From Actor, Coach & Filmmaker to Builder of Global Communities
Barry has been bringing people together and creating positive change in the world for over 25 years, and his latest project is a community called Dreaming For A Living. This gathering of like-minded individuals focuses their celebration on being alive, forming relationships, and helping each other stay focused, motivated, and making sure they all have
Barry has been in the film and TV industry for more than 25 years, and he’s seen firsthand how those who are successful use community to create transformation. That’s why he’s now focused on building a community of people who are oriented towards making positive change in the world. He named this community Dreaming For A Living, and it’s become a place where people from all walks of life can come together to celebrate being alive and learn from each other.
The members of this community are very clear about what they don’t want, as well as, forming a vision for what kind of community they do want. Those who don’t fit in energetically or focus-wise, self-sort out, leaving room for those who share their values to find kinship within the group.
For Barry, the value or currency of his events is not turning attendees into clients, but rather forming relationships with like-minded professionals. He has likened his own life to that of a filmmaker who films the same story over and over until he gets it right – only with different characters and settings. From this insight he realized that if he was going to be successful at creating meaningful change in the world, he needed a supportive community around him that would help him stay focused and motivated throughout his journey.
When Barry went back home to Australia last year with his parents, it made him realize something – when you’re alone in an unfamiliar place, your best bet is to look online for kindred spirits. This epiphany pushed him to create a relaxed networking event upon returning home to Los Angeles, one where attendees could connect casually without having to talk business. The point of the Dreaming for a Living mixer was simply to relax, get to know each other on an individual level and have some fun along the way!
As Barry continued developing this amazing online community full of purpose-driven change-makers from all around the globe. He made sure, however, not to lose sight of his own core values as an effective leader, responsibility for one’s actions, and celebrating successes big or small. It is also important for him that work remains enjoyable so members don’t get discouraged too easily along their journey.
With all these pieces coming together perfectly into place, Barry couldn’t be more thrilled about how far this global network has come in such a short amount of time since its inception! Now people from all over can access inspiring courses, retreats and public speaking engagements through this awesome platform to make meaningful changes in their lives as well as those around them!
Join Barry by listening to his interview on Elements of Community as he dives deep into everything we’ve been talking about here – Dreaming For A Living – because you won’t want to miss out on such an incredible story!
Other subjects we covered on the show:
- We talked about how the people who are most successful use community to create transformation.
- We chatted for a bit on how the best communities are very clear on what they don’t want to work towards creating what they want their community to be.
- Lastly, we discussed about how common language and kinship are what makes a community.
- And much more!
If you want to know more about Paul Barry, you may reach out to him at:
- Website: www.DreamingForALiving.com
[00:00:00] Paul Barry joins me for an amazing conversation where we delve deep into his relationship with community and how it’s evolved over his career, starting from having absolutely no interest in community at all, and being an expert and working through the lifestyle of expert and expert technician and selling himself as an expert. And how he noticed in the process that the people that were really successful around him in the same space, were using community to create and transform success and in fact, whether they intended to or not, they also transformed his own idea of success and what he’s done with that. What he’s learned from that, how he’s carrying it forward, is bringing community into the world in a very different way through something kind of like meetup groups now, but specifically focused on community building and [00:01:00] community orientation and that amazing experience that you might get through community. So join me, don’t miss a second of my conversation with Paul Barry. We go deep into his evolution with community. Thank you.
Paul, I have really enjoyed getting to know you over the past couple of weeks as we’ve had both live and email conversations, and now I’m really excited that my audience gets to get to know you as well. Would you like to introduce yourself?
I would love that. Thank you Lucas. My name is Paul Barry. I run “Dreaming For A Living”
for a living?
Dreaming for a living, which was actually a Steve Spielberg quote at a commencement address where he said, I don’t dream at night. I dream at day. I’m dreaming for a living.
So I came from a background of working in film and tv.
Worked as an actor for 16 years. Professionally. I taught acting for film and TV for almost 25 [00:02:00] years. Directed stage and screen before moving into working with coaches, consultants, thought leaders, and so on, on growing their businesses and, making a more positive difference in the world without having to spend all of their time doing the parts of their business that they hated , and they work with their clients and work with, customers and work with the world.
So yeah, I started working with, , with people, making that kind of a difference in the world. And, and did a TEDx talking back in 2019. And I also worked with people to help them get their, their word out and their missions out through TEDx.
Hmm. Lovely. Thank you for joining me. Dreaming For a Living. That’s fantastic. You know, it occurs to me, and this isn’t what we’re talking about, unless maybe it is. It occurs to me that all entrepreneurs are dreaming for a living.
I’d probably, by definition, because the entrepreneur is someone who’s not just running a business, they’re actually taking a risk that no one else would [00:03:00] be. Brave enough or stupid enough to actually take, so yeah, there is, you know, someone was saying yesterday, probably every single major, innovation creation, app business that was launched, that succeeded in the last 10 years.
There’s no conservative financial investor that would’ve recommended that you actually put money into one of those things. Like none. No financial advisor would say, yeah, put a million bucks into this thing called Uber or Airbnb or any of the things that have come out. Certainly not WeWork, or FTF. But, yeah, I mean, any kind of innovation that we have by definition has very little competition or doesn’t exist, so it’s not really proven in the marketplace.
So for us to believe it wholeheartedly and commit to it nonstop, despite what everyone else in the world seems to say, we absolutely have to be [00:04:00] living that as a dream. The second half is obviously you’ve gotta turn that into a living in some way, otherwise it doesn’t last very long.
Very cool. a funny way of looking at it. And I agree. I mean, you know, you look back at the entire last 25 years of Amazon financial statements and you wonder why anyone would invest in them ever.
Yeah. I actually have a friend who said that she was going out with this guy many, many years, like 20 years ago or whatever. And, and this guy came to him. He had a bit of money. He was a Wall Street guy and said, Hey, would you like to invest in this new business I’ve got going because you know the, there’s this worldwide web and I wanna start selling some stuff online.
And this guy was like, oh yeah, tell me the idea. And this dude starts telling him about selling books online. And he is like, oh God, here we go. This is useless. And he’s like, oh yeah, yeah, okay, no worries. And he hears him out. He goes back to my friend, his girlfriend at the time, and goes, Oh my God, this dickhead is trying to sell books online.
