I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Friday is my birthday.

I call it a secret because I don’t publish my birthday on Facebook. I always found it odd that people I never talk to in real life or never interact with on Facebook come out of the woodwork to say “Happy Birthday” like we’re best buddies. Weird.

You and I are superfriends, so that’s different.

However, I still don’t want a bunch of birthday greetings. I DO want something from you for my birthday, though. I want you to ask me a question!

Ask me anything. Ask me about Ordinary Superpowers. Ask why my book isn’t finished yet. Ask me about my business, my life, my dog, or my cabin. Ask me what’s on my bucket list. Ask me what my favorite color is. Ask me how I’ve managed to keep a business thriving for 17 years.

Just please don’t ask me to solve any math problems. I suck pretty bad at math.

I’ll answer your questions as honestly and transparently as I possibly can. Unless you try to sneak a math problem in there and then I will totally BS an answer.

Here’s how to ask a question:

1. Scroll down to the “reply” section.
2. Reply with your question.

I did this a few years ago and got some incredibly thoughtful questions, some very funny questions, and a whole lotta questions in between.

And it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. It would be fun to have another one just like it.

So, go ahead, ask me anything. Silly or serious. Anything goes.

Superpowerfully yours,

61 replies
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Hi Lorrie!

      My book is on “Ordinary Superpowers” — the talents that help you create intentional positive change in your life, the lives of others, and the world around you. Hopefully finishing and publishing it in January. Here’s a link for more info: https://markhenson.me/my-book/

      Thanks for asking!

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      I know she’s a princess who ends up working as the fourteenth assistant kitchen-maid in the castle of the King of Ambergeldar. No kidding. Look it up. I did.

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Definitely not my favorite, but my most memorable moment @sparkspace is the same every year — the moment I realize that, yet again, I didn’t win our annual Halloween costume contest. You see, I take this contest very seriously. I pour my heart into it. Every year I have high hopes of winning. I mean EXTREMELY high hopes. Like, it’s all I want in life before I die. And every year I come in dead last.

      I do fondly remember the moment I walked into the office this year dressed as “the ugliest cheerleader in the world” and got a huge laugh from my coworkers. Although I didn’t win (did I mention I never win?), I did love the reaction and admiration I received from my team.

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      I’ll be honest, this is my favorite kind of question. So, thanks for that!

      If I was granted unlimited resources, and told that failure was an impossibility, I’d…

      …spend the next few summers traveling with my kids (independently and together), take them anywhere in the world they wanted to experience and experiencing it together.

      …build the most amazing retreat center in the woods where people could truly disconnect from their crazy, busy, always-connected lives, experience nature, and engage in meaningful conversations that help them achieve whatever they truly want to achieve in life.

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      A. Careers: Do what you love to do until you don’t love to do it anymore. Repeat this throughout your life. Don’t worry about climbing the ladder, but figure out how to make the kind of money that lets you live the life you want to live. And never ever forget that you always have options, even when you think you don’t.

      B. Finances: Get out of debt as soon as you possibly can. Better yet, don’t get in debt. It will change your life in ways you can’t imagine.

      C. Relationships: Your marriage vows don’t really kick in until the shit hits the fan. Before that, it’s all just honeymoon. Stick with it after the shit hits the fan. It’s extremely hard at times, but you will never regret it.

      Your kids won’t turn out the way you thought they would. Not better or worse, just different. Don’t let that get in the way of loving them and having a relationship with them. By the way, this will be 100% on you sometimes because once in a while they will hate you. It just comes with the territory.

      D. Life. You will have really great periods and really rough periods. Sometimes you may even deal with depression (although you might not realize that’s what’s happening at the time). Get help when you need it. Don’t always be a lone wolf. You will definitely your space sometimes, but you will need other people sometimes, too. Learn to recognize what you need when you need it.

      Thanks, Heidi. That was particularly thought-provoking!

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Hi Kathy!

      I have a thing for books, so you’ve asked me a question that’s kind of like “Which one of your kids is your favorite?”

