Do you feel stuck and misaligned with your inner self and with the people surrounding you? Asking the right questions to the right people at the right time can be a plausible answer to this question. Today, Whitney Lauritsen is joined by Mark Victor Hansen – the “Chicken Soup for the Soul guy” – and his wife Crystal Dwyer Hansen, an entrepreneur and certified life coach, to dive into the power of asking questions. Both experts in the area of human potential, Mark and Crystal have created powerful change in thousands of organizations and millions of individuals worldwide. Don’t miss this episode as they tackle some concepts from their book, Ask!, and share some inspiring bits and pieces to help you get unstuck and realigned with yourself!
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The Power Of Asking The Right Questions With Mark Victor Hansen
My first question for you both is, are you an introvert and an extrovert? I would imagine you must be an extrovert.
I’m an omnivert. I look great on stage, but I am okay being quiet, especially when I’m around her because she gets to be the extrovert and I get to be the introvert.
You’re like a chameleon.
You’re supposed to use your right-left brain. That’s why when I wrote One Minute Millionaire, I said, “I’ll only do books under unique and transformational and inevitable.” We did half the left brain and half right brain. The left-hand side told you how to do it. The right-hand side told a story, it would lock it in. What do you think honey? I’ve never had heard this question.
I was introverted as a child, incredibly shy. About sixth grade, I popped out of that. It was funny, I started asking myself, “How I was going to not be shy?” I remember making a deliberate decision that when I hit seventh grade I was going to change and I was going to not be the shy girl anymore.
What do you think sparked that decision?We all got the same on time because there are 24 hours on the clock; nobody gets more or less. Click To Tweet
I don’t know if it was a coming of age, but it happened. In junior high school, I said, “I’m going to get rid of my glasses.” I had these little white room glasses. I got straight-A’s in grade school. In middle school, I made this decision to be different. I said, “I need to be different.” I got rid of my glasses. I started parting my hair in the middle. It was fun because my best friend and I decided we’re going to do this together. We’re going to be different. It was a lot of fun. It was almost like taking on a different stage persona. I realized like, “This is fun and I can do this. I don’t have to be so shy.”
How about you, Whitney?
Shyness is not always associated with introversion because introversion is usually that where you get your energy from. For me, I consider myself an introvert because I get drained socializing. I love socializing, but I do best when I’m having these one-on-one conversations. I can only have many before I feel drained energetically. That’s why I wanted to ask because I’m amazed that both of you can go, interview after interview. Getting on stage, you must have some of that extrovert within you to find that energy or maybe you’re good at creating that energy.
It’s number two and we do feel drained. When we go to China, it’s an amazing phenomenon because you have thousands of people that have paid a lot of money. Most of them are paying $7,000 each to attend.
What are they attending? What’s that event?
It’s one of our seminars.
Personal Development Seminars done by a promoter in China. It’s dynamic. They’re exciting events. We’ve enjoyed it much.
You start early in the morning with interviews and you do all the lectures. At lunch, they’ve got meetings and then in the afternoon. At night they pay $500 each for the dinner and then they have you meet all the college kids that graduated that purportedly speak English. They are allowed to ask you any questions you want. We’re drained. They say, “We’ll be ready to pick you up at 7:30 AM.” We go, “No, please.”
Part of that is tired. I do think you’re a natural extrovert because I see Mark, you don’t hold back ever. When I observe you, whether we’re on an airplane or driving, anywhere we go, he reaches out to talk to people, talk to strangers. You’re fed by standing up and presenting. Whereas I’m the type of person who has to prepare myself mentally to do it. Once I do it, I enjoy it. I love sharing and more than anything on bonding with people.
Maybe you are an introvert.
I’m naturally an introvert. I do think you’re naturally an extrovert. You get tired because you wear yourself out because you’re spending so much energy.
I’m always intrigued by these quizzes, personality types, figuring out, what makes me, who I am and how to navigate throughout the world? One thing I was curious about for the two of you, have you heard of The Four Tendencies?
Tell us, because they may have different names that we know by.
