do want to talking about that idea of accountability.

Warsha 12:41

Absolutely, because when you are the founder of your own business, you are, as I call it, the top of the food chain, whether your team actually does hold you accountable or not. We don't allow ourselves to be held accountable. Very rarely do we allow ourselves to be held accountable. So, when you are the founder, and you are setting up KPIs and targets and goals for the rest of your team and your business as a whole? What about you? What about the things that you said you will do? And that's why when you are part of a peer to peer group for your own business and use it that as a part of that board or that group, you are opening yourself up to be held accountable. And that's, as Evan always talks about the Pearson's Law. And that actually comes on its own when you're part of that peer to peer group and you are now as an individual are being held accountable for what you do within your business.

Dhiren 13:41

What is the Pearson's law?

Evan 13:42

Pearson's law is where something is measured, performance improves.

Dhiren 13:47

I love that!

Evan 13:48

The way something is measured and reported back, the rate of acceleration increases. So, that is the feedback of the accountability piece. I started going to do X. When you next convene, you give feedback on what you actually did. So now everybody's listening. So, the mastermind has given you time and effort to help with your issue. When you come back and report what has actually happened, they get the validation that it was a worthwhile effort. You get the validation as somebody who's in the hot seat, that you've actually moved forward. And it's no longer the same challenge. So it's wonderful.

Dhiren 14:27

I love that. I love I learned two things I Think and Grow Rich because I haven't read that book and the Pearson's law. I love it.

Warsha 14:34

How have we been working together for so long? Your never read the book.

Dhiren 14:37

It is on my list.

Warsha 14:38


Dhiren 14:39

The problem with bookstores just keep getting new books and they keep jumping.

Evan 14:43

Well, that's the thing, right? That happens in our house. We just read this with Nixon is a huge pile of really good stuff to read. And I think come on man. So, what was interesting about when you said at the top of the food chain and not being sort of held accountable All, because you're not accustomed to anybody challenging you. Right?

Dhiren 15:04


Evan 15:05

That's one of the great reasons to actually get a coach, unless you're a huge adamant person about this, where you become the friend of the business.

Warsha 15:14


Evan 15:15

And as friend of the business, you peel away the layers, and the owners who's working with you is either going to get so uncomfortable and want to run away. Or they just suck it up, and actually then open up. And that leads to the adaptability suppose.

Dhiren 15:30

100% I have to share a funny story.

Evan 15:32

Please do!

Dhiren 15:33

I have to tell you a story about how I met to Warsha.

Warsha 15:34


Evan 15:36

Oh good! I know.

Warsha 15:38

I want to hear this because I don't know if I remember this.

Dhiren 15:41

So back in 2017, I've just started a scrappy startup. I'm doing everything myself. I'm selling and picking the phone delivering the goods picking the cheques. And in December 2017, I'm sick and tired. I'm thinking there must be a better way of doing this. And mutual friend Ramsi introduced me to Warsha.

Warsha 15:56

That's right?

Dhiren 15:57
He says, why don't you go to Warsha, find a so be it Warsha. I meet Warsha and Warsha, like, tell me your top three problems. I said, I don't think I'm in the right business. I don't think business is making money. And I want to go home, I want to go back to Canada. And she said, Let's take this one at a time. And the first thing she said was, look, I'm here as a front of the business, like you just said. So, a coach is indeed someone who is the front of the business. And in that story Warsha obviously spent a lot of time with me. And she understood that there is obviously merit in the business. And I was just being silly about my head about all these confusing emotions that were conjoined and causing a lot of confusion totally. But you're right, I've been a coach is a friend of the business. And their priority is to really sort the business owner so that the business continues. Warsha I don't know if you want to add anything to that story.

Warsha 16:44

I want to add something to the story, it may or may not make it to the final cut. But I think the point number three was the overriding one of all this, I want to go back to Toronto. Oh good one there.

Evan 16:56

It's nothing silly about where you were.

Warsha 16:59

Yeah absolutely not.

Evan 17:00

It was your reality at that time. And where the coach steps in is to help just peel back those onion layers and say, well, let's work out what's important to you. If it is go back to Canada, let's work out why. And if that's valid, work towards it, if the business model is actually stronger than they want to go home, you know what, let's focus on that.

Warsha 17:19

Do you know this is actually a great point to make. Because when, as a founder, or just as human beings, when we have a emotionally connected issue or a challenge that we're facing, that tends to overflow in all our decisions, business or personal or otherwise. And then those other areas where it's flowing into seems like the bigger problem than the core of it, because we want to keep that hidden, we want to almost not pay attention to that, because we don't want to address it, because maybe we don't even know how to address it. So, everything else starts becoming like a really big issue. And then because we're so close to the situation, we don't see a way out. And that's one of the greatest things about being part of the mastermind. So, when you are actually presenting your topic for discussion, what the mastermind, and again, I keep going back to that facilitator space, what that mastermind will do for you is because they are far away from that particular topic much further than you are, they're able to see actually where the problem lies. And because they are your accountability people, they're your accountability group, they will fearlessly peel away everything and goes straight for the juggler and say, actually, Dhiren, is this really the problem? Or is that really the problem? And what have you done about it?