He’s gonna fail. [00:05:00] And of course it turned out to be Jeff Bezos and Amazon and he had an opportunity to invest in it at the start, and he was like, nah, that’ll never work. So yeah. There would’ve been a lot of people, for every one of those people that Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk, or anyone that, you know, , that anyone that had that idea in the first place, for every one person who invested, I mean, they must have hit up dozens if not hundreds of people who were just like, that’s dumb.
No, it’ll never work.
That’s funny. Yeah. Amazing. So you’re in the process of, building a community right now, which is very exciting. You’ve built some communities in the past. Would you like to tell us a little bit about some of the communities you’ve built in the past and what you learned from them and how that has funneled your attention into the community that you’re building now?
Yeah. Well that was why it was such a great timing that we kind of connected and I, I was introduced to you because, I [00:06:00] think I’d been trying to find answers to the questions that you basically specialize in without realizing I was looking for what is, what are the mechanics of a community basically like I always thought.
I’ll keep asking and as long as it doesn’t go too far out of the lanes of what I feel is right and like I spent years working with actors on, your feelings are fantastic, but they’re not at all reliable to build a career on. You do need some mechanics of choices, which is, I wrote my book for acting called Choices, which is about how to actually make choices cuz no one taught you how to do that.
I know it’s crazy right?
And yet when I, yeah, I
nobody even taught us how to make friends like so basic
Because you just think, oh, well, they’ll work it out and if they can just give them toys to play with on their own. But so when I got into sort of working as, as you and I discussed in our first conversation, when I started working with actors, I became, you know, one of the top acting coaches in [00:07:00] Australia.
I came over here, I had, I was teaching people here in film and TV and winning awards and all sorts of things. And yet I think, as I said to you, I would run my classes. with my focus of making the best actors I possibly could make.
But they would leave my class and then they, that would be that they wouldn’t hang out with each other.
They wouldn’t go out with each other, they wouldn’t come for the community. They would come for those classes. And part of what I hope I do as I make myself ultimately redundant as as a teacher, That idea that you should always go back and have a, an acting coach to me was like, yeah, you can always come back if you want to.
I’m not telling you not to, like, you can always go back to your parents, but you’re not with them all day, every day as an adult until you’re a hundred years old. So my whole idea was I can teach ’em what they need, they can do it on their own. Great fly, my pretties, be free, you know, and go out there. What I was seeing was that there were other schools and I never ran a [00:08:00] school, but there.
Schools that were all about community and the training was terrible, and yet people would flock to it, they’d throw money at it. They were just overflowing with students. And I was always like, what are they doing? Like, why are people going to this when the, the results are. Palpably awful . Like there, there’s, there’s nothing they’re learning.
If anything, they’re probably getting worse as actors. And they were just buzz the,
but that wasn’t their, that wasn’t their metric for success. Their metric for success was, do people love coming here? And I don’t think they for a second knew what you specialize in and, and how you break it down so simply.
But they had stumbled upon their own formula, and I think I said to you, they had what was called a salon and every month or whatever, they would just say, come along, bring your friends and family. Do whatever you want. It’s yours. You can do a musical, you can put, you [00:09:00] can do a monologue, you can do beat poetry, you can do whatever.
you won’t get directed, you won’t get, you won’t get assessed. It’s literally just a place for you to celebrate being here. And everyone ca now, of course, what a great lead generation tool for them. Cuz then people would come, they were bringing people, people would see, oh, this is what it’s like to be here.
And then they didn’t have to sell themselves. And that was kind of the first time it was. The, it was really the downhill end of me being over the other side of teaching anyway, but it was kind of at that point I started to realize, oh wow. I taught at that point for probably 16 years, almost 18 years, and I’d never built a community.
It had never been something that I thought about. I knew a lot of people, we were all doing similar things, we’re all interested in acting. They all wanted to learn to be better. They didn’t even need, they didn’t even necessarily know that anything was missing. But clearly something was missing. And what was [00:10:00] missing was community.
And only when I had my 20th anniversary of teaching here in LA. Got a section of a rooftop in West Hollywood there, invited everyone along. It was this massive crowd and for the first time in 20 years, I was like, oh, you know, if I was doing that once a month,
I might have the biggest acting studio in the world.
It would’ve been amazing because combine what I was teaching with how effective it was with the people I was teaching with the community. I mean, it would’ve been killer, but it was kind of too late and I didn’t, it, it didn’t matter to me by then. But yeah, so then when I started working on, this sort of mixer, this mixer group here in LA, which just literally came from meeting people on LinkedIn and lunch club and having conversations like this all the time.
After years of working with people, you know, talking to people all around the. at, for whatever crazy reason, everyone I was talking to happened to be in [00:11:00] LA So lunch club was putting me up with people in LA, LinkedIn. A particular campaign I was running happened to be with people in LA. So almost all of my calls were with people in LA.
So I would say to people, great to meet you. And they’d say, well, let’s catch up sometime. Let’s have lunch or something. And I’m like, but where do you live? And they’re like, around the corner from you, And that was the first time I was like, oh, well maybe. Organize a drinks and we can all catch up. And the first one was 10 people, the next one was 20 people.
The next one was 35 people. The next one was 50 people. The next one will probably be close to a hundred people and it’s got a LinkedIn group and a Facebook group and it’s growing. But that’s when I met you and I was like, this is interesting that it’s at exactly the same time that Alex, who runs this with me and I are being very careful to say.
Putting out surveys saying, what do you want this to be? But we are very clear. What we also don’t want it to be, we don’t want it. We [00:12:00] know what we want to gain from it ourselves. We hear what the core group of people want from it, but I don’t believe that anybody yet has a hundred percent idea of all of those points of the, you know, what exactly is the language at the moment.
Of the group, what exactly is the heart of the group and all, you know, all of those points that we’re talking about today. Some of them are falling into place, some of them are becoming obvious, but the, it’s what’s very clear is when people don’t fit into this group. And I think that itself is, is itself, is starting to help in a way, form what the community is and what the community isn’t.