      That said, there are four books that have shaped my life & business more than others:

      1. Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins. I read this 20+ years ago and it kickstarted my brain to pursue so many of the the things I have pursued over the years. I re-read parts of this book recently. Aside from the dated references, much of it still holds up today.

      2. Small Giants by Bo Burlingham. This book gave me permission to NOT grow my business into a multi-location national “chain” of meeting spaces (which is what I thought I “should” do for several years after starting the biz). It gives great examples of businesses that chose to stay small (a relative term, by the way), but great. I’ve followed that philosophy ever since.

      3. The One Thing by Gary Keller. I should probably read this book every year because it makes the best case for focusing on what’s important more than any other book I’ve ever read.

      4. The Bible. I’ve been a Christian all my life, but had never read the whole “manual” from start to finish until last year. Ok, I STARTED it three years ago and FINISHED it last year (using a one-year Bible). Countless lessons for life and business. I’m astounded by Proverbs in particular. Some of the most practical and timeless advice ever given. I’ve started reading through it again. Amazed at how much I missed the first time around.

      Reply
  1. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    A while back you did a walking full marathon. How was that experience for you? Do you doodle? What is one guilty pleasure you just won’t give up? What one gift do you most hope Santa brings you this year? Now that your book is nearly complete, do you find that you have the stirrings for another brewing in your brain?

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Maybe I should have said, “Ask me ONE question,” ha ha!

      These are great. Here you go:

      1. The marathon. I’ve run 2 half marathons, walked one full marathon and one half marathon. The full marathon was tougher than I thought, even walking. Around mile 18, my wife and I just stopped talking for about 3 miles. Then we bounced back. I guess it was “the wall” that they always talk about. We have the honor of being the ABSOLUTE LAST people to cross the finish line that year. In fact, they were tearing down the finish line when we came through. We still got a medal. 🙂

      The BEST part of the marathon was the training. My wife and I walked and talked for dozens and dozens of hours in preparation for the marathon. We would do a long walk on the weekend that would sometimes be 15 miles or more. We would pick a restaurant that was 6 or 7 miles away from our house, walk there and eat breakfast or lunch, and then walk home. It was a great way to train. And getting to spend all that time with my wife was really awesome.

      2. I’m not a doodler. Never have been. Always been a little jealous of people who doodle because it looks fun.

      3. A guilty pleasure I just won’t give up is Coke Zero. I know it’s horrible for you, but I love it. Best soft drink ever made. I do try to stick to no more than one can a day. At least that way it will kill me slowly.

      4. The gift I hope Santa brings me is a few days of fun with my family. With 2 moody teenagers, a few days in a row of fun can be hard to achieve sometimes. Everyone seems fairly happy right now, so I have high hopes that Santa can pull it off.

      5. I know some authors start thinking about their next book before they’ve finished the first one. I haven’t experienced that yet. I’m still pretty immersed in this one. For years I thought I should write a book and just couldn’t ever get one off the ground. So a few years ago I decided to give myself permission to NOT write a book. This year a book just sort of came out of me, which I still find weird. So at this point, I don’t even know if I have another book in me. But if there’s one in there, I figure it will come out eventually.

      Reply
  2. Jason
    Jason says:

    Hi Mark,

    I love this idea. Like you, I feel posting my Birthday and getting greetings from strangers very odd. I don’t even post my birthday at work for the same reason (I work for a pretty big company and people who do post their birthday get all sorts of recognition from people they have no idea who are; it works for some but not me).

    Now my question – You give us great advise (whether you mean to or not) and share amazing inspirational stories with us. What I want to know is who do you turn to when you need inspiration? Who are your muses?

    Thanks, and I look forward to reading all of the questions and answers next week.
    -Jason

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Jason,

      Thanks for the compliment and the question!

      The thing that inspires me the most is nature. Nothing clears my head and gives me renewed energy like a hike in the woods.

