There is only an answer when there is a question. In life, there are times where we are held back from the things we want because we are just so scared of asking. In this great episode, John Livesay talks to not one but two amazing guests. He is with Mark Victor Hansen—the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul—and his wife, Crystal Dwyer Hansen—entrepreneur, certified life coach, and wellness nutrition expert. Together, they share about the power that is in asking through their new book called Ask!: The Bridge from Your Dreams to Your Destiny. Mark and Crystal tell us the seven roadblocks we have to overcome before we can start asking ourselves and other people and even God for help. We are literally made to be each other’s resources, and that whoever asks the most questions becomes more likable. They share the essential questions that will make you masters of asking and lead you out of just dreaming into your destiny. Tune in to today’s show!
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Ask! : The Bridge from Your Dreams to Your Destiny With Mark Victor Hansen and Crystal Dwyer Hansen
I have not one, but two amazing guests: Mark Victor Hansen and his wife, Crystal Dwyer Hansen. They are the co-authors of a new book called Ask!: The Bridge from Your Dreams to Your Destiny. Mark, you might know as that Chicken Soup for the Soul guy, which started back in the 1990s. He and his business partner, Jack Canfield, created what Time Magazine called the Publishing Phenomena of the Decade with over 110 million Chicken Soup for the Soul books sold worldwide. Crystal is an entrepreneur and certified life coach and a wellness nutrition expert whose personal coaching, speaking, CD and video programs have helped people all around the world. Her expertise is in the field of human potential. People who have worked with her have a profound and lasting transformation in all areas, relationships, careers, health and wellness. Her book, Skinny Life: The Real Secret to Being Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually Fit is also available. Mark and Crystal, what an honor. Thank you both for coming. Welcome to the show.
It’s our delight. We’re excited because we know the secret that will make everybody infinitely better off if we go through this talk with you.
Let’s know what the secret is and then we’ll get into your own backgrounds a little bit more. You’ve teased us so much. What is the secret? Everyone’s on the edge of their seats.The most important questions we ask are the ones we ask ourselves. Click To Tweet
What happens is we travel so much that we meet people that are wonderful, fabulous, successful, professional, intelligent, but they don’t quite fulfill their potential. We said, “What would it be that they need to do to fulfill their potential?” What they’ve got to do in our impression is to become masters of asking. You say masters of irresistible storytelling and pitching.
I’m sure the audience is very interested to know a little bit about your own personal stories of origin and then how you two met. Crystal, tell us a little bit about how you became such an expert in all of these areas of nutrition and relationships. Go back as far as you want like childhood, school or whatever.
I was raised in an unusual situation where my mother was way ahead of her time, organic gardening, naturopathic medicine and those types of things. I was raised that way. Later on in life, I was in the business world. I was in real estate and loving what I was doing, but I’ve always found that whatever I was doing, whether it was modeling or selling real estate, I would connect with people very easily and people would open up to me. I seem to find an easy way to help them with their issues. My sister came to visit me. She has been a smoker since she was fifteen years old. My cabinet-maker was there that day. He was redoing one of the cabinets in a house that I was doing and he lost weight. I said, “Tony, you were great. Why do you look so good?” He goes, “I stopped smoking, I lost weight. I got hypnotized. I went to a hypnotherapist in 30 days. I’m back. I’m better than ever.” I was so intrigued. I said, “Stephanie, we need to get this. I’m going to take you over to this hypnotherapist and let’s do this.” I was astounded that she could break this impossible addiction, lifetime habit in that much time.
I became obsessed. I enrolled in the largest holistic college in the country. I became certified in American Board of Hypnotherapy. I became certified in life coaching and I started helping people. I opened a practice in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was almost astounded at the results people were getting. People were coming to me who had been depressed their entire lives. I got a note from a woman one time. She said, “I am so thankful I heard you that day on the radio. You were my last hope. I’ve been depressed my entire life. After five appointments with you, I can honestly say I am entirely free of the crushing depression I’ve experienced my entire life. I can wake up and have a bad day. It’s not the end of my world.” I became addicted to helping people. I love it. I connect with people and that’s the work I was doing.
When Mark and I had met, I had written my first book, Pure Thoughts for Pure Results, and I went to an event he’s speaking at called Author 101. He saw me, I saw him. We ended up in the VIP room together at the reception. A woman spilled a glass of red wine on my white pants and Mark came over to my rescue and said, “I know where the club soda is.” It was that kind of moment because I was talking to a speaking coach and he was surrounded by an entourage. I wasn’t bothering him. He must’ve been looking because he saw this happen. He came scooting over to me, held my hand, pulled me out of the room and said, “I’m sorry this happened. Let me help you find some club soda.” We started talking and we haven’t stopped talking.