Dhiren 18:48

Yep, I want to go back one step. So how do you think this differs from a coach? In your experience? I'll tell you my version. But I want to hear from you. Where do you think the difference is between a coach and a mastermind in this case?

Warsha 18:59

A coach is an individual conversation between you and another person. The coach's role is to a of course, be the friend of the business at the same time, ask you specific questions and get those answers out of you because we all have those answers hidden. So, the coach and you is more that individual in-depth conversation where you going through your own discovery, as well as going through discoveries for your business. Whereas when you are part of a peer-to-peer, a group or a mastermind, while you're going through those individual discoveries as well, you are actually learning one that no problem is unique. While you're going through this, you suddenly become a little bit more comfortable and breathe easy knowing that there are 10 others who probably gone through the same thing. And second, you are learning from each of these different people as to how they tackle this particular issue. So, as opposed to when you sit with a coach, it's what your answers that come out lead to the discovery, when you're part of a mastermind. It's the answers from 10 different perspectives that suddenly make you sit up and think, Okay, so this was just one perspective, not that the here are 10 different ways I could resolve this. So, it just that one too many kind of an approach. And it's not just one or the other. Remember.

Dhiren 20:26

It could be a combination.

Warsha 20:27

it needs to be a combination, there is no such thing as Oh, maybe I'll just get a coach and not be part of a mastermind. There are three different layers at a minimum that every business owner, or founder or entrepreneur, however you describe yourself, needs to surround yourself with your immediate inner layer is your coach. Your second layer is your peer to peer board, or your peer to peer group or your mastermind. And the third layer is a selection of mentors or subject matter mentors that you go to to tap into their expertise.

Dhiren 21:05

For very specific problem.

Warsha 21:06

For very specific problems. So, this could be very specific industry leaders, where you go into and say why you are an industry leader, I am following you give me two tips on what I can do really well today. So, there are three layers that you need to surround yourself. And that's pretty much our recommendation. So, it's not just one or the other. This is your support system.

Dhiren 21:28


Warsha 21:29

It's a combination.

Evan 21:30

Because the coach is not necessarily an expert in your business, may not even be a business expert either. But it's getting the drawing out the information out of you.

Dhiren 21:39

And I think a lot of people may think that your coach has to be in your executive business. In fact, quite the opposite.

Evan 21:45

It's almost the less they know, the better. So, they can come in and actually see it for what it is and draw the information out of you. The peer group are all same sort of level, same mindset, if you will, running their own businesses, and they will see it from their industry's perspective and their experience in business. The mentor is a subject matter expert. So, my background is CFO, for example. I'm very much an expert in that sort of area. And I've been there and done it. So, I can speak intelligently about what it is that you need to look for sales marketing, not so much. I have some experience, but I'm not an expert there. So that's where the differences in those layers that you're talking about.

Warsha 22:29

Very much so you're gonna share your experience Dhiren.

Dhiren 22:32

Yeah, I was gonna finish that story. So, I met Warsha and Warsha is like, tell me your problems. I solve the problems. After three sessions. She slapped me in the head. She says.

Warsha 22:42


Dhiren 22:43

I mean metaphorically ya ya metaphorically, figuratively.

Evan 22:44

It's like the TV show back at the head is a wakeup call.

Dhiren 22:47

Yes, indeed, it was because at that point, like Warsha said, I was crying want to go back home to draw them. I don't think there's money in this business. But Warsha being in front of business was able to help me understand the value or understand my core problem, which had nothing to do with the business. But I had made everything seem like one big problem, which is very different from a mastermind. Because when you come to a mastermind, you're adding your own opinions, you don't come in there as I have a problem, can you help me, I'm actually also bringing my expertise in combination.

Warsha 23:14

Absolutely, how lovely!

Dhiren 23:15

So, that makes me feel more important, it makes me feel more real. To say that, yes, I can also contribute to this to that, for me is the big difference between a coach and a mastermind at that point, like you said, it's a higher mind. It's all of us combining together.

Warsha 23:29


Evan 23:30

And the courage with which some people sit in the hot seat or share an issue is amazing. The amount of times that we've actually seen it in that facilitated space where the feeling of safety is so strong, that an issue that is so personal is put on the table. Everybody around the table actually has something to say about that, and a feeling of commonality where you thought it was just me. And you're not actually alone.