It’s a book that came out and it’s trying to figure out how you tend to act and relate to other people. One of them is called the Questioner, which is me. You have this wonderful book coming out, which is all about asking questions. I was wondering if maybe you would consider yourself big questioners or if it’s worth doing the quiz to figure out what you are. I’m excited about your book because I’m a questioner. As I read this book and started to see how I’ve been operating my whole life without that definition on me, I am someone that wants to ask tons of questions. I love that you have a whole book about this and the power of asking questions. Asking yourself questions, asking others questions and asking God questions. I wanted to talk a lot about that because for me I’ve struggled with that. Whereas people get frustrated with me for the amount of questions I ask. I’m a big ‘why’ person. I want to know the why behind everything.
You never give up your kid’s cherishable ‘why.’
I feel proud of it at times but then sometimes I feel insecure about it because people get frustrated with me. I’ve had trouble in job roles as apparently, this is common for the Questioner tendency type. You’re not afraid to ask authority why. I haven’t read your book. Did it come out?
It will come out on April 28th.
You can preorder it on Amazon. It’s available.People are afraid to ask because they don't want to hear 'no.' Click To Tweet
I can’t wait to read it.
You will love it.
I bet I will and then part of me is like, “This is going to be easy for me because I already love to ask questions.” I realize, just because you ask questions doesn’t mean that you’re asking the right questions or the right person. Sometimes I find myself asking other people questions versus myself or asking God.
That’s an important distinction. There are different types of that they ask. I would say I am more of an ask myself person. It was my inner journey that led me to want to help other people with my life coaching, transformational coaching, and clinical hypnotherapy. All of that because of the process, I’m constantly asking myself questions, “Why am I seeing it this way? What happened?” All those things that take you on a pathway to having some new level of enlightenment about a situation or some improvement. I would say Mark is more like you are, Whitney. He’ll ask everybody. He’s curious about people and he asks why, what, who, where, when.
You’ve both had to expand beyond that. Also, ask God. Is that a stretch for the two of you?
Naturally, we’ve both individually been spiritual. What was new to us is coming together as a couple when we were challenged by a pastor who said, “This is one of the most important factors that I found as a marriage counselor. A couple staying together is that you pray together. You have a spiritual practice together.” He said, “Pray out loud together.” For me, I prayed in groups before. I prayed by myself, but I’ve never prayed with my significant out loud. It’s a whole new level of intimacy. It makes you more vulnerable to each other, but then you start sharing this bigger purpose and you’re aligned.
The other thing you’re saying about question asking is it’s transcendent and big questions are being asked by our friend, Peter Diamandis, who’s Head of Singularity University and is an MD from Harvard and a PhD in Engineering from MIT. He says, “What are you personally going to do to positively affect a billion people in the next decade?” We think this is the most extraordinary decade in human history. We’re going to do more from 2020 to 2030 than ever in combined human history. There’s more of us alive. There’s are more talent. We’re saying what is your talent? We’re asking everyone to bring their talent out for the first time. We’re asking everyone to look inside, “What is my talent? What are my talents?” We’re all Polimas. We all have a lot of talents. You don’t have one talent.
Number two is we all got the same on time because there are 24 hours on the clock, nobody gets more or less. There’s enough treasure that we can fund anything that you want, whether it’s a business enterprise or whether it’s philanthropy or whether it’s a church, temple, or synagogue. It’s available for the first time in human history. What is it you’d like to transcend? We’re trying ChildHelp.org. We’re going to raise enough money to maybe help end abuse, neglect and trafficking in the world as one of many initiatives that we’re taking. All because it’s the goal of everyone ask themselves, “How do they take care of themselves?” They can take their significant other and say, “I can take care of their kids.” They can take care of their city, their county, their state, their country and then world, because we’ve got a world that needs a lot of care.
Another thing that you’re passionate about is a possibility. You’re mentioning a lot of possibilities and sometimes it’s information overload. How do you clear away all of that to figure out what you want?
