So, this isn’t news. We are constantly making little decisions — choices — that are creating shifts in who we are or whom we will become. Constantly. It’s overwhelming if you really think about it.

SMFA Masterminding

Welp, today I find myself not overwhelmed by the infinite choices that shape who we are but instead by one little decision I made on January 19th that has had the most incredible ripple effect in my life this year.

As I put the finishing touches on my Actors Access column about Masterminding, I went back and added two sentences. No more keeping this part of my world quiet like Fight Club. Maybe this process gets formalized, now.

Mastermind Line

I even run a few, and we’re populating our February through April mastermind groups right now. If that intrigues you, the application process starts here.

I figured, “Heck, let’s see if anyone else out there is craving such a thing.”

I put a link to a form that didn’t yet exist into the column. I turned it in. I created the form. *shrug* “Let’s see what happens!”

Within hours, I had a list of 10 people who wanted to mastermind with me. They wanted to start immediately.

*blink* *blink* *blink*


Being the nimble business owner that I am, I quickly set about the work to get the details arranged: Where we’d meet, whose personalities would mesh best in which group, format for the group’s fortnightly agenda, how we’d stay connected and accountable between meetings, systemizing payment and AB 1319 contract execution… and then I notified the new masterminders and the (bummed but understanding) waitlisters of the plan.

~~ Insert small ball rolling into a huge ball here. ~~

(Okay, couldn’t find that image, but this one’s cute, right?)

(Oh! It just hit me. Snowball effect! THAT’S the image, not some “small ball into huge ball” thingy I should’ve looked up. Oh well… enjoy the kitteh. It’s fun.)


Within a few weeks, the waitlist had expanded exponentially. I was in a rhythm. Masterminders all over the world were experiencing major tier jumps in record time due to our focused efforts, the hive mind of “yes, and…”-ing shares, and regular accountability. I offered another two groups up to the waitlist. Filled ’em both in four hours. Added a fifth group after another couple of months.

Had my first, “May I just pay for my space for a full year?” convo, because my lifers were NOT letting go of their slots. No effin’ way.

And when a masterminder recently said, “I’m heading out from masterminding because it’s time for me to focus more on my small business — as growing it will help me afford to keep my acting career going. You should consider offering a mastermind group for entrepreneurs. I’d stay in with that focus,” I slept on it and then said, “Yeah. That’s a great idea.”

Announced the new offering for entrepreneurs to a very small group of alumni whose businesses I’ve seen beginning to bubble up in exciting ways and had 10 people say, “I’m in!” and another half-dozen say, “Next round,” and decided, welp, that’s two new groups, and eight entrepreneurs good to go, everyone else waiting ’til 2015. Or ’til I add more groups.

Goodness… could I add more groups?

Uh… I’ll get back to you on that. There’s a finite number of hours in a Bon, y’know?

Amanyara Day Bed

I think maybe next up would be an executive retreat somewhere else.

But I digress.

Point of this post: I knew I had value as a tour guide through the mastermind process. I’ve risen to leader in every mastermind in which I’ve participated. I spot right away what makes a good fit, in terms of personal and professional chemistry (hey, it’s like I do the casting thing sometimes, huh?). I hold people’s feet to the proverbial fire without being (overly) harsh and I remind ’em to be gentle with themselves when they tend to push too hard.

But what I didn’t know for sure ’til recently was exactly how much value these gorgeous, glorious people would get out of jamming together, fortnightly. That our work together — especially for those group members who most rabidly make use of the private forums, the time between meetings, the support group that is the collective — would catapult some people up a tier or two faster than I ever expected.

Why didn’t I expect this?

Surround yourself with the best people on the planet. Make sure they know one another. Stand back while they make magic.

I know this. I live this. I always have.

And I guess the world of Self-Management for Actors curriculum has evolved yet again. My life has been completely changed this year by the inclusion of these amazing people in my world, ongoing, just because I put a few extra words and a link into a column back in January.

I am so freakin’ honored to walk the path with these folks and to be a part of their creative (and entrepreneurial) journey.

So, thank you, beautiful ones, for huddling with me like this. By sitting in a circle with me on the regular, you’ve expanded the circle of my life and the lives of your fellow masterminders, just by sharing your journey and, of course, always sharing your toys — just like I’m doing now. ’cause y’all know, I can’t experience growth without sharing it. It’s how this goes, with me.

Whatever you’re thinking you *might* be able to bring into your life, walk toward it. Right now. It’s there for you. Are *you* there for it?

image from tara wilken

Walk toward it. It is — and you are — more ready than you may think.

How beautiful!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Allie October 21, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Hurrah for good people and good collaborations!

    Reading this post while Chasing the Sun by Sara Bareilles plays on my playlist – very appropriate.

    Bonus points for the inclusion of Edward Robert Hughes’ painting Midsummer Eve (one of my favorites!) and the cat.

  2. Deb Lange October 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I love small group thriving! Yes, in my world over the years we have always called them action learning groups. Now they are called mastermind groups. There is nothing like putting a small group of people together to share and support one another. Sounds like you are doing a great job Bonnie.

  3. Susie October 25, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    You are taking you casting talents & creating a safe space to allow the magic to unfold…bravo! I so believe in the power of collective good and it’s outcome that I named my company, Greater Than We.

    So happy you are in the sweet spot!