Yeah. Oh, that’s cool. And the people who don’t fit in, they don’t fit in energetically. They don’t fit in from a focus perspective. They don’t fit in. We, we talked about this, so I know where this is going. Tell it, tell me more.
Well, the value, value, like if, if what the, if the value or [00:13:00] the currency, as you say, if, if the value the profit that they derive from similar events is they come away with lots of people, they can call and turn into clients. It’s never gonna work. This event is never gonna work for them. This is social mixer for chill professionals first.
we meet and we chill the fuck out. Second thing is we create relationships with people we like as a result of that. And the third thing is how can you not help each other’s businesses when your friends and professionals working at a higher level? And it is those three things, and it is in that order.
And some people have come in and effectively tried to, do a, like dominate the networking night. and it’s bitterly disappointing for them and it’s just embarrassing for everybody else cuz it’s like walking into a friend’s party and handing out business cards and it’s like, what are you? What are you doing, dude?
You’re wearing a suit handing out business cards and then calling everyone afterwards saying, let’s do lunch. It’s [00:14:00] like, You think you’ve, you’ve kind of missed, I mean, you have missed the point, but thankfully they’ve largely sort of self sorted. But the difficulty is, well, not the difficulty we, we just started, you know, but the challenge as it grows is how do you scale without throttling it out of fear that it’s gonna go the wrong way, or the wrong way. Or how do you just say, yeah, just anyone invite. Without having the event eat you alive when it’s, it turns into be, turns out to be something that you don’t, you don’t even wanna go to yourself, .
I love it. Do the, let’s say 50 because you, you got to 50 the last time or so. Do the 50 people really know what they want? Do they know what that feeling is? Are they, are they in it?
well they were, I would say, . So there was probably about 48. And I would say from my [00:15:00] experience, and I make sure I get around, I talk to people and I’m very aware of if someone’s sitting alone alone on their own or if there’s a couple that just wander around and, and don’t separate and talk to anyone else.
So I’m very aware of what’s going on. So probably out of about 48, I would say that. I mean, 30 of them at any given time are 100% in the zone loving exactly what was going on, even though they had no idea what was going on. There’s probably a handful on top of that who really enjoyed themselves, but wouldn’t keep coming back unless it got a little clearer about, sorry, what, what is this again?
Is it just like a nice place to hang out? Like I had one guy on LinkedIn say to me: “I’m way too busy and successful to be sitting on rooftops watching sunset sets with strangers.” And I’m like, well dude, you’ve missed the point, but thank you for . Thank you for self sorting. Thank you for please exit through the gift store.
and then I’d say on any night like that, you know, there could be up to, well, I found out in [00:16:00] hindsight there were a few people who came in, walked around and just walked straight back out again. So they were. A friend of mine, and I think they were coming to look for her and left, but it was a good, it was a good thing to happen because if you don’t see or hear that, you wouldn’t even imagine that that happens.
But now you go, oh, okay. If someone like, as we grow, that’s going to happen. I’ve been to parties where I’ve walked in or into bar. You walk into a bar and you go, whoop, and you walk straight out the door. You came in so. In a way, maybe that’s good. They didn’t waste any more time . They just went straight out.
Maybe that means that we need to have a clearer kind of front of house to say, Hey, are you in the right place? What are you looking for? But, but yeah, generally out of, out of all of those people, I would say that so far. It’s about a 40 to 60% different crowd each time as it grows. But the core group is growing itself of people that [00:17:00] will come to every single one that we run and would come to more if we did more simply because they just love being around the type of people that the event attracts, and they love the conversations.
They love the fact that it’s not salesy. They love the fact. So do they know what they’re there? Probably not a hundred percent, but they haven’t, they seem to be happy with what they’re getting at the moment.
Love that. Amazing. That’s quite a journey. You, you,
short period of
yeah. Well, not just a short period of long period of time too. You, you were, you were truly an expert, top of the game, professional teacher and coach. There’s a, there’s a metaphor that I use in, in my coaching work, and it, and it seems like it maybe applies to this.
The metaphor is, if you sprint really, really, And you, [00:18:00] you go to a sprint workout. At the end of that sprint workout is when you can really start to improve the economy of your running. You have to work your way through the strength. To get to the point where you can start really powerfully training your weakness, the, the, and when you’re in a sprint workout economy is, is your opportunity, but you have to get through your strength to get there.
It seems to me from the way that you told your story, you, you were an incredibly powerful coach and instructor who you had to work through your strength before you could start to see, the opportunities in how you could improve.
it’s interesting if you, if. If that turns out to be true across the board everywhere, which it sounds like it probably would because part of the problem I think was I stopped myself truly getting to the top of where I could have gone in that career because I realized, well, what’s at the top of that career?
Like what is my true strength as the top acting coach in the world.
Who cares? Like, I don’t care. Top acting coaches in the world, it doesn’t, it doesn’t bother me at all. I wouldn’t wanna be that person, even if I was that person. You know, being the top a, you know, one of a few top acting coaches in Australia was handy because it meant if a film came to Australia.
So, just the idea and I, it seems like a really powerful admission and I, I really appreciate you, you sharing that with me and with us, that, you were headed in the direction of working through your strengths so that you could start really powerfully approaching your weaknesses and, Maybe attacking some of the opportunities that were beyond your strength.
Right. And, and you just shared that you had stopped short of that, which is again, it’s a really powerful admission. Thank you for sharing. Can you dive in a little on that?
Yeah. Well only that I got to the point where I was like, okay, if I really wanna step this, , I need to be getting out there to every celebrity actor that I’ve taught or that I know and [00:20:00] getting in front of them and saying, I need you to refer me to all of your other celebrity friends. I wanna be every party.
I wanna be on red carpets. I wanna be the person that you thank first when you’re up there getting your awards. I want to be doing interviews and articles with people saying, wow, you taught Brad Pitt. And I realized I have no interest in any of that.
why would I do that? And yet, if I had to reach the top of my strength to realize great, you know, how do I do everything else and, and economize and everything, then I was never gonna get there in that field because I, I never, I had no desire to be at the top of that field.
