Our success could just be a single help away, but we’re too afraid to ask for it. Offering their wisdom in this episode, Jen Du Plessis talks to Mark Victor Hansen and his wife, Crystal Dwyer Hansen, about their new book, Ask!: The Bridge from Your Dreams to Your Destiny. Mark is the veteran business thought leader who worked his way into the national spotlight as the founder, co-creator and co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, turning it into a mega-brand and a gigantic licensing enterprise. With his wife, they let us in on their journey and the inspiration behind this book, sharing why it is totally okay to ask for help even if the world tells you not to. They also impart great insights into sharing your story, the importance of asking, and how to be up in downtimes, especially with COVID-19 in front of us. Follow along to this episode to find the inspiration you need to go out there, share your story, and become effective leaders.
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The Power Of Asking, Sharing Your Story, And Thinking Big With Mark Victor Hansen And Crystal Dwyer Hansen
What a great episode we have ahead of us. I cannot tell you how my heart is beating out of my chest at the excitement to be able to interview and share with you all kinds of questions with the man himself, Mark Victor Hansen, and his beautiful, gorgeous wife, Crystal Hansen. Welcome to our show. Thank you so much for joining us.
We’re delighted to be here. We’re beyond excited. Thank you.
I’m happy to be with you.
I’m going to be reading your bio separately because there’s so much of it. I want to let everybody know. It goes without saying you are one of the co-authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Diana von Welanetz Wentworth. She co-wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul Cookbook.
Food for elegant women on the whole planet. Ted is her husband. To us, they’re friends.
He’s a delight. He and I sat out by the pool for probably 1.5 hours. I listened to him. We went to a retreat together. It was when Frank Shankwitz did his premiere for the Wish Man. We were invited to participate in that. What a beautiful woman she is. Life’s about surrounding yourself with great people. No question about it. The first thing I want to say is you’re a thought leader. You believe that it’s the vision of what’s possible that we weren’t put on this Earth to be on this Earth by itself.
[bctt tweet=”You and I are here to be full-time creators.” via=”no”]
We were put on this Earth to do beautiful, wonderful things. It’s for us to do. That’s the crust of every message that you’ve said. I want to go back way back before. I have the second edition that was published in 1993. It’s been used and abused and that’s a good thing. When something that’s great is used and abused because there’s someone down below us that doesn’t like that. I had given my mother this book. It was mine. When she passed away a couple of years ago, she had this book on her bedside along with her Bible.
I got it back. I want to share what I read and wrote in. I said, “Mom, this book has brought me many hours of pleasure, great stories about anything and everything. It will truly touch your soul and give you several opportunities for reflection about each story and how it affects our lives daily. One day I will meet the authors. I love you, Jen.” I’m tickled that I said that. The fact that I can be here with you is divine intervention. Tell us about Mark before Chicken Soup. How did this all come together?
What happened is in 1974, I’ve been in graduate school with the smartest guy in the planet as far as I was concerned, Buckminster Fuller. Dr. Fuller was Einstein’s best student. He invented spherical buildings made out of triangles, Dymaxion cars that ran in three wheels and alcohol, ethanol and methanol. He did brilliant things. I got sucked into believing I should be Bucky rather than me. I bankrupted a company for $2 million. It went bankrupt so fast. I was building in New York City. I built the Wall Street record club, botanical gardens aviaries homes, but I was building out a plastic PVC, polyvinyl, chloride, long time. I crashed, which was my best worst experience, which some people are hanging on by their fingernails. I’m not making fun of it. You’re so interested in the Bible, the best line in Genesis is what you meant for my harm, God meant for my good.
For six months, I’m sleeping in front of another guy’s room in a sleeping bag. All of a sudden, it came to me. I want to be a speaker. I went to my room. There’s three of them and I asked, I said, “Do you know anyone that young, not a cotton top, not a celebrity, not a doctor, not a lawyer, not a Broadway star, anything.” They said, “Yes, there’s a kid two years older than he was out in Long Island, New York.” Chip Collins, who became my best friend and mentor talking to real estate people. I went out and watched him mesmerize an audience for three hours. At the end of which I asked, I gave him my hand. I said, “I’m Mark Victor Hansen. I’m asking to take you to lunch. I want to ask you how I can do what you’re doing.” He said, “The chance you’re making is 1 in 1,000. You’re not going to make it.”
