What To Consider Before Investing in Your Next Mastermind with Racheal Cook

Tara Newman: Hey everyone. Welcome to the Bold Leadership Revolution podcast and I'm so excited to have with me, for the second or third time, we're not a hundred percent sure, Racheal Cook. Welcome to the podcast, Racheal.

Racheal Cook: Thanks Tara for having me back.

Tara Newman: Today we are talking about reasons why you would want to join a mastermind. Why a mastermind may be the right thing for you right now. How to know if you're ready to invest in a mastermind. And really, I think the reason why I want to have this conversation with Racheal is because prior to her joining my mastermind, she had some real legitimate reasons why she was hesitant about making this kind of investment for herself at the moment. And I think that, well, at the time, she might've felt like maybe this was just her. I actually think this is a lot of women.

So what I'm hoping to have happen here is for women to really identify with Racheal, how she was feeling prior to joining the team Bold Leadership 2019 Mastermind, and really just be a role model for women who are looking to make investments in themselves and to figure out what's the right investment lane. So thank you Racheal for coming and being willing to share your story.

Racheal Cook: Of course. So where are we starting?

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Tara Newman: So Racheal is in the Team Bold Leadership 2019 Mastermind and we had a pretty extensive conversation before she joined. She's actually helping me do a little brainstorming around solidifying and clarifying what I wanted to be delivering this year in our mastermind program. Now, I'm not here to convince anybody to join a mastermind or necessarily to join my mastermind, but I know that masterminds have been beneficial to me in my business and my career. And whether you join ours or you join someone else's, I really just want you to have some great takeaways from this conversation.

So we're going to start with where were you, Rach, prior to joining the mastermind? Like what were some of the thoughts and feelings that you were having either about where you were in your business or about potentially joining a program, or any of those things?

Racheal Cook: Okay. So I think something that would be helpful for me to set up our conversation with is, I did join a mastermind years and years ago when I was first taking that step to taking my business online, and it was around 2010. I was just getting into this whole online business space. Previously, had grown and started my own business and consultancy in the very traditional face to face way. And I was looking for a mentor at that point who had already taken their business online because in my thought process, it was this will really help me leap frog over a lot of the learning curve. And I just wanted to get up and running, and established online as quickly as I could.

But the challenge that I had in that initial mastermind and a few other masterminds I had been a part of, they turned me off of masterminds for a while. So while I loved my coach and I loved the person who ran that mastermind, one of the biggest challenges I personally had was I moved a lot faster than everyone else in the mastermind. So I outgrew it within, I don't know, five months. And it was a very frustrating place for me personally to be in because I was no longer getting value out of it. In fact, it felt like I was coaching and teaching all of the other members in the mastermind and that was no longer a great value exchange for me. Right? A very weird situation.

And this has happened for me multiple times where I joined something thinking, “Oh, I'm going to get a lot out of this experience.” And maybe the first few months I do, but then because I tend to move and process things very quickly, I've outgrown it. And so, I was in a position for a long time where it was like, “I don't want to have to commit to something for a year,” because I just felt like I wasn't going to get a lot of value out of it.

Tara Newman: I have a question.

Racheal Cook: Yeah.

Tara Newman: Was this a content driven mastermind that you were in that you were saying like you were moving faster than…

Racheal Cook: I think the reason I moved faster than everybody, it wasn't necessarily a content driven mastermind in the way that I know a lot of them are almost like they're really group coaching programs or they're teaching a lot. What was happening in that particular mastermind is I truly feel they didn't match the people to the mastermind very well. Most of the people who joined that first one I was a part of had not ever run a business or had not been in business very long. So they were such beginners that I was ready to talk about higher levels strategy and they were just very stuck around what to me is very business basics.

And that's incredibly frustrating to… it would be the equivalent of sending my fourth graders back to kindergarten. Like it was very frustrating. It's like I already know this stuff and I'm not here to teach everybody else. So that was an interesting position to be in. And I've been in this a couple of times where people are happy to accept anyone and everyone into their mastermind, or let's just call it, that was really a group coaching program. And there's just such variation and experience level that it doesn't end up being very helpful for everybody involved.

So that was something that was really frustrating to me. And I actually, as I got more entrenched in the whole online coaching, online marketing, online business world, what started to become very apparent to me is that there was not a lot of real curation of these mastermind groups. It was pretty much whoever could pay for it would be allowed to join it.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I mean, I think that also, I'm going to say something, but I'm also going to… I always like to choose my words carefully, is what I'm about to do. So I think there's a couple of things that happen in the online space around masterminds. They're relatively new to the online space, but they are not a new thing.