That’s why we were excited about sharing the book, Ask!, because for us, there is much to learn and everyone’s teaching something different. Many systems of learning and this is a simple gift that we all have inside of us. It’s about bringing that gift out again and using it every day in these three areas of asking yourself, asking others and asking God. It makes the path simple and doable. When people are stuck because that’s what we find. People will get stuck for many reasons and there’s no reason to stay stuck. We want to be able to help people see this easy path forward through this simple tool that’s already inside, it’s about nurturing and bringing it out.
Do you think that people get stuck because of fear of rejection? People are afraid to ask because they don’t want to hear no?
We get turned off for Chicken Soup 144 times. I’ve been selling since I was nine years old because my parents didn’t have any money. There are four of us, four boys and dads, they’re five.
I heard you all look alike.
At least two, when I was younger, I’d go into class and say, “I know your two big brothers were in here before you.” My little brother comes in and says, “I know Marky and I know Eric.” I asked my kindergarten teacher because she was adorable. She was wonderful and I fell in love with her. I said, “When I’m older and I grew up, I’m going to marry you.” She said, “Marky, that’s nice but I’m happily married.” I said, “He’ll die.”
Coming back to the rejection, which I know is another thing.
What I teach is you’ve got to say next because there’s somebody out there that will say yes to whatever your offer is. You don’t know who they are, where they are. You don’t know how many rejections you’ve got to go through. Luckily, I’ve been reading all the self-help action books forever and everybody gets rejected. I knew Ross Perot Sr. and we know Jr. is doing something. Ross Perot Sr. left IBM as our top salesman went and knocked on 80 doors trying to sell the EDS and 79 said, “No.” The 80 said, “Yes.” I’ve got $4 million. You divide 80 into $4 million, you’ve got $50,000 every time he said next. What you start to understand is that rejection pays. Most people quit after one rejection.
What if Thomas Edison quit after? If you believe the number, 10,000 ways to do a light bulb didn’t work. What he did is he went into it. We say, when you’re asking yourself, she is a hypnotherapist, go into deep meditation. You’d have a key in his hand and he’d rest and say the answer. The key hit and he woke up and it said, “Tungsten in a vacuum.” He thought, “That didn’t make any sense.” He did it and we had a light. He went into a deeper inner, most-higher, most state of beingness. All of us have that available. That’s why talent is Mark, Crystal and Whitney. Talent is universal and most people, the worst rejection is using your word, self-rejection, “I’m not good enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not handsome enough. I don’t know enough.”
“I’m not worthy.” Here’s a guy who, if you know Edison’s story, his teacher said in third grade, “Get out of here. You have an adult brain.” His teacher wrote that to his mother and his mother said, “Your teacher said you’re a genius. You never had to go to school again.” She did the right programming. My teacher, Buckminster Fuller, Einstein’s best student said, “Every one of us born genius and what we do is we get unplugged going through life.” People say, “You can’t do that. Who do you think you are? You’re not that smart. You’re not that tall.” Who can do 101 episodes? What are you talking about?
We have a great story about rejection and in the Ask! book, it’s a woman named Rita Davenport. She’s a friend of ours. She’s this brilliant woman. She couldn’t pass her SATs but finished college in three years. She went on to become a broadcast journalist, had the most popular show in the Phoenix area at the time. She started a cooking show that was so popular she was having all the things chefs on. She had this incredible idea to do a cooking network. She took it to the corporate head who owned the station and he flat out said, “No.” She was afraid to challenge that.
Do you know how you said you keep asking? She thought he said, “No, it must be a bad idea.” She didn’t ask again. At the same time, there was another guy who was studying her show, watching everything she did. When her show would come on and he’d close the door and take notes. He took all of her ideas and he’s the guy who went off with them and started the cooking network. Eventually, he sold that for $3 billion because she didn’t ask again and keep asking. She walked away from a $3 billion enterprise and it was 100% her baby. That was such a great lesson.