Dhiren 23:58

It happens every time. Every time we go into a mastermind, I come out of that why there was only me.

Warsha 24:03

Every single time. And no matter how shiny the brand is, no matter how big the businesses, we all actually go through the same scaling up challenges. We all go through the same stages and scaling up. And yet, for a person looking outside in might think, wow, I think Steve Jobs said it was like an overnight success that took 25 years. So very rarely do people actually look at those 25 years where that founder entrepreneur has gone through those challenges to be where they are today. So, you are not alone. In any way, shape or form. You are not alone.

Evan 24:38

So, that point as well, little things add up. So, you're doing something right, bit by bit by bit by bit. Next thing by the time somebody notices what you've done, it's almost like a one cent thing. If I paid you one cent today, two cents more and I've kept doubling it. By the end of 31 days. It's something like $31 million that you'd actually have in your hand but for me one cent on the first day, by the time somebody notices, it becomes such a big jump that it looks like it's overnight. There's nothing of the sort.

Dhiren 25:08

Something that I've learned from you Warsha the one degree of chain. This is really part of that if you change just by one degree.

Warsha 25:13


Dhiren 25:14

By the end of a certain period of time, you'll have a massive transformation happening.

Warsha 25:17

Yeah, it is. So, the basis of that comes from, if you're aiming for the moon, why do you have to be absolutely precise, because the distance from here to the moon is so immense that a one degree of change, or a one degree, not in the correct direction will take you ideas away? So, what change can you make today that one degree of change that five years later that the difference on the success that it leads to is immense.

Dhiren 25:46

And one thing that's coming to me from this point is also, if you're going to go into a mastermind, thinking, I'm just going to walk out with one session, and I'm going to have an Einstein moment, or a breakthrough moment, that's all gonna happen. It takes many, many repeated sittings. Really, it's a collaborative effort that takes time to come together, and then show you the result.

Warsha 26:03

I'll tell you what, it may not be Einstein level moments, but you will come out with a lot of little things that you can take away. What changes over a few times is the depth of the conversations, because those people who are part of that group actually get to know each other, that trust begins to form. And you begin to settle into your role, as you said, you're bringing something to the table as well, because you are part of the peer group. So, when you begin settling into the group, when you get to know each other, the level of conversation and the strength of asking an open and honest and absolutely, laser sharp question begins to change. So that's what leads to those higher and deeper AHA's as you keep getting deeper into that entire mastermind session journey.

Evan 27:01

The other side of that, it's the laser questions that you learn how to start asking, but you also learn to listen better.

Dhiren 27:08

Oh, absolutely. 100%

Evan 27:10

So it's a twofold piece where everybody's listening. And you really can go down those levels and drill down so much more effectively after several sessions.

Warsha 27:21

Yeah. What also starts to come through is we've been talking about mastermind hot seat, I like to call it spotlight because hot seat just adds 10 X to the pressure. So, I like to say you're under the spotlight, while somebody is in the hot seat. And you as part of the group are asking those questions with a view to give your perspective on how to address the topic at hand. It doesn't take very long when you begin to realize that while you helping someone else, you are also helping yourself. Because a there are some things we need to actually say to understand that actually, when saying this in our heads for the longest time, and what have I done about it, now I'm telling somebody else to do this, what what have I done. And second, it's not just you helping someone else, there are about eight or 10 different people who are helping because you are learning from each one of them while you are helping someone else. So, there are so many layers to this structured conversation. While they may not come out of a absolute Einstein moment on day one, I guarantee that they will walk away with at least five immediate actionable points out of a structured mastermind.

Dhiren 28:31

Just to what you were saying I have been on a hot seat now couple of times sometimes I can see my own brain say oh wow I didn't think of that while I am saying the statement I have just had some AHA's in my own head like you said sometimes you have to say it hear it that's so true I have had so many AHA's just by saying it loud and that is been phenomenal.

Warsha 28:52


Evan 29:30

I remember when I was sitting at the hot seat one time. It was an interesting topic. And if I did that their body said like almost step out of myself going and look at myself and how I'm answering it like, dude, it wasn't that big an issue. And yet, you have to articulate it and get it out of your head. Right. So, putting it on the table burying it. It's not such a big deal.

Dhiren 29:51

Yeah. So, part of a mastermind also just about having that space to share and walk away with knowing that no harm done.

Warsha 29:58

It is because again, you're talking to the food chain in your business, and also, you're the one who's eventually accountable for everything that happens in the business. The buck stops with you. So where do you go to talk about what troubles you, you're not going to walk into your office one morning and say, Hey, guys, team come sit down, I just spent sleepless night because I don't know how I'm gonna do this tomorrow, your team's gonna say, yes, they will absolutely be engaged with you. And they will work with you on that. At the same time. Remember, your team looks to you for leadership. And somewhere, we also want to keep that armor intact. We don't want to show those kinks in the armor, sir, where do you go to talk? And this is the place where you go and talk about what troubles you.