Long story short, I did a Tony Robbins. We both did 1,000 talks the first three years in the business. If you take massive action, you’ve done in your business, you get massive results. Everyone in the talk said, “That is a greatest story, Jack and Mark.” I’m the storyteller story writer. He’s a Harvard third in his class genius. I’m not taking anything away from Dr. Canfield. That would not be my program. The point is I wrote the stories that made the book at the front end and most of them. People said, “You have this story in a book.”
My first book back in 1974 was Stand Up, Speak Out, Win. I said to these little audiences of 6, 20, 50 people, “This isn’t a New York Times special. This isn’t a national bestseller. It’s certainly not an international bestseller, but it is my best seller. It’d be my privilege to sign it to you, your spouse, your kids, and if you got a dog, I’ll do your doggy bone.” I sold 20,000 copies. I tripled my income. I went from about $70,000 a year to $210,000 that fast. I thought, “I’m going to keep writing.” Now I’ve written 312 books, sold 500,000 books, been 59 times number 1, New York Times. As far as I know, nobody has been more than that. I want everyone to write a book. If they go to my website, MarkVictorHansen.com, we’ll teach people how to do that because everyone needs to take that beautiful wisdom and story out of their head and deploy it on paper.
[bctt tweet=”The greatest amongst you is a servant of all.” via=”no”]
I did see that. I saw that you have a program. You have a twelve-module program. It’s great when people can love write books. I’m fascinated by the fact that you can write so many because when I wrote my first book, Launch: How to Take Your Business to New Heights, I said, “There’s no more left in me.” I was asked to write a couple of collaborative books. I said, “How did I get that from me? I don’t know where all this came from.” How do you come up with these new ideas? How is it that people tend to be one and done with the book? They take forever to write it, long time to write it. They’re one and done. Where do you get the inspiration to write more and come up with more ideas?
The spiritual things, Genesis 128 says, “In the beginning, God created you and I in His image and likeness.” I define that to mean two things. You and I are here to be full-time creators. It doesn’t mean I’m rich now. I’ve got $1 million or $10 million or whatever the number is. Rich is relative. Number two is that you’re here to contribute. The greatest amongst you is a servant of all. If you’ve got it, you’ve got to create it. That’s why Crystal I created Ask! because we’ve traveled to 80 countries around the world, talked to seven million people. We find great people, wonderful people, sophisticated people, educated people. The difference between the people who succeed a little and those who exceed a lot is they ask and I’m asking people to think bigger. The bestselling set of tapes I ever had was mine, How to Think Bigger Than You Ever Thought You Could Think. It’s not that we think too big until we think too little. Crystal, who’s a certified hypnotherapist and a lot more degrees. The point is she says, “We don’t use those eighteen billion brain cells. We got four times the talent, skill and inner genius that we’ve ever used. Once you start pulling it out, you got to let it rock. You’ve got to write 5 or 6 books at the same time because you never have writer’s block on 4 or 5 books at the same time.
I know that we are dreamers. There’s no doubt about it. What do you think is the reason that people it’s at gap? I know that’s part of Ask! is the bridge from your dreams to destiny. What do you think is the core issue? Is it procrastination? Is it fear? There are 1,000 different things, but you’ve been around a long time and you’ve shared with many people. Many people have shared their stories with you. What do you think is the issue that people don’t go to their full potential?
I was going to say, Jen, it’s an important question and something we should all reflect on because when we’re born as children, we have this beautiful ability to ask for anything. Our spirits are shiny. We’re new. We’re fresh out of heaven. We ask about everything. We want to know who, what, when, where, why and how. We’re not ashamed to ask for more and more. Over time, depending on how we were raised, what happened in our school experience, what happened with our job experience, careers, military, whatever it is, life starts to shut us down. We start to get afraid to ask for what we want. We start to become ashamed to not know everything, or we look at other people and look at them as unqualified because they don’t know anything.
It’s sad because that beautiful spirit that we were born with, that childlike spirit where it’s spirit stabbing at us going, “Come on, you’re here to evolve, learn and grow.” Suddenly that gets shut down. We stop asking. We stop wondering. We stop being curious. Mark and I identified in the book. We talked about the seven roadblocks to asking. What we discovered is that each and every person has at least one of those roadblocks, if not all of them. It’s important for us to look each of those roadblocks. We have beautiful stories around each of those and start to come clean with ourselves and ask those questions like, “Which of these roadblocks is stopping me?” We can go into the roadblocks if you want to.