Racheal Cook: No.

Tara Newman: So masterminds have been around for decades and decades, and decades. I mean, Napoleon Hill was talking about masterminds in his book Think and Grow Rich which is from the ‘30s. I've certainly experienced masterminds offline. My husband has participated in masterminds, but in the online space, there were relatively new and people are creating them who they just don't know what they don't know. So they may not have a background in learning and development. They may not have a background in program development, but they're seeing everybody else doing it. So they're following somebody else's blueprint without fully understanding the impact and value of a mastermind, which comes with the curation and of the mastermind itself.

Also, I think what we're seeing in the online space is the word mastermind getting used pretty loosely because, in my opinion, a mastermind is a pretty small group of people. It's not meant to be 20 people big, 50 people big, unless you're then creating separate pods. Right. So I think really we're diverging from the truth of what a mastermind is in a way. So that's where I think some of this is happening. One way to figure this out if you're interested in a mastermind is to look at people's origin stories and their backgrounds, and to really see where their expertise and experience lies. And I think that'll help you understand their philosophy on curating group programs. That's what I have to say.

Racheal Cook: I agree. And I absolutely believe in the power of masterminds. And this is where coming from a more traditional business sense, business background comes in. Like I had been a part of a lot of other masterminds that were not in the way that they are being promoted and sold in this space. Right? So I had seen in the more traditional world the power of it. In this space, it's definitely being sold to a lot of people as this is how you can charge super premium prices, is hosting a mastermind.

But when I was looking for one, just coming from the background, one, I knew I wanted it to be a small group. I was honestly so turned off by the online coaching space when I started seeing people post all these photographs of their “mastermind events or weekends or retreats”, and they're calling it a mastermind, but they had like a hundred people in that photograph.

Tara Newman: Yeah. It was like a conference.

 Racheal Cook: I was like, “That is not a mastermind. You cannot build meaningful relationships with that many people. And the purpose of a mastermind is that everybody in the mastermind genuinely cares about you and is checking in on you, and is cheering you on, and is supporting you. And that's one reason I love your mastermind so much because if somebody is having a rough patch or a bad time or going through something like we all are paying attention and can reach out and say, “Hey, I noticed you're a little quiet this week,” or “Hey, congratulations on that thing you just did.” And that's the power of having a small curated group, is you actually have a vested interest in the success of everyone else in the mastermind. And that just honestly cannot happen once you get beyond, I don't know, 6, 8, 10 people.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I remember when we were having this conversation initially, you were like… and you are not the only person who said this to me, which is really why I wanted you to come on this podcast was because you're not the only one who was thinking a lot of the things that you were thinking when you were not objecting to a mastermind, but working through is this something you're really prepared to step into for yourself. And you said, “Hey Tara, I don't need more strategy. Like, yes, we need to have strategic conversations and we need to be able to be strategic brainstorming partners, which I think is different than meeting strategy.”

Racheal Cook: Yes.

Tara Newman: And you were really looking, which is what I think made you the most hesitant, was you were really looking for an emotional container. So all of my programs, I'm committed to having both a strategic and an emotional container.

Racheal Cook: So you just nailed two very key points right on the head. This is exactly what I personally was looking for. One, I was very concerned because I knew I needed something that would push me out of my comfort zone. So I had actively been spending probably about a year thinking about what is going to help me get out of my own way and help me see the blind spots that I have because I have them. I know I have them. I'm just not always, I'm just not always clear what they are.

Tara Newman: We all have them.

Racheal Cook: Right, exactly. I just knew that I needed something to get me out of my own way and I needed a better support system. I had grown my business to this point and the conversations I was having with a lot of my peers was who's out there supporting women like me who have gotten to this level and want to go bigger, want to make a bigger impact but want to do it very much in their own way. And what I was getting frustrated with when I was looking for that support was there was a lot of… there's so much guru culture out there right now.

And unfortunately I started talking to other people who had participated in different masterminds and it was very much, ‘I'll get you from where you are to where you want to be, but you've got to do it exactly the way that I think you need to do it.' There was no room for doing things your own way. It was very much like, “This is the formula that I can teach you and this is the only thing I know because this is the only businesses I've ever built or been behind. So the only way to get you to where you want to go is this very limited, narrow path.”

And unfortunately, I do not believe in a lot of the tactics and strategies that they were talking about. I just felt like they were very out of integrity with what I stand for and pushed a lot of buttons for me personally. So I was like, “You know what, if all they can do is say they can promise growth if you want to be a clone of them, then to me that is not the mark of a good coach. That's not the mark of a good facilitator for a mastermind. And honestly, it doesn't show me a whole lot of business acumen,” and I didn't want any of that.