Mark, I know that Chicken Soup for the Soul has been a huge success. You have a lot of other books, The One Minute Millionaire, Cracking the Millionaire Code, How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life. You have had so much success in so many areas. What is it that caused you and Crystal to say, “There’s still something out there that the two of us combined can put out into the world,” which is the secret of ask?
She tells me that I’m the master asker of all time. I’m the ninja of asking, maybe even a triple ninja. My parents were Danish immigrants and didn’t have any money. I started buying my clothes at nine years old and learning how to do stuff. I was a Boy Scout and I read the Boy Scout Life Magazine. You could sell greeting cards on consignment. I looked up in my little dictionary what consignment meant. It means I didn’t have to put up any money so I could afford that. I started learning to ask. I asked more neighbors than anyone else. I sold more greeting cards than anyone else. I became the number one ingredient card salesman in America at nine years old. Forty years later, I’m back with the same company, Gibson greeting cards. We sold 897,000 boxes of Christmas cards a year through grocery stores. It’s an amazing full cycle thing. There are two kinds of people in the world, those of us that ask and those who don’t. Most people are afraid and they get stifled and stop toward asking.
It’s an energetic thing that you talk about, that there are three different channels. Let’s talk about the three channels and then let’s talk about those roadblocks to asking. Because if people can walk away from those three tools that the two of you have given, everyone’s going to be making a mad dash to buy the book because it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Would one of you share with us the three channels through which we can ask?
Each one of these is important in and of itself. The three channels are: ask yourself, ask others and ask God. Some of the most important questions you’ll ever ask are the ones you’ll ask herself. When you’re sitting there depressed or have anxiety that’s shutting you down every day or you’ve through a divorce or you’ve lost your job. All of these places, times where we need to start over and often, we don’t see the way to do it. You start with the question and it’s that question you ask yourself that causes an answer. We did a lot of research for this book. There is research done that it ignites the critical thinking part of your brain. When you ask a question of yourself, your brain has to engage in a different way. All of a sudden, you have a new illumination, you have a new solution, you have a new insight, you have a new breakthrough, a different understanding of something. Those self-questions, asking yourself, that is one of the most important parts of the asking journey.Ask more questions if you want people to like you. Click To Tweet
One of the things I work with people on is if you’re in sales selling yourself or a product, you have to feel that you’re worthy and believe what you’re doing. I tell people, “Start a question off with, “What if?” I believe it taps into our imagination. Do you have an example or a story of someone of a good question we should all be asking ourselves?
We have a friend who we think the world of, Jim Stovall. He was slated to be an NFL player. He had the size and speed. They’d recruited him, he was ready to go. They send them to the medical and they say, “You’re going to go blind.” He’s going blind and can’t do it what his heart’s desire was, and he is in a little 9×12 room with three things. A radio, a television and a telephone and he’s going stir crazy. He goes to the first blind meeting recommended by his parents and he sits next to a woman and he said, “I watched TV in the old days. I love action movies, thrillers but I can’t see something, and now I can’t see the action. I wish somebody would do something about it.” That’s the pivotal question because the lady next to him, also blind, leaned over and said, “Jim, you and I are somebody. Why don’t we do something about it?” They created a business that you and I wouldn’t know as sighted people, but they have fourteen million people watching narrative TV that shows a guy throw a right hook or whatever it is, tire squealing away.
He’s becoming an enormous business guy and very successful because of one question she asked. “We’re somebody, why don’t we do something about it?” He says, “I now write books,” and he wrote a great book that I did the foreword to. He says, “I know write books that I can’t read and I make movies that I can’t watch because Mark told me to make that book a movie.” He wrote three books entitled The Ultimate Gift, The Ultimate Journey and The Ultimate Life. He’s amazing, but he’s a big football player size, blind. He says, “I write books that I can’t read and I make movies that I can’t see.”
We get the power of asking ourselves these potential questions of what could be possible, and then we have to somehow find the courage to ask others to help us, to brainstorm with us to see the best in us. What do you think, Crystal, would be an example or a story of asking other people and overcoming some fears we have of coming across maybe as too pushy or something?
The research shows that people are more than willing to step up and help you, but they don’t help unless you ask. People are wired to connect. We’re wired to help each other. We’re wired to jump in, but people often feel they’re nosy or they don’t want to intrude unless you ask them.
Do you have a story of a time that somebody asked others for either help or insight or support that they had to overcome their own fears of being rejected or feeling pushy?
One of the stories that we tell is, and it’s one of those amazing lessons, one of our friends, Rita Davenport, she’s a journalist. She was a superstar in the network marketing industry. She had created this amazing concept where it was a cooking show. She had this idea to scale it up and she knew what she needed to do. She had the answer. She knew it was successful at a small level. She went to ask the person who would make the decision ultimately and he said no. She lost out on a $3 billion enterprise by not stepping up because somebody else went forward and did the business.
