WRM008: From Juggling to TED Talks – Interview with Barry Friedman

Barry Friedman juggles balls. Really, really well. In fact back in the 80s he was a world-champion juggler. He appeared on the Johnny Carson Show, and toured with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. He even leveraged that into doing corporate gigs. But who knew it would lead to doing multiple TED talks and a high-end coaching career?

Full Transcript

Doug: My name is Doug Greene. This is “What Really Matters Interviews”. And today I’m interviewing Barry Friedman. Let me give you a quick background on why I want to interview Barry.  

I met Barry in the Nevada City/ Grass Valley area.  He is a wildly successful … he’s successful in many different areas. He started as a juggler.  A juggler, right? How does a juggler become a multi six-figure income earner? There aren’t many jugglers that are doing that,  

But not only that, he’s parlayed that into creating online education. He’s done six TED talks. He coaches, he does all kinds of things.  And there’s something … so in interviewing Barry, what I found is he’s got this approach – sort of this philosophy and this way of being with moving forward and doing things that most people don’t do.  

He’s a bootstrapper. He just runs with it. He gets an idea, he tests it – and you read about that being the right way, you know: do version 1, test it, do, make it work, make it good. You know, that kind of thing?  Well, he just does this.

So I want to find out how he does it. What’s going on his head? What kind of tips can he give us that maybe don’t move as quickly and as fast on opportunities as he sees them.  

And I want to get into the inner world because one of the things I’ve come to believe is that we make decisions somatically, from inside of us – not in our head.  And Barry seems to be especially good at this, and I think he can speak to that.  So without further ado, Barry, welcome to the podcast. And, um, maybe you could just give us a quick overview of how you turned juggling balls into all these different things you do.

Barry: I’m thinking, “Man, I wanna be that guy. I wanna meet that guy.” So yeah, we’ll get this out of the way away for the people watching the video.  A little juggling. And if you’re on the audio, I would run immediately to a video just to catch that little opening.  (Barry does some juggling)

Thanks so much for having me. Yeah. I mean, you nailed it. I’m a guy who at 15 years old, had a really crappy beginning in life. You know –  physical abuse, food, stealing clothes, cheating lines. Yeah, I was trained in the bad arts by parents who had kids at a very young age and had no idea why they were having kids. You know, I think it’s what people did in the late fifties, early sixties, when they wanted to have sex. A kid came out and there wasn’t a lot of direction or a lot of thought and planning.  

My wife and I were married 15 years before we had our only child, so maybe there was a bit of going the opposite way there, right? 

There was some learning that happened! 

There was some learning that happened in future generations! So, you know, I was told at 15 – a guy taught me how to juggle at the end of this little summer camp I was at. Me and another buddy who learned to juggle did this little show. People laughed. People applauded. 

And in that moment, I knew that life would never be terrible again. I got obsessed with it. I was 15 years old. I think. I was 21 when I won my first world -juggling championship.

So I want to go back to that key moment first.  It seems to me in most successful people, there’s a key moment. There’s like a switch turned on and it sounds like that for you. 

It was somatic. This was not a mental one. And I know you love somatic stuff. This was somatic. This was not a decision I made. This was something I felt when 300 people at this camp were laughing and cheering for the silly little juggling thing me and my buddy did. And a “click” went off in my brain that said, “Life will never suck again.”

So what did you feel? What informed you inside?

It was a connection to reality. It was a rush. Life before that was very much based on the mental, the fear, the survival stuff – and that just felt good. Something came inside of me and kind of went, “Wow, this is whole body. This is real.”  I had a smile on my face that was authentic at 15 years old. 

I actually have a picture of that moment, and I can share it with you for your viewers. Someone had snapped a picture and put it on Facebook about me and this guy Mike doing this very first show. There’s literally, Doug,  a sheet hanging. You know, you always say, Well, hang a sheet into a show. There was literally a sheet hanging up behind us.

And let’s see if you can pull that up. That’d be great.

Oh, yeah, yeah, of course I could do that.

Okay, so you have that moment and where’d it go from there?

Well, then it went to the camp ending, because that was kind of on the last night of camp. But I went home and told my dad who was an electrical engineer. By that time I was already living with him, and I was kind of out of the danger zone; I was out of the volatile violence that haunted my life for three or four years after my parents got divorced. So I was living in a safe place, there was food on the table. 

And he was an electrical engineer. Very left-brained, analytical. It works or doesn’t work. It’s black or white. 

And I had seen this shade of gray.  A part of me wanted to be him. Part of me said, “Wow, this would be great.” You know, we were building things. He was doing a home-improvement project. I was the guy up running the electrical wires. He was telling me how to hook heating ducts together. And it felt good to be wanted. It felt really good to have a purpose and a need. 

And this guy showed me that at camp, and I heard the laughter and applause, Doug. And I knew I wasn’t destined to be an electrical engineer guy. There was something that happened in there that just kicked my butt,

Okay, so just write juggling, right?  Like, how do you ever have that feeling, that “yeah, I’ve got to juggle”  – how do you move forward with that? I know that at a very young age, like, you ended up on Johnny Carson, which at the time was the show to be on.

Very unlike today. And listeners who are listening who are probably under 30 won’t even realize the impact. But it was the equivalent of having a viral video that the entire world saw – to be on The Tonight Show Now. Nowadays the equivalent of having a viral video that everyone seems. 

So how did you go from juggling balls at the Scout camp to – what, eight years later? –  being on Johnny Carson. You said 23?

Yeah, 15 to 23. All I did, from the second I got home from that camp at 15 – I didn’t want to do anything else. I barely focused on high school. I was smart enough to get very good grades without working very hard. I would juggle every day until this little flap of skin between my thumb and forefinger would crack every single day. 

And at 15, 16, 17 years old, you heal quickly. So in the morning, it was ready to go again. You know, some, uh, gasoline or whatever. Some kind of Spenco. I remember this stuff called Spenco Second Skin.  I’d put that on at night, and then I’d go back to juggling in the morning. 