So I was very clear like I wanted someone who could truly support me to become the highest and best version of myself instead of a copycat of what they are. And I see this all the time. I see so many people, and Tara, I know you see this, because we've talked about it. People who hop from coach to coach, to coach or mastermind to mastermind, to mastermind and their business changes every single time because they're just copying that next guru.

So incredibly frustrating because they're not actually learning how to stand on their own two feet and that's not what I wanted. So that was one big thing. I knew I needed to get to the next level, I was feeling very isolated because, I mean, the numbers don't lie. Like I am very much in a small group of women performing at this level and it can get isolating. Like I can go to different events, but chances are, statistically, I'm one of the few in the top 8% or 6% of women on business owners generating at this level. So not everybody is going to be playing in the same pool that I'm in.

So I was going through this process of I wanted to make sure I was with the right women who are all at a similar stage, who are all emotionally committed to doing the work and who were committed to doing things in their own way, and weren't going to try to force each other into ‘this is the only way to do the thing'.

Tara Newman: Yeah. And I also want to pause here and say there was a lot working in your business at this time. Like you didn't need to step into this container. I mean, you were doing well.

Racheal Cook: Yeah, I'm really pretty dang proud of myself. I mean, and just for anybody who's not familiar with my business, I've been at a stage the last five or six years where we're generating multiple six figures, I'm paying myself a six-figure salary insistently. I've got incredibly stable, consistent business and it's been more than enough, right? Like more than enough to live a comfortable lifestyle. My husband is a stay at home dad. We have support in the business and at home. It's been amazing. And I think what really pushed me is you have to really get through a lot of emotional stuff and business stuff in order to get to that stage. And then you need to take a breather and regroup, and let that become like your new baseline.

And I had been there for a while and once all three of my kids were in school, I was starting to feel like, “Okay, I'm ready to take this to the next level.” And that meant, I mean, you can't go to the next level without really facing some internal stuff, right? Like you have to get past a lot of emotional baggage or a lot of bad habits, or whatever it is. So I knew I wanted to find someone who would make me uncomfortable and maybe that sounds really weird, but… and Tara's laughing.

Tara Newman: I think it sounds pretty accurate.

Racheal Cook: But I think a lot of people look for coaches and they think it's the right coach when the coach is like, “Oh, you're great. That's great, that's awesome.” And I'm like, “No, a true coach should be pushing you and making you uncomfortable, and calling out things as they see them with their perspective.” And that's what I wanted. I was like, “I need someone who's not afraid to ask me hard questions and not afraid to challenge me.” And a lot of people are happy to be like, “Yes, ma'am." They just say what they think you want to hear and I don't need that. That's not how I'm going to get to my next level.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I think a lot of people, I think one of the reasons why some people join these programs with the bigger numbers, I don't think they realize this is why they joined. But I think they joined to hide. I actually think they joined to not do this level of work that you're talking about. I was reading the book Legacy, by the way. I don't think that's a great book. I read it and I'm like, “Hmm, this isn't really the best written book.” So just because and now everybody's going to be, “Go out and buy the book Legacy,” I don't necessarily recommend it, but I was reading it.

And there was a quote in there and they said, “The key is when we're at the top of our game to change our game, to exit relationships, recruit new talent, alter tactics, reassess strategy.” And I feel like that was like a really good place to describe where you were at when you decided to join the mastermind and part of I think you probably knew that intuitively as well. And you were just looking for someone to push you out of that comfort zone and help you find those blind spots so that you could tweak and change the game that you had going on even though you are really successful, you are looking to jump the S-curve.

Racheal Cook: Yes, absolutely. And I was self-aware enough to know that it would require somebody who could be tough from a loving place. And this was part of the whole… one of the biggest things for me also, there's like a lot of people who could make me uncomfortable. Let's be honest, there's a lot of coaches out there who can make me uncomfortable, but I had a few very specific criteria.

Tara Newman: Love it Rach, what were your criteria?

Racheal Cook: Well, first for me is I wanted to work with a woman who was also a working mom. And this was really important for me because I cannot tell you how many men I have talked to who do not have children, who try to give insight or feedback into my life, and I'm just looking at them like, “Dude, you have no clue. You have no clue what I go through being a working mother.” And whether it's the internal mom guilt that sometimes you have to get past or making decisions that I don't think men understand the mental gymnastics we have to go through.

Tara Newman: Yeah, it's a mental load.

