Getting what you want is easy when you know how to ask for it. Today, we talk with the authors of Ask! Mark Victor Hansen and Crystal Dwyer Hansen share their wisdom on their new book. Mark Victor Hansen is the co-author of the “Chicksoup for the Soul” book empire. We explore their findings of asking the right way. We talk about it from the lens of a leader.
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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
Mark Victor Hansen
What happens is that we’ve traveled literally around the world. 80 countries talk to 7 billion people. And what we’ve discovered is that they’re wonderful people, talented people, educated people personable, but the difference between those who have a little success, and those who have a vast success is the ability to ask, we find that in our lives, we find it and their lives until we wrote this book called Ask the bridge from your dreams, your destiny. And Gene, what we discovered is, everyone has a great destiny. But most of us haven’t done the three categories of asking, we say, got to ask yourself, ask others, and then ask God, and have big lofty and inspired goals, to go for the gusto and get to your destination.
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [0:38]
Each of those channels that we discovered is equally important to ask yourself as ask others. But you know, I think it starts with asking yourself because you can’t begin to know where to go until you know where you are.
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett, I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?
Gene Hammett [1:09]
Today we talk about creating your destiny, and living your destiny. When you can take your dreams and make them your destiny, you have a very powerful effect on not only you, but those around you. And leadership, we are creating destiny for ourselves, but we’re also creating a destiny for others. We have very special guests today. They are the authors of Ask! the bridge from your dreams to your destiny. We have Mark Victor Hansen and also Crystal Dywer Hansen. They are the authors of this book, you may have heard Mark Victor Hansen before he actually is one of the co-authors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and many, many other books. But today we talk about destiny. And the one thing that you have to do is ask, you have to learn to ask yourself, ask others, but also just truly get beyond just what is it you should be asking for some of the simple questions inside here will help you not only be better leaders, but also create the kind of place for your people to love to come to work. And one of those questions is What is your definition of happiness? We talked about that inside the full episode today. But before we get there, let me pause for a second. If you haven’t already downloaded the training to help you be better leaders and create a team of a players make sure you go to genehammett.com/training. It’s up for a limited time right now. So that you can actually get this training. Absolutely for Free. Just go to gene hammer comm Ford slash training if you do want to be a better leader right? Now, here’s crystal and Mark.
Gene Hammett [2:43]
Mark, Crystal, how are you guys?
Mark Victor Hansen [2:46]
Wonderful. Thank you for having us, Gene.
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [2:48]
Yeah, it’s doing fantastic. Happy to be with you.
Gene Hammett [2:51]
Well, excited to have you here on the podcast to talk about an interesting subject. I think we all enter twined with about really getting what we want out of life, you’ve got a new book coming out about called Ask, I always love to ask authors. Why did this book have to be written?
Mark Victor Hansen [3:07]
What happens is that we’ve traveled literally around the world at the country structure 7 billion people. And what we’ve discovered is that they’re wonderful people tell the people, educated people personable, but the difference between those who have a little success, and those who have a vast success is the ability to ask, we find that in our lives, we find it in their lives. And so we wrote this book called Ask the bridge from your dreams, your destiny. And Gene, what we discovered is everyone has a great destiny. But most of us haven’t done the three categories of asking you so you got to ask yourself, ask others and then ask God and have big lofty and inspired goals to go for the gusto and get to your destiny.
Gene Hammett [3:48]
And Crystal, when you think about this book had to be written like what really allows you to put your heart and soul into making this book happen?
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [3:57]
Well, I know that every time in life that we have that I’ve personally experienced a setback, or a problem, some kind of tragedy, the only way I was able to come out of that stronger and better was by asking the right questions. And I think that always starts with that introspective journey, which is the Ask yourself part. Each of those channels that we discovered is equally important to ask yourself as God, ask others. But you know, I think it starts with asking yourself because you can’t begin to know where to go until you know where you are. And so we say there are like three critical phases to the Ask yourself part. And that is, first of all, where am I? Now, you know, you can’t go anywhere until you understand where you are. You know, how did I get here? What happened? What did I miss? What I like about what’s going on or not like? How do I feel differently today than I did before? And then the second critical phase of that is where do I want to be? A lot of times, people, people like success keep eluding us. Because we don’t have a clear, clear definition. We haven’t asked that question. Where do we want to go? Where do we want to go? Where do I want to go individually? Where do we want to go as a couple? Where do we want to go as a team that is so important if we haven’t clearly defined those, you know, again, in our end, we like to kind of start with the end in mind, like, what is the perfect definition of success, and then engineer it backward with all those sub-questions that come underneath. And then the third critical phase of that, ask yourself part is, what specific action do I take to get there now that I’ve defined where I want to go?