It’s one of those lessons where she found out later, all she had to do was keep going through the channels and keep asking to get her dream. It was heartbreaking for her because there was no way around it. She went to the gentleman later who ended up taking her idea and running with it. She said, “The very least you could have done was shared this with me.” He admitted that it was her dream and her idea, but she was too polite. She was too worried. She thought she had to take no for an answer. The thing about asking is you have to be a fearless asker and keep asking.
What I’m getting is not take rejection personally or be so afraid of rejection that you can’t even ask.People are more than willing to step up and help you, but they don't help unless you ask. Click To Tweet
One of the greatest examples of that is our friend, Bob Proctor. We use him as an example of completely transforming from being a very unworthy person. He was raised in poverty and had nothing. Mark probably knows the story better than I do.
He’s told that he’s not good enough. He comes out of the Navy, goes in and becomes a fireman. As a fireman, he was making $4,000 a month. He was married and had three kids. He owed $6,000 a month. Every night after going to the fire department, they went in sat and drink. He looks around the bar and says, “These guys aren’t going anywhere. I need to ask some new questions.” He goes to the richest guy he knows and asked him, “How do you do that?” He says, “If you wanted to be rich, healthy, and successful, you’ve got to ask yourself better questions because better questions are going to get better results.” Fast forward, Bob Proctor, his wife asked him a question because he is in the self-improvement business and one of the giants. I’ve owned two companies with him and I love this guy. I have no idea how wise Socrates and Plato looked, but Bob looks wise when I look at him and listen to him. His wife said, “Bob, what would you do to make $1 billion?” He said, “I never thought of it. I will start sketching on a yellow pad.” He came up with it and he said, “I think we’re going to do it.” He’s 85 years old young.
We ask ourselves, ask others and then we ask God. Whatever that means to people, I think this concept of asking God, people go, “That’s what a prayer is maybe.” I bet the two of you have an opinion and a belief system that we need to ask God, the universe, whatever you want to call it for assistance, guidance or insights, not just at times of crisis or emergencies. I would love either one of you to give me your insights.
When Crystal and I are commencing our dating, we lived in Newport Beach, California. We’d go to a restaurant called Mother’s Market at Costa Mesa. We’re having this great meal and deep, wonderful conversation because we start everything by asking. We inundate each other with questions. The guy sitting at the next table was a white-haired gentleman of some renown, which we didn’t know at the time. He leans over and says, “You guys look like such a delightful a couple. Can I tell you, if you’re going to get married, which I hear you talking about, how to make sure your marriage works forever?” I said, “Yes. Let me ask you, how do you make a marriage work perfectly?” He says, “My whole life I’ve spent with the Billy Graham Organization and we did all the research. Here’s what we discovered. One thing and one thing only. Couples that stay together pray out loud at night and in the morning before they go and do whatever they can do together. They pray for each other. They pray for their family, they pray for their city, their county, their business and then the world.”
I was like, “I don’t know if I can do that.” It seems crazy because I prayed for my whole life. I prayed alone and I prayed in groups at church, but I thought, “I’ve never prayed with my significant other.” I thought, “Can I do this? It seemed awkward,” but it was amazing when we started doing it because it allowed us to come to the same place and put it on all on the line spiritually together. One of the most beautiful things about our relationship is that we do have a deep spiritual belief and practice that we share. We meditate and pray every day. It’s our morning meeting. We start off the day that way. We asked each other what are the most important things that we think we’re going to do with our day will be. We ask each other if there’s anything that’s bothering either of us, things that we need to work on together and work on with our business. We decide together what’s important to us spiritually. We ask for guidance because you can have all the tools and techniques in the world and they’re all wonderful, but sometimes you get to that place where you feel small and alone.
Everyone feels this way. I don’t care how successful you are. You’re stuck, you don’t have another place to go. Doesn’t it make sense to go to the Creator of the universe? Whatever your spiritual belief is, there is a Creator of everything beautiful. The same being the creative eyelids, eyelashes, flowers and every color, trees, plants and all the planets in the universe. There’s so much intelligence and wisdom. When you start tapping into that and asking, you feel things changing in your life. Part of that is believing in your question and believing that you deserve an answer, and that’s the faith part. They talk about faith, but you have to have that belief that I am a part of creation and I deserve to ask this question. I deserve the answer and it’s out there for me. Be open to it.