It’s all I wanted to do. Felt so good. I felt connected with it. I didn’t have a great knack. In fact, this group of kids that were taught to juggle out by the pool one day – our group had an art bunk, had a choice between arts and crafts and juggling by the pool. And I chose juggling by the pool, figuring in 10 minutes we’d be throwing the balls down and I’d be in the pool on a hot day in Southern California.

But that wasn’t the case. I never stopped juggling. I was one of the last people in that class to learn to juggle. Honestly, everyone got it quicker than I did,    

So persistence.  

Yep. So I went home, felt good, kept working on it, Kept working on it. Met a guy at a park, met a couple other people in town. And it just never stopped feeling good. It never stopped feeling wonderful. 

In 1982 or 84, something like that – won my first world juggling championship.  There was no going back at that point. It was long gone. I had the talk with my parents that I wanted to be a juggler, you know, that we had seen some on TV.

TV was very big in those days. You’d see someone on The Tonight Show or The Mike Douglas Show or Merv Griffin. All these shows that I eventually went to be on. And they were like, “Wow, you can be a juggler! So heavy.” That’s the thing.” 

No one told me I couldn’t do it. There was no school for it. I saw it, and I made it happen. I just could not – would not – stop. No desire to stop.

So that need to keep going, you know, to not stop … that’s at the heart of this, right? In any entrepreneurial thing, the ones that don’t stop. So dig into that a little bit. Or maybe you can finish out the story here. You go to Johnny Carson, you get seen …

I can run you through the boring part of that. I keep this poster on my wall. This is hanging on my office wall. There’s me on The Tonight Show. This first time I was on, or the second. I forget. I got to do The Tonight Show twice, Yeah, this is probably the second time. Pretty cool to do that. So yeah, The Tonight Show – in those days, that was the equivalent of a viral video as I was telling you,  

So the next morning after that, I think the guy who had gotten us on The Tonight Show … he had gotten a call from Billy Crystal’s manager, and that Billy Crystal was looking for a great opening act. And he loved what he saw last night on the show. And that was March when we were on. I think we started opening for Billy that summer.    

And these are guys who … I don’t have the other pictures. I can send you some though for your notes pages if you like.  A few months before that, I was wearing tights at Renaissance festivals. My partner and I, my partner who I still work with for 34 years, we perform together. He and I did Renaissance festivals around. 

But to go from wearing tights at a  Renaissance Festival in a dusty place in the middle of Texas to being on The Tonight Show in a couple months – that was a bit of a mind shift. But that was also great assurance that “Hey, Barry, keep doing what you do! Don’t wait for permission.” 

Everyone had told me “you can’t make a living.” My high school guidance counselor, when I ran away from high school in 11th grade, I went back to high school after a stint hitchhiking across the country and juggling. And he said, “Hey, if you pursue this dream, you’ll be broke and homeless by age 22”, as if he had researched it. 

So age 23, walking out on The Tonight Show stage, all I thought about was “I hope Mr Pavelic is watching .” Mister Pav was dead wrong. I’m not broken and homeless. I’m on The Tonight Show!

So then you went on tour with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams and a few other deals. Right? So you were an opening act with some pretty big names. 

Everybody in the mid to late eighties and early nineties – Casinos, theaters, colleges. Every celebrity used an opening act.  In these days that’s not the case, because people want everyone out in the casinos, and it can be cheaper to not have an opening act. But everyone used them in those days. I’ve got a list of long as my arm.

So now let’s get into this shift. How did you shift from just juggling to doing the online teaching? What was this path towards other – to having more versatility and adding to your repertoire of the things you do and Ted talks and all of this? 

I mean … a juggler; you were a juggler!

Juggler. I have a great friend who came over he was looking at my house … he liked my house. He had his own story and judgments about things. And up on my wall in the living room I have all these autographed juggling clubs from everyone I’ve ever opened for. 

And he looked around, and he’s looking at the house, and he goes “Juggling! From juggling!” There wasn’t a box in his brain that you could have a house and a life from juggling. I guess he pictured it more of “you’re in a car and things aren’t doing well.”

So, you know, juggling was interesting. We got a great leap on it through The Tonight Show, which was wonderful. Opening acts, which got us a lot of attention. Celebrity connections, things like that. 

And then one day, it was probably around 1988 or 1989, someone came up to us and said, “Could you guys emcee a conference?” And that was like music to my ears. 

Instantly I said, “Yes.” I didn’t even know what we were signing up for. I have never really been in a business meeting inside a conference.  

But that invitation led to us doing very well emceeing a  conference – sort of introducing speakers, doing some of our act between things. And that led into 30+ years of corporate entertainment for any Fortune 100 or 500 company you can imagine.  They’ve taken us around the world, to Orlando, Phoenix, etc. 

Now conventions are always in Orlando, Phoenix or Las Vegas. But they used to be all over the world for these corporate events, product launches, trade shows, mergers, acquisitions, sales meetings … it didn’t matter. Whatever corporations are doing. And this was a budding market in the early eighties – we were really frontier on the front lines of this.

So you took your core skill set and then you found new ways to do that.

Well, we took a great comedy and juggling act and cleaned it up a little bit. We got out of tights, put on nice clothes, found out a little bit about the companies. I became very interested in why some jugglers work at birthday parties, and why guys like us work at corporate events for Monsanto, IBM, etc. Why are we at these big meetings? 

And what I learned is root sales training – how to talk more about what their interests are than about the awards we’ve won. How to give them something that they wouldn’t have unless we were there. How to make them think. “Gosh, that was a brilliant idea. Who hired those guys?” 

So we not only got hired back next year, but the person who did hire us was the celebration of the company, and we’d get good testimonials. We get lateral and vertical referrals within their company and to their network. And I was doing stuff like this way before the Internet.

So this is still juggling, although it’s also emceeing and a lot of other things. I could see you added extra skill sets onto your core thing. But at the core it’s still juggling?

Juggling is funny. Juggling is like anchovies. As a good friend of mine, Michael Davis, a hilarious comedian juggler, says – “If a pizza has a single anchovy, it’s an anchovy pizza.”  Same as jugging – if you do one bit of juggling you’re a juggler. 

