A recent survey showed that expert professionals and impact entrepreneurs are very good at educating themselves by reading books, blogs and other interesting material. However, only 14% of those participating in the survey reflected on their life situation and professional progress through coaching or peer-support.
Are you perhaps missing an important element of your formula for success by not making regular space for joint reflection with a “teacher” or with some of your peers who could offer you support?
The good news is that you can find flow in your work and achieve your own business and personal goals, by joining a Flow Pod! This is a closed circle of about six Members who team up to support each other in achieving their individual goals. And they receive support and guidance from an experienced Coach, who is carefully matched with the needs of the Members. And because you share the cost of the coaching with others, it is very affordable too!
Learn from others
The not so surprising truth is that most hugely successful people get great results because they create ways to learn from others. They share their experiences and challenges, listen to the insights of their equals, decide on the best way to proceed and keep an open mind while they make it happen.
Perhaps your profession dictates that you often work in isolation. You may not have the comfort of others around you who you can easily share with and learn from! This “lonely world” is a huge set-back for being an Independent Professional or Impact Entrepreneur. You just do not have peers to support you!
But what if you did? What if you are just not tapping into what is already there?
Other Professionals and Entrepreneurs are finding themselves in the same position you are in – so what if someone came along and invited you into a small group of people in a similar situation to yours, who are meeting regularly to improve themselves and find solutions to their challenges?
The good news is that you can benefit from joining such small groups of like-minded peers, known as Flow Pods.
Flow Pods were designed to meet the demand from Independent Professionals and Impact Entrepreneurs for learning opportunities with people experiencing similar challenges.
Flow Pods are based on the well know concept of the Masterminds – but it is a Mastermind with a difference!
What is a Mastermind?
In 1937 Napoleon Hill (who is considered to be one of the greatest teachers of personal success ever) published “Think and Grow Rich”. Over the years more than 30 million copies of this book were sold and, after his death, many of his teachings stay alive in the work of business coaches and motivational speakers. One such concept is the Mastermind.
A Mastermind is a small group of people who come together regularly to identify ways to achieve results by overcoming their shared challenges. Seemingly, it is a powerful tool for Independent Professionals and Impact Entrepreneurs to create an ongoing structure of support and safe room for their own development. However, not many Masterminds deliver the results its members desire and most of them fade away soon after starting out and is dissolved with lots of disappointment.
Why is it that many Masterminds do not work? Why is it that this simple, but powerful, tool for creating results fails so often?
Experience has shown that the absence of three main ingredients prevents Masterminds from working well:
- Direction: No consistent leadership around the common interests and challenges of the members.
- Structure: No clearly defined and always repeated agenda managed by an appointed “leader”.
- Commitment: No commonly shared commitment to showing up and maintaining meaningful connection with other members.
What if the limiting factors are removed?
What if we ensure that the ingredients of “direction”, “structure” and “commitment” are always present?
Would business people not benefit hugely from well functioning Masterminds?
Indeed we can, because we’ve learnt that Masterminds work well when:
- The small group of members experience similar situations and face related business challenges.
- Direction and leadership are provided by someone assigned the role of educator and/or facilitator.
- All the members always arrive on time and the agreed agenda is completed within the assigned period.
The ingredients of “direction”, “structure” and “commitment” form the backbone of Flow Pods and are nurtured by the appointed Coach. This is why Flow Pods work!
Why a Flow Pod?
Flow Pods were designed by Flow Finders International to meet the specific needs of Independent Professionals and Impact Entrepreneurs. It is offered as a service where the members can concentrate on their own development and supporting their fellow Flow Pod members in finding solutions to their challenges, rather than keeping up with the logistics and searching for appropriate educational material for their meetings. It frees the members from the running of their “Mastermind” so that they can concentrate on co-creating better outcomes for their businesses and themselves.
In nature, the word “pod” is used to describe a group of marine animals such as dolphins or whales, swimming together, forming a small community of support. It is also used to describe the seed vessel of some plants, which splits open on both sides when ripe so that the seeds are spread for new growth. A Flow Pod represents both of these meanings: it provides the safe space for a small community to offer support to each other, while also offering the opportunity for the ripening of new ideas, which will be spread by the members in creating growth in their respective businesses.
And why “flow”? In common language we use this word to describe movement along a steady stream. You may picture the natural flow of a river down a mountain and into the sea, where it evaporates and later rains back into the mountains to keep feeding the flow of the river. Also, “flow” is often used to describe the purposeful design of efficient movement along a pathway, such as the flow of traffic through a roads network, or the stream of fluids moving through a piping system. Flow is not only natural, but can also be increased trough purposeful action where strengths are utilised and strains are resolved.
A Flow Pod encapsulates all the above. It is a closely knit community who looks after each other. It is where new ways of doing are developed to apply in business. It is where members learn about their natural strengths and ways of creating a world most suitable for their own success.
What is a Flow Pod?
A Flow Pod may consists of any number of members of up to about a dozen, however, experience has shown that most value is derived when there are between four and eight members who consistently show up for the Flow Pod meetings.
Members make three defining decisions when a Flow Pod is formed. They agree on:
- The commonalities defining membership.
- The guiding purpose of the Flow Pod.
- Their specific meeting format.
The most important consideration is finding the commonly shared challenges faced by all the members and defining the Flow Pod around these. A Flow Pod could be formed around the common challenges faced by a group of well established entrepreneurs who want to add more meaning to their business life; or a group of start-up business owners who are challenged by connecting with the customers they are meant to serve. With various online meeting tools available today, members do not have to be in the same geographical location, so it may be that a Flow Pod is for instance formed around the common challenges faced by independent marketing consultants from different countries who are targeting the same industry. The possible common challenges are endless, but always have to be well defined and made explicit.
The purpose of a Flow Pod is based on the predominant outcomes the members desire. This is defined before a Flow Pod is formed, but can also be adjusted as the needs of the members shift. Broadly speaking there are three possible Purpose categories, namely:
- Accountability: Supporting each other in getting the important things done such as creating new leads, achieving sales targets and attending to the most important tasks of the week.
- Completion: Developing a deeper self-awareness of being a complete person and the ability to add meaning to the business life for “self” and “others”.
- Possibilities: Co-creating new ways for members to overcome challenges in their businesses and learning from each other in creating possibilities for each member’s business which previously seemed unattainable.
Flow Pod meetings are mostly just one hour long and hosted on an online platform at www.MyFlowPod.net. The meeting time is agreed so that it is suitable for all the members to attend every week. During the hour together, the Flow Coach will ensure that the full agenda is covered and that participation by all remains high. The same agenda is followed each week, based on the Commonalities of members and the Purpose of the Flow Pod. Practically this means that members choose from template agendas the format most suitable for them. Some Flow Pods prefer meeting fortnightly or monthly, while still covering about four hours of meeting time per month.
How is a Flow Pod formed?
A Flow Pod is normally formed by a group of about six to eight members, although smaller or larger groups can also work well.
In some instances an organisation or training institution will form Flow Pods for their members or programme participants, while in other instances coaches or mentors will for Flow Pods as a way of extending their service to their clients. Individuals may also form Flow Pods around their common situations or the similar challenges the face.