What I know you say, Mark, was it’s not just praying together with your significant other about what you two need and what’s going on in your life, but then the community and the world. It keeps zooming out bigger and bigger. Anyone I’ve ever met who’s had any level of success, every time, it’s consistent. They care about more than what’s going on within their world. You certainly do that. You’re both very involved in a lot of charitable organizations, trying to solve world problems with pollution and all kinds of other things. Thank you, Crystal, for sharing your own hesitation to do that because you’re being true and vulnerable. You let other people think, “I’m not alone in my internal thoughts. This is something I do privately. This is a whole other level of intimacy that I hadn’t even realized.” We’ve touched on some of the roadblocks to asking questions and one of them is the fear of rejection is one. You want to quickly go through what some of those roadblocks are that we might not have talked about yet?
One of the most interesting ones that we found is naiveté. Sometimes we don’t ask because we don’t conceive of what is available to us. We don’t know what’s out there for us. That’s why we encourage everybody to be very curious about the environment around them and about everyone you meet. We all make judgments about everything. We do it because of the efficiency of our brain, we’re trying to get through our day sometimes. Sometimes if we stopped doing that and be intentional about being curious, about things we’re not aware of, other things, other people. The real magic happens and opportunities open up for you that otherwise wouldn’t. I tell a little story about mangoes. It seems like a silly thing, but when my children were young, I hired this lovely Filipino woman to help me. She loved cooking these delightful meals for our family and it was so much fun to have her there with us. One day she’d show up with these fun little groceries and she cut it up and it was this juicy fruit and orangey colored. I was like, “What is this?” She said, “It’s a mango.” I tasted it. I thought it was worldly, but I had never tasted a mango.
I was like, “This is amazing.” I probably wouldn’t have tasted that if she hadn’t brought it to our family. That’s such a little thing, but it’s a small example of a greater principle. That is when we get stuck in our own track and we stop looking, being curious about others, what they do, some of their traditions, what’s out there for us? We cut ourselves off from the resources because we are one another’s resources. That’s why asking is important. It’s funny because there are several studies that show that asking makes you more likable. It seems counterintuitive because we think you don’t ask or be nosy.Whatever your spiritual belief is, there is a creator of everything beautiful. Click To Tweet
Some people are afraid to ask because they think they’ll be perceived as stupid, uninformed or that they don’t know enough. That’s the opposite. It shows that you have humility, being able to ask a question. Being willing to ask a question shows that you’re humble enough to do so. The other part of that is people feel like they’re honored. They’re honored sometimes that you’ll ask them. They’re honored you’re even asking them to do a favor. People feel honored that you would want their opinion. Another study showed that by asking, you’re more likely to get asked out on another date in a dating scenario.
I asked her to marry me a lot of times before she did. At our wedding, one of our dear friends, Matt Ferry, wrote a great song for us.
It was called Say Yes Again. It was the funniest thing because when he interviewed us because he wanted to write this song about our wedding and he said, “How did you ask her?” Mark said, “I’ve asked her a whole bunch of times.” He’s like, “Why do you keep asking her if she already said yes?” He said, “I want to hear her say yes again.”
He’s not a famous singer because he does another business. He spontaneously offered it and it was wonderful. When Crystal and I met, she gets done with the wine on her white pants. I said, “Have you eaten yet?” She said, “No.” I said, “Me either.” It’s 9:00, I said, “I can’t stay here because there are 1,000 people that all want two minutes with me at least. That’s not going to work. We’re at a dysfunctional get-together. Can I drive you off the property?” We go to the top restaurant in Hollywood, which you would know, and the line was still long and I thought, “$100 wouldn’t get us in.” We walk up and Crystal is ravishingly beautiful. The guy says, “I give up. Who is she?” Being a good butt-crusher, “You don’t recognize her?” He says, “No. Who is she?” I said, “She’s the queen of Denmark.” He said, “She’s the queen of Denmark? She is. Who are you?” I said, “Who travels with the queen.” That fast, we had the best table in the house.
The book is called Ask!: The Bridge from Your Dreams to Your Destiny, written by two powerful loving people that have put their energy into this book to make an impact in the world. I want to encourage everyone to get it. Thank you both for being a guest.Sometimes, we don't ask because we don't conceive of what is available to us. Click To Tweet
Thank you. If they want, we’d like to give them a free gift of an audiotape I did, which is the most listened audiotape in the world. Originally by Earl Nightingale, updated 50 years by me called The Strangest Secret. If they go to MarkVictorHansen.com, it just says, “Click here,” and you’ll have it. We’d like everyone to have it.
John, we thank you for asking us to be here.
We appreciate it.
It was a big ask and you said yes. Thank you both.
- Ask!: The Bridge from Your Dreams to Your Destiny
- Mark Victor Hansen
- Crystal Dwyer Hansen
- Skinny Life: The Real Secret to Being Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually Fit
- Pure Thoughts for Pure Results
- The One Minute Millionaire
- Cracking the Millionaire Code
- How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life
- The Ultimate Gift
- The Ultimate Journey
- The Ultimate Life
- Rita Davenport
- Bob Proctor
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