But the truth is it was an hour act. I think if you measured the amount of time that things were actually flying over our head, it was probably in the 10-minute range in an hour. A lot of comedy, a lot of interaction, a lot of build-up and creating a show that was entertaining.

Okay, and then you got into teaching. Yeah, you did 

This thing right here. I have it on my desk. I always keep it on my desk. This is called a rock would pin. This is what they put in your collarbone when you smash it into a bunch of pieces on a mountain bike. 

So I always keep this. This was the one that was in my arm; they took it out later. But that was . February 18th of 2007.  I was on a mountain bike ride with a good buddy of mine. Mountain biking is one of my favorite hobbies in the world.

I flew off my bike – beautiful fall, followed by a terrible landing. And I heard my collarbone crunch up. Had the wind knocked out of me. Couldn’t talk. Couldn’t move the right side of my body. And I said to my buddy, who came over just to see how it if I was okay – “Wow! What a flight that was.”  

And the first thing I said was – I could barely talk – and I go, “I have a juggling show in Vegas on Wednesday.”   And he’s looking at my collarbone, almost popping out through my skin, and he said, “No, you don’t know.” 

So that was a transition. I thought it was the worst moment in my life, that thing. But what it did was … I was ready to stop. You know, even in 2007, I was ready to stop. I had been part of this team act. I had been doing it. It was paying great. And the truth is, I got bored. I wasn’t looking to create new material. I was making good money, but I was just getting on an airplane. 

At that point I had a five-year old son. I was getting on an airplane going to Orlando. It took two and a half days of my life.  to do a one-hour show. And yeah, it paid well. It’s great. I have no right to complain. And I’m not complaining. 

But I wasn’t getting off the stick. And on the easiest part of a mountain bike ride that no one would ever fall off – I’m still embarrassed when I ride by it – but this is what I felt. It was time and I got the little push to move forward. 

So sitting with this thing in my arm for six months. I was unable to juggle. I didn’t know if I’d be getting back to it. I lost feeling in my hand. Couldn’t move my arm. And I just said, “Man, what am I gonna do to make a living if I can’t juggle?” I never considered that. 

And my wife had the great line of all great lines. She said, “You’re really good at selling a juggling act for a lot of money.”  And I was like, “Oh, my God.” And lights went off in my head and I started thinking about all the entertainers I know – all the magicians, ventriloquists, jugglers, comedians, singers, dancers who I’ve worked with – who don’t know how to make money. 

A lot of the acts were still at the Renaissance Festival that I used to work out in the eighties. Some of them were stuck doing library shows somewhere. And they all had an ambition to get hired. But what was missing was the business genes. The six months this thing gave me, gave me time to start thinking about, “Wow, what would it be like to teach some of what I know?”

Why do you call it “the business gene”?

I guess because most entertainers don’t have it. You know like a lot of men have the “sports gene”?  I never even know what season it is. People go, “Hey, World Series!” And I’m like, “Oh, I love hockey. I’ll watch that.”  I don’t have the sports gene, so I called it the “business gene”.

All right, so maybe, expand on that. What is the “business gene”?  If you could describe it in terms that a non-business gene – or somebody that doesn’t know if they have it or not – what is it? What’s it look like?

I was listening to this thing. Entrepreneurs usually have one really strong strength, and that’s the creativity, you know? And if they’re smart, they’ll build teams around them to take care of the other stuff. You know, the infrastructure, the admin, the outsourcing, the patents. You know, all these different pieces.

Entertainers … not so much. You know, entertainers go, “Oh, I can learn to do this”, or “I can fake this” or “I can get … a lot of entertainers don’t look at it as a business. We look at it like “I’m a great magician”, and by doing that, it’s the “If I build it, they will come” thing.

It doesn’t work in business ever. So the business gene, the way I call it was – and I was part of a team act which was your wonderfully successful. My partner… he worked libraries. He would have been working at Magic Mountain being a jugular in line if we had never met. And this is by his own admission, you know, because he didn’t at business gene. 

I didn’t mind doing shows; the shows were fine. But I thrived in here. I love the business. I love meeting new clients. I loved getting them on the phone, finding out what they needed, finding ways we could fill that gap – really painting that picture for them. So they went, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know this was possible.” 

So I call the business gene being able to take what you love – your real sweet spot – and surround it with an infrastructure that allows you to make a living. And boy, that’s a tough one for a lot of entrepreneurs.

Wow, okay. Where to go from here? 

So you’re juggling. Your wife says, “You’re really good at booking acts and making a lot of money doing this.

Not even booking.  I’d never booked anyone else. Her line was “You’re really good at selling a juggling act for a lot of money.” I thought that was a great extract.

So where did that lead you?

That led me to sitting in a chair where I couldn’t even move my arm. I had to have this 12-pound sandbag on my arm so my arm didn’t move, because I had shooting pains in my brachial plexus, and sometimes my arm would move involuntarily. 

So I sat there thinking, “Holy cow.” And it was first time I’d ever thought about it. I was making good money being a juggler. People think of jugglers as not making good money. But being an in-demand corporate juggler has a five-figure per hour attached to it. And all expenses paid, and being flown to great resorts. It was a nice gig. 

And all of a sudden I was looking at man, I can’t move my arm, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to. That idea of teaching people, I don’t even know in 2007 where the internet was. I don’t remember.  I know it wasn’t like this. And I knew I didn’t know anything about it. 

Somehow I had found a guy named Jeff Walker who was talking about launching a product. And it was so bizarre because it was at the exact time when I thought, “Wow, if I wanted to create a little school, I guess I have to launch it somehow.” And I remember thinking of that word, “I have to launch something.” 

And then he had this thing called Product Launch Formula. And I was like, “Wow!” I took it! 

I paid two grand. Who’s ever even thought of doing something like that, when you’re a juggler who doesn’t know if you’re gonna be able to make any more money juggling. But I did it. I learned a little bit about what it takes to create a product, how you can start building a an email list. 

I created my first course called Get More Corporate Gigs, which still exists to this day. It’s not for sale anymore, but I use it as a bonus product sometimes when I sell other things. 

But it was great. It was a 52-week course. People paid $97 a month, which I started it at. And  I tested all the prices – $37, and then I sold it as a one-time thing. You know, I did what you said at the beginning of this thing. I just did it. You know, I just literally did it. 