      As for people, I’ve noticed that the kind of people who inspire me has changed over the years. When I was younger, I was really inspired by the people who were “making a dent in the universe” — the people who were creating, inventing, and hustling to make their ideas a reality. I still like those people and they still inspire me.

      However, today I think I’m even more inspired by people who have figured out who they are (or are working to figure it out) and live authentically into that. Some of those people are still making a dent in the universe, but I find they aren’t as motivated to change THE world as they are to make a difference in THEIR world. They use their talents, skills, interests, etc. to be great at what they do and help the people they serve, including family, friends, community, etc.

      Maybe the best way to put it is that I’m inspired the most right now by people who don’t let their ego drive the bus anymore.

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Brooke,

      That’s an easy one: my dad. He’s always been the most positive, generous person I know. He’s 80 years old now, has Parkinson’s, and would still help you move across the country. In fact, he flew out to San Francisco just so I wouldn’t have to drive back to Columbus by myself on my cross country driving adventure last year.

      Reply
  3. Allen
    Allen says:

    Situation you are going to spend eternity eating the same meal with the same famous people. You have a table of 4:

    1. What meal do you eat?

    2. Who sits at the table? (must be famous person from any time in history or the future could be a real person or a fictional character. I define famous as someone that most people would know the name if you said it)

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Hmmmm, let me think. This is a tough one. So many food choices. So many people choices.

      1. Meal: street tacos.

      2. 3 famous people who would be fun to hang out with for eternity: Tony Robbins (because he’d always keep us in an awesome state of mind and ask really good questions and not be afraid to drop the f-bomb once in awhile), Taylor Swift (because she’d keep it light and playful and she’d sing something catchy whenever we got bored), and Clint Eastwood (because nobody would ever dare to serve him bad street tacos).

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      I’d learn how to let go of expectation.

      Also, I asked someone I love very much to lie for me once. I’ve hated the memory of that moment ever since. It’s one of the few things I would go back and change if I could.

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Good question, Julie!

      I used to ask people straight up, “What do you consider to be your superpowers?” However, people tend to answer that with what they think you want to hear or what they WISH were their superpowers (but aren’t always accurate).

      Having done a lot of work to help people identify their superpowers in non-interview settings over the past year, I now think I have a better way. There are 5 questions. They’re really statements that I ask people to finish, preferably with several answers for each. Then, patterns start to emerge. Here are the questions:

      1. I am always…
      2. People always come to me for help with…
      3. The job I always feel compelled to volunteer for is…
      4. People admire my ability to…
      5. I feel like I make a difference when…

      If you’d like more detail on these questions, I wrote up a more detailed explanation here: https://markhenson.me/5questions/

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Pete, you have good timing. I had to answer this question for my coach last week, so I have recently put a lot of thought into this. Here’s my answer:

      Being present, excited and passionate about what I do.

      It’s way more about my state of being than about numbers, achievements, or accolades.

      Reply
  4. Martyn
    Martyn says:

    Mark what is your dream, wish ,and super vision For Ordinary Superpowers? Do you know when the audiobook is coming out?
    May you have an extraordinarily super-powered year.

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Martyn,

      Want to know something really interesting (well, at least I think it is)?

      I have no dream for Ordinary Superpowers. I have just committed to seeing where it takes me. I’ll still work to finish it, promote it, and help people hear, learn, and apply the concepts, but I don’t have any big dream or expectation of where it will go.

      That’s counter-culture, I know. But I have learned that my plans and expectations rarely turn out the way I think they will. The ones I want so badly sometimes completely fizzle out, while others take off like a rocket. So, with this book and work I have decided that my only job is to do what’s next and let God handle the rest.

      What’s next right now is to finish editing. That’s really all I’m focused on.

      Pretty sure I will do an audiobook version once the printed version is done, but only because I’m an old radio DJ and I love talking into a microphone. (true story)

      Reply
  5. Rick White
    Rick White says:

    An early & equally sincere wish for a very Happy Birthday Mark!