I want to ask you a specific question and it might pull out one of the roadblocks because we want them to get the book. It’s taking action. We want them to take action. When I think about my story and I’m not going to go into my whole story. My dad was an alcoholic. My mom was a verbal abuser. It was not the best childhood. I had limiting beliefs for a long time. Not that I’m cured from all my limiting beliefs, so I still have many of them.
In the past few years, I have broken through this particular limiting belief. That was the limiting belief that I was going to amount to nothing. My uncle called me, “Jenny, who hasn’t got a penny.” He told me I was going to be nothing. He told me I was going to be like them. I spent my entire life proving instead of living. I got to the point where I said, “I’m done proving to everybody. I want to start living.” When I look back on it, anyone who’s reading here, if they’ve got that big, Eat That Frog!, Brian Tracy big frog of a limiting belief, how do we get past that one? That one stems from childhood. That’s what I see most of the time is something that comes from childhood that is something that people can’t get over.
As a transformational life coach, what I teach my clients is that while it appears that life is happening to us from some source outside of ourselves, and it’s coming at us and we’re ducking and dodging and trying to keep the balls up in the air. The reality is that our true life experience is created right here inside of us, in our minds and in our hearts. Until we’re willing to take that time to deliberately sit down with ourselves and start to do the self-examination, which involves heavily this process of asking the right questions of ourselves and then answering them truthfully. What Mark and I determined is there are three channels through which to ask. Those are ask yourself, ask others and ask God. Each of those channels are important.
When you start to ask these questions and we give very specific questions in the book, you start to reveal the truth to yourself. You realize you start to reveal that you are enough. That this baggage you’ve been carrying around that came from out there somewhere and you let it in and it became part of your processing system, it’s not true. What happens is when we hear something enough times, our subconscious mind doesn’t discern truth. Our conscious mind does. If you’re analyzing something, you’re saying, “That’s not true. I can discern that.” If somebody that you love and trust or care about someone who has any influence in your life tells you something enough times or you hear a similar message enough times in your life, you start to develop a program. You believe it at some level. You’re operating at this subconscious level as if that is true.
As if Jenny don’t have a penny until you sit down and you start taking that time with yourself and challenging those entrenched programs and start asking your way forward. Is that true? Where did it come from? It came from their experience. They had a different experience than I did. They don’t believe they deserve anything. What was their childhood like? The answers will come to you. If you look at their childhood, you will discover why they believe that. You say, “Why does that have anything to do with me? How would he know what my destiny is when my destiny is only determined by myself and God working in a partnership together?” This questioning process that we talk about in the book is so empowering. It’s freeing in terms of being able to eliminate that baggage and set your life on the ultimate course so that you truly can achieve that ultimate destiny that you have that is waiting for you out there.
It’s true. That’s how it came to fruition for me is that I love this uncle. I love him. My mom’s one of ten. I’m one of 37 first cousins plus now all the married people plus all the extra children that everybody has. It’s a big family. They were poor. He was born in a park, in a tent, back in the day, along the river. The older he gets, the more he tells me about that period of time. He’s a multimillionaire and won’t buy a pair of shoes for himself. It’s his limiting belief that he pushed on to me at an age that was impressionable.
I’ve gotten to the point now where I’ve forgiven him. I didn’t for a long time, but I forgave him. I love that whole process. I’m glad you brought up the question of asking yourself and asking others and asking God, this book in particular is going to be a great book for everyone for the holidays to give away. I want to ask you about the asking others. When I saw that, I said, “If I forgave him, if I got through that process, is he the other that I want to go ask again? Do I want to pull myself in there?” Do we need to be careful about some of the others that we ask the naysayers in our lives?
[bctt tweet=”Our true life experience is created right here inside of us, in our minds and in our hearts.” via=”no”]
It’s important to have boundaries. The question you ask yourself, is there any benefit to opening it up at one? Do I trust his evaluation of things? Do I trust his assessment? While I love him, I understand he’s at a place that is the result of his own state of consciousness. Is there anything that he can offer me that’s important? Is there anything important that I need to learn from him? It sounds to me and you have to ask yourself that question, but the answer is no. It is important to ask the right questions to the right people. It’s funny because when it comes to asking, people are afraid to ask. We’re afraid to ask for help, assistance, advice, all of those things.