Got some real basic software, I think it was called WishList Member or something like that, to act as a doorman to let the right people in. I think I used PayPal. But no big plan on how to do it. No big thought where it was going. 

And honestly, the content – I would promise a new article every Monday mornin. They were always in audio, once in a while a screen capture video. Sometimes just written. But every Monday morning, I would have it out by noon California time. 

And there were times for 52 weeks, I created a new piece of content. And there were weeks – like I like master swim. I do Adult Swim master swim with people that meets early: 5:30 to 7:00 in the morning. And there were times on Monday morning where at 5:30 I’d swim two miles and I’d be thinking what am I going to talk about today? 

So you had a deadline. You force yourself to keep producing, producing, producing. And in a sense it goes back to that thing Marissa Meyer said, “always be doing something that you’re not ready to do.” 

My gosh, yeah. I remember finding that quote early in my career. She said, “At Google, we’re always doing something we’re not ready to do.” That was great. I think she’s since moved on since to Yahoo. She’s a big CEO, big picture person. 

But I love that quote. And  I’ve done that back since the beginning – back when I was hungry and I’d go to the store as a kid, and didn’t know how I was going to get food.

So what’s going on inside your head when you’re doing this, or your body, or whatever? How do you find that kind of? And maybe it’s part of this “entrepreneurial gene” you’re talking about. 

But you know, not everybody has that. A lot of people would like to have it. And my hope is that people that maybe don’t have it real well, can cultivate it and develop it.

I think it’s a level of trust. I think we have to really … I mean trust in myself in such a big way. Even when I’m making bad decisions, I trust that this is what I have to do. And you know, you and I had a little talk about gut intelligence, versus this thing in our brain. To me, gut intelligence has always been such a leader. 

And it’s hard. I mean, this thing in the heads, it sounds convincing with its very fancy verbs and nouns, doesn’t it? It’s like, wow, that should make sense. It’s forming full sentences, and it’s using logic. 

But boy, all the good decisions came from a feeling – an overwhelming feeling. Like when my wife said, “You’re really good at selling a juggling act for a lot of money.” That had nothing to do with my head. That was just like, yeah, I mean I get goosebumps right now thinking about it. 

That was my body going, “That’s the truth, man. You are really good at selling a juggling act for a lot of money.”

So what did you feel inside? Where did you feel? And I’ve heard people describe it as like a full body “Yes.”

This is going back 10 years. I’m not sure exactly where I felt it in my body. But the full body “yes” … I mean when I talk about it right now, both my arms shoot up with hair.

So it’s like an energy going through. So some people may not have that ability to tap into that, or they may not know – they may not get that full body “Yes.”  Like I’ll bet at Google, Marissa Meyer, like a lot of the stuff that they’re not ready to do – they just did it anyway.

And it may not have been stuff that they got the full body “yes” to or the full corporate yes to, or the full team yes to.  They just like “You know what, let’s push in this direction. We don’t know where it’s gonna go. We don’t know if it’s gonna work. But we’re gonna go anyway.”

Yeah, I don’t know about that big corporate level.  You know, there’s always a committee, red tape, Board of Directors, investors – there’s always a lot there. I’m not sure how long and how far the full body yes takes them. 

But boy, I can tell you, as an entrepreneur, individuals in this remarkable time in history where we literally have the chance to create own reality. That has to be what we lean into. If we wait for approval, for yeses, for committees, for permission, for a diploma, it’s just ‘Stop!” Go get a job.

So let’s say you don’t have the full body “Yes.” But you don’t have a full body “No.” You have a kind-of-body “Maybe.”

I’ll say you’re lying to yourself. There’s “hell no” and there’s a “hell yes”. No one’s ever said “hell, maybe.” That’s a padding that we put on top of the actual gut feeling that we’re afraid to trust  and I’ll just own all that.  That would be a padding I would put on top of a gut feeling that I was afraid to trust. 

No one ever says “hell maybe.” No, I never hear – that especially with the people I work with now. I don’t do that.

So you wouldn’t push forward into anything that you didn’t have a full body “yes” on?

I would even say if you’re gonna do entrepreneurial work, and you’re gonna – don’t even hunt around. I it’s not a “hell yes”, don’t do it. And my goodness, if you’re someone who needs every single light to be green before you start the car and go, this isn’t the right business for you. 

If you’ve had some success, or if you’ve felt that “hell yes” and done it, and felt when it comes out like on the other end, then yeah, just go for it. I mean, “hell no”s can be really clear. They can wonderfully clear and they’re great. 

“Hell yes.” You know, that’s that’s in the body, man. I don’t even think “hell yes” needs words.

Okay. So you have the hell yes. But you have a lot of trepidation. Maybe they don’t have the series of successes you’ve had, okay. And they’re like, “Uhhhhh”, and they can’t not do it. And they’re kind of like on the fence about it anyway, despite the full body “Yes.” 

Where do you go with that? How do you dissipate that energy? How do you move through the head going, “Oh, no, you can’t do that. Because you know – blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”, and it comes up with a whole list of reasons and all of that. What’s your advice to that?

Yeah, we can go back into the head of solve that. And in a way we have to, because if the body is a “hell yes”, you have no idea what to do. It’s what’s the smallest thing you can do. 

There’s a really funny theory in math. We can multiply zero, which let’s just say we’re starting at zero with an idea that’s a “hell yes”. We can multiply that times a million, it’s still zero, right? 

So basically, white knuckle this stuff. We have to find the smallest step that can get us from a broken collarbone where I can’t move my arm – to now leading a global community of entertainers around the world who have changed the way they run their businesses. 

The tiniest step in that was just hearing my wife say “you’re really good at booking a juggling act”, and not rejecting that, letting that in. Taking a breath, holding that. Yeah. At that point, you’re no longer zero. You’re at least a point one. Point one we can multiply a hell of a lot of times to get to do some math with. 