    My question is how does one go about discovering their ordinary superpower and how to they use it to make the world a better place?

    I truly believe that goals aren’t about what we get (because we can’t take them with us when we die) but about who we become in the process of achieving those goals (which I do believe we take with us when we die and meet our Maker). I’d like to see how this concept of superpowers fits in.

    Thanks!

    Rick

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Rick,

      I *could* be really cruel and tell you that you’ll just have to wait until the book comes out. And, truthfully, it takes the whole book to answer that question.

      In the meantime, you can get started with the 5 Questions That Reveal Your Superpowers that I recently wrote up to help people get started before the book comes out. Here’s the link: https://markhenson.me/5questions/

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Kary, that’s an interesting question.

      As a content creator, I want to know that the content has value. To me, engagement is the best support. Here are the most meaningful forms of engagement to me:

      – React to the content via email, blog comments, etc. Your reaction doesn’t have to be a compliment, either. It could even be a disagreement. Engaging with me by reacting to the content tells me you paid attention and it evoked something in you.

      – Tell me how the content has helped you. e-communication is nice, but if we ever meet in person, hearing it straight from you is even better.

      – Share the content when it resonates with you. One of the best indicators of value is when you want other people to receive the value as well.

      – Buy my products. For me right now that means attending a workshop or buying my book when it comes out. It seems kinda self-serving to write this down, but I promised to answer these questions honestly. And if I’m being honest, the greatest way to show me that you value my work is to pay me for it. I heard Dave Ramsey say one time that dollar bills are nothing but certificates of appreciation for doing great work. I wholeheartedly agree with that.

      As a content creator, it’s really easy to devalue my own work. It really helps to know that what I create is so valuable to people they are willing to pay for it. That’s a huge confidence-builder to a content creator.

      That doesn’t mean that I’ll always charge for my content. In fact, I only charge for a fraction of the content that I produce. I’ve always produced way more free stuff than paid stuff, and not for “marketing purposes”. I do it because I enjoy creating it and sharing it. It’s an art form for me.

      Thanks for the great question.

      Reply
  6. Brittany Dixon
    Brittany Dixon says:

    Go back to when you were a brand new business owner – what advice helped you get where you are today? Tips, tricks and secrets that made you succeed. Do you still live by all of these or have they changed with time?

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Ok, but if I get going on this I may not stop.

      – Start small and grow from there.
      – Cashflow is king. Protect your cashflow at all costs.
      – Never underpromise, but always overdeliver.
      – Get out of debt as soon as possible. Better yet, never get into debt in the first place.
      – Treat vendors, customers, etc. the way you’d want to be treated (even if they don’t treat you the same way).
      – You have to “delegate to elevate”. Still learning this one.
      – Be forgiving of mistakes, but don’t accept mediocrity from the people involved in your business.
      – Hold vendors, employees, even customers to high standards.
      – Fire customers who drag you down.
      – Be slow to hire, quick to fire. Still learning this one, too. Like most, I hate to fire anyone so I always drag my feet a lot longer than I should.
      – Work ON your business as much or more than IN your business.
      – Hire a good bookkeeper.
      – No business is more important than your family.

      There are probably dozens more, but I’ll stop right there.

      Reply
  7. Loene
    Loene says:

    Hi Mark
    What advice would you give
    To positive middle age lady
    Who has lost self esteem
    Owing to past bullied job resignation. Who now wants
    To turn her life around with
    Life self confidence to all friends and even family concerns????

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Three things:

      1. You past does not equal your future.

      2. Do whatever it takes to build your confidence and turn your life around. WHATEVER IT TAKES. Go to counseling. Celebrate your successes. Tell the negative forces in your life to go jump off a cliff. Surround yourself with “positive nouns” (people, places, and things that lift you up). Repeat all of the above as much as necessary. WHATEVER IT TAKES.

      3. If you’re still breathing, you’ve still got time.

      You’ve got one life on this rock. Fight like hell to make it the life you want.