Racheal Cook: It is a mental load and there is a lot there. And I wanted to very clearly work with a woman who was also someone who was going through this. And I've also worked with women coaches who were not moms. And that is very challenging sometimes because if you are not a mom, but you are coaching someone who has young children at home, you don't understand how tired they are or how touched out they are, or how many times they've had to juggle some of these different things. So I was very clear, I needed someone who had been in these shoes and understood, and I didn't need someone who was going to make me feel badly for that being a requirement.

Like I have had people make me feel bad about that before about being a mom and how I use that as being an excuse for not growing. And I'm like, “No, it's just a reality and it's something I have to navigate. It's not an excuse. I don't ever use that as being an excuse for anything. It's just a reality of my life and I needed someone who would understand that.” So that was a really big thing, woman who's also a mom. Another thing that was really important for me was I wanted this to be a safe space. And when I say a safe space, I mean not just physically safe, like obviously that's a huge thing that-

Tara Newman: Which I didn't realize was a thing. But yes.

Racheal Cook: I think a physical safe space is important and it's crazy how much I talk to women entrepreneurs, and they have been going to events or going to conferences, and inappropriate remarks or-

Tara Newman: Yeah, this blows my mind.

Racheal Cook: It makes me sick to my stomach and I've also been on the receiving end of that, which is why I tend to prefer being in very curated rooms and I pay attention to who is curating those rooms because if they're not being respectful or not aware of things, dynamics happening, then they are setting the culture for that in their organization or in the events they're hosting in their communities. So I was very clear that I wanted, first of all to feel safe, especially if I was going to go spend time with all of these people.

So physically safe, but more than that for me is emotionally safe because I knew there were some things I needed to get to the heart of, and I did not feel that some of those rooms I could that vulnerable. Does that make sense? Like I felt like I knew I had to get vulnerable. I needed to be in a group of women who could hold that space for me and not make me feel shame about any of the things I was struggling with. Not diminish any of the things I was struggling with. I've had a lot of people diminish or minimize some of the trauma I've been through in my life and I knew that I needed to be in a container where those things would be acknowledged and not be made to feel like they weren't important or weren't something I've been through.

Tara Newman: Acknowledged is such a great word for that.

Racheal Cook: Acknowledgement is huge and I feel like I've had a lot of diminishment in my life instead of acknowledgement for the things I've been through. And I have to say one of the things I love about every single woman in the group that you've curated is that when we were into loom and that was like our first big in-person thing together, we were all very raw and vulnerable with where we needed support and never once did I feel diminished about anything I was asking or sharing, even things that were really hard to admit out in person.

Tara Newman: You just mentioned loom, all the hair on my arms went up.

Racheal Cook: I know.

Tara Newman: That was quite the experience.

Racheal Cook: I think it takes a very committed facilitator to hold space like that because I feel like, often, when you are talking about topics that can be sensitive or vulnerable, it is very easy to diminish things just in a way to try to bring down the… deescalate the situation a little bit. And I feel like people who aren't skilled in facilitation, who aren't skilled coaches, their reaction to some of the really deep conversations we were having would have been to diminish or deflect instead of, “No, we're going to face this head on. We're going to dive right in and figure out.”

Because these things that we were talking about that were coming up for me and the other women, like these are the reasons we weren't showing up 100%. These were the reasons we were hiding out a little bit and staying in our comfort zone in our businesses because we haven't healed these things. And I knew that I needed to be in a room with someone who could help me face those things, not hide behind them or not continue to have them festering away in the background. So that was for me a big component of finding the right group, is knowing that I can show up and say, “Here's what I'm dealing with right now, you guys.

And I know this is why I have been hanging out in this comfort zone for a while because I'm afraid that for me to be the person I need to be to get where I want to go, I'm going to have to let go of some of these crutches. I'm going to have to let go of some of these bad habits. I'm really going to have to re-examine this belief that has been holding me back.” So that's, for me, the safe space was really important and I knew that I never feel that way in a group that was too big. I also knew I would not probably feel that way in a group that was co-ed. Sorry, dudes. I just knew that I wanted to only be around women, and women who are emotionally intelligent.

Tara Newman: Women who are also doing the work because I think you have to… the reason why that container was… by the way, thank you for acknowledging all of this and thank you for sharing it so openly. But I think that everybody has to be held accountable to doing their own work. And when you do your work, you can then show up for people and sit in the discomfort of their emotion because you've sat in the discomfort of your own emotion. And you can really all come together and create this powerful chain of humans who hold that space very deeply.

Racheal Cook: Yeah. It's really incredible when that happens.