And when we get to a stage one – when we’ve at least come up with a name for something, maybe gotten the domain name, maybe written one piece of content – we’ve gone from zero to one. Going from zero to two, that’s only 100%. That’s easy after what you’ve just done

Really, all you have to do is break this down to what’s the smallest tangible thing we can do that gets us from feeling like this power, like “I have nothing right now.” Sometimes it’s reaching out on the phone, looking at a LinkedIn, finding an expert, reading a book, writing an article, commenting on a blog post. 

It can be so tiny, that it feels like “oh, that’s nothing.” But the truth is, it’s monumental. It’s Everest from where you are right now to just getting that tiny thing done. 

So trusting the full body feeling – this is a “hell yes” for me- I can feel it. I can feel that inside of me. The next piece – “what’s a really tiny step I can take right now?”  This all goes back up into the head. So it gets out of where we like to play on this stuff. But we can use the body as a truth detector. We can go wow, “If I just read this book, does that bring me one step closer to at least understanding?” 

My big thing was spending two grand on Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula. I was like, “Man, that stuff’s huge me.” Getting these modules, which were so barbaric in 2007 – Jeff talks about those all the time right now, his first version of that – he’s like, “I’m embarrassed when I see it.” 

But now in his book, I’m on chapter four of his book Launch, his New York Times bestseller book launch – I’m chapter four. The message that sends to me is “Barry, keep listening to your gut. You got cleaned-up position in a New York Times bestselling book.”

Hmm, okay. What else?

Well, I don’t need to stop talking. I didn’t know if you wanted to go different ways. 

Yeah. I want to keep coming back to this piece about moving forward. You know, like, there’s different ways I’ve heard it explained. There’s “fail forward.” They talk about doing three versions of the product, like, let’s say, just within this product area, creating digital products – the first one is to just get something up, right? 

Just test it. See what happens. And you’ll make a lot of mistakes, but at least you have something up that you can throw tomatoes out, and change, and alter, and do whatever you need to do. Just make it work. 

And then the second one is come in, refine it. Third one is, you know, by that time, you’ll probably have a really cool product from the feedback from the first two. 

But I want to go back to the somatic side. Because my belief is that if you don’t feel it, you’re probably not going to do it. If you don’t feel that full body “Yes”, maybe that has to be coupled to the entrepreneur, gene. Maybe you have to have the entrepreneur gene to have that. I don’t know. That’s what I’m exploring. I’m really looking for …

I’ll offer that, if someone is still listening to this conversation – I don’t know where we are, 20 minutes in? –  they have the gene. The gene is probably a “Hell yes!” The fear, the stuff that happens up in the head, is the stuff that’s bringing it back down out of a full body into the “well, what would my parents think? What would my friends think what my boss think? Where do I have time to do this?  I’m raising …”

The excuses are long. The list goes on forever. And I’ll tell you, it’s honestly boring as hell. It’s the same excuses that everyone’s using to keep themselves small. The entrepreneur that breaks out of it learns to listen to the body, learns to take those tiny micro steps, build on those so that every time they double them, they’re a little bit bigger, they’re a little bit bigger.

You know, a tenth plus a tenth is a fifth, and the fraction keeps on getting bigger. And then we’re in the whole numbers. 

But you know, that we’re not going to be at zero on Sunday and a 10 on Monday. We’ve got to get rid of that. And we live in a society that is so big. You don’t even have to go on to the computer to get something. Now they got have this little Amazon Echo thing – you just say, “I need more trash bags.” And somehow magically a UPS guy brings them to your door in two days. 

So we’re dealing with this instant gratification, and the truth is the development of the human being, the growth of a business, us understanding how we can actually help prospects, how we can give them something, how we can bless their lives, how we can offer them an opportunity for transformation. Slowly show them that “Hey, I was just like you.” 

I mean, this is the stuff Jeff teaches. “I was just like you. Here’s what I discovered. Here’s what it did for me. Here’s why I’m sharing it.”  That’s a process. That’s not yelling at your Amazon Echo what you need what you need. 

And boy we have to do some deep work around that stuff. And there is computer work, there’s personal work, there’s coming to terms with a lot of stuff. And it all bases back to the body. Is this a “hell yes? Should I be doing this?” 

And we can study we can dig in. We can get diplomas. I know this guy who’s an amazing coach, and he just told me he’s starting coaching school. I was like “What? You know I’ve been in a group with you for five years. You’re unbelievable what you do.” And something in him didn’t feel good about charging forward unless he had some certificate. I’m like, “Dude, I’ve been a business coach. I coach entertainers for good, good money. I’ve got a nice sideline of private coaching and group coaching businesses. 

Yeah, whoever told me I can do that? The people that told me I can do that are my clients who have doubled and tripled their income from me working with them. 

Alright, so somebody, they’ve got this “Yes.” They’ve got the apprehensions. What are your tips for them? Let’s let’s take this down into the nuts-and-bolts stuff.

From what we said before, find the smallest thing you can do to move you forward. And if it scares you, it’s the right thing. The smallest thing you can do that will move the needle for you. And if it scares you, you’ve nailed it. If it doesn’t scare you, if you think, “Oh, I could do that,” it’s not the right thing. 

You need to do something that get you back into the body – exactly like what you were talking about. Something that just goes, “Gosh, I don’t know if I can do that.” 

That first time I walked on stage with my buddy at the end of that summer camp, man, my heart was pounding. My heart was banging. Now I go on stage in front – the biggest show I ever did was 60,000 people at the Georgia Dome for an Amway conference. You know, Amway used to hire us to come into these big mega meetings and do an hour of amazing entertainment. 

Between George Bush and Robert Kiyosaki, you know, there were mega speakers, then we’d do an hour comedy act in the middle of it But you know, my heartbeat didn’t change. That’s massive growth. But the first time I did it .. 

You have to feel in your body, if you’re not feeling it, if you’re not feeling shaky, if you’re not almost crying, if it doesn’t bring you to your knees to think about this first little task you have to do – It’s probably not the right thing. Keep digging. 

But boy, if you’re sitting somewhere with a strong idea, with a desire, like “I have to do this one so badly”, just find the smallest thing that gives you a heart arrhythmia for a second – that’s your truth detector. 

You don’t have to get into books. You don’t have to talk to coaches. You have a truth detector built into you. Use it lean into it.

