Four years ago this week, our world crumbled. The threat of COVID-19 changed everything. Entire industries, including travel and conferences suffered tremendous setbacks. The weeks and months after the pandemic were difficult for everyone. My business of speaking to businesses and organizations grinded to a temporary halt. Helping organizations perform better is what brings me purpose and joy. I have helped thousands of employees and hundreds of organizations improve their performance. But during the pandemic, I couldn’t do that. So I slipped into a dark place. I didn’t use my time well. I was the host of a few pity parties thrown just for me. I had serious reservations about my speaking future. For a brief moment, I even wondered what I might do if the speaking profession never rebounded.

One day I was scanning my professional speaking association’s Facebook page and saw a post by a speaker I did not know. He wanted to host a weekly Zoom call for speakers to help each other navigate the challenging times we faced. The purpose was to hold each other accountable for making calls and to support and encourage each other.

Needing some inspiration and accountability, I joined.

Every Monday, six of us met online to talk about what we had accomplished the week before. We discussed new business ideas, we shared what books we were reading, and we challenged each other to continue moving forward.

More than three years later we continue to meet via Zoom to encourage and sharpen each other. We have all grown by providing honest feedback and helpful advice. We look forward to our regular times together and continue to build upon the foundations which brought us together.

While mastermind groups are a powerful way to grow your business, there are many types of groups that meet to hold each other accountable or learn together. For the last five years, my wife has been meeting with a group of women to encourage each other and to help each other with spiritual growth and development. She gets great value out of their meetings and likes having the support of close friends.

Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician and the inspiration for the movie “The Hidden Figures” regularly met with other black woman who made major contributions to the United States space program.

Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, Dr. Alexis Carrel, Charles Lindbergh, and a young man named Jim Newton met over many years to support each other in their business and career endeavors.

Lincoln had his team of rivals consisting of cabinet members with vastly different political views – even foes – who challenged and advised him during our nation’s most troubling times.

Jesus had 12 disciplines whom he met with and traveled with to spread Christianity to the world.

Nearly every successful businessperson or professional speaker that I know surrounds themselves with others to help them be better at what they do. I am grateful today, on National Professional Speakers Day, to share my gratitude and appreciation for the many speakers I have shared with and learned from over a long career.

The accountability and support I had received through meeting with other business professionals and professional speakers has been life and career changing. Don’t miss out on the power of participating in an accountability or study group to help you grow as well.

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