It’s like you’re climbing a mountain and you’re three quarters of the way up and you realize you wanna be on that one over there. Like, why, why keep going to the top of this one when you want to be there?
Now this isn’t just grasses greener on the other side syndrome, like shiny object syndrome? This is like. Really, you really realize that you really actually want to be over there?[00:21:00]
Yeah, well, I’ll, I’ll tell you when I’m, when I’m three quarters of the way up, Kilimanjaro
I’m close. Yeah.
each time I’ve, I wouldn’t, I even wanna say each time I’ve reinvented, but that makes it sound like I’m constantly changing my mind. I’m not.
It’s, it’s fair. Like I read an article, a couple of years ago that said that the average adult today, starts a new career. A new career, not just a new job, a new career every 8.6 years. So every nine years. So you, you lasted longer than most
a little longer than the satins return. Yeah, so I mean, for me, I did professional acting and then got to the point where I was like, you know what? I really just want to commit to the teaching. The teaching for me is where I can have much more impact. Gives me the opportunity to, to write and direct and stuff as well.
And yeah. And so I got to the end of that and I was like, well, I’ve written a book. I’ve written 60 articles for Backstage. I’ve put a course online. I’ve taught award-winning actors. I’ve taught on film and [00:22:00] tv and written for all of them, and staged and directed and done all of that and thought, if I’m gonna do that again, , I’m going to be directing myself and my own TV show.
I’m gonna be directing my films and I didn’t want to go back to being. Director or writer who was at the bottom of the heap. Again, trying to work my way back to the top. So it seemed to me that I needed to take the skills that I have, something that interest me, that something that I’d done and had a bit of a pedigree for, which had been corporate training, communications training, that kind of thing.
I’ve been running my own businesses, so marketing was definitely something I wanted to learn more about. I’d successfully run businesses, but I’d never learned how to run a business. I’d never been taught how to run a business. So there were major problems, but I found some successes and then wanted to go back in and, and learn more about how to do it, and then started working with, coaches and consultants and speakers and different people and realized, wow.
Okay. These things are important to [00:23:00] me, being purpose driven and working with purpose driven people, wanting to make. not just a difference in the world, but a significant difference in the world. And also working with people who don’t just realize they need help, but are excited about getting help.
So my dream clients were always people, and this was the same. When I look back, I’m like, is this different from acting? No, because. The dream clients were always the same. They were big thinkers. They were people who wanted to make a big difference with their acting, and they were people who didn’t just go, huh, I’ve gotta get a class.
They were excited about learning more, and so every amazing person I’ve ever met in my life, Is on the up end of the Dun on the top end of the Dunning Kruger effect, knowing a lot, but believing they don’t know much rather than the other way around. And so when I look at myself as a director or a writer or a marketer or a TEDx speaker, or anything that I have been and will be in my life, others [00:24:00] may say that these are different things, but for me, they’re all the same thing.
They’re all storytelling. Purpose driven people building. And I, and I use the, the story of Jim Ja Mush, who’s a filmmaker. You may know who directed Ghost Dog and Dead Man, but Dead Man, which he did many years ago with Johnny Depp. , it was about like a, like a western, an art film western with Johnny Depp getting on a train going from the east to the west as the west was unfolding.
And then in the nineties directed Forrest Whitaker as a black samurai in New York. One called, “Dead Man” and one called “Ghost Dog”. And he said in an interview that they’re both exactly the same film. They’re just exactly the same film. He said, in fact, “Dead Man” was originally entitled “Ghost Dog”. He said They’re the same film.
I keep making the same film again and again and again and again until I get it right and I just give it a different name and a different setting and a different topic and different characters, [00:25:00] but it’s the same film. And then eventually I make another film. And I always love that because I’ve found that that’s what I’ve been doing.
I think with my career, careers, whatever it is, is. I’m, I’m making the same film. Whatever I’ve been doing, whether it’s with actors or writing or directing or teaching or marketing or working with coaches and consultants or business owners or agencies, it’s exactly the same film and I’m re reworking it, redrafting it, creating new and new revisions of it until I get it right.
And then maybe when I get it right, I’ll just move on to something else.
I love it.
So you’re not actually climbing a different mountain. You maybe you, you, you got three quarters of the way up and you realize that the path you’re taking to get the top of that mountain’s the wrong path. You actually had to go back down to the bottom of the mountain and take a different path to get to the top.
But you know what’s interesting about that too, Lucas, and I think this quite handily ties back into the purpose of this. You know, the [00:26:00] topic that we’re dealing with here is, I don’t think that I realized until last year, how important community actually is to me. I’ve always thought, I don’t need community.
I, I’ll do it on my own. I’m totally fine. And I had to define who is my dream client. And I had to say my dream client is someone who not only acknowledges they need help, but they’re excited about getting help. And then I had to look the mirror and. Oh shit, that means me . That means me. I have to, you know, you meet someone who’s amazing and then they talk about, I’m about to jump on a call with my coach.
And you’re like, oh yeah, of course. Like, you know, someone who’s a coach and they’re coached by Tony Robbins and Tony Robbins is coached by someone and someone else is coached by, you know, Warren Buffet. And Warren Buffett’s coached by Charlie Munger. And Charlie Munger was coached by you know, and you just have to say to yourself:
there’s just, there’s no end to getting better and not just, oh, I begrudgingly want to get better. I’m excited [00:27:00] about getting better. Like I, I love what I don’t know. I love people knowing more than me. I love being the dumb guy in the room. I love, one guy I met is like, I love it when people underestimate me because then I can always, and I was like, that’s interesting.
I would rather people overestimated me and I underestimate myself. I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me. As if he, if he thinks I love people underestimating me because he overestimates himself, then he is not learning anything. Whereas for me, I don’t care what they think about me, all they do care about is if I ever think that I’m done, like that’s enough.
Like, yeah, I’m, I’m as good as I’m gonna get. Then it’s literally all downhill at that point, and, and maybe there’ll come a time when I’ll be happy with that and say, man, what a ride. And I’ll just slide down the other side into a oblivion and woo toboggan on fire.
We’re not there yet.
we’re not there yet. And so, [00:28:00] so for me, I had to realize when, as I was building this mixer, It wasn’t just some altruistic kind of thing that I was giving the community, because I keep saying, if it stops being what I want, I’m gonna leave.