That reminds me of this story. It was a man that did a TED Talk about how you went seeking out rejection. Part of his story for motivating because he had a similar experience where he had this idea but he was afraid to do anything with it. Somebody else had the same idea and had this huge success and he thought, “How many things am I missing?” He went on a mission to get rejected and he documented all of it. He turned into a successful book and TED Talk. The lesson is that sometimes when we don’t find the courage to go ask when we’re afraid of rejection, it gets in our way of greatness.
Even when we’re rejected once, keep asking. She has a talk that’s called Get Your “ASK” in Gear. Because of that lesson, she’s never made that mistake again. She went on to create tremendous success in the network marketing field because of that.
You’ve got to be rejection-proof and everybody reading has got to say, “Who gives me the permission to be rejection-proof?” The three of us, you’ll agree to that. Hinge forward, everybody got personal acceptance and the rejection-proof as far as I’m concerned. If you start walking around saying, “I’m rejection proof.” If I ask you for something and you can’t give, it’s going to bounce off me. They call people who are rejected-proof Teflon people. You see that about Ronald Reagan. When people would show down him, when he was getting in a helicopter, leaving the White House, they’d show up questions to him and he heard it perfect he didn’t want to talk. All of us need to be rejection-proof because even the ones we love sometimes reject us and some of them innocently and don’t know it. You’ve got to go, “I’m not taking that.”
How did you do that when you were getting all those rejections for the book? 144. This was your first book or your first big project?
Jack has written and sold a lot of copies of 100 Ways to Enhance Self-Concept in the Classroom when he was at Harvard. He sold $260,000 at that time. I had written a book and sold only from the platform book called Dare to Win. I sold 360,000 for a platform, but no publisher would take me. I thought we were going to do this. When everybody finally rejects us right here. We went to the Anaheim Convention Center. ABA, American Bookseller’s Association, we both had backpacks with tons of three-ring binders. We knew we were going to do it and we went to everybody. More people reject us. We finally get to one little publisher.
We did not know health communication, which people think it’s Hansen Canfield Inc., but it’s health communication, Deerfield Beach, and there is a self-help publisher. The guy said, “I’ll take it if you’ll sell 20,000 at $6 each.” He was praying the books in $0.35 each. He made a big profit and God bless them. We’ve got distribution. We started selling it. Everybody wanted the book and it roared. I teach you got to carry a 3×5 card and I’m happy. You write your goal and I’m happy I’m going to sell $500,000 in a year. Manifested in the Law of Attraction.
I would read it four times a day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before he goes to sleep and Jack would. The book started selling. From June 28th, 1993 to Christmas, because most books are sold in November and December, 80% of all books. Our book went crazy and we sold 1.3 million the first year, then we sold five million and we sold ten million and fifteen million for the next four years. It was 59 times number one in New York Times. Nobody’s done that other than us.
Most people would probably give up after a couple of rejections. They wouldn’t have the gift of your books.We're digitally connected, but we're disconnected from real human soul level connection. Click To Tweet
That’s why we’re saying you’ve got to read this book, Ask!. You ask yourself to persevere, to go through. Everyone’s going to hit obstacles and that’s where we write about. You’ve got to go over, under, around or through. There’s a way to get to your destiny. That’s why we put destiny as a keyword.
It’s exciting for me because I would like more people to feel that power to ask the questions. That’s part of it though, for me, what I’ve had to learn is to stop seeking external permission and look for my own internal. The other external above and beyond us and tapping in. For me, I need to quiet down and disconnect from the world sometimes through meditation or through visualization. Something that allows me to get in tune with me in a higher force beyond the opinions of other people that I might feel rejected by. Social media has made it challenging, especially for me, as I’ve been building my business over the past several years. It’s been heavily based on social media. I almost feel like you had a great opportunity to build your career before social media. How are you navigating social media for both of your careers? Does it play a role? Do you feel like you’re getting a lot of external opinions through it?