Gene Hammett [5:41]
Well, I appreciate you bringing us into this world. I want to make sure we tune the audience into Mark’s longtime work. You are working with Jack Canfield on the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. I don’t know how many books you did, that was it 25?
Mark Victor Hansen [5:58]
We sold 500 million books we did 254. We’re in 48 languages. And we got two major movies coming out when COVID ends and all the movie theaters open, our movies will show up. And I think they’re gonna be really popular. And they’ll sell more books. Because my goal and I’m asking every one of your leaders as big as they’re thinking to think bigger because the world is either going to be employed or unemployed. And it’s going to be employed by people like you got that are little shot to become big shots because they keep shooting and I redefined team as an acronym together, everyone accomplishes miracles. And Gene, I believe right now you’re doing the greatest work getting people to wake up to the miracles inside them and do more entrepreneurship, which I define as finding a problem solving it for a vast profit
Hold on for a second. Did you catch what he just said? I think bigger. Well, what does that mean for you? Well, a lot of time what gets in the way of thinking bigger? Is you trying to figure out how to get it done? What if you don’t need to know how to do it today? Well, the How is what gets in the way of us thinking bigger, sometimes, we have to go beyond the normal aspects of what we know how to do day, what we have skills for what we have a network for and think about what we really want to create some of the biggest things in the world were created when people didn’t know how, but they just wanted it. And so I’m going to remind you, if you think bigger today, you don’t have to know how you have to actually suspend that. And then think about something that you don’t know how to do, that will activate you to another level, but also activate those around you. And those are the people that will help you make it all happen. And the best of all, you can figure out how to do it together as a team. That is something that you really want to do when you think bigger. Now back to the interview with Mark and Crystal.
Gene Hammett [7:47]
Well, I want to bring the audience into some of your past work. But I want to dive into some of the elements in the book that would help us today. We can’t go through everything here because it’s really deep and packed. But you talked about the seven roadblocks for asking. And I see some of these coming up a lot within my leadership and the coaching I do. Give us one that you really feel like applies to the world of leadership.
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [8:12]
I think the two I’m going to say to unworthiness and fear because I think a lot of times we don’t step into our full leader leadership potential because there’s a subtle feeling of unworthiness inside of us. And you know, that just happens over a lifetime. It’s a conditioning, it’s conditioning from our childhood, from our teenage years, from our years on the job. And because we all come into this world Jean, like, perfectly equipped to ask for anything to expect everything to be wildly curious about everything, you know, as children, we want to know who, what, when, where, why. And we also want to ask for more and more and more. And then over time, that literally gets crushed out of us with you know, you go to school teachers fires don’t talk unless you’re called on stop asking questions, your parents shut you down, you know, just basic life rejection. And so people literally become afraid to ask they become unworthy to ask, they stop being curious and questioning everything that’s around them and saying, why not? Why can’t I do this? What is this? And how can it make me better? Do you know?
Gene Hammett [9:24]
I love that. And then you mentioned the fear. Where does that come in? Because I know from my experience of leaders actually face a lot of fear because there’s some bigger decisions that need to be made. There’s a lot of risk that they have to take. But you guys have studied this with millions of people tell us a little bit about that aspect of fear?
Mark Victor Hansen [9:41]
And fear like she said these these seven roadblocks, which everyone’s got a few of them are so subtle, like we interviewed this great guy Greg Hague, who had two jets, multiple houses. A lot of motorcycles Trevor on wall made a lot of money, but he didn’t understand the owners own sense of unworthiness, even though He’s rich, and all sudden he’s reading our book after we interviewed him for the book, he’s reading Bob Hawke the story of God, I’m so deep. He said, we did an interview with him. And he said, You can’t believe it. But I didn’t understand how unworthy I was at eight years old, my father was called chubby, and the biggest roller in Ohio and and I thought I should be like my dad. So I became very fat. I weighed 300 pounds in eighth grade, he said, I told that I’m going to take that girl next door who’s just beautiful, I’m going to take her to the eighth grade prom. And he said, I didn’t know I was so lack of work. That’s what you call her. And he said, he went upstairs saw the phone, and he didn’t have the guts to do it. First day, second day, third day, they said the worst thing about being unworthy and full of fear is he said, the fourth day said, I lied to Dad, I said, I called her and she’s going to go with football player. And the next day, she said to me, in front of dad and me, he went in you call me I was hoping that you’re gonna take me to eighth grade, eighth grade pa prom. And it’s all that sense of unworthiness started early, and he didn’t even know he had it. And that’s why our book is so good, good is asked you to look at your own stuff. And all of us got stuff, Crystal causes mental escalation, and we got to beat ourselves.