You can have it . I’m, I’m going, I’m not gonna be here for it. So I realized I was, I was needing a community and I, and another point, I don’t know if you address it somewhere in all of your stuff, Lucas, but I’ve heard a number of people like who, who’s the, who’s the, the woman who’s the CEO of Spanks.
She’s like a self-made billionaire, incredible woman. She, she said this the other day, mark Cuban has settled, I’ve heard it many times before. Really building that surrounding, surrounding yourself with great people. And yes, be the dumbest in the room and always work with people at a higher level, but work with people that are at around the same level , because you can go in as a 17 year old intern into a room full of billionaires and you’re just gonna get crushed. [00:29:00] So, Sarah Blakely, right. There we go. Yeah. And so, so I guess this community for me is meeting people that are all on the. On the upswing, but are all still around the same place.
So if all of a sudden someone said, I’m making 400 million a week, can I come to your mixer? Well, absolutely you can, but it’s entirely possible that after a while you’ll feel a little like this ain’t for you because most of the other people aren’t gonna be earning 400 million a week. But equally, if you’ve never sold anything over, say, $10,000 before then,
like, you’re not going to find much of a home here, because this is for people who are like high ticket coaches or consultants or, doing things on that kind of higher level. So, yeah, I think I’m still building that community that I’ve probably unconsciously craved and not because a lot of people needed that [00:30:00] after Covid, I didn’t feel it because of Covid.
I felt, I, I think because. . I realized I turned 50 next year and I realized, you know, I’d lost my mum last year and I was like, mortality comes to you. And it says, how you know you don’t have the rest of eternity to do whatever it is you are here to do. Everyone around you here is also trying to make stuff happen.
You help other peoples get, get what they need and they help you get what you need and everybody moves forward rising tide raises all ships.
Yeah. Sort of building the community to, to match that, kind of ethos, I guess.
I have a, I have a very, very good friend who loves to say, and he’s right. He loves to say, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
And it sounds to me like you’ve gotten to the point where you want to go far.
Yeah. It’s, it’s been a long time slugging [00:31:00] away thinking, Hey, I don’t need anyone for this, and then you go, but if I had done this with other people,
if I had
I love it. Now that you’re in the process of like really banging your head against this and you’re not doing it alone, the beautiful thing, you’re not doing it alone. What is it that you think makes a community effective?
Well you are the expert in that. That’s why I’m here. I have found that. Well, I mean, all your, your points all kind of just hit the nail on the head really, like shared, shared values are important. Like I’ve, I’ve always found if you, even when I was an actor, I went through six years of tertiary education as a non-drinker, as a non-smoker, as a non non-drug taker, as quite.
Kind of an introvert, really. And everyone else was going out and taking drugs and hanging out and doing all sorts of, and I just wasn’t. So, I, not only was I not able to fit in that community, I wasn’t invited to be a part of that [00:32:00] community because people knew I wouldn’t be a fit when I got there. So to me,
So in, in a way, the drinking, the smoking, the drugs, they were common language.
They, I mean, for that community, they were common. That was the, the lang, like the, the alcohol, the, the smoking, the drugs, that was the language, a piece of the language that they were speaking.
It took me a long time to learn that language. I learned it very late, . I went through it, changed my language again. But, yeah, it was almost like years later I thought, oh, what have I missed? And I went and I did all of that. And I was like, oh, you know what? I could have gone without most of that anyway because it it, but what I did notice is, When we were at drama school, Those who were smokers always had better relationships with all of the teachers because all the teachers were smokers.
So if you, the directors of all of the plays, they were all like really arty, kerouac type smoking people. So if you were a, an actor who was a smoker, [00:33:00] well, you’d duck out for a smoke in the middle of rehearsals and who was there to talk to, but the director. So you’d build a relationship with the director and the rest of us were like, why are these cats getting all the lead roles all the time?
Well, because just simply by virtue of the fact that they were out there sharing a drug, you know, and, and that common language in the freezing cold, having a cigarette with the director, you guys have got kinship that we don’t have working with them. And so, I don’t know whether when I then started sort of running my classes, I had a,
It occurs to me that in that context, a smoke break is a project.
Wow, that’s powerful. I’m not sure I ever would’ve thought about it that way, but, but in the context, the way you’re describing it, it’s clear to me that, that they were, they were engaging in a project together and they were building that relationship through that project. Even if I don’t necessarily [00:34:00] agree with the deliverables of that project.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s, that’s it. And I, and I think Lucas, that after that I then pro, like unconsciously probably because I never wanted to play that game to get those results as I built my seeming community, which wasn’t a community of actors. I almost repelled all aspects of creating a community for fear of not wanting it to seem like some people had favor over others because of any reason whatsoever.
So it was all, I threw the entire bucket out with the baby, with the bath water to avoid any co I’m saying I’m, I’m talking about it now, like,
I see it.
Retroactively. I think I can, retrospectively, I think I can probably say, wow. Yeah. Well, no one can accuse you of picking favorites if you basically don’t [00:35:00] commune with any of them
Holy crap. Wow. Wisdom is wasted on the youth. Huh?
and then what’s interesting is, okay, moving forward, Working with coaches and consultants and so on. And I’ve been working with everybody online for years. I’ve even had business partners. One business partner I had for four years. I’ve literally never met her in my life. Not in person because she was going to, she was about to come to LA We’d been working together for six months.
She was about to come to LA and then the pandemic hit at Oregon. That’s when we were gonna meet in person. So my experience for years has been, Creating a community has almost is synonymous with online, not offline. So when I was in Australia nursing my mom and my dad last year, and [00:36:00] I was on my own with them, I was like, huh, where does one go?
when one is in a strange place? When you sort of go, kind of like to hang around people, you go to a pub, you go to a sporting event, you go to a, what have you. But for me, I was like, I was meeting people every day online for business. So I think for me, I didn’t feel like I needed it. So is this kind of disjunct going on there or this.