When Mark and I looked at the studies that were done on asking when we wrote this book, people go into that into the process of asking like, “They’re so hesitant and afraid to ask.” That is the reveal. Going in, people thought that they would either be perceived as being stupid, ignorant, uninformed if they asked for advice or something or help, or pushy and obnoxious. The studies reveal none of those things are true. If you’re willing to ask for what you want, for what you need in a humble and respectful way, you are 80% more likely to get your question answered, your request granted, whatever it is. There’s no reason not to ask. In the book, we give so much evidence of why that’s true. We tell these incredible stories of people who realized at some point in their lives that it was important to keep asking and the results were phenomenal. When you read these stories, you realize that you can do the same thing and more.
As you were talking about that, I was thinking about all the people in my summit that I would say any questions, nobody. I would ask a question back. People like, “I’m an introvert. I don’t like asking questions.” Someone would finally go, “I’m going to ask the question again since no one’s going to say anything,” but that’s the person who gets the most out of that interaction.
It’s the person who gets the most out of life. If we can come back to that childlike place, we were all born with it. We’re born perfect. Come back to that place. Start getting in touch with that beautiful curiosity that we all had as children. We need to wonder. One of the roadblocks is naivete. It’s such an important one to tell the story of how we hired this beautiful Filipino woman when my children were young. My girls were born sixteen months apart so it was a little crazy trying to keep up. I had an older son. She would come every day. She cooked these beautiful dishes from her homeland. She was lovely and gracious.
She showed up one morning with this fruit and cut it up on a plate and said, “Here, Crystal, try this.” It was this juicy orange fruit. I bit it. I was like, “This is the best fruit I’ve ever tasted, Nelda. What is this?” She goes, “It’s a mango.” I was like, “A mango? How come I’ve never tasted a mango before? That’s crazy.” I know. I was thinking I’ve been all over the world. I’ve never encountered a mango. I’ve been to Europe, everywhere. I said, “Where did you get this?” Thinking she must have imported them from Philippines. She said, “At the grocery store.” I was like, “How did I not know that this wonderful best fruit I’ve ever tasted is sitting right at my grocery store?”
It made me think, “What else do I not know?” I’m naive that is there and available to me. What else do I not know? I grew up in Idaho where there are lots of potatoes and no mangoes. We’re imprisoned by our own naivete. I thought, “People passing by every day that might be my new best friend, my next business partner, somebody who could be a great advocate or to whom I could advocate for.” All of these things like opportunities, people, we’re naive. We pass them by every day. What if we became wildly curious, wildly inquisitive, started asking, started wondering how much more would our lives open up to the beautiful gifts and rewards that are out there for us if we’re willing to take this asking journey. That’s why Mark and I are saying, “Get the book and take the journey with us.”
[bctt tweet=”It is important to ask the right questions to the right people.” via=”no”]
Can you remember what you were reminded of?
I want to go back to your uncle. Who’s a lovely guy I’m sure and now a multimillionaire, but remember, Crystal said his state of consciousness. What you’ve got to do is ask yourself. Remember, our subtitle is Ask!: The Bridge from Your Dreams to Your Destiny. If you’re alive and that includes everyone reading, no matter how tough it is right now because we’ve all been put in this cocoon that’s a surprise to us. Our metaphor is that you can’t look at a caterpillar, predict a cocoon or a beautiful butterfly. We’re about to break out of the cocoon. You got to ask who are you asking.
When I asked one question, I said, “How do I go bankrupt?” I checked the book out, How to Go Bankrupt by Yourself and Crash and Burn. Not that was good, bad experience. The point is you’ve got to keep asking yourself who is it that could help me grow and thrive because the prayer of Jabez unequivocally says, “Bless me, Lord, a lot.” Number two, “Expand my ability, expand my territory, expand my account.” Number three, “Keep me from evil.” That’s Old Testament stuff, but the same in the New Testament. The point is that every one of us is supposed to be asking for wisdom, asking for growth, asking for what your dream is. Andrew Carnegie, the richest man of his time, worth now in dollars, $4 billion, even richer than Jeff Bezos. I’m a scholar of Dr. Napoleon Hill and his teacher, Andrew Carnegie. Where do you live? I forgot to ask.
I’m in Northern Virginia, outside of Washington, DC. I’m right along the Blue Ridge mountains. I’m 60 miles west.
You go to Andrew Carnegie’s house. In marble it says, “Authors of the wealth of the nation changes the world,” but then no one can get rich without enriching all others, which is true. The third thing he said, “I looked at what Christ did. He had twelve disciples that all brought them up until one guy sideways.” A guy named Judas did the wrong thing, the kiss of death as it were, lost his silver and everything and his life and his soul. The point is every one of us has got to keep picking people that’ll take us to our next level. You got a long way to go. I’m going to live with the 127 options for renewal. What I’m teaching is to be about quality of life.