Tara Newman: So people say to me sometimes like I felt like I was the smartest person in the room. I've certainly said that myself at times when I've been in group situations or group masterminds. But what I've come to learn through my own experience with my own coaches, what they've helped me come to realize, which I think is why this works, is because it's not about intelligently being the smartest person in the room. It's about everybody being on the same energetic wavelength so to speak. Like it was an energy. There's an energy match.

Tara Newman: Everybody's at a different place maybe in their business, all very successful women, ranging from all different income levels up to a multimillion dollar business. But it's the energy that people had with each other that they were able to hold that kind of space. That emotional container. So it's a Testament to all the women in that room.

Racheal Cook: It absolutely is. It absolutely is. And I think one thing I do want to point out is one of the things I was nervous about because in a previous mastermind experience I thought I was going in to get one thing, which was I thought I was getting business strategy, and it often felt like all the hot seats were like life coaching. Like suddenly, all these things were coming up and I was like, “What the heck is happening?” My expectations were so off from what that one experience was, that it just led to a lot of frustration for me.

But this for me was very different because I knew that your background as a performance coach and as an executive coach was what I needed. And for me, that was the most important thing. Yes, you're brilliant at business and you just have so much experience to bring to the table so we can talk business at an amazing high level together, and I love that. And I was very clear that what I, like we said earlier, what I needed wasn't necessarily more how to, it wasn't about more doing, it was about how I was being.

And that's, for me, energetically why this has fit so well, is because I was very clear that it wasn't about what I needed to do. It was about how I needed to be and how I needed to show up, and making those internal shifts in order to be the person who runs the type of business that I want to run.

Tara Newman: I think what I want everyone to take away so far from this conversation is the level of discernment that you bring to the spaces you put yourself in, to the people you learn from, to where you put your money. Because, I mean, you're sitting here and you're giving me criteria after criteria, after criteria, getting clear on what your expectations were. I mean, like you're giving a really great masterclass on how to invest in yourself so that you're clear on what your results are going to be.

Racheal Cook: Yes. I've been very clear that this whole experience for me was about the how I'm being, how I'm showing up. And that made it an easy yes, because this is a big investment, right? Investing in a mastermind, a multiple five-figure mastermind at this level that you work at. This is no joke. I could have deployed that same investment into my business through Facebook ads. I could have deployed that same investment into my business through hiring somebody, right? Like that's a part time salary, and I knew that that would just be more doing and I needed an internal shift, right? I needed to recalibrate myself from somebody who's running a multiple six-figure business into someone who's performing a multiple seven-figure CEO.

Tara Newman: Yes. So I think that you've had some great shifts this year. I think that you've had those, a few trans… a number of transformational moments and I was wondering if you would share your most transformational moment, your favorite transformational moment, however you want to frame this, but you have made some big shifts.

Racheal Cook: Well, I'll go back to loom because one of the things that surprised me about loom. Again, everybody really saw me in that was so amazing. It was just shifted everything for me. It was incredible just to have these women really see me. And one of the things that came up, like my story is similar to yours in the fact that I started my business coming out of corporate burnout, and I am also in your human design generators. And my default is doing, doing, doing, doing, doing, doing. Even if I only worked 25 hours a week, I'm still like the constant putterer, always doing something, always working on something.

And one of the big shifts that came up for me was truly understanding that doing more is not going to get me where I want to go. And you challenged me that I needed to see if I could take the rest of that month off.

Tara Newman: Yeah, and you did.

Racheal Cook: Yeah, I did. And lane was there on that retreat, which was great because she looked at me and she's like, “Okay, we're clear in the calendar.” And I ended up working like 18 hours that month and we tracked it very clearly because it was easier for me to do 18 hours' worth of calls with clients and course Q&A calls, stuff like that.

Racheal Cook: But I was able to actually really rest, which I didn't realize how much I needed. And because I took those days off during the school year when my kids were gone most of the day, that allowed me to have a level of rest I hadn't had in quite some time. So it was a really good reminder for me that when you increase your performance, you have to increase your recovery too.

Tara Newman: Yeah. And I think that because you're a generator, you mentioned this, that you're a generator, that we've had to have some conversations around what it looks like for somebody like you to rest. Because I think people think of rest as non-doing. But I think there's a book called Rest. And I think in that book he talks about that rest isn't the absence of work, and that we can be looking at this from a perspective of active rest.

Racheal Cook: Exactly. Well, that's what it made me honestly think of, is I needed a plan for active recovery, right? Because traditionally, my rest has been very like, “Okay, I'm not working, but the brain is still firing at a hundred miles an hour. So it's like I might not be working, but I haven't been putting the brain on recovery.” And so, it's been a process for me to really learn how do I have that active recovery? And for me, it still is puttering around, but I'm actively disengaging from the business so that I can have that mental white space that I need.