Okay. I like this – the scary part. If it doesn’t – what’s the word you use? Scare? Fear? –  if it doesn’t give you heart arrhythmia, it’s probably not big enough?

But you know they always tell people are lying when that little thing on the lie detector does that spike? Honestly, that what our bodies should do when we say the one thing we really need to do. That’s the spike we should see.  I have things like that … 

We didn’t even get into talking about that “get more corporate gigs”, led to having a couple hundred clients who had gone through that thing, and we’re asking for more. You know, what else can we do to book?

I created a 10-week group coaching program, and that’s finishing its 11th session right now. For the last three years I’ve run it once a year. And for the first two or three, I ran it two or three times a year. So the 11th session of it is ending now. 

It’s a bigger investment of time and money for people to join it.  I take 25 people at a time, and people come into it. We go deep into their work, what they’re doing. It kind of picks up right where “get more corporate gigs” is like this bachelor’s degree. This is the master stuff.  And then PhD-level people – sometimes I work with him privately or in small groups. 

So yeah, I love sharing that stuff. I love helping entertainers who have these great acts and don’t know how to book. That led to me thinking, “Wow, what’s it like to help people who aren’t entertainers?” And this is great. This is more me just leaping off before I have any training or authority to do this. 

But on Leap Day 2012, my son asked, “What are you going to do for Leap Day? What are you going to leap for Leap Day?” And I said, “I’m going to leave sugar.” 

I was eating so much crap in those days. That led me to writing this book – Amazon bestseller I Love Me More Than Sugar. I wrote this to help support an online program I had done to coach people through 30 days Sugar Free at 30DaysSugarFree.com.  

We run a challenge on the first of every single month. And there’s people around the world that have been affected by it. About 18 months into that someone said, “Hey, write a book and go on TV.” I wrote this book, did all the stuff to get it out in the world. It sells copies every day. I went on 25 TV shows, jumped on Southwest airplanes. No training. No coach on how to do this. I just called TV stations, got booked on 25th – every major network had me on.

 And I use this to bring people into my online program for 30 Days Sugar Free coaching. Some of those people turn into long-range coaching clients. 

And Just to be clear here, this is not your area of expertise: sugar. Maybe it is now. But when you started that it was like …

I was the guy who ate Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and Snickers every single day. And realize, I mean, every day in my life.  I love that junk food. I was horrible. And I felt so sick when my nine-year old asked me, “What do I want to leap?” I was like I just said “sugar” one day.

So what was the process of turning that leaping sugar into this program, and the book and all of that?

That was February 28, 2012 when that happened. That was a leap year. The next day was Leap Day. My son and I had just finished eating this chocolate yogurt with all these things on it. I literally felt sick to my stomach. 

He asked me what I was going to leap for Leap Day. I said, “I’m gonna leap sugar.” He had a great line for a nine-year old. He said, “I’m not going to do that. But I won’t pick my nose for the day.” That was what he was going to do.  Which I love. 

So I went February 29, 2012 with no sugar – nothing with added sugar in it. I did eat fruit, but if it had sugar under any of its 50-plus names on the label, I didn’t touch it. 

March 1st, I woke up and I said to my wife – the same woman who told me you’re good at selling a juggling act for a lot of money – and we confess to each other that way. I said “I don’t know what happened yesterday. But I feel so empowered.” I feel like I made all these great choices about life, and who I wanted to be. And all this from 24 hours of not eating any sugar. 

I said, “I’m going to try it. I’m going to keep going for a little while.” I just said “I’m going to do another day.” I think a few days into that I said, “I’m gonna go 30 days without sugar.” 

I think around 21 days into that, honestly, I would have had to have been at gunpoint. I slept better. I had already lost weight. My skin had cleared up almost completely. My anxieties were gone. All of a sudden, I mean, I’m kind of high energy now. I don’t even drink coffee or do any sugar. I was a nightmare when I was eating all that sugar.

You’d probably be dangerous to those people around you if you did drink coffee.

I video myself a lot on TV and from the early to late 2000s. I see that. Who was that guy? It was incredible – just how I looked in those days, just from all the sugar I was eating. 

So how did that turn in? Let’s see then. I think I was about 15 months with no sugar. I had passed a year. And someone said to me, “how do you do this?” You know, people started asking me and I thought, “Oh, I know how to put up together an online program.” 

It was August of 2013, and I told Annie, and it was a year and a half into the no sugar thing. And I said to my wife, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to put together.”  I built this I built this little simple page that said, “30 days sugar free” I bought this domain name. My son was in a play. I launched the page, put it on Facebook or something, went to take him to the rehearsal, looked on my phone, and someone had already signed up for the program for the next month, starting on the first month.  So I said, {Oh my gosh, I guess I’m going to do this.” 

So I stayed in great form, which we’re finding here, which I’m sure will be the title of your podcast. I don’t know what it is. But I stayed two days ahead of those people. On September 2013, I ran the first program. And on day one for the students, I was writing day three. On day two, I was writing day four. I was just looking with people. 

I had about 80 people in the program the very first time I ran it. And I was staying two days ahead coaching them. And for the most part without – with the exception of some grammatical changes, some stuff that’s happened in the meantime where I could help people more – the program’s 80% the same as it was when I wrote it in September 2000.

So just to recap, what started as a challenge by your son has turned into this multiyear program that’s helped hundreds if not thousands of people …

Maybe like 10,000 by now have gone through. And it’s getting to an interesting point. We have a Facebook group with almost 60,000 people in it now. And that little hockey stick is starting to turn vertical now. But it’s a long loving what you’re doing. And boy, I meet so many entrepreneurs that … 

Same as juggling, you know. I could have quit after the first time my hand started to bleed. But there’s that in us – just keep going you guys. Don’t stop. Do what it takes to go from zero to .1 to .5 to one to two.

Okay, so what are some other tips you’d give to folks?

Be very, very, very – and I’ll just keep saying very – but be very protective of the seven holes in your head. This has been one of the greatest survival methods for me in my life. 

You know, we have this mouth, these two nose holes, these two eyes in these two ears. And what you allow into those seven holes defines who you are, defines how you feel, what you believe in, the actions you take, the results you get. 