Dhiren 30:45

Yeah, so, I have a question. We've talked about hot seats, non-hot seats. So maybe it'd be great to deep dive into how does the mastermind function? operationally, do I have to be in the same room? Do I have to have business owners at the same business?

Evan 30:59

Again, it depends what the problem is. And that's not the answer you're looking for. So, where your model airplane building club, right?

Dhiren 30:31

Very specific.

Evan 30:32

It is rather. But that being the case around the table, it's probably best that you're in the same space. When you're in a business mastermind, it's useful to have different disciplines around the table in different industries. So you might have a principal from a law firm, you might have a principal from an accounting firm, as well as digital marketing, anything else like manufacturing, whatever, so you have all those different businesses around the table, that to start with gives you a good basis for the sharing that goes on within the group. Secondly, it is nice to be face to face in the same room. Is that an absolute? It doesn't have to be in this day and age with modern technology, you can be anywhere in the world, and you can dial into the meeting, so long as the technology is there to handle it. You can be anywhere. And that's the most important thing, especially in these days yeah.

Warsha 32:03

It is. And I want to add two things to that one. Yes, you could literally be anywhere and a digitally conducted mastermind, works even better, it really is facilitated because you are then keeping to time you're keeping everybody to task keeping on the agenda. And you always ensuring that there is a result and outcome and actionable outcome that comes out of it. So, it's just from my experience, I felt that it always works better when there is an actual facilitator who is in charge of making sure that everybody gets what they are here for. And I want to go back to who is part of a mastermind. So, while it's wonderful to have all the different disciplines, it's also equally important to remember, when it's a business mastermind, two things one is, even if you don't have those various disciplines, they need to be entrepreneurs, who are at least around the similar stages of that business close to. Because you all either going through the similar challenges, and you're literally bouncing ideas off of each other. And coming back and reporting to say, right, you know, guys, this is what the topic was last time. And this is what I did. And in a way you are also then setting best practices. Being that educator in turn, what is also useful is to not have two businesses from the same industry.

Dhiren 32:52

Oh! Why is that?

Warsha 32:53

Because when you sit on the hot seat or the spotlight, you were talking about very specific challenges that you have within your business. And at that stage, would you rather a competitor sits then in the same room as you, again, depends on how niche is that industry. There are many layers to that. At the same time. If you just look at broad strokes, it's advisable to not have two people from the same industry sit in the same hot seat or in the same mastermind. So, when you share you sharing a little bit freely, not worrying about. I am a leader in the industry. And these are the troubles I'm facing. And I don't particularly want other people to know about this just yet, maybe, or it could be an opportunity. I don't know if you remember, one of the topics that we had in our mastermind was a massive opportunity to expand in another market. So, there are some things you don't want made public just yet, especially not your competitor. So, you would rather not have a competitor sitting over there. So again, these are the things that are taken care of when it's a facilitated mastermind, if you will.

Dhiren 34:43

So, I just want to go back to something that Evan said when you said if I'm looking for a potential mastermind, do I have to have someone in marketing or do I have to have someone in accounting or is there a formula.

Evan 34:53

Not particularly facilitated mastermind. The facilitator is the steward of that board. If you will. And ultimately, it's the old members vote with new colours that they want to join the board are obviously vetted. And we're looking for similar industry competitors, that that kind of stuff, the broader the basis, like diversification and the way, the more diversified the advice you might get, but it's not absolutely necessary. What we do find though, is you need at least six people. So otherwise, it's too small to narrow. But with a larger group, there's more of a willingness to commit. So ideally, 12 is a really good number, and on an ongoing basis at an agreed time, and generally is the same day of the month, like the first Monday, for example. We agreed to meet, everybody comes and you know, it's in the calendar and it's done.

Dhiren 35:47

It doesn't have to be vocation specific. I think a lot of people might think that if I need to be successful, I need to be bouncing ideas, accountant from a marketeer from an engineer. I don't think that's necessarily a mastermind, because I think it's the diversification and lack of vocation, if you will, that actually makes it more successful.

Evan 36:03

So, it's almost like peer mentoring, where you're looking for somebody who's done something that you are doing. So, somebody is actually running a business, and has the experience of running a business. If you're talking to somebody who's just come straight out of the corporate world, they know how to be corporate, they don't know how to run a business. No idea. Absolutely none. So that's more what you're looking for is that like mindedness and experience.