Tara Newman: And I think that that's brought forth some results for you. What has changed for you since you've been able to look at it from that perspective?

Racheal Cook: It's been pretty crazy because one of the things that I really have had the bandwidth to even think about was just how am I showing up and what am I saying and sharing. Because when you're very in the doing mode, you just start operating on autopilot. And I was in that zone. I had been operating on autopilot in a lot of ways in my business, and it was working just fine. But if you want to grow, you got to turn off the autopilot and grab the steering wheel again. And I realized it was time for me to be bolder in the things I wanted to talk about.

And that led to me doing a little experiment for myself where I was just saying things that I wanted to say, the things that I would say in front of the women in the mastermind or in front of my own clients but I wasn't really presenting it to the rest of the world because it wasn't as polished or as prettied up, as professional because in my mind, professional is a little dialed down from regular rich. Professional rich is like a little filter I'd throw on to make sure it all sounds good. But I realized that when I started talking more boldly and more honestly about the things I was seeing or trends I was seeing, or things I was fed up with, or shifts that I wanted people to make, people started really responding differently, which was incredible.

Tara Newman: There is nothing like having a pack of ambitious women chasing after you to make sure you say the thing you said you were going to say.

Racheal Cook: Yeah. Well, and I would say something like in our group off the top of my head, like just total, not really filtering at all because I'm in the moment. But then the minute I went to go turn it into something that I put out on Instagram or in a podcast episode, it would be all edited down. And I was losing some of myself with that. So, yes, definitely having people who are like, “Rach, come on now, tell them what you really think.” It changes a lot.

And so I started with just that little experiment trying to really show up 100% more. I hate the word authentic, but that's really the best word. Like more authentically the way I would talk in the moment to anyone else. It gave me the courage to just try that for my show, for my weekly show, and then I renamed the name of the show to Promote Yourself to CEO, and just really having a stronger point of view and a stronger stance than what I had before. And I think what professional Rach, that filter included, trying to be a little bit more acceptable to a lot of people.

A little bit more not necessarily people pleasing, but maybe more palatable to more people. Without that filter, I'm a little bit more direct, I'm a little bit more no bullshit and people really are responding to that. In fact, when we renamed the show and I put in some new episodes about some of these mindset shifts and things that I had to go through to get my business to the level I've gotten it through, oh my gosh, the feedback was huge.

People are like, “Thank you so much for doing this episode on not being enough or thanks for doing this episode on not feeling ready yet.” And I was like, “Okay, wow. These are things I haven't really been sharing, but they're really resonating with people.” And I think that's one of the reasons that my own mastermind filled within literally 10 days of announcing it.

Tara Newman: 100% why that happened.

Racheal Cook: Yeah. And I was shocked because when I opened the CEO Accelerator, granted my mastermind program, the CEO Accelerator has got a different purpose and container than the Bold Leadership container. But I think because of that content and because I was showing up in a very bold way, people were instantly like, “Okay, she's going to kick my ass a little bit this year and I need that if I'm going to get where I want to go.” And it filled within literally and it took three emails, and it was filled.

Tara Newman: I just think in general, and I've been saying this now for the entire year, and I'm going to continue to say it because it's going to continue to hold true, but that if your message isn't different in some way, and that is aligned really with how unique you are as an individual. So if you're not bringing your own personal philosophy, your own vision, your own values, your own identity into your business, it's going to be really hard to stand out.

The space is getting noisier and noisier, and I don't actually think that's a bad thing. I think that's actually a good thing because it's going to start favoring the people who are willing to say the things that nobody else is saying and to be bold and unapologetic, and to stop trying to be so palatable because then you stand out.

Racheal Cook: And I think it's especially challenging for women who have a maybe more corporate or professional career, because we are groomed from such an early stage that it's all about being palatable and it's not like I literally think about pretty much every experience I had in my master's program or my corporate experience. It really was like they worked so hard to take the edge off women, because if you had an edge you were bitchy, or you are too bossy, or you're difficult, or you are a ball breaker.

And I'm like, “You know what, I like that. I'm a little bit of a ball breaker,” and I think the women who want to work with me, I appreciate that too. When they're in the room with me and I can just look at them and be like, “No, this is what needs to happen,” and I'm not holding anything back. But it does get lost when you are used to having that kind of professional filter. And it's not that you can't be professional but it is just being a little bit more true to how you actually show up instead of dulling that shine a little bit.