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [11:08]
Right. And I just want to add to that, Jean, you know, that fear thing. It’s funny, because human beings, we have this deep need to be loved and accepted. And that fear is just really a fear of, of rejection. Okay, so when we’re afraid to step out and lead, it’s like, oh, I might be rejected, or, you know, disapproved of, and so really getting in touch with that, and asking yourself, you know, what do I have to lose? You know, what are my greatest strengths? How much more can I gain by stepping into a leadership role, and what kind of transformation might come about? If I, you know, sometimes we say, you need to literally just step on your fear with courage and crush it. Because we have so many examples in the book of how when people did that, in business, and so many other areas of life, when you just are able to understand what your roadblocks are, and move past them. The payoff is huge. It’s just huge.
Gene Hammett [12:07]
I want to go a little bit deeper into one of the aspects of the book, because a lot of leaders I think, are so focused on the work that gets done the milestones and metrics of this. And those things are absolutely important. But rarely are they checking in and having real conversations with employees. But there’s a question inside your book. I know there’s a story that goes with this. But that question is, What is your definition of happiness? I don’t I think that’s a question that a lot of leaders are not asking that. Maybe they’re afraid to get the answer. What why is that question so important?
Mark Victor Hansen [12:39]
Well, the man I spoke about Greg, hey, that’s his question. He had all the stuff. He had the trappings. He had the billion dollars, all that, but he went to breakfast with his best friend who is, you know, everybody needs an intellectual interrogator an intellectual gadfly, an intellectual person and pushes, he had Yambol. He said, I just don’t feel happy. And he said, Hey, Greg, what is your definition of happy, and Greg is in heaven. So he stumbled, and he said, Well, what it shouldn’t be. And he says, You got to be passionate, on purpose about something that’s meaningful, important and relevant to you, passionately on purpose, holy cow. And he said, so every morning, I wake up, and I do that in, in our own case, because we’re running a couple of businesses, Crystal, I believe that you wake up and we meditate, pray for an hour together every day. And we do it again, before out loud before we go to bed at night. And what we do is you state linearly on focus, like a laser beam to get everything done for you, your family, you know, our grandkids, for the love of our life. And we’ve got so much that we want to do that you got to pack it, and you got to be really good at your segment intending. So you overcome that. And we stay happy because happiness is elusive. And happy is passionately purposeful, and were passionately purposeful about, like showing this book and loving our kids and loving each other.
Gene Hammett [14:00]
Well, I find that a lot of leaders avoid questions like that, because they just don’t have time for it. But I feel like they spend a lot of time focused on things that don’t matter as much as that one question. If you want to create a workplace where people are happy and cruelly, are doing meaningful work inside the organization, and run some big organizations, what are your leadership kind of principles that you could share with us today?
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [14:29]
Right, so what we found in running our organizations is that very thing, it’s really tempting, because I’m like, I’m Virgo. I’m like perfectionist, like, let’s get it done. And I know all the organizational structure to just do it. You need to do this, this, this and this. But what we’ve learned over time is if you don’t take the time to get to know your team, and understand what drives everyone, and understand how to tap into that drive, you won’t get anywhere you won’t have this cohesive passionate team that can really make a difference, they’ll show up for work. But you’re always going to be hounding them with your to-do list. And you just don’t have the buy-in. And so it really starts that time you take with your team, where you sit down, and you ask these meaningful questions, you have to get to know your team, what is important to you, you know, what, what is your life purpose? You know, what are you here for all these things?
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [15:30]
What are you good at? It’s interesting, when you go around your teams, what do you feel like you’re good at? You know, and what do you get excited about? are the things that, that you do that make you feel like you’re in touch with your superpower? And how do we support that? is there is there an area you feel weakened? and and you know, what, what makes you feel victorious? When it comes to accomplishing things as a team? And is there any way that we can, you know, have a dialogue with each other every day that supports that?