It’s starting to play a bigger role. We didn’t feel like we had to be a part of it for a while, but it’s almost like that’s the way the world’s communicating. We want to be there. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible. We’re going to be reaching out more in these next couple of years because one of our missions, Childhelp, is a mission for us to help the abused children. Also, we feel like people are lonely and isolated. We feel like if we can help people, we want to help people. We need to help people. We want to be there for people. The way you do that is your social media. It used to be a lot of live events and things like that. There was much more of that. We’re happy to be at live events because there are fewer of them. Through podcasting and things like that, this is the way to reach people. We’re accelerating that so that we can bring this message to everyone about asking because everyone needs it. They deserve to have that.
We want Ask! to be the transcendent book of all times and we’re doing some epic things we’re saying, “Could we get turn trash into cash?” As Michael say, “How can we turn all pollution into a resource and do re-molecularized?” The guy has been working on twenty years, spent $300 million. That’s going to happen. We’re working on making sure everyone has energy because if you’ve got to look at all the problems of the world if you have energy, you got water. If you’ve got water, you’ve got food. If you’ve got food, you’ve got abundance. If you’ve got abundance, there’s less reason for war. What we’re saying is what are the big initiatives? Because when I was in graduate school with Bucky Fuller, Dr. Fuller would say, “Let’s make the world work for 100% of humanity.”
The average audience was 5,000 or 10,000 kids. It’s during Woodstock and stuff. The kids would all come out and they didn’t plan on doing anything. I’m saying the opposite. What we’re doing with the Ask! book is saying, “All these big things, you’ve got to say, ‘How I am personally going to participate in this adventure?’” All the adventures during this decade haven’t ever been done before. Years ago, there were no cell phones and now there are eight billion. Years ago, everybody couldn’t have it. We’re going to have four billion people come online in the next two years because of 5G.
We’re having things happen. We’re going to have cars that we can get rid of all the transportation problems here in LA, which one of the reasons we moved to Arizona because it was too much traffic. We couldn’t get around. When I moved here many years ago, it was empty. Now, it’s constipated and we’re going to 2D traveling. We sat with the guy who’s invented all of it at Boeing, which has got to besmirch title but he’s a genius, Charles Spinelli. We’re going to go to 3D transportation. Nobody hits anyone and you say, “That doesn’t even exist.” It exists. The testing had been done. We’re at such an exciting time industry.
I love that you touch upon loneliness. Do you feel like loneliness has become more of an issue? Does it feel like it’s increasing or is it the same and it’s that we have more awareness about it? What is your best advice for people who are feeling lonely?
We both feel like loneliness has almost become an epidemic because we have this ability to connect with everyone. It’s such a superficial connection in many ways where people are painting this almost artificial persona off themselves through social media channels. If someone’s not successful at creating a big social media following, they can feel like left behind. It’s really dangerous. We have this section in the book that talk about this when Mark and I were little. We both have respectively, these memories of even as young as four, toddling down the street to go knock on the door and get together with a friend. Back then, you had to put yourself out there because you couldn’t friend someone with a touch of a button and then unfriend them with the touch of a button. You have to invest in relationships.
We talk about when my girlfriend would come over, I would have to do chores before I’ve got to go play. She would like to roll up her sleeves and help me do chores. The same thing at this house. His mother was a great cook and she feeds his friends and then he’d say, “Let’s mow the lawn.” It’s not our friends who wanted to do that. No one wants to do somebody else’s chores. What it represents to us is that you invested in your friendships in a much deeper way because of that you shared a lot more. You were more vulnerable, you bonded in a way that had a higher level of trust and an investment of yourself. I feel like that’s missing.Rejection pays, and most people quit after being rejected. Click To Tweet
How do we change that with everybody getting used to communicating online?
We’re digitally connected, but we’re disconnected from a real human soul-level connection. We think we’re going to help facilitate that with people like you say, “It’s available.” It’s always been available, but nobody’s talking about it. If we start to talk about it and we have conversations like what you said is, “Let’s do this as a conversation.” People have lost the fine art of conversation. We’re sitting at dinner with Millennials and they pull out their cell phone and I said, “Not at this house. Not at my dinner. If I’m paying for this meal, I don’t care who you are, you’re not doing anything.”
We need more of that too. We need more boundaries.