You want a high-quality life and what’s the maximum you can contribute, not the minimum. Unfortunately, we got too many people buying into minimums now wrecking themselves and destroying their soul because your soul has to grow and your soul has to become. The spirit runs the mental, which runs the physical. That’s why we say, ask yourself, ask others and ask God. Most people reading need to know how do you do that? The way we’re teaching it is 400 times before you go to sleep, you say, “God, what’s your destiny for me?” Know that you’re going to wake up in the middle of the night and tell your sweetie-kins, “I listened to Mark and Crystal. It seems a little weird and I’ve never heard before, but I’m going to know my destiny in the middle of the night.” It takes Crystal to teach you, take that long to get into the depth of your subconscious. You came in knowing, the author and finisher of our faith is inside so God in you. Write down in detail, don’t say, write, play, or write book. You got to write up what you’re going to write. You got to get up and turn on the lights and do it.
I don’t do it at night, but I’m going to now, hearing this. One of the prayers that I say every morning is “Lord, take me where you want me to go, let me meet who you want me to meet. Tell me what you want me to say and keep me out of your way,” everyday. He’s guiding me now.
Every morning we wake up and going backwards a little while. We’re falling in love. We are two hearts becoming one soul. We were living in California. At that time, we were in Costa Mesa at mother’s having a green meal. The guy next to us, a man of about 90 years old, white collar and all that. He said, “I see these guys are in love. Can I tell you what will keep your marriage together forever?” I said, “I didn’t expect to get interrupted, but tell us.” He said, “I’ve been the head of Billy Graham Ministries for 70 years in marriage. One thing is praying out loud together is what does it.” Every morning we wake up and do an hour of prayer. Our favorite place outside of America is Italy. We like Florence. You’ve seen the David. I’m sure you’ve been there. They say, “Michelangelo, how did you make your David the world’s greatest sculpture?” He said, “I chipped out everything not David.” That’s what your prayer does every morning and the same for us, different words. The point is you’re talking to Big G and Big G always answers.
I was going to what I was going to say, a couple of little things, and I want to ask you some questions about COVID as we round out our conversation is as you were talking, Crystal, what I was thinking is the acres of diamonds that we have underneath us. I was talking about this at the summit. I talk about it in my coaching all the time is we all have binoculars on. We’re always looking for the thing. Maybe I have a book in there that you can help me with, but we’re always looking with binoculars to the next thing that’s going to make us happy, make us rich and make us have better relationships.
We have acres of diamonds under us that we have to look down and dig for. Dig in our own souls to be able to find and to manifest. That’s what I was thinking when you said that. The other thing I wanted to say is that my mom said to me one day, “You have such a great quality of life, honey. It’s such a great quality of life.” I was talking to her about taking the kids wherever we were going at the time or something. It struck me. I said, “Mom, I don’t want a quality of life. That to me is like keeping up with the Joneses. What I’m looking for is a life of quality.” That shift tells the whole story. That’s when my question came to where I’m at now in my life. Building my life first as my core and then the business because people focus so much on money, business and everything else is peripheral and it’s not protected.
One of my favorite questions is, “God, show me the greatest expression of me for what you made me.” What is that ultimate thing? It’s not something you can find outside of yourself. You have to go inside, find your treasure.
Let’s talk about COVID, the cocoon, this COVID cocoon that we’re in. We talked about this about the eBook that you have, How to Be UP in Down Times. This is a gift that you’re giving us. You broke it into soul, mind and body tips. I immediately was drawn to the body tips. There’s so much in common. I printed that one page, which is number seven, the tips. Quarantine psychologically changing. It’s not a long chapter. It’s a quick tip. We’re all in this fatigue with COVID. You had three tips, but one of the things that you had is simply do 10 to 20 pushups a day.
[bctt tweet=”We’re imprisoned by our own naivete.” via=”no”]
Here’s the funny thing. I have been gamifying my physical activity during COVID because it’s so easy for us to work 100 hours a day. We’re have nothing else to do. We’re not going to watch Netflix. I started gamifying and here the honest to goodness truth. Every morning before I have my tea, I do fifteen pushups on my countertop. That’s my gamification. I come into my office and before I can sit, I have to do a plank for 30 seconds.