Schism of, I feel like I’m surrounded by people all the time, but I still feel like I don’t have anyone around. So on the back of all of that, I come back to la. All of a sudden, all of all of the people I’m meeting online all happen to be in LA, a guy says, Hey, let’s catch up and have a drink. I bring a bunch of people [00:37:00] together and we have a ball with no agenda.
And at the, at the very end of that, One of the guys comes up to me and he said, so I’ve gotta shoot through. He’s had somewhere to go, but he said, this has been a lot of fun. So did you wanna sort of talk to everyone tonight about something in particular, because I know you’ve got us together for a reason.
And I was like, oh, I thought, I mean, I thought this was the reason I, I, I have no agenda. And he is like, oh, okay. . He goes, all right, well let’s keep in touch. And I was like, okay. And that was the first time it hit me. And he said the word mixer. Cause I had the networking word when it’s included with this kind of stuff.
So he said, mixer. And I was like, I don’t even like the word mixer. That sounds like, but then I couldn’t find a,
A better word, right?
A more appropriate word and it, and it did sound kind of casual and relaxed. So I thought, okay, I’ll use mixer. And we were on a rooftop and we were like, this is nice. So let’s just go from rooftop to rooftops.
So we called it rooftop mixers and oh, that’s got a ring to it. But it was interesting that literally at the end of that 10 [00:38:00] person kind of catch up, Ted was the first person to say, so what’s your agenda? And I was like, almost like, dude, I promise there’s no agenda, rather. Oh no. There can be an like, there can be an agenda.
The agenda is get to know each other, have fun, have a drink. Chill out. Don’t talk business for, for one night of your life. Maybe that’s cause when I saw your stuff, it’s easy up until you see like the mechanics of it to think, no, no, no, no, no. I don’t. Don’t hand out business cards. Don’t do any business.
Don’t do anything Rather than do whatever you want to do. Prioritize, relax. Tonight is about relaxing. And if, and if you feel like you are not relaxed because you have to hand stuff out, then you’re missing the point. And if someone else doesn’t feel relaxed cuz you keep shoving business cards in their face, then you’re missing the point.
As long as you can do it in a relaxed fashion and you, and they feel relaxed and nobody feels stressed at the end of this night, [00:39:00] which is meant to be a chill. You know, a, a social mix of, chill professionals, . So the agenda, I guess would be relax, chill out, get to know each other, like find some people here that you like and get to know ’em better.
And if you can’t invite some other people, maybe you can bring some other people here that you might like. And if you absolutely can’t, then this is not for you. That’s totally fine.
Yeah, there are other mixers. Go to that one.
Yeah. And I’m even asking in the survey, I’m saying to people, you know, have you been to other things? What do they do? What do you like about them? What don’t you like about them? And also, what do you want to get out of this? What do you want this to be? Would you like to get up and talk? And giving them options, you know, I would like to talk about my business.
I don’t mind hearing, but I don’t want to talk. No, please don’t talk about business on the night and people’s answers if you ask the right questions and you give them like a good range of responses. , even when I feel like I know [00:40:00] the person quite well, their answers at least one of their answers, completely surprises me. And sometimes the combination, you think, oh, if they say yes to that, then they’ll definitely be into this. And they say yes to that, and they’re a hard no on that. And you’re like, huh? That is so weird. Like, I don’t wanna talk about my business, but I’m very happy to donate something to, to promote myself in the business.
Okay. Oh, I definitely wanna promote, I definitely wanna talk about my business, but no, I don’t wanna promote myself in the group. Okay. You would’ve thought they’d be like a yes for everything,
but, but asking them is something that I will continue to do as people come into the groups. Give them the form, fill it in, keep tweaking the answers to get responses until, until they feel like pretty much everybody’s in the same kind of swing zone.
And that is the point where I think it’s something that I would love to then grow the community beyond. [00:41:00] This safe way that it’s growing because at that point it becomes easier to advertise. It becomes easier to create a page, to attract the right people. It becomes easier to know how many follow ups to do, how many events to do.
You do one in person once a month, and. Alternating it. Two weeks later, every month you do something online, and that can be the one which is more business. And the other one is literally just chill out. You can pick which one you want to come to, but at that point, if you do it online, well, why do they have to be in LA If it’s online, now they can be anywhere.
And now you go, oh my God, now I’ve gotta work out what the global community wants. Hell . So it’s a fun thing to do, and I’m, it’s a, it’s like, It’s like a side project, but it’s very much the beating heart of what I’m building going forward because it’s about what I’m trying to do in the world and who I want to do it with.
so people are kind of helping [00:42:00] me discover that as I hopefully help them discover that as these conversations help me discover. And once I have that, I can then say, cool. Like people have come and said, why don’t you make it into this? And I’ve said, that’s not for me. But if you, I, I will help you build that community.
Like I will help you build a community like this, but the way you want it over there, but that’s not gonna be this one. So if I can sort of help people define where they want to be in terms of communities, just as I’m working out mine, then I think it’ll be time well spent.
Yeah. Amazing. Paul, that was fantastic. So, there are a couple things that I’d like to call out that, that really captured my attention. Early, early, you talked about how if it becomes something that you don’t want to be a part of anymore, all right, you guys can have it. I don’t want it anymore. And I love that because I talk about the concept [00:43:00] of fluid leader.
To me, fluid leadership is knowing when to seize leadership, right? When am I the best person to be in leadership for this situation and when to cede leadership? When am I not the best person anymore and somebody else needs to take the helm and run with it? And you have identified a group of experiences that are gonna help you recognize it’s time for me to cede leadership, which is a beautiful thing.
So I’m, I’m calling it out, saying you are, you are in touch with the idea, at least of fluid leadership as it pertains to this, alongside fluid leadership. What is it that makes a great leader?
Someone who is able to take responsibility. Someone who says ultimately the buck stops here, not the buck stops there. I think the first time I ever felt like I was honestly a true. Leader was when I was directing and producing a play in [00:44:00] Sydney years ago. And we’d had to design up a big poster and the poster was like 400 bucks or something, which, you know, for a budget of 2000 was a large chunk, you know, for the entire play. And the poster came out and we all looked at it and everyone was like, oh wow, that’s lovely. And everyone saw their names and the designer and the composer looked and said, oh, our names aren’t on it.
and so immediately I knew we were gonna have to reprint that poster. It was gonna be 400 bucks, and that 400 bucks was not coming out of the budget.