Tara Newman: Exactly. Exactly. And I'm here for everybody to be unapologetically bold and I understand how people are uncomfortable. There are some people who get uncomfortable around our boldness and it's not an easy path to walk. And I appreciate everybody who's willing to lean into that growth edge and to have more conversations like that. And I think you crushed it, man. You were really leaning in there.

Racheal Cook: Yeah. And it's hard. I am not going to lie. Sometimes I hit publish and I'm like, “Oh shit. Did I really just send that out?” And I think this is also part of the growth, right? Like if you want to get out of your comfort zone, you've got to do things that are really uncomfortable. And it means getting used to having those vulnerability hangovers where you really just shared something that came straight from the heart and like, “Man, some people are not going to like this.”

Tara Newman: Yeah, I would say you have to be willing to do what you're unwilling to do.

Racheal Cook: Yeah, exactly.

Tara Newman: Yeah. So I think this whole episode as is your style and your MO is like this masterclass right on how to invest in yourself. But I want to ask you, what advice do you have for someone looking for a mastermind experience but is hesitant or unsure?

Racheal Cook: Mmh. One thing I would say is don't rush because there are a lot of people totally happy to take your hard earned money, and if you rush into it, you might end up in the wrong group, with the wrong leader and be incredibly frustrated with the entire experience. I took a good year, year and a half looking at different programs and looking at different coaches, and getting more and more clear. Like I talked to people in those other programs to get clear on what they were actually like, not just how they were marketed, but what they were actually were like.

Tara Newman: That's a really good tip because here's one thing that I want to say. And again, I'm like, I'm not calling people out. I really want to call people up. I really want to have a conscious conversation about this and not incite the conversation. But here's the things, because I've done some research on masterminds myself, Rach, and because I was shocked because I've always had really great experiences in masterminds. And I've beta tested, this mastermind was tested.

2019 was the first time that I actually outwardly, overtly sold the mastermind. But I had had it for like three years behind the scenes where we were just going through things and testing, and making sure we could get results in this fashion, and tweaking things. And so I started to do some research on it and because I thought everybody was like me and had these really amazing mastermind experiences, but that was not true.

And what I started to find out more so than that is not true that there's this whole thing where people give testimonials for programs but maybe aren't 100% happy with the program, but they don't feel comfortable saying, “No, I won't give you a testimonial.” So I really want to challenge everybody to go beyond testimonials and have testimonials on a webpage. Right? And really have conversations with people because I researched this stuff all the time. I'm always asking people like, “What's your best experience in mastermind? What's your worst experience in a mastermind?”

And I'm always shocked at the things that come up, like simple things like, “It's hard to schedule my appointments with the person, they show up late.” I mean like basic stuff is off. And these people, though are seen in the industry as being leaders and like really amazing people, like this whole guru… what'd you call it? The guru culture.

Racheal Cook: It is a guru culture and it makes me… I would say another big thing I watch out for is people whose greatest success stories in their $2,000 program are all people in their mastermind. And those people are all promoting their lower price point programs. Like it's a huge affiliate disaster, just like the MLM of online coaching basically. And it's so incredibly frustrating for me because you can't discern are they actually doing well because they are growing their own business or are they doing well because I sign up for a mastermind where now they're pitching that person's programs and they're just getting a cut out of it. It's very tangled in there and I really have a problem with that. Yeah. Anytime I see the whole guru thing showing up, I get really turned off.

Tara Newman: All right. What else? What other things could you give them in terms of advice?

Racheal Cook: Yeah, take your time. Do your research. Get clear on what you feel like you need. Because if what you need is knowhow and what to do, then you might not actually need a mastermind quite yet, even though they might be getting sold to you. If you're in the first, I would say a 100K of your business, you might be better off investing in some smart training and hiring a one on one coach than going after a huge experience at that point. And that's just a personal opinion just because I know every person that I've worked with and seen amazing results for, they were able to get there really quickly because they needed the knowhow, they went to get the knowhow. They weren't trying to get a training out of a program that wasn't designed to train them.

So I think be very clear about what you need. If you feel like you need next level strategy, make sure that's what is going to be delivered to you. I've heard a lot from people who are very frustrated that they thought they were getting next level strategy from a mastermind and it was only about mindset, and they were very frustrated. And I've heard the reverse too, people who thought they were going to be able to get the mindset support and the emotional support, but it was just about webinars and launching, and evergreen, and blah, blah, blah.