Dhiren 36:26

And again, that's done by the steward of the board, the facilitator, they check that.

Evan 35:52


Dhiren 35:53

The Dare to Scale Board, and you guys do a very good job of having that level of checks before someone joins.

Warsha 36:35

Yeah and also keeping people on track, ensuring that the engagement levels are the same from everyone, which, again, in a social sort of mastermind, or social club or hobbies club, to give you an example, and unstructured mastermind, like you were talking about.

Dhiren 36:14


Warsha 36:15

Sometimes, I'm sure there have been cases where not everybody shows up. Because this may not be at the top of the priority list. So not everybody shows up. So, what happens then? Because this is a rather informal, shall I say, not a casual or a social one, this is an informal club, there is nobody holding that person accountable to say, Hey, what happened? So, either you're here or you're not here? So, in cases like those are better managed, when it's a facilitated one.

Dhiren 37:22

Indeed, what I want to also get into his, how does this work, because I've been part of it now for two years, it almost feels like I was born into it. But I think there's a bit of introduction that needs to be given to how does a mastermind work. So, we talked about in person online, and we talked about facilitated was not facilitated? Are there any other secrets to running a successful mastermind?

Warsha 37:44

Always know what you want out of it. And always know what the accountability said it. And always, always make sure that when you meet next, you report back what you have done. Because the must the structure, the actual working of the meeting, is really open to whatever works for you. So how we do this is that is a topic presented by a particular person, and then we brainstorm about it. And then we give our perspectives on how best to address this. For some people, it may not be a particular person on the hot seat or the spotlight, it may be an actual common topic that everybody wants to talk about. So, the actual internal structure really can be whatever works for you. I like to say whatever the structure, maybe it's useful to start with a victory share a victory share something that happened really well. And so that sets the tone for the rest of the meeting. And after that, you talk about that particular topic, brainstorm. See what has come out of that brainstorm. So make sure that somebody is recording that or documenting what is happening, what are the outcomes, and then you set your actionable steps, accountability steps, and you go away, and then when you come back, you report back as to what happened, how often to meet, and what's the duration of the meeting. It really depends on what works for you. So, some masterminds meet every month, some need every quarter. Some meet for half a day's there are some meetings that actually take place over an entire day as a retreat. That's also okay, because that works. But that's also a mastermind, as long as you know what you're there for on what you want out of it. When you leave the room. Do what works for you. And it needs to be agreed by everybody and then stick to it.

Dhiren 39:40

Question we mentioned hot seat a couple times. How does that figure into this? I know obviously, it's sitting in a couple of the spotlights of the hot seat. I want you to tell the list of how does that figure into a mastermind.

Warsha 39:50

So, the structure that we work with is where we give that opportunity for every member to be able to present a topic. So, tomorrow, then you might say, I have a burning issue. And I'd like to talk about this because I'd like to know what my peer group thinks. So, you and I then first have a conversation to say, what is that topic? And what is it that you want out of it? And once we have that agreement, when we open the mastermind, you actually sit down, and you present that topic for discussion. And you give a little bit of information on why that particular topic was chosen. And what do you want out of it? What do you want the peer group to give you today? As part of that topic, and why is it called a hot seat and why I choose to call it spotlight is really because after you say, Well, this is what I want to talk about today. You what you're really saying is, now ask me some questions to get a better understanding of what this topic is. Because that's what the peer group is going to do. They're going to ask you really insightful questions because they see that the challenge better than you can because they are looking at it from outside in. That's pretty much where that word hot seat comes from. Because they will ask questions, they will be quite relentless in that, and they will ask some laser sharp questions that will make you squirm a little bit. And it's a good thing. Because there are some times the questions that come out are questions that you've probably never asked yourself, or maybe asked yourself, but don't really want to answer now you don't have a choice, you've got to answer those questions.

Dhiren 40:54


Warsha 40:55

That's pretty much why it's a hot seat. And after those questions have been answered, and the rest of the board actually gets a better understanding of where and why and the overall feel for the topic. The point of this is to then for each of them to give their perspective on how they would address this particular topic. So, what would they do in your shoes, so you're going away with about 10 different perspectives. And for you to then take that away and arrive at proper conclusions to say, which out of those 10 works best for where you are. And you take that back, implement what you're doing, and then you come back and tell the board the next time to say, right, so this is what I did. And this is where I'm at, because the board wants to know what to be done with that. That's what the whole hotseat or the spotlight probably comes in.

