Inspiration July 20, 2018
“For the next couple of minutes, I’m going to ask more than I’m going to answer.”
That was how Alyson Stoner began the activity she ran at Entity’s 2018 Love Yourself Summit. Her beginning statement was followed by an even more curious introduction:
“If you feel awkward and uncomfortable, it’s cool. Breathe in it.”
Because she had not given the audience too much information, they were had no idea what to expect. I knew firsthand that Entity events had included (but were not limited to) sitting in a circle and crying, flying a plane, making a mosaic, eating hot wings and sampling bubbly face masks from Korea, so at this point, anything was on the table.
Little did I know that Alyson Stoner could make all of us rethink our identities by just asking a series of simple questions.
She explained how this question-asking was similar to her process of preparing for a new role. She called the first set of questions “deconstruction.” So instead of telling the audience about herself at the beginning of her talk, she wanted us to get to know ourselves.
This is just a sample of the kind of questions she asked, but I admired the way they were set up to elicit more from the responder. I’ll just say this: there were definitely no stand-alone yes-or-no inquiries.
Where are you from?
Simple enough. Most people would probably think of a city name and move on. But Alyson didn’t go there for sissy answers: she wanted the truth.
What part of the country? What city? What neighborhood?
Now audience members had a hard time being vague. Since she had encouraged people to use a notepad or write their answers on their phones, it was only natural to give as detailed of an answer as possible.
Just think for a minute about how those simple things shaped you.
This was her first non-logistic question. It was easy to throw this one on the back-burner because most of us don’t want to answer hard questions. But Alyson persisted.
What kind of privileges did or do you have, or is there a lack thereof? Were your parents able to take you to all of these fun hobbies and recreational activities, or were they working three jobs just to get food on the table?
Now things were getting personal. This might have been the first question that was difficult for people to answer for different reasons.
I knew it was certainly difficult for me.
If you want to read more, click here to learn about Steps 2 and 3 of Alyson Stoner’s transformative exercise.
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