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [16:00]
I mean, so many questions. But we do that we make that mistake, not just with our own team and our own employees, but we make it when we’re out, you know, with the client, and we there’s a great story in there by Preston weeks about, you know, how to beat out the big, behemoth. Um, but it’s all about, you know, going in with an agenda. It’s sort of that same principle, we go into business with this agenda. And we forget to ask, we forget to be curious, we forget to generate and stimulate dialogue that would help us perfect our offering so much, and perfect, our team so much, you go into a company and say, here’s what we have, we’re the best at this, we do this, we do that. And this is what we want to sell you today. And often we forget to just ask. And so the story is so great. Because he sits down, he says, you know, the first thing we did is basically quickly go through our capabilities and skills as a team, but then we just shut off and started asking questions.
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [17:04]
What are your pain points? You know, what is your biggest priority right now? What is your biggest challenge right now? If we were to solve that and make it 10%? Better? What would that look like? And how would you measure it? You know, and just question by question answered my answer in the story. He talks about how the meeting was supposed to be this 15 minute in and out, and they went, you know, over an hour, and people didn’t want to leave because you know, this international group. They’re like, Oh, we need more time with you guys, this has been the most amazing thing. They revealed information about the projects that they would never have revealed. So, you know, we did a lot of studies. In the book, we looked at a lot of studies, I should say, and looked at the research. But what it shows is that when you’re willing to ask for questions, the people who ask more questions, whether it’s in business relationships, or personal relationships, you Those are the people who are found to be much more likable. Because when you’re asking, you’re creating a bond, you’re literally getting in sync with this person, whether it’s your team member or your potential client.
Gene Hammett [18:10]
Go ahead, Mark.
Mark Victor Hansen [18:12]
If you don’t mind, I want to go back to your last question. But happy to something that you may not know is that we’ve been more blessed than ever to win a lot of award. But last year at Stanford, they give the happiness Hall of Fame Award and we got it along with a couple of appeals. What’s fascinating is the biggest business guys in America that are happy are at Stanford paid for by Merrill Lynch, the most successful and that is unequivocal low.
Crystal just said something really interesting. You’ve got to take time to get to know your team. And, yes, you have to have time for getting the work done. And all of the meetings and all the sales and all the customer service and all of the product development, whatever your business is, you have to take time for it. But as a leader, you also owe it to each one of the people that you lead, to really take time to get to know them at a personal level. What are their personal goals? What do they want to create in this world? How can you help them create that because if you can be a catalyst to their own journey, their own destiny, which is what we’re talking about today, you really have a chance to impact them, not just today, but for the rest of their lives. Now. That is what you’re here for. Your journey of leadership is not just to get the work done right now, that’s a part of it. But it’s to grow those people and to connect with them and build a relationship that can’t be broken. And then when you do that, you’ll have loyalty, you have creativity, innovation, you have retention, you have people creating value for you, and they will be there with you for the long haul. And when they do find their way out. They’ll talk about you with glowing results, because when you’ve taken the time to get to know them, you’ve taken the time to truly connect and lead them in a way that probably no one has. That’s my take today. Now back to Crystal and Mark.
Gene Hammett [19:59]
I will Love that research. And thanks for sharing that with us. You know, a lot of leaders, I know will say they don’t have time to ask. They live in a world where they feel like they’re expected to have all the answers. And, and you laugh and they, I know the ones who get it, because I have leaders that will literally tell me stories about, you know, I could sit in a meeting now because I’ve created this team, and I really support them and empower them. But I don’t have to say a word. They don’t have to sit, you know, it just happens. They could be there or not be there. But it’s because they they’ve been asking but too many people are afraid that they have to have all the answers. What do you say to those leaders that are that are living that way?
Mark Victor Hansen [20:47]
First of all, I love the question. I love that you are a true leader that is humble enough to ask is humble doesn’t mean lowly. It means teachable, and coachable. And what we find is a leaders. We’ve won the Horatio Alger Award, which means we’ve come from rags to riches and been excessively philanthropic and help thousands and thousands of kids get to go to university that couldn’t have otherwise without our money and help and mentorship. But that’s exactly what we find out every Horatio Alger award winner rags to riches story, every one of them that we’ve met, whether it’s David Foster, the world’s greatest orchestrator, whether it’s Ben Carson, the guy that 15,000 perfect pediatric neurosurgery and not one person, all of them live in the question. I think what you asked, I get goosebumps Now remember, because you were just with my partner, Dr. Jack Canfield. You know, Jack and I say, seven criteria of a chicken soup, sir, but you get goosebumps, God bumps or chipmunks, I think you’re revealing the truth of how pointedly powerful questions are in real leaders that have good self esteem, which Chris will talk to you about self worth and overcoming fear, you know, really are willing to ask the questions and be ethical, be coachable.