Dhiren 41:50


Evan 42:27

Yeah, it's another way of saying the floor is yielded to you. So, the entire group and focuses on the issue, challenge opportunity, whatever it is that you want to talk about. And by doing that, number one, you get relief, right? Suddenly you face the issue, put it on the table, you're getting all sorts of questions, and you happen to think and answer them. But also, you're getting that relief of the fact that the monkey's off your back in that dislike, at least it's out there. But I've had the character talk about it. And all these very supportive people are giving a ton of solutions. If it's as simple as I want three suggestions how to do X, Y, Z, 10 people, that's 30 suggestions. Now, what actually is very interesting is some of the solutions and even the questions that come out, you might have a commonality to them. And it's something that you may not have focused on. And because of that commonality, it's that deeper understanding within the group as to what the issue really is, when the focus and the drill down then happens on that particular area suddenly becomes awfully uncomfortable. You answer and your solutions back. It can be just absolutely liberating.

Warsha 43:41

There is something that you said, Evan, and I want to address that, because I don't think we ever actually talked about this the fear that a lot of people have in sitting in that hot seat. And what is very important to remember that this is an absolutely nonjudgmental space. While we all come with our own insecurities very quickly, we realize that people are here supportive, and they are here to help you. If they're asking you some scathing questions, it is probably for your own good not to make you look silly, not to make you feel inadequate. But it really is to show you to rip that band aid and say, actually, you know what, maybe it's time you looked at this.

Evan 44:22

And to help with a nonjudgmental space, it's the style of question is solution driven? It's not why did you do this? What would you have done differently? So, you are forced to think and expand upon the issue. And that's what makes all the difference is how you do the questioning as to how the openness and transparency then becomes apparent.

Warsha 44:44

Yeah, and there's a little bit of training that goes into that anyway, and I have a field day facilitating that. Some days. It's quite funny.

Dhiren 44:52

A bit of a misstep, wrong question and try again,

Warsha 44:57

Tiny bit, but Yes, that's true. So, It really is an education. And what it does is while you're learning how to ask those questions within that peer group space, what it also does is it brings to your own awareness. How do you generally ask questions of your team? So how do you make your team feel that it really is a way of bringing to awareness? How do you peel those layers of any topic to learning on both ways?

Dhiren 45:22

Oh, my God, it's not even funny. Because I've gone into meetings with my team. I hear myself asking questions. Now, how do you feel about that? Have you considered this? As opposed to my older style? Which was? Did we do this? And why have we not done this? Now? My question, there's so many different, and there's so thought provoking. I'm kidding myself, I'm really ready to learn this skill from.

Warsha 45:43

Oh, this is so funny.

Dhiren 45:46

It is because have you considered changing this? So? But you're right, the ability to ask proper questions, it's a learned skill. You're not alone with this.

Warsha 45:55

While this was hilarious to listen, tell me now, what was the difference in the responses that you were getting from your team? When you change how you ask?

Dhiren 46:06

The answer are, either more open? And the most heartbreaking, you can see the other person thinking through this question. And it opens up a lot of different avenues where they didn't go down, rather than saying, did you do this? What's more like? You know what, I haven't considered this, but I also didn't consider this. So, there's a lot more dialogue that happens. Yeah. When you're answering that kind of question.

Warsha 46:26

The reason why I asked you that is, in your typical corporate scenario, it's very much that previous way of asking questions, isn't it? When you say, so? Did you do this? You're actually packing the person in a corner? To close question, and you're really judging them without actually saying, stupid person why did you not do this.

Evan 46:46

You know, NLP masters, I have to giggle. So did you or didn't you? Yes. But there's also Why? Why did you do x MHS opens up a whole bunch of stories. Rather than just why we love the for what purpose? Did you do x? it then becomes a more zeroed in question.

Warsha 47:07

So, what I was going with this is, when you ask a question, which gets them to think you are in a way, saying I actually trust your judgment, I respect what you have to say, I respect you as a professional, and I want to hear your thoughts. So, this is a collaborative effort. What you're doing over that is you're building that engaged team. And that's why I asked you that question, specifically, how have the responses changed?

Dhiren 47:32

Very different. Absolutely. Very different. And I think, also, what's coming to this is when my team asks me a question, I'm like, please, let's frame the question better. So, I'm always doing what a Warsha does? Can we please rephrase that question? And it's so many times, my team is bewildered. What does he mean, but I think with over time you want they understand that asking the right question, or laser sharp focus question is really important.

Evan 47:54

That is when like Warsha in your businesses, it's not what happened. It's how do you handle it? So, we acknowledge what happened happened. Okay, great. Put that one side, how do we move forward? And it's that difference in thinking that makes all the difference?

Warsha 48:09

Always and that's something we've always said in the company as well. We are humans, we will make mistakes. It's how we recover from it, makes the difference?

Evan 48:17

So, go full circle, it's about the question in the mastermind. Yeah, we would love to give you that sense of trust. And it's not judgmental, and that really is key to being able to share openly.