I have gamified everything. I love your analogy of the cocoon and that something’s going to reemerge from this cocoon. Crystal, I’ve been saying it’s not what COVID has done to us, but what has COVID done for us. Will we emerge as a butterfly transformed or will we curl up and shrivel away? Tell us about some of the strategies we should be thinking about doing whether it’s in Ask! because it’s asking questions or whether it’s in the contents of this. What should we be doing to ensure that our soul is saved on the backside of this?
First of all, here’s what we’re recommending on Ask! is for Christmas, don’t buy one, buy two and find somebody that’s depressed, despondent, disconsolate or worst-case, suicidal. We’ve been doing over 100 podcasts. We’ve done a lot with the greatest psychiatrist and psychiatry is going crazy with you trying to X out of life. That’s how I felt when I went bankrupt and lost $2 million one day and hurt myself and a lot of other people. Go through every question in Ask! so you transform yourself because you’ll also be transformed by the self-renewing of your mind. Everybody can do that. We got 121 letters in a day with people saying, “This book has changed my life. It has done it for me because no one ever taught me to ask.”
As far as I can see now, and this is my statement. I hope I’m talking for my wife. Since Socrates, nobody’s tried to be fully aware of all the questions. That’s how we wrote the other book, How to Be UP in Down Times with Mitzi Purdue. She is amazing. She does 22 chickens a week. They’re all organic. What we said in that book is there wasn’t one COVID problem. COVID is a problem. You ought to have hydroxychloroquine and zinc and Z-PAK in advance. I got it one time and got rid of it in a day because I overdosed.
What you’re saying is correct is your nutrition and your immune system is what’s got to be critical and the people that are compromised, they should be doing back to your thing about that 50 pushups. They got to be taking the nutraceuticals and the herbs and all that. You’ve got the disease, then you’ve got the fever and then you get the media. You’ve got politics and you’ve got China, which is working against us. I’ve been going to China for 22 years up until a few years ago. We decided, “This guy wrote a book like Hitler.” Hitler said, “Today Germany, tomorrow the world.” The head of China’s first line in his book, you can read as hegemony, which is a word no one in America knows, but that means world domination.
You go look it up after this and you go, “I don’t want to learn Chinese. That’s not my goal.” I do not like oppression. They’ve got a million people that are slaves. It’s a little bit heavy. The point is we’re saying, “If you read the front of the book, the first chapter I wrote, when we come out of this thing, we’re not going to do 50 billion. We’re going to do 50 trillion with seven businesses. I talk about any which you can participate in. While the mortgage business is booming now, the airline business has been crushed. You cannot fly in and out of Maryland. You’d go, “You got no right to do that.” That’s anti-liberty as far as I’m concerned, it makes zero sense to me. You can’t have Thanksgiving. This is not okay with me because I’m a constitutionalist.
[bctt tweet=”You have to believe that the answers are out there for you and you deserve it.” via=”no”]
We’re not political anymore. We moved and then said, “I’m a constitutionalist.”
We believe our founding fathers were all divinely guided. I believe that Jefferson and his teacher who is 56 and he was 26, wrote that thing, the declaration, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and the happiness of pursuit if you do it backwards, everyone should be happy, but you’ve got to have freedom. Freedom means you got to have free enterprise. What we’re teaching in that book subtly, and I’ve written other books like The One Minute Millionaire bestseller and stuff like that. An entrepreneur finds a problem which everybody can do, fixes it, scales it and it makes it a vast problem.
I have to go back and ask you a question. What were you studying when you went to college?
What happened is I was going to be a doctor of physiology and then the head of physiology and was working with NASA. I said, “You got to go meet the smartest guy in the world.” I sat in the audience with 5,000 people to Buckminster Fuller. We’re going to talk about ten things, synergetic, energetic, geometry, cosmogony, cosmology. You post them all do go talk. One of the words that I thought I was sophomoric, I thought I knew everything. I became a student of Buckminster and comprehensively. How do you make a whole system work for 100% of humanity?