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Gene Hammett [22:29]
Well, I really appreciate you guys being here. I want to give you one more chance I probably couldn’t ask you everything that’s pertinent to leadership. And I know this is a much bigger book. Ask is for anyone who is once you know, to create live their destiny. What have I not asked you today that you think is important to this conversation?
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [22:50]
I would say you know, never stop asking when you because a lot of times when you have a team you’re trying to accomplish things. You might not be successful The first time you might get rejected. And I just love the story we have in the book. It’s by a woman who’s actually a good friend of ours, Rita Davenport, she was a very popular broadcast journalist here in Arizona. And she ended up getting creating the most popular cooking show on TV.
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [23:17]
In fact, it was the most-watched daytime TV show in the state. And she would invite you know, Wolfgang Puck and Julia Childs all the famous chefs. So this just became a really an amazing success, the show so she had this fantastic idea. She put the business plan together. She thought why not create a Food Network. So she really spent her time putting the plan together. In the meantime, the competitor station, there was a manager over there named Jack. And Jack would watch her every day. In fact, Rita’s friends who worked at the competitor station would say this is kind of bizarre. I think he’s really into you because he locks the door when your shows on and he takes copious notes. He’s writing everything you say everything you do, he’s obsessed with you and your show. And he has like volumes of what you’ve done every show. And so at any rate, Rena prepares this business plan goes to the corporation who owns the station and she said you know, I just have a great feeling about this and I can tell you how this is going to work but we need to create a Food Network and I want you to get behind me on it. And they looked at it and they said you know Rita.
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [24:30]
This is great we know your show is a smashing success, but this is just never gonna work who’s gonna want to watch food preparation all day long that could never be successful. So really kind of, you know, hold it up or 10 and left and never brought it up again. She just kind of felt rejected and felt like her idea. Maybe wasn’t valid. In the meantime, jack Clifford at the posing station took her idea in her shell and kept it out there took it to different Corporations until he found financial backing. And that was jack Clifford, who created the Food Network. And which at the time jack sold his share in the Food Network, it was worth $3 billion. And I think now it’s worth way more than that. But I think this is a fantastic lesson for all business owners and entrepreneurs. Do not give up on your ideas. And keep asking just because you get turned down the first time, or you get rejected, or the first bank or the first, you know funding source doesn’t like the idea, it doesn’t mean it’s not a great idea. And maybe you just need to ask more questions about it policia. And just keep asking because it might be one of the greatest potential successes you’ll ever have.
Mark Victor Hansen [25:48]
So we interviewed Rita and she said, everyone’s going to get their ask in gear.
Gene Hammett [25:55]
Well, Crystal, Mark, thank you so much for being here. This has been about the bridge of your dreams, to your destiny. And the pathway is by asking better questions, your insights have been really helpful. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
Mark Victor Hansen [26:11]
Gladly. Everyone wants to get a book at ask we’d love him then to go to ask the book club calm, it’s free. And we want everyone to become a master asker because we think asking is the key to the great journey. And if they want any of our stuff, if they go to my website, MarkVictorHansen.com we got a free book for you or crystal.
Crystal Dwyer Hansen [26:28]
Yeah, and I’m Crystalvisionlife.com free audio there if you want to check that out. But yeah, you can get it on Amazon, you know, Kindle audiobook, whatever. So yeah, reach out to us. We’d love to hear some feedback.
Gene Hammett [26:40]
What a fantastic interview. I love talking about some different subjects, the depth that they’ve done with this research for the book, the stories that they share, hopefully, we’ll help you be a better leader. And when you think about being a better leader, what does it take? Well, for one thing, it probably takes letting go of where you are today. If you want to try coaching on for size.
Gene Hammett [27:00]
I’m offering for a limited time, a chance for you to talk to me absolutely for free. I’m not going to try to pitch you on something you don’t need. But I do want to help you serve your customers to serve your employees and become a stronger more effective leader. If you want to try coaching with me just go to genehammett.com/trycoaching will help you take your business to the next level through coaching that will impact not only you want those around you just go to genehammett.com/trycoaching. Now, as we wrap up today, just want to make sure you remember when you think of leadership and you think of growth, think of Growth Think Tank. As always lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
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