And these holes are, especially in today’s world, there’re too available, they’re too vulnerable. So what you read, who you talk to, who you tell your ideas to – oh for the love of God – I’m not religious. It takes everything in me to say that. But whatever it is, don’t spread your ideas on the people who are going to crap on them. 

My gosh, just be so careful of your ideas. Have a mastermind group. Have a consortium of people you trust who are also playing bigger. Don’t be the most interesting person in the room; that’s one of the worst things you can do. That’s why I’ve been invited back – starting in 2006 – to six TED conferences. I’m like a piece of carny trash there. And I love it. 

When I go somewhere else, and I’m the most interesting person in the room, my wife sees me, I’m fidgeting to get out of there. I want to always be challenged.  I want to hear what other people are doing that excites me. And I want to be in mastermind groups. I’ve been in two different groups in six years, and we share everything in there. 

But boy, first putting things out into the world, having an idea and telling somebody about it, telling your buddy at work about it. Your brain goes through the entire process of having done it, having done the work, having seen the reward – just when they say “oh, that’s a great idea”, the dopamine release can kill an idea on contact. 

So be careful of what you do. Don’t start thinking that “I’m going to do this thing. I’m going to tell everybody everything about it.”

And that’s for me. That may work really well for other people. But boy, for me, I just found I have to be so protective of what comes into the seven holes – all the way from food, to the air I breathe, to what I look at and read, to what I hear from other people.

All right, well, so social media – so controlling what you take in. I think that’s a big one. It’s so easy in our ADHD society to get sucked into the latest news cycle, politics, religion, and on and on and on how.

I remember – I think I heard you speak at a Nevada County online – and you were talking about really be careful about what you take in – as far as the news and social media. Are you still pretty tight on that which you …

Fast off mainstream media, and there’s nothing I don’t know about. I know Hillary’s our president now. (kidding). But I know everything that’s going on just from being in this world. I’m 18 years or so at least into no-network news. I couldn’t imagine doing anything like that to myself. 

In fact, in Showbiz Blueprint, in my group coaching program, my higher-end group coaching program, people sign in the agreement that for the 10 weeks of this, it is imperative that you don’t. I say, “I’m not going to be there in your house to watch you. But I want you to sign this and tell me that you’re not going to watch mainstream media news”. 

It’s impossible to create a vision – the visions that live inside of us as entrepreneurs – we are entrepreneurs, we’re here, as Jeff Walker says, to save the world. That is our work. And it’s impossible to do that if the soundtrack that’s playing behind you is how bad things are, how negative, what kind of bad economic system we’re in.  The truth is I don’t listen to that stuff. And for me, things have never been better. 

You know, I lead people in creating their biggest dreams ever. And it always happens because they turn off the news. They’re not listening to that bad soundtrack, they’re doing the work. They’re going from zero to .1 to .2 to .4 to .8 to 1.6 – and just doubling. 

So if you’re listening to the news and watching these eight different angles of something being blown up, you know, I know when things get blown up. And yeah, it’s not in my scope, it’s not the light I see at the end of my tunnel. 

So if you’re if you’re creating something, if you’re that entrepreneur, be so clear on what you’re seeing. And only do what serves you and supports you in getting to that light so that, at the end of that light, you can enter a new tunnel and see what’s bright out there. 

And boy, if we get complicated in beautiful men and women who are telling us about murder with that little glint in their eye, we’re done. Get a job. Stop.

What else? What other tips?

We’ve covered the holes in the head, protecting what goes in our ideas, our work ethic, listening to our body.

How about play? How about how much time do you put in working versus how much time you spend just like family and time.

Let me speak on that for one second here, because I think this is a real entrepreneur trap. You know, the next great WordPress widget, the next great microphone, the next thing you have to have, the next this – all these things to be experts at.

You know, I’m really clear on, when I’m working, I’m at 1,000%. When I’m not working, I’m 1000%. I like running, biking, swimming, the triathlon sports. And when I’m doing those things, I’m 100% all in. 

So, you know, what do we have to do? Have a list together. Know the top three things you need to do today. Huge. I call it the “Four T’s: Top Three Things Today. Like one of my things today was to show up big for my buddy Doug, who’s running this podcast. And that’s one of the things and I’ll check that off and I’ll go okay, I showed up big for that one. 

There are a couple other things for my business that I’m going to do today. So you know, moneymaking activities, MMA, you hear these talks about. What are your money-making activities? I spend 75% of my day on money-making activities. Those are things that I’ll realize financial income from in 90 days or less. That’s my money-making.

The other 25%, that’s big picture stuff. That’s swinging for the fences. That’s going on to LinkedIn and contacting a number one best-selling author and saying, “Hey, I’d love to talk to you. I’d love to have you speak to my group.” That’s contacting a guy who just wrote an article for the New York Times on sugar that’s gotten millions of hits and shares and saying, “I have a community. I’d love to just do an interview.” 

It’s dreaming about the next big project. It’s scaring myself. It’s waiting for that little blip in my radar to kind of go “Ooooh, that’s one.” So 75% on MMA, 25% swinging for the fences. And honestly, the rest of it is a playtime. It’s a setting up life, taking care of business. 

And there’s a difference. You know, let me straighten that out also for entrepreneurs. When I say 75% of MMA time, you know, I may be an entrepreneur; I don’t go to a regular job. But I know, like today, I’m going to have six hours in the office. So 75% of that will be MMA, 25%  – and maybe there’s two hours after that are life stuff. It’s a paying bills, it’s going to the doctor, it’s taking care of the life stuff. Dealing with an insurance company that I’m dealing with right now. 

We have to be so precious with our time as entrepreneurs. It’s insane to me – the idea that we build something and we sit on a beach. You see all these pictures on squeeze pages of people on the laptop on there. I don’t want a laptop on my lap at the beach. You know, I really don’t. I want a frisbee in my hand. I want to be riding on a big wave. I don’t want a laptop on my lap at a beach. Sorry if you’re that guy or that girl, and I hope you have a nice laptop but …

And it’s sand proof …

Sand proof and you can see through it Yeah.