Warsha 48:31

Yeah, and the point of that digression really was to show the learnings from a mastermind are not just topics specific on that day, is the individual growth that also happens, so many different levels.

Dhiren 48:45

So, I just want to summarize because we've had so different divergence, but we talked about what a mastermind was, we talked about the different types of mastermind. We've talked about the what where and the how's. In some ways, we also talked about the two sections of a mastermind, we talked about the topic that everybody works together, and then there's a hot seat, where one member presents a problem. Members asked questions, and then they give their answers which the hotseat member then takes away and works on it. Are there any other things that people should know about when it comes to a mastermind? Apart from it being facilitated, make sure you ask open ended questions.

Evan 49:24

The only thing that we can add is it also comes down to the individual. And it's about the mindset coming into a mastermind and being able to share.

Warsha 49:35

So, having that mindset of adaptability, I have actually declined people membership into the mastermind on that basis. When you join something like a mastermind, you will take as much as you give. And that's true of any network, any support system. Any group that you're part of. What I like to see is their level of engagement. And what I like to see is their mindset of adaptability, where they are willing to let themselves be held accountable by a group of 10 people who will hold you accountable very, very strongly. And that's not everybody's cup of tea. And also, like I said earlier, it's not that one meeting where you will go away with a whole lot of Einstein moments, and you never have to come back. This is a journey that everybody commits to get on. It's not that one time one meeting in and out thing. Because when you commit to something you are committing to not just to your own business, to yourself, but really to everybody as a group, there is no such thing as one person growing in a mastermind and the others falling behind, everyone grows together.

Dhiren 50:51


Evan 50:53

And that this happens over two, two, even three years. It is a process and it does take some time. The other thing, which is very much tied in with the mindset is checking the ego at the door. It's not about you. It's about what the group is wanting to achieve. So, you come in leave the ego at the door, and be open, to change to feet, to sharing your knowledge. And actually being part of that group and moving forward together.

Warsha 51:25

Along with checking your ego at the door, there's something else that I asked them to check out the door as well, virtual door or real, something that has become an extension of us as human bodies, which is your mobile phones, no distractions, because at that stage, if you are running your own business, and if you are unable to put aside maybe four hours a month to actually work on your business strategically, then you probably shouldn't be part of that group, what you need at that stage is probably start working with a coach first, get that little bit of freedom, get that distance from having to roll up your sleeves and firefight every day in your business and step outside a little bit and then be part of something like this. So, I have also turned away people who are way too deep, way too early into their business. So, it's not to say that you can't be part of a mastermind, is just know that when you go in, give it your best give it your 100%.

Dhiren 51:49

Right. And the person that is firefighting, as he's on the call, probably has other challenges, which other members of the board may not have.

Evan 51:57

By doing that you're not present?

Dhiren 51:58


I've caught myself doing that a few times. Because especially now that we're online, I keep looking at my email, Nope, can't do this. It's not worth being absent for a few minutes. Do you want to lose a train of thought and you're gonna lose the conversation?

Warsha 52:11

Yeah, because what you get out of that is going to be useful, not just over the next five minutes, but it really is that next six to eight months vision that you are creating here at every meeting.

Dhiren 52:23

I have a question. We talked about masterminds. And when we mentioned peer to peer boards, is there a difference between the two?

Evan 52:31

Absolutely not? Well, I don't think so.

Warsha 52:34

But to me, a mastermind. Really, again, we go back to the same thing mastermind is where you come together for a specific purpose. A peer to peer group, to me is very much in that business context. So, you are a group of entrepreneurs who sit together, you're at a similar level, you're working towards a specific next goal. Like Evan always says, you've climbed a mountain, which is the next mountain you're looking to climb.

Dhiren 53:00

So, when you're sitting on the table, you're all peers.

Warsha 53:03

They're all equal.

Dhiren 53:04

Exactly. Which then I think helps with the judgment and the fear, transparency.

Warsha 53:09


Evan 53:10

The peers actually don't have a vested interest in your business directly. They're there as a friend of your business when you're sharing. But they're friend of their own business, because it's almost like they stepping outside of themselves to work strategically on their business. And that's the point. So, by doing that, it just adds that level of power to what you're wanting to achieve.

Warsha 54:31

Right. So, what are your top three tips for a person looking to be part of a mastermind Dhiren.

