How to Use the Power of Groups

Posted on 05. Jan, 2011 by in Your Wealthy Life

The Power of GroupsThis post is featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance hosted at Wallet Blog

In my New Year Goals post I spoke about setting an individual goal and a combined goal with your partner for the coming year.  If you don’t have a partner (significant other), then I also suggested finding someone to team up with that shares your goal to help you stick to your plan and achieve what you set out to do.  I think that partnerships are a really important factor when it comes to success, so I wanted to spend some more time encouraging you to do this because no matter how positive or independent we are, we all need help and encouragement at one time or another.

A partner can act as a support mechanism, they can offer encouragement to complete a task, sympathy when you hit a stumbling block and they can kick your butt when you get lazy and lose direction.  Partners may also offer a counter balance to your particular approach and provide a different way of looking at the challenges you face.  This kind of support is vital for both you and your partner because it is empowering for you both, the result will give you purpose and keep your fears at bay.

Overcoming the Fear of Failure

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that everyone has felt this fear at some point in their life.  Some people become paralysed by it and can’t take another step, while others are better at harnessing the energy of fear and using it to propel themselves forward.  You might like the sound of the latter, but it can also lead to spectacular failure.  Many people that rebel against fear often do so without thought, which can then lead to more trouble and greater fear.  By balancing your approach to fear and finding a partner that has a different view, you will benefit from the positives that each of you bring and ultimately arrive at a better outcome.  If your partners approach is very similar to yours, this does not mean that you are less likely to succeed.  You will each have different strengths and weaknesses, so spend some time discovering what these are and then find ways to fill in the gaps.

Partnerships can be formed to achieve any goal, from losing weight and getting fit to creating wealth by buying investments or starting your own business.  Your partner does not necessarily have to commit to the same undertaking, but they do have to be there to offer support and advice when you need it.  Partners may come in many forms.  They could be your significant other, best friend, business mentor, accountant or personal trainer.  Whether you pay them or not, you need to be able to trust their judgment and they need to understand your goals and the specifics involved.  Put simply, they need to be on your side!

When it comes to achieving your goals there are no hard and fast rules, least of all about the number of partners you should have.  In fact, when it comes to teamwork 2 might be company, but more can be even better!

Groups Make a Difference

People are pretty funny really.  For all the years of evolutions, social and technological advancements, we still have a very strong need to belong.  If you take a look around you will find that groups are everywhere!

How many successful protests have you seen where only one person is involved?  How about soccer games, or political elections? How many of those have been won where only one person is doing all the work?  It just doesn’t happen without the collaborative effort of a group!  As an individual you can make just about anything happen if you set your mind to it, imagine what you could achieve with a group all working towards a common goal.

How to Succeed Within a Group

You don’t need to find a bunch of people that all want to do the same thing as you in order to benefit from a group.  You just need a partner or bunch of people with a common interest.

For example, you would definitely benefit by working with a group of people that all want to improve their own business, whatever that may be.  Scheduling regular catch ups in person, by email or phone conversations would give you the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and each person would have the chance to contribute helpful advice based on their own experiences.  These kinds of groups are also really great for brainstorming different ideas.

This can also be true for all kinds of groups, including fitness or sporting endeavors.  You don’t have to be an Olympic power lifter to benefit from training at a gym with others that can offer you advice to perfect your form and improve your personal best.  They also benefit from your enthusiasm and the occasional spot  while lifting.

Groups can be leveraged in lots of different ways in order to achieve an individual result.  Take a look at the reality shows on television like The Apprentice, Survivor or The Biggest Loser and see how individuals use groups to their advantage.  Obviously we don’t need to be as sneaky as some of the participants in these groups, but we can take away some valuable lessons.

Make it Competitive

It’s a fact that people try harder if there is something at stake.  If you are investing and playing with real money, then there is a good chance you are already trying hard.  If there is nothing to win or lose, then add something appropriate to your goal and see how much harder everyone tries.  Something of value helps, but often people will always try harder just to be first.  This could be as simple as tracking progress and making it available for everyone to see.

Form an Alliance

Yes, this is just a sub-group or a partnership, but don’t underestimate this as a kick ass method for getting results.  By combining your talents with someone else you are more likely to succeed, particularly if everyone else is competing against one another.

Go Hard or Go Home

Personally I’m a very competitive person, I don’t really like social sports because I try too hard.  Silly I know, but I can’t help but try my best at what I do.  You might be perfectly happy playing a casual game of tennis or lagging behind in the annual fun run, but if you have set a goal and you aren’t giving it everything you have got, then I hope your partner has their butt kicking shoes on!  It’s perfectly fine to come dead last if you tried as hard as you could, but if you can’t commit to it, don’t do it because you are wasting more than just your own time.  Use a partner or a group to your advantage, commit to them and they will commit back.

Together, you can achieve anything!

Image by Stacy Lynn Baum

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13 Responses to “How to Use the Power of Groups”

  1. Jessica07

    06. Jan, 2011

    Great, great, GREAT post, Shaun! Every word you said was completely accurate, in my book. “Go Hard or Go Home” is about to become an embroidered pillow on the couch in my office. Seriously.

    I’ve never been one who plays well in the sand box, because of my competitive nature. However, you gave me a whole new perspective on why doing just that may be the key to success.

  2. Shaun

    06. Jan, 2011

    Hey Jessica,

    I like the pillow idea! Having a reminder nearby will definitely keep you motivated. I think that being competitive helps give you an edge, but like superheros we need to use our powers for good 😉

    Thanks for the great comment!

    • Jessica07

      07. Jan, 2011

      LOL! Now all we need is superhero names and we’re set.

  3. retirebyforty

    06. Jan, 2011

    hmmm… typical type A guy I see. 🙂
    I don’t live by “Go Hard or Go Home.”
    My motto is more “slow and steady wins the race.”
    Personal Finance is a long journey and we are tacking in the right direction.

    • Jessica07

      07. Jan, 2011

      I should put that on the other side of the pillow.

  4. Shaun

    06. Jan, 2011

    Hey Retirebyforty,

    Funnily enough I actually share a similar philosophy when it comes to investing. I think that’s why I invest in property rather than the share market. I still bring my game face though and do all my homework before I committ.

    • retirebyforty

      07. Jan, 2011

      I mix it up with stock market and rental property. Hope I didn’t came off as a jerk earlier.

      • Jessica07

        08. Jan, 2011

        For what it’s worth, I don’t think you did. 🙂 Although, I’m leaving comment blunders galore all over the internet today. My brain seems to have checked out for the day.

        • Shaun

          08. Jan, 2011

          @Retirebyforty not a problem at all, I appreciate the input 😉

          @Jessica like your new gravatar

          • Jessica07

            11. Jan, 2011

            Thanks. We have over 6 inches of snow on the ground (and it’s still going strong). Needless to say, I made myself a more weather-accurate Avatar. Hehe.

  5. Mike

    13. Jan, 2011

    I like it. “Make it competitive is my favorite” – as a washed up athlete, when anything is in competition format, individuals within a group always seem to work juuuuuuust a little bit harder.

    • Shaun

      13. Jan, 2011

      Hey Mike,

      Funny what a bit of competition does, its a great way to keep motivated.

      Thanks for your comment

  6. Daddy Paul

    23. Jan, 2011

    Great read! Ilike your comment:
    “A partner can act as a support mechanism, they can offer encouragement to complete a task, sympathy when you hit a stumbling block and they can kick your butt when you get lazy and lose direction”
    A friend will hold your feet to the fire!