It was coming out of my profits, if there were going to be any. And so straight away I said, okay, sorry about that. My mistake. And I wa it wasn’t only my mistake, but I was the one that was ultimately responsible for it. And so I said, all right, I’ll reprint it. In the end came to divvying up the profits from the cooperative play we were doing.
Everybody got 400 bucks. Paul Barry for directing and producing the play. Got nothing because my. Bucks went to reprinting that thing.[00:45:00] On top of that, it wasn’t something I went around telling everybody that I did. I just did it. Made a mistake. Learned from your mistakes, everyone. Happy, great. Done. It’s not, it’s not gonna change the world one way or the other, but if anybody,
Everybody was happy. In the end, the job was done. Everyone was respected. Mistakes were fixed. I didn’t drag anyone over the coals point the finger, throw anyone under the bus. Life goes on. It was 400 bucks. I don’t care about that. You know, years later you’re like, it’s just a story. But to me, it was the first time that I realized that a leader, Is someone who just takes full responsibility and they also ultimately take full responsibility for if the entire crew here cannot come up with a solution, I’m the one that’s gotta come up with a solution.
I was directing a film at one point and we were on set, it was outside. I had about 30 crew, about 60 extras, five celebrity cast. I was directing them. I was also acting in it. So I’m directing. It’s a massive thing. [00:46:00] and it starts to rain. We’re outside. We’ve got lights. We’ve got a thousand dollars a day steady cam operator.
We’ve got all of these people standing around and it’s starting to rain, and so we’re all hiding under these awnings. Back then, when I was a smoker, I’m standing this smoker with the producer and the, the dp and the first and everyone, and we’re just waiting for the, for the rain to stop. And after about 10 minutes, I, I asked, Why am I waiting for anyone to do anything?
Like we need a solution. So I turned around, I saw the cafe behind me, which was closed, and I said, do we have keys for this cafe? And the producer said, yeah, we got keys. I said, great. All right. Turn to the first. Turn to the dp. I said, we wanna get in here, open it up, rig the lights in there. We’re doing the first half of the scene in the cafe out of the rain, and if the rain stops, we come back out here.
If the rain doesn’t stop, we just keep going in here. Everybody within minutes, we got it all done. Everyone moved. We went in, we shot in there, the rain stopped. We came [00:47:00] out, the lights came up, the sparkling lights off the wet ground, shot these amazing scenes, and that’s what a leader needs to do.
You can say, I’ve hired these people. Why aren’t they finding a solution? Well, ultimately, if they’re not, it really comes down to you. You are the one that’s gotta do it. And good, bad, or indifferent. You have to put your hand up and say, I made that decision. That’s what we’ve, that’s what we did. I take full responsibility for it.
If it succeeds, we all did it. If it fails, I did it . And that’s what a leader does.
Awesome. I agree. Thank you. From the, from the lens of community, how does, how does, how does the, the way that you took leadership and allowed the community of those, of that film and the community of that play to move forward and continue to execute against their purpose?
What allowed them to do it?[00:48:00] Losing light , we’re losing light, budget. We’ve got a guy for a thousand dollars a day. We’ve gotta pay this. We’ve gotta get this steady cam operator going. Everyone was. The wonderful thing about film and TV and players is they start with literally nothing. A whole bunch of strangers come together for no apparent reason other than they’re just excited to be there.
You craft it like clay and putty into something that is hopeful. beautiful and life changing. And then everybody goes their own way. And you think, how the hell did that even happen? It happened because there was a deadline and it had to happen between A and Z. It had to happen, otherwise it was not gonna get finished.
And this is why there can be so much danger on film sets and stages because people are looking at finishing things before the deadline rather than finishing things safely like. Guns being loaded and shit like that. But I think people were really excited about what this was going to look like, how it [00:49:00] was gonna come across.
It was just a beautiful, beautiful sort of poetic scene with lots of , fantasy elements to it as well. And people could just see it just looked amazing. And when everybody came out in their costumes and started dancing around in the lights, it’s like, oh my God. It’s like in Gatsby.
it was awesome.
But it, but you say what makes them do it. . Well, I think they’re just going to do it unless something makes them not do it. And the thing that makes them not do it if is if like every time they try and contribute, it’s like pulling teeth and then they get punished for it and they’re like, dude, I’m outta here.
Like, no one’s getting paid enough to be treated like this. So I always have tried to foster a lot of fun. I still do it now. If I’m working with a team, I’ve got an assistant working with me, and I just joke a lot. Even if someone makes a mistake I will make a joke out of the mistake and I’ll say, look, [00:50:00] seriously, it is important, but nobody died, so we’re all good.
And I think that kind of having that humor and making it fun and making it human is critically important to not, not on Wall Street probably, but certainly in the worlds that I’ve lived in. It’s critically. Important to keeping an appetite for work because you’ve got the right person who’s steering the ship or you’re doing it with the right people.
Then you’ll just k I mean, well, look, explorers did it in the European explorers, did it in the, in the first place when they would just drive off to what could potentially have been the edge of the world and say, keep on going. And everyone’s like, okay, so you just have to have a sense for adventure and you have to know that, as I say in my TEDx talk, you have to learn to land well
because if you can land well, like parkour, then you don’t [00:51:00] fear jumping off a building because you know you’ll land okay, and you’ll do it again. But if, if you step off a step and you break your ankle, then you are terrified even of steps. So I think when you have a leader who’s, I wanna say fear less, but, but not terrified by everything
and not panicked by everything and not stressed by everything. I think it’s just great to be around that person. A friend of mine actually did work on, Clint Eastwood film, and he said to Clint Eastwood, you’ve got this reputation for having these really, really quiet, beautiful sets. How do you do that when you’re direct?
and he said, well, you know, I was on a set once and this guy was running around and he was saying, quiet on set. Quiet on set. And I looked around and I realized, The only one that was shouting was him, and that, you know, he’s like, we walk around if I wanna say [00:52:00] something, I walk up and I talk like this, and the person goes, give me a second.