So I think get really clear about what you need and if you aren't sure about what you need, then they're happy to tell you what they think you need. So clear about what you feel like you need. And I think that is super important. And the final thing I'll say is really get to know the person that you're about to invest in. And I am a little abnormal in this because Tara and I have known each other for well over a year before I said yes to her program. We've seen each other in person. We spent a weekend together masterminding just the two of us.

So I was very familiar and comfortable with you and that was a huge perk for me being able to say yes to your experience because I just knew I could trust you 100%. And there were no ways for some other people I was watching. I couldn't even get on the phone with them. I can get on the phone with their salesperson but I could not get on the phone with them. And there was one experience I had for a mastermind that was not even as expensive as yours, like half the cost of what you run, but I could not get the person running it on the phone for a five-figure investment.

I was talking to a salesperson who then went off into such a disgusting sales pitch. I can't even, I can't even. It felt gross to me and it quickly turned into the, “Well, if you don't do this, you won't succeed,” type of vibe. And I was like, “Nope, not for me. I don't need that.” So I feel like being able to have an honest conversation and connection with the person is really important. And don't let people make you feel like you don't deserve that. You absolutely deserve that.

Tara Newman: I agree 100%. I mean, personally as the coach and as the person running the program, I want to be able to have a connection with the person. It's an intimate container.

Racheal Cook: Well, and to me that was a big part of that whole thing feeling like, “Ugh, gross.” I was like, it needs to be a win-win both ways and a smart facilitator and coach is going to know that and want to get on the phone with me. But someone who's just in it for the money is going to stick a sales person on the phone and call it a day.

Tara Newman: Well, I want to thank you so much, Rach, for coming by and sharing your experience with women so they can really see themselves in you. That's really what this was about for me, is that women… I'm here for more women investing in themselves, whether it's through my program or somebody else's program, that I'm not really as tied to, but I think that all women should be looking at how they can be making smarter investments in themselves and in their businesses. And I really appreciate your perspective on this and helping women see themselves in someone like you. Where could people connect with you, Racheal?

Racheal Cook: So you can head over to my website, Rachealcook.com or honestly, my favorite place is Instagram. So I'm @Racheal.cook and I love connecting with people there. I respond to all my own DMs, so please connect with me there as well.

Tara Newman: Awesome. Thanks for coming by.

Racheal Cook: Thanks for having me again.

Tara Newman: Hey, Hey, bold leaders. We are so excited to announce that the doors are now open for our 2020 Bold Leadership Mastermind. Now, if you're thinking it's a little too early to start thinking about next year's investments, let me tell you that spots are already filled. And here's why. One, because running a serious business means getting serious about where you're committing your dollars way ahead of time. It's about prior proper planning. And two, it's because there's a new leadership paradigm emerging and it's changing the trajectory of business.

As a matter of fact, it's because business is changing and becoming more disruptive that leaders are being called upon to be more bold and brave than ever before. And we know something about bold leadership over here at the Bold Leadership Revolution, HQ. Now this means business owners today need to build resilience to thrive through uncertainty, empathy, so they can connect deeply with others, and courage to lean into their edge every single day.

We're able to train resiliency, empathy, and courage by the critical habits that keep you focused and accountable on your most important work. When these skills and habits are paired with a solid business strategy and operational skill, your business benefits by generating stable and consistent profitability. Now, the funnel or marketing tactic might have gotten you to where you are, but it will not get you to where you need to go next. What my clients find from working with us is the answers don't lie outside of them. The strategy is you.

When you stop looking for the quick fix, the sexy or alluring strategy, and focus on strengthening you, the leader, you set your business up for recurring growth year after year. You stop giving your power away to situations, circumstances, and the next guru, you have the power. Here's what you need to know before booking a call with me. This opportunity is for you if you're looking to optimize three core pieces of your business. You the leader, the business operations, meaning you want to have the most effective and efficient business, and your team, whether it's one person or you're about to start hiring a team, you want to make sure that when you hire team, they are optimized for efficiency and they're going to be hitting the ground running with you.

Now you want to do those three things and you want to be supported by an incredibly committed group of female business owners. If that sounds like you, my calendar is now open for the two of us to sit down and talk about your business and your leadership for 2020. You're going to want to go over to my website now to book a time to meet with me. We'll also drop the link in the show notes of this episode.

If you've found this podcast valuable, help us develop more bold leaders in the world by sharing this episode with your friends, colleagues, and other bold leaders. Also, if you haven't done so already, please leave a review. I consider reviews like podcast currency and it's the one thing you can do to help us out here at the Bold Leadership Revolution, HQ. We would be so grateful for it. Special thanks goes to Stacey Harris from Uncommonly More, who is the producer and editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs. Be sure to tune into the next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.

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