So this piece about hiring out … what you’re saying is you don’t want to do it yourself. A lot of people think they have to do everything, and they don’t have the budget, they don’t have the time – whatever it is – the control, that nobody else can do the work like they can. Whatever it is. You’re saying, find your core thing, do what you do best, and hire out the rest. Take it away, Barry

Two areas that are really big to focus on that is – I’m present for what I need to be present for – on screen interviews, cameras. And I’m present for things I want to be present for. Sometimes I love sitting in on an editing session. Sometimes I love doing my live Q&A with my community, . Those are things I love doing, and I have to be there for.

Really anything else in your business, you can’t go from zero to having that 100% outsource, But what are the big things that are wasting your time? The 80/20 rule always comes back. What’s the 20% of the activity we do that’s responsible for 80% of our income for our impact? 

Yeah, it’s all out there. Get honest with yourself and define it. Like I just recorded all the 10 modules for my Showbiz Blueprint. Again, I hadn’t done them in two years. So I wanted to do them fresh again with new content stuff I’ve learned, and updating some stuff. 

So I went into a studio, literally a camera guy operated the camera and the teleprompter, but not in teleprompter, just the bullet points. I was in front of the camera, and from there it got uploaded to a Dropbox. From there a guy in Serbia did all the editing. Well actually, from there, a gal in Portland, Oregon, went through the videos, did the time cuts for the editor to do, to come in here out there, put this on the screen. She sent that to a guy in Serbia, who’s my video editor who’s amazing. 

And then the next thing I got back was the final version of my video. Could I have done the notation on the screen? Could I have done video editing? Yeah, and I used to. And I knew for sure that had nothing to do with my 80/20 rule. 

Honestly, right now I’m living more in the 95/10. I should work on math. I’m working on the 95/5 range. I mean, really, there’s 5% of the stuff I do that affects 95% of my life.  And I will wager as your entrepreneurial business grows bigger and bigger, you’ll go from 80/20 to 85/15 to 90/10. It keeps going. And there’s less and less you need to be present for.

And all of that is hiding under the lizard brain, which is a part of you inside your brain, back in the brain, this little almond shaped part of your brain that will do anything in the world to keep you safe from change. And it sees change as the number one fear. 

So if we’re thinking of changing something, we’ve got to battle something that’s really, in effect, helping to drive us. And that’s why I go back to the “what’s the smallest thing you can do that triggers you?” Because we have to start beating this thing up a little tiny bit at a time. In a good way, you know, respecting it, but also taking back control of it. 

Because if you have an idea, and it’s too big and too grand – the lizard brain will shut that down and start giving you a list of reasons as long as your body about why it won’t work, why it’s not right. And it’ll sabotage you. It’ll jump into addictions – that’s one of its greatest cozy blankets. 

It’ll get you hooked on a new TV show, on some food, on porn, on a bad relationship. Doesn’t matter. It just wants something to hold on to that starts to keep you real small.

Wow. We have covered a lot of territory here.

Is it still Wednesday? Yeah, it is. Okay,

It is still Wednesday. So people want to learn more about you and  … so there’s a few things I’m looking here for. 

One are some references where you’d send people to learn more about you, about what you’re doing, about your sugar free program. If there are entertainers out there that want to learn more about how to leverage that. 

And then the second part might be books, resources, websites, places you recommend, books that have been important to you, personal growth courses, whatever. Things you would say “put your attention here, not over here on that main stream …”

Well to get in touch with me, you can go to a 30dayssugarfree.com. At Raspin.com you can see my world of throwing things in the air.  And ShowbizBlueprint.com –  if you’re an entertainer or you want to see what it looks like to reach into a community.

You know it’s funny, Jeff Walker, who we spoke about during this interview, he really loves to focus on people who were doing successfully online who aren’t in the “make money online” business. That was always a big focus for him. 

So I think he made me chapter four of his book because he found out I was selling a using his Product Launch Formula to sell a program to jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists, and clowns. He was like oh, that’s the epitome of 

So it was really neat to talk to him and do that. But you can see what that looks like in ShowbizBlueprint com.  It’s a wonderful sequence that his his work has taught me to do. 

So that’s some places to get in touch with me. Also on LinkedIn. I was an early adopter. So most social networks in the world you can do /BarryF.   BarryF, and it’ll get you to me on Facebook and Twitter’s and all those things. 

And then resources to read. You know, if you’re an artist, if you’re into entrepreneurialism, which I consider as art, being an entrepreneur is being an artist, a book that you can grab and pick up anytime you’re feeling low. It’s probably on my shelf over there. 

It’s called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. And it is just short little essays. His main character in that book is a person called Resistance. And whatever one you happen to open to and read is exactly what’s happening with you and resistance right now. It’s really nice to have to deal with that, and how to hold that part of yourself, which is not a bad part. 

It’s not a part that needs to be sliced. It’s a part of you that needs to mature. It’s a part of you that needs to quit driving your life from behind and brought out in front of you so you can look at it the eyes and kind of say, “Yeah, I hear you saying that scary. I hear you saying that no one will probably read the first 10 blog posts I make. And I’m going to do them anyway.”

Okay, and other books, recommendations?

Sure, depending on where you are in your business, all kinds of great people to study you know, Jeff Walker PLF I love that. I love a site called https://freedym.com/. A great guy – Ryan Lee. It’s kind of the Netflix of online businesses. It’s very inexpensive, and it’s got literally it’s – when he says the Netflix of lifestyle business – he means it. Anything you could want to learn. 

The only trap I’ll give you there – the only trap is don’t get caught up in learning. Get caught up in doing. Make the mistakes. You making mistakes is 10:1 more powerful than reading about somebody else’s mistakes.

Okay. Barry … thank you very much. 

You’re a good man, Doug. Thanks for doing this. Great to chat with you. 

Yeah, you too. And, again, you can probably look somewhere around this page for more resources from Berry. And 30daysugarfree.com – that’s the number three zero – is a good place to really start and get yourself healthier and the whole shebang. Again, thanks Barry – and this is Doug Greene with WhatReallyMattersInterviews.com. 


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