And they get on the radio and they come back and they say, but when everyone’s yelling and shouting and oh my God, we’ve got 10 seconds, the earth is gonna explode. Well, that’s what you are fostering. You’ve got this adrenaline overload that you’re fostering in everybody. , and that’s when you start to get people throwing each other under the bus.
That’s when you get people running out the back pretending they’re doing stuff and they’re not doing stuff. That’s when you get starting to embezzle money and, you know, create all sorts of problems in your, in your organization. And I think if you just treat it like a, a family and you treat people like you would want to be treated and you, and you take responsibility and you show vulnerability, but take responsibility that I think, people keep going.
Well, they have kept going along with me anyway,
I love it. Paul, you’ve been amazing. I, I like to close up my interviews with three questions, they’re, they’re, some of my most fun conversation comes out of three, three questions. So the first one of [00:53:00] course is Where can people find you
They can go to dreaming for a www.dreamingforaliving.com.
Dreaming For a living.com? Love it.
living com. That’s the best place to find me.
Second question, legit question. What question have I not asked you that you wish I had?
Wow, that’s one you’d need a warmup for.
That’s why I don’t tell you about it. It’s so much more fun when it comes in cold.
that I wish you had asked me. You know, I get to the end of most of my calls and many people will say, what can I do for you? And for years I was always like, nothing. You don’t need to do anything for me. I’m here to do stuff for you. And I’m, I feel, I find myself in a similar situation here. I love conversation and I love being asked questions, and I love philosophizing, but when [00:54:00] it’s like, what could you have asked me or should you or, or would I have wanted you to ask me?
you could ask me. You could have asked me, what is my purpose? What, what is my purpose in this world?
I ask, I ask people, I say, so what are you doing? What are you trying to achieve? Blah, blah, blah. And when they’re all done, I say, what’s your big idea? And then they tell me the same thing again. And I go, no, what’s your big idea?
And then they go, well, I really wanted to start selling books online. But Amazon got their first, you know, they talk about this massive thing, and by the end of the conversation they’re like, oh wow. And I love asking people that question, like, what’s your big idea? So,
I would probably say either what’s my purpose or what’s my big idea?
In fact, what, no, what’s my big idea?
they are meaningfully different questions.
Paul, what’s your big idea?[00:55:00]
Not that you’re gonna say purpose. What’s, I’m not telling, I’m not telling No, my, my big idea is, so these mixers are a wonderful way to build a grassroots in your local area, community of people, of like-minded people who wanna make a a substantial positive difference in the world. I want to take that community and I want to be able to find out what is it that makes that successful so that I can replicate it, and then I wanna replicate it in San Francisco and Long Beach and Vegas and Chicago and New York.
then I want those communities to go away and do local, but away. Weekend retreats. So LA we’re gonna go away to Idyllwild or , Palm Springs. And in New York you might go to the Hamptons or you might go somewhere else, right? In Australia you might go to the Blue Mountains in the uk you might go to Edinburgh, you might, you know, [00:56:00] wherever.
So you go somewhere kind of local-ish. That’s, that’s a way. Then once we start to do that, I want to take people too further away internationally, but in their area. So in America, you’d go. Canada Rockies or you’d go to Mexico or Jamaica, and in the UK you’d go to Portugal or Spain. In an Australia, you’d go to Thailand or Bali.
Then as we’re doing that, we then all switch over and we go to Africa and Asia and people from Europe come to America and America goes to Australia and Australia goes. In the meantime, we are all doing the same thing, which is all helping one. Grow our businesses, make greater connections. Connecting this with the TEDx training that I do, that everybody who wants to become a TEDx organizer, I help them do that.
Anyone who wants to become a TEDx speaker, I help them do that. So we create TEDx events all around the world with TEDx speakers and they all kind of can cross pollinate and work with one [00:57:00] another and, and speak on each other’s stages. And ultimately each of those retreats that we run and each of these events that we run, and each of these courses that we put out are all entirely white labelable that literally anybody who is in any of these communities who says, I would also love to run my own retreat in May.
Orca. Fantastic. Well, you don’t need money. You don’t need to organize it. All you need to do is literally tell us that you have at least eight to 10 people that you would invite. And then we will do it all for you. You invite them, they pay, they cover you, you go. And so now the concept of being able to travel the world, have a global impact as a global thought leader, as a speaker, whatever you want to be, as a coach, as a consultant, is it now doesn’t really require.
any money upfront. It doesn’t really require any knowledge about any of the [00:58:00] travel and the transport and the courses and stuff upfront. It simply requires that you have a deep, deep and broad passion for what you are trying to do in the world, and that somebody in our community, in our global community is interested in joining you on that.
And so that’s the big idea is like the big web effectively of, purpose driven change makers, that can change, make changes through. Communities through courses, through retreats, through public speaking and keynote addresses, and then obviously writing books and running their own, mixer groups and networking type groups and, and stuff like that.
So that’s, that’s the big, that’s the big idea. And we’re starting where we are.
That is a big idea. Wow. Beautiful.
Amazing. Hey Paul, thank you very much for [00:59:00] joining me. Any closing thoughts?
Thank you. What was your third question?
Oh, any closing thoughts? Oh, yeah, no. Wherever someone is out there right now, I don’t want anybody to think that they can’t get to a high level of doing whatever it is that they want to do actually quite quickly. All you have to do is not only say I want help, but be excited about getting help plug into all of the resources that already exist and then get the hell out of your own way on a regular basis.
And if you do that, you just rapidly accelerate wherever you want to go, wherever you want to be. The thing that stops us getting places is like when I was the acting. I, I never wanted to be at the end of that path, at the top of that mountain. So that’s ultimately the thing that stops us. But if you wanna be there, just get outta your own way.
Accept the resources that [01:00:00] exist. Get excited about asking for help and receiving help, and it will be there for you.
That is right there. That’s it. That’s, that is the magic formula.
Thank you, Paul.
Thanks for joining us this week on Elements of Community.
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Lucas is the host of Elements of Community. He is a community growth strategist and works with mega companies like The Pokemon Company to help build and foster community. This podcast is Lucas' way of giving back what he has learned about the magic of building and growing community.
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