I was going to be a cardiologist, took a physiology class, gets turned off from it for some reason. I don’t know. It was totally pre-med. I ended up going into architectural design and construction engineering. As you were mentioning the names, I was like, “Been there, done that.” I want to ask you, this show is called Success to Significance: Life After Breaking Through Glass Ceilings. I’m thankful that it came out. Somebody upstairs was looking out for me because I had been planning to bring this out. I’ve been interviewing people in 2019 in preparation to bring it out in the beginning of 2020. It’s turned into something wonderful because so many people are at home and they’re saying, “Do I go back to my job when it’s time to go back to my job? Is this the sign that I need to be an entrepreneur, to find my destiny in life?” What do you tell someone who’s wavering? It all is the bridge. This is moving from success to significance or breaking through that glass ceiling who’s saying, “I’m afraid to take that first step.” What do you say to them when they’re afraid of COVID? I know you’re going to say go back and ask questions, but is there any tactical or strategic advice of doing it like take that chance that you could share with everyone?
You always have to take action. There are three things you have to do to prepare to be a good asker. The first one is belief. You have to believe that the answers are out there for you. You have to believe that. You have to also believe that you deserve it. You deserve the answers, you deserve the best. Going in with that belief is important. The second part of preparing to be a good asker is action. As you start asking these questions, you’re going to get breakthroughs. You’re going to ask a question of yourself or other people. You’re going to get an idea. You’re going to get asked another question. You’re going to get an illumination you didn’t have before. You’re going to ask another question. You’ll start to see a solution.
At that point, you must take action. Action is part of the preparation. Belief, action and then imagination is the next one. We’re the only animal that has imagination. The ability to imagine something, to create a stage in our mind where we play out any scenario, any possible thing we could ever want. Mark and I say, “When we start asking our questions, we say, there are three phases to the questions. Where am I now? Where do I want to be? What specific actions do I need to take to get there?” In that second stage, where do I want to be? You need to use your imagination. We tend to take, go to the Nth degree of your ultimate greatest scenario and say in this greatest scenario, “What am I doing every day?” In this perfect career situation that I’m in, who am I talking to? Who are my clients? What’s important to me? What makes my heart sing? In that way, you start to engineer this perfect life that you want backwards from the ultimate place. It’s one of the most powerful exercises you can do.
I’m laughing about that because I always tell everybody, and I have a screenshot that I use when I’m speaking as a picture of a soup bowl with a fork in it. Many of us spend our lives eating soup with a fork. Every activity is because someone out there told them they should do the activity or they think they should or they saw someone take that action, so I should. At the end of the day, eating soup with a fork, you’re never full. You’re never fulfilled ever.
That’s why at the end of the book we show all the questions. You’ve got to become a great question asker, but you’ve got to set great inspiring goals for you. When Jack and I started, I interviewed all the world’s bestselling fiction and non-fiction, 101 authors. I didn’t ask how to write. I knew how to write. I said, “Tell me how you marketed, how you sold, how you promoted? Wayne Dyer, what did you do? James Michonne, what did you do? Scott Peck, what the heck did you do?” I created a wobble business plan, but then I added what the goals would be $1 million in 1.5 years. We did it in five minutes and then $50 million a year. I said, “I’d sell 1 billion books.” I can tell you because 144 people that turned us down.
I’m halfway to go and I’m en route. They said, “You cannot sell the Bible.” I did a Chicken Soup for the Soul Bible and we sold 70,000 a week at Walmart. It was purple and God’s highest color top of the electromagnetic spectrum and all that. We said, “Everyone out there has got a destiny.” The reason we did that from your dreams, your destiny as a subtitle on our book, Ask!, is because everyone says, “I can’t do this now. I’m shut down with COVID.” No, the opposite. We’re saying, “Get the book, go through the questions.” Write them out, dictate, whatever you got to do, that you will transform your life now because this is going to be over soon. For whatever reason, it’s going to be over whether it’s good nutrition or vaccine, treatment, whatever, therapy or more or less consciousness and spirit, it’ll get us out of it more than anything else.
[bctt tweet=”If you cut the crap, 99% of reality is invisible and it starts with spirit.” via=”no”]
As we’re talking about how COVID is going to be over, I have this visual of people coming out of the cellar after a tornado. They open up those tornado doors. They come out and they look around. The question is when you come out and you look around, what’s that going to be like for you? Is it going to be, “Yes, I’m finally out, let’s go, there is life to live,” or is it going to be coming out and falling to your knees and saying, “I don’t have anything left, I don’t know what to do?” I want the former. I don’t want the latter.
First of all, I love what you said. The reason we sold more books, I wrote a book called, The Miracle of Tithing, which businessmen say, “What’s a miracle about tithing.” I’d say you got to tie their thinking, your time, your talent, your trusses and then the bonus T is Thanksgiving. What happens is you got to be thankful for wherever you are and say, “We’re going to get out of this and we’re going to make something wonderful.” It’s back to Joseph. He went through the torture to the damned and pit and slavery in jail for thirteen years. He came up and rule the nation because he was ready because he kept doing his inner work. We’re saying, “We got to work with God in us,” and say, “The doors are going to open. We’re going to come out.”