  4. Elizabeth MacLeod October 25, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    OH, what a beautiful post and a beautiful experience. I love that you just put the link there and just said okay…let’s see what happens and then HOOORAH… people start showing up. Build the field and they will come! Heard that somewhere!!! 😉

    I am inspired by you Bonnie. Beautiful that you are creating a space for like minded souls to gather and mastermind together and to share in expertise. What a gift. and yeah…we are more ready than we think… amen sister. x

  5. Julia October 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Bonnie–this is awesome. Hey, have you ever thought of creating a course teaching others about how to lead their own Mastermind group? I’m just saying!

  6. Sue Ann Gleason October 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I love this, Bonnie. I hope I get a similar response to my ‘wise business’ initiative. I especially love this line: “Surround yourself with the best people on the planet. Make sure they know one another. Stand back while they make magic.” Yes, sometimes we simply need to get out of our own way and let the magic happen!

  7. Michelle October 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    “There’s only so many hours in a Bon.” hahahahahahaha!!! Woman, you crack me up! 😀

    I joined a local mastermind group at my collaborative coworking space about six months ago. It has rocked. My. World.

    Methinks I shall post this gem on my bathroom mirror. Major goosebumps over here.

    “Whatever you’re thinking you *might* be able to bring into your life, walk toward it. Right now. It’s there for you. Are *you* there for it?”

    Thank you, Bon. xo

  8. Lori October 26, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Wow, Bonnie, I just loved reading about your success. It’s amazing how an idea can explode into something that fulfills the needs of a particular audience. I haven’t had the opportunity to participate in an organized mastermind program, but I have learned so much just being a part of various business-related Facebook groups. Just remember while you’re working to prioritize self-care.

  9. Maria October 26, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Hi Bonnie – where can I join – sounds delicious and so fulfilling. I have been in a mastermind all year and it is the best thing I have done – so much intrinsic and extrinsic value as well. xx

  10. Dana October 27, 2014 at 7:06 am

    ” Surround yourself with the best people on the planet. Make sure they know one another. Stand back while they make magic.” YES! Exactly what I want to translate from my face to face business to online…You inspire me Bonnie. Congratulations! and keep sharing your magic.

  11. Bon October 27, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Allie — Appropriate indeed! 🙂 And thank you for identifying the “mystery painting” in my post! One of my masterminders actually sent that to me and said it reminded her of me. I loved it, so I shared it, without knowing its origins. THANK YOU!

    Deb — Thank you, love! <3 Having a blast, and that's what counts!

    Susie — Right? Isn't that fun, how I can use my gifts in a way that makes us ALL better? I've always loved your company's name. I get it. I really do. Thank you for your love and support, as always!

    Elizabeth — Thank you, love. Exactly like that! I really just put it out there "in case…" and OMG how it has changed my life! It's intense! Please walk toward your gifts even if you don't feel ready, my sister. And thank you for celebrating my latest hooray!

    Julia — I actually just did that! 🙂 As a part of our SMFA Essentials program, the October subscription topic was exactly this! It'll be up at the SMFA Store in a couple of months. 🙂 Believe me, I know there is great value to the codification of this system! 🙂 I'm excited to help others spring up groups that further change the world! Absolutely!

    Sue Ann — Honestly, I've seen the beauty in the rhythm of being the connector, the fairy godmother, the conduit WAY more than anything else in my life. Magic absolutely does happen when we bring the right people together and stir in some wisdom. It's inspiring! Good luck with "Wise Business"! Lemmeknow how it goes!

    Michelle — You know I love to keep you laughing, my friend! 😉 Thank you for posting my words in your loo. That's probably the greatest compliment there is… that you'd wanna be reminded of your greatness using my words… in WHATEVER room… so, thank you! 🙂 Be there for it. Really.

    Lori — Thank you for that reminder. I've been engaging in quite a bit of self-care lately. I've needed it. My life has gotten a little overwhelming (in all the best ways, of course) and it's taking a little extra sleep and more bubble baths and time scritching the kitty and flirting on long walks with the hubs and all the little things that are really easy NOT to include when success flows. So so SO valuable to nurture the spirit that gives the goods… we owe it to ourselves to never forget that. Thank you for the reminder!

    Maria — Hooray! The application process starts here: and I'd love to have you join us. 🙂 Of course… we're on a waitlist right now for a bit, but I'd so love to jam with you. Let's get this party happening! THANKS for your interest! Of course, you already know the value of masterminding. Let's elevate it further!

    Dana — Knock it out, my love. I'm not sure I've found the exact balance to going from in-the-room to virtual, but I'll know more in a few weeks having launched a few virtual-only masterminds and seeing exactly how that translates. I'm pretty sure now that my picker is so dang refined, it's gonna be epic. Stay tuned! And stay inspired! XO

  12. april October 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    “that our work together would catapult some people up a tier or two faster than i ever expected.” you should be so proud of your beautiful results, bon, and the synergy you’ve set in motion to make that creatively happen!

  13. Cathy Sykora October 29, 2014 at 6:40 am

    I love this! I am a huge advocate for masterminds. There is nothing more inspiring that great minds working together to grow and benefit together. Everyone has wonderful, unique ideas and experiences and when resources are pooled, wonderful things result. It sounds like you are part of something wonderful that will benefit a lot of like-minded people, congratulations!

  14. Bonnie Gillespie November 16, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    April — I am, hon. So much so. Thank you! <3 Such a labor of love!

    Cathy -- Isn't it great to have "hive mind" experiences? So delicious. Thank you for the support and love!


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