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An Interview with Melissa Llarena


Apr 12, 2022

Are you someone who’s scared to stand up in a crowd and ask questions thinking you might have a silly question? A lot of people hesitate to ask questions, especially because they think that maybe a bull's eye target will be on their back, or they will look silly or dumb. But just when you think you have to pressure yourself into asking the best questions, the irony of it is that not overthinking what to ask and just being present will help you yield the best questions. 

The best questions will always surface at the right time. You just have to constantly train your mind to do that and opportunities will show up. And this idea of mental fitness will be explained by today’s guest, Marc Champagne, bestselling author and fellow podcast host. Marc shares with us some best practices that luminaries have leveraged in becoming amazing human beings who are extremely efficient and successful in their lives. 

After four years of interviewing wildly successful humans, Marc noticed this pattern: all of them were asking really high-powered and valuable questions. They would ask a big question, then they'd ask more questions to unpack more clarity around whatever they're working on. This is essentially the Socratic method – to get clear, ask questions to then shift your action or ensure that your mind is thinking with intention, then stuff happens and opportunity shows up. (And it doesn't have to be the traditional academic setting where you're getting grilled.)

Share this episode with someone who appreciates the power of asking the right questions but is afraid to ask, and hopefully, the tips they will learn today will give them the courage to ask powerful questions.

Marc Champagne’s Biography

Marc Champagne unpacks the mental fitness practices and reflective questions shaping the lives of some of the most successful and brilliant thinkers in the world. He is the author of Personal Socrates, a best-selling book exploring the pointed questions that stimulate our mental fitness and teach us how to direct our internal narrative to work for us instead of against us. Marc studies the prompts and practices of legends such as Kobe Bryant, Maya Angelou, Robin Williams, James Clear, Coco Chanel, Stephen Hawking, and many others to bring clarity, intentionality, and possibility to every aspect of your life.

He is the host of the top 50 ranked podcast Behind The Human and co-founded the journaling app (KYO) which reached 86.9 million people without any paid advertising. He has studied mental fitness practices for over a decade and consults with Fortune 500 companies as a mental fitness strategist and speaker.

Highlights

Curiosity: You have to be deliberate when asking questions. How can you leverage your critical thinking skills to ask the best questions so you can get better answers?

Courage: Although Marc has already been published and has achieved massive success, for him to acknowledge that he still struggles with self-doubt takes a ton of courage. It takes courage to experience and feel that doubt, and do it anyway.

Creativity: Clarity plus intentionality leads to an expansion of opportunity. Be creative with these opportunities by taking that next step. Figure out for yourself if it aligns with your future self and how you would like to live out your life.

Mental Fitness: Try to keep your mind as clear as possible and constantly train your mind to do that. Then you will see, feel and hear the question in your head naturally.

Presence: Identify how you want to be there and how you want to show up in a meeting. Also, identify how you want other people on the other side to feel. Set those intentions and then magical things start to happen.

Self-Doubt: You have to constantly remind yourself of your goals in overcoming self-doubt.

Goals: Understand where you are right now and who you’re striving to become. Then focus comes in along with intentional habits to support the person you’re striving to become.

Check-in: It just takes microseconds to check in with yourself whether you're doing something that doesn't make sense and how you can course-correct.

Pause: Allow the luxury of the pause to happen, ask yourself good questions, and then you can make that shift.

Pivot: It’s not realistic to make big shifts. The key is to take small steps and improve as you go along. Start small. Write down five activities or things that will put a smile on your face. 

Clarity: Ask yourself these three questions" What went well, today? What would I have changed today? And what can I celebrate about today? There's so much that we take for granted that so many places in the world have zero access to.

Action: Take the time to apply whatever you're reading into your life. If you don't learn to reflect, then it just becomes knowledge added to the library of your mind.

Reading: You don't read a book from start to finish. Shifting your mindset on needing to read the chapter in that book because you're working on it right now will accelerate your learning.

Perspective: When you're in that state of survival mode, you're not thinking at your best and it doesn't feel good either. By shifting your perspective through really good questions puts you in a more creative state.

Gratitude: If you're in a state where you're feeling really overwhelmed or not feeling great, take a moment to ask yourself who haven't you thanked lately? Within seconds, you've shifted out of that looping narrative and leveraged a gratitude practice to put you in a positive state of mind. 

Shift: We're one question away from a completely different life or outcome. One question can completely change your mood.

Insight: There are always elements in situations where we're pretending we don't know a small piece. And it's usually that piece we're putting in the back corner that we need to deal with.

Core: We make a lot of decisions and do a lot of thinking based on surface level answers. And so, always ask the next question and don’t settle with the first answers that come up.

If you enjoyed this conversation, check out these episodes with similar themes:

“Captain Inspiration” Jordan Maness UCLA Program Director Teaches Us How to SAIL (Select An Ideal Life), Episode 83

Journalist and Author Cal Fussman Talks About Creating an Unbreakable Family Legacy, Episode 112

Links to continue to learn from:

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Want to continue the conversation?

Find me on Instagram! You can read my daily mini-blogs centered on the same three topics that my podcast features: creativity, courage, and curiosity. I believe that without all three it would be impossible to solve the challenges we were each uniquely made to solve. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m easy to find on Instagram @melissallarena

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