      Reply
  8. Holly Harper
    Holly Harper says:

    If you were trapped in Jurassic Park, the power was out, dinosaurs on the loose and Samuel Jackson already dead, what would you do FIRST to survive?

    (I thought I’d go with something silly to keep you on your toes over there)

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Erik,

      When I try to think about WHAT makes me wonder, all I can seem to think about is WHERE I wonder the most.

      For me, there are a small handful of places where I do the most wondering:

      1. Spending time in the woods, mountains, beaches, etc. always — ALWAYS — does something special to my brain. Connecting to the beauty and majesty of things not made by humans is refreshing, energizing, and stimulating in the most profound way. I believe I may be a caveman. But aren’t we all, really?

      2. Walking or running by myself or with my wife — moving my feet seems to have a direct connection to moving my brain. And my wife always makes me wonder. I always wonder what she’s doing with me (insert rimshot here).

      3. The shower is, hands-down, my favorite non-nature place to think. I have completely drained the entire water heater on more than one occasion.

      That was a really good question. So, how about YOU? What makes YOU wonder?

      Reply
      • Erik Jul
        Erik Jul says:

        I wonder at life. Try to explain it and all explanations fall short. I wonder how I can take what I learn and convert it into action. Then I wonder how to see what really is and let that be enough. Thanks for asking.

        Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Mike,

      Because manholes are round. Duh.

      Actually, after my initial smartass response, I thought more about it and theorized that manholes are round so they can’t fall in the manhole. A square cover could fall in diagonally into a square hole. I’m willing to bet it hurts a lot to get hit on the head with a manhole cover, so they probably avoid that as much as possible.

      Just for kicks, I looked it up (thanks, Google!) and found that my theory is spot on. Turns out I’m pretty smart. Thank you for asking a question that let me demonstrate that.

      Reply
  9. John Dolan
    John Dolan says:

    Hey Mark, this is not a happy birthday message. I wanted to ask what was the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your book writing experience? And by the way, Happy Birthday!

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Hi John!

      Great question. I have learned many lessons along the book writing journey. The #1 lesson I’ve learned is this:

      While you might have an audience in mind, you are really only writing for one person, and that person is you. In the end, you have to love and believe in what you’ve written, regardless of what anyone else thinks about it. If you ask for feedback (and even if you don’t), you won’t like some/much/all of what someone else has to say about your work.

      I sent my first draft to several people who I thought it would be great to get feedback from. Some of the feedback I agreed with, some of it stung (and rightfully so), and some I didn’t think was valid at all. But the most interesting thing was that some of the feedback was contradictory — meaning, one person liked a particular passage or concept and another didn’t. That was the moment I knew that in the end, I just have to write mainly for myself and be ok with that.

      The great part of that is, when you come to that realization you get pretty authentic pretty fast. And I know from past experience that is what resonates with people the most.

      Funny, though, that I have to learn that lesson over and over and over.

      Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Joy, Joy, Joy,

      Why did you ask me a question I don’t want to answer? 🙂

      I actually have an app on my phone that tracks my steps. Looking back at it right now, it appears as though I get about 3000-4000 steps per day when don’t go for a walk or hike or run. On those days I get 10,000-15,000. Way more 3-4k days than 10-15k lately, though.

      Good inspiration for me to get back on the horse (or feet as the case may be).

      Reply
  10. Janie Sahayda
    Janie Sahayda says:

    Hi Mark! I hope you had a great Celebrate You Day! I wanted to ask….Will you ever do a Superpower Retreat Revisit? I was at your first session and would love the chance to come back in and go back over everything. I think I had trouble pinpointing what my Superpowers are and am still struggling defining them!

    Reply
    • Mark
      Mark says:

      Janie,

      That’s an interesting idea that could be very fun and helpful. I’ll definitely put that in the mix of things to consider doing in 2017.

      In the meantime, since I know you’re in Columbus, I’d be more than happy to meet for coffee to help you clarify your superpowers and encourage you in any way I can.

      Reply

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