Dhiren 53:39

Actually, is not necessary. It's just to be part of mastermind I'll pick up, I think what for me was really stood out in this conversation. Number one was surround yourself with your support networks, and multiple levels of multiple layers of that. So, one is your coach, find a coach that you can work with, can also beat you around if needed, like in my case, second, find a mastermind or a peer to peer board. Then third, find mentors or groups of people that are very specific in your business so that you can get to learn from them. I think a combination of these three, very, very important. And I was just thinking to myself that I should actually go find myself some mentors in my industry who I can learn from, because I've done a lot of the heavy lifting in my own head but if I had a mentor, I would get some easy answers. That's tip number one. And tip number two, I think what you were saying earlier about, it doesn't have to be the same industry don't get into this concept of joining a peer to peer board where it has to be similar industries or very specific industries, the more diverse, the better. And third, find a great facilitator, it's really important to have a facilitated mastermind of peer to peer board.

Warsha 54:48

On that, I want to also add, remember that what you put in your time, your money, your efforts, and everything, when you're part of a facilitated business mastermind, it's always important to see that as an investment in your business, business masterminds are not cheap. And also, when you look at the value, it's a considerable amount that you pay towards being part of it. So, we have masterminds that run in the US, those groups actually run for businesses hundred million and over. So, you really got to be at that stage, those are ace club masterminds. And while it may look like a massive investment, remember that whatever the investment, you are getting 10 times out of that. So always look at what you are putting in, whether it is your time, or your money, or any kind of effort as an investment, these are all investments into yourself and your business.

Dhiren 55:48

100% It's like showing up at a high stake's poker game.

Warsha 55:51

It is!


If you were to have the money to buy in B, you could have the mindset to work at that level and take some risks and see the potential the upside of walking away with a lot of money. I think the only thing that's not common is you really can't walk away with losing money in a mastermind or a peer to peer or you've actually gonna be rich either way. What about you, Evan? What are your three key takeaways?

Evan 56:13

My three takeaways, first and foremost is about accountability. And it's coming to the table, being honest with what it is you want to talk about, take some advice from the group, go away and work on that report back on it, it really does come down to we do something and report back what you actually did, because it validates the time that everybody else has spent helping you. So, accountability is definitely number one. Number two, the sooner we realize, check the ego, we don't know everything. And we're actually opening ourselves up to that possibility of learning something from somebody else, where you're okay to empty your cup a little bit. So, you can put more in. That's definitely one of the key pieces. And the last one is about consistency. It is about showing up month, after month, after month. Because that way you get and you receive the value. Question, what are your three takeaways from today?

Warsha 57:15

Be authentic and sharing. Because when you sit down to share, you are there to share to one help yourself and help your business. So, there's no hiding behind anything. If you sit there and say, well, I really don't want to talk about it. Because I don't want to be judged, you're only hurting yourself. So, trust the process, trust the people around you trust your facilitator to hold you up and be authentic and sharing. Be just as your group will not judge you take the solutions or the brainstorming results that are coming to you without judgment. Because at that stage, you may or may not think this is useful, you go back with it, you sleep over it, and you know that what you walked away is gold. And three, and I've said this before you get what you give. So, when you sit down, sit down with a perspective not to take away, but to give to sit down to add value to your peers. Put that as your priority. And you will notice you will actually walk away really 10 times that effort that you put in. So, it's for the greater good. The peer group is greater than all of you individuals to have that in mind. And you know, you're all going to grow together always as a group. That's the power of the mastermind.

Dhiren 58:39

100% agree.

Warsha 58:41

I remember something you had said at the very first mastermind meeting 10 heads are better than one.

Dhiren 58:49

There's so much power to that statement even till date after having attended the mastermind more than almost two years.

Warsha 58:55

Go ahead and be part of one.

Dhiren 58:57

And finally, where can they find The Dare to Scale.

Warsha 59:01

So, head over to daretoscale.com and you will find everything there is to know about the Dare to Scale boards, or get in touch with one of us and our LinkedIn profiles.

Evan 59:13


Dhiren 59:14

This has been a fantastic chat. Thank you all for being here.

Evan 59:18

Thank you Dhiren for inviting us it's been a tremendous afternoon.

Warsha 59:22

It's been an enjoyable discussion. It's a great topic that we both love. And now we know how much you love that. Thank you very much.

Warsha 59:31

Hey hey hey, thanks for joining us and listening right till the end.

Evan 59:36

And head over to daretoscale.fm to subscribe and access show notes and transcriptions.

Warsha 59:42

Oh, also, did you know that we have a Facebook page for our podcast listeners? Come join the conversations at daretoscale.fm/facebook

Evan 59:53

Absolutely! Oh, and also remember to give us a five-star review so other entrepreneurs can find this podcast like you and get value just go for the business.

Warsha 1:00:02

Fabulous. We will see you at our next show. Bye for now.

Evan 1:00:05


Meet your hosts:
Warsha Joshi and Evan Le Clus
We are business mentors and business owners operating out of the vibrant city of Dubai, UAE.
We love helping dreams become a reality by bringing about the transformation from Founder to Leader, Consultant to Business Owner.
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