We won the Horatio Alger Award and we’re lifetime members. A lot of us in our peers bring all the students into the house and say, “All the cell phones are outside.” We’re going to have a little powwow here.” They let their hair down, metaphorically speaking, and they all talk and they love. One last thing, I wrote another book with Art Linkletter and we said, “You’ve got to befriend Millennials every year or starting at twenty years old. You have friends for the rest of your life.”
Create more connection and go out of your way. Go have coffee. Take a moment out of your day. Take a little time, take an hour, take 30 minutes to walk down the street and say hi to your neighbor or whatever it is. We’re all too busy trying to get ahead and where is it taking us?
Thank you so much for your time. It’s amazing to be able to talk one-on-one versus over a Zoom call or something. There are many ways we can talk to people on the phone or video. Thank you for being at a live event and taking the time to speak with people like me. It’s much appreciated. Everything that we discussed will be on our website at Wellevatr.com. For anybody who’s reading, you can find all of the information, your social media. I was checking out your Instagram, Mark. You have some great quotes there. You share your family moments, your grandchildren, photos of the two of you on vacation. Your families, they’re sweet.
We tried to do that and we tried it not to make every picture perfect. I see people airbrushing everything. Here we are in our pajamas. We don’t always look great, but we’re having fun.
I love cooking photos. Do you have an Instagram as well?
Our four-year-old grand twins and all of our grandkids. You saw the picture making pancakes. They’ll never forget that. We’ll never forget that. We love each other and we had a great time doing that.
That’s what I feel like social media could benefit from. Thank you for leading by example, both of you.
Thank you again for your time.
- Chicken Soup for the Soul
- One Minute Millionaire
- The Four Tendencies
- Peter Diamandis
- 100 Ways to Enhance Self-Concept in the Classroom
- Dare to Win
- Facebook – Crystal Dwyer Hansen
- Twitter – Crystal Dwyer Hansen
- Instagram – Crystal Dwyer Hansen
About Mark Victor Hansen
Focused solely on helping people from all walks of life reshape their vision of what’s possible, no one is better respected in the area of human potential than Mark Victor Hansen. Creating powerful change in thousands of organizations and millions of individuals worldwide for over 30 years, Mark delivers proven messages of possibility, opportunity and action.
“You can easily create the life you deserve.” – Mark Victor Hansen
You may know Mark as “that Chicken Soup for the Soul guy.”
Established as a cultural icon in 1990, Mark and his business partner Jack Canfield created what Time magazine called, “the publishing phenomenon of the decade,” with over 110 million Chicken Soup for the Soul books sold worldwide – one of the most successful publishing franchises of all time.
Internationally known keynote speaker and personality
With his one-of-a-kind technique and masterful authority of his work, time and again he receives high accolades from his audiences as one of the most dynamic and compelling speakers of our time. Having spoken in more than 60 countries, Mark has shared his message of opportunity and action and created powerful transformation in thousands of organizations and millions of individuals worldwide.
About Crystal Dwyer Hansen
Crystal Dwyer Hansen is an Entrepreneur, Certified Life Coach, and Wellness/Nutrition Expert, whose personal coaching, speaking, CD and video programs, books, and articles have helped people all over the world. Crystal’s expertise is in the field of human potential. Those who have worked with Crystal have experienced profound and lasting transformation in relationships, career, health & wellness. Crystal is a Member of the International Coaching Federation and the founder of Crystal Vision Life, Ltd, (crystalvisionlife.com) and Skinny Life™ a wellness company (skinnylife.com). Her book Skinny Life- The Secret to Being Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually Fit, is available Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com. She travels the world with her husband, best-selling author and entrepreneur Mark Victor Hansen, speaking, inspiring, and teaching leadership. They are releasing a new co-written book called ASK! The Dreams from Your Dreams to Your Destiny in Spring of 2020. They are both passionate about the health of our planet and the need to create comprehensively sustainable energy and water solutions. Together they are owners of Natural Power Concepts, a Hawaii based company focused on cleaning up the planet through natural energy devices, and Metamorphosis Energy, a renewable energy development company. They live happily in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona.
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