The other might be a little bit of a mess out there, but what are you going to do about it? Not get down on your knees and cry and say, “It’s over.” What are you going to do to make it more magnificent, more wonderful, better than it has ever been? If you cut the crap, 99% of reality is invisible and it starts with spirit. You got to keep asking yourself, “God, what is it that I can do now to manifest something great for the rest of humanity?” You want to be teachers, students, disciples said, “Boss, what do we got to do?” He said, “Be a servant, the greatest amongst your servant of all.”
Go out and teach other people. People are looking for leaders now. I know that leadership is a big thing. Who’s going to lead us out? Leaders are good. I want to get some input from them. That’s the questions to others. I too want to be a leader.
We should all be asking where we can lead, how to find our leadership skills. We all have leadership skills within if we’re willing to find them, if we’re willing to ask the right questions and dig deep. The other thing is listening to the answers and being courageous enough to follow the promptings you get. When you start to ask those questions, you have to have a certain amount of courage in this asking journey. You can’t collapse. You can’t give up. You need to press forward because all the information is out there for you. You’re going to get it when you start asking, but be ready to press forward with courage.
Any parting thoughts you want to give us as we end our time here together, which is disappointing. Any parting thoughts that you’d like to give to everybody? What would you like to say?
I would like to say get the book for $16. It’s a life changer. We want to invite people to join us. We have a book club that we would like to invite you to. Once you get the book, go to AskTheBookClub.com and join us for that book club discussion because it keeps that asking journey alive. We want everyone to become master askers.
We’d love to everyone to go to respective websites so they can get to their destiny because our destiny is helping everyone else get to their destiny. That includes eight billion people, which no one’s ever done before. This thing about yourself leadership, leadership is always self. You got to lead yourself before you lead somebody else. If you lead yourself effectively, then you have positional authority not title authority. It’s more important. What happens is we need more leaders now than ever before. We’ve got to think bigger because eight billion of us are concurrently living on the planet. We ask everybody to go to AskTheBookClub.com and we want to help you become master askers.
I want to say thank you. How beautiful has this interview been? It’s touched my life forever. I thank you for taking time out of your busy day and responding to my request. How nice was that? It speaks volumes about you. What a beautiful couple you are. I wish you the best in your pursuit of your destiny. Thank you for joining me. It has been an absolute pleasure. I know that both of you have touched someone’s lives by them reading this. You’ll be touching millions and millions of more to come. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We’ll see you next time.
- Chicken Soup for the Soul
- Chicken Soup for the Soul Cookbook
- Stand Up, Speak Out, Win
- Launch: How to Take Your Business to New Heights
- How to Think Bigger Than You Ever Thought You Could Think
- Eat That Frog!
- How to Be UP in Down Times
- The One Minute Millionaire
- Chicken Soup for the Soul Bible
- The Miracle of Tithing
About Mark Victor Hansen
Mark Victor Hansen is probably best known as the co-author for the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series and brand, setting world records in book sales, with over 500 millions books sold.
Mark also worked his way into a worldwide spotlight as a sought-after keynote speaker, and entrepreneurial marketing maven, creating a stream of successful people who have created massive success for themselves through Mark’s unique teachings and wisdom. With his endearing charismatic style, Mark captures his audience’s attention as well as their hearts. Having spoken to over 6000 audiences world-wide with his one-of-a-kind technique and masterful authority of his work, time and again he continues to receive high accolades from his audiences as one of the most dynamic and compelling speakers and leaders of our time.
About Crystal Dwyer Hansen
I was raised in the Northwest in a family of nine children. I realized from the youngest age that even though we all ate out of the same refrigerator, skied on the same slopes, worked in the same garden, and were expected to follow the same rules, the way we each processed the life that rolled out in front of us was very different. Even as a young girl, it intrigued me to watch how each of us made little micro-decisions that led to big differences in how we experienced the world we shared.
Through my career success in financial services, real estate, and modeling, one thing was constant in my interactions with people. They would share their problems with me easily, and I seemed to be able to easily help them see a path forward. Often, at their request, I would write down life plans or snippets of conversations they needed to have with someone to resolve a problem in their lives.
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