Austin Haines decided to make discovering people’s real-life dreams his life’s work. His dream? To impact the lives of at least 10,000 more people with Free Will Dream.
Announcer: From 2820 Radio in Philadelphia, it's The Build, conversations with entrepreneurs and innovators about their dreams, their triumphs, and their challenges. Joe: Dreams, most of us have trouble remembering what we dreamed about after we wake up each morning, but by the time you're brewing your morning coffee, everything that happened in your mind's eye the night before turns into a thought. Sadly, we often treat our real-life dreams the same way. We think we know what we want to do with our lives or how we want to spend our time, but we let work, anxiety, or fear get in the way. Some of us are so caught up in a daily treadmill of expectations and obligations that we donâ€™t even know if we have bigger dreams. Joe: Austin Haynes decided to make discovering those real-life dreams his life's work. As a speaker and coach, he's helping clients uncover their true passions and building action plans that lead to significant goals. His dream? To impact the lives of at least 10,000 more people. It's the story of Free Will Dream coming up next on The Build. Announcer: The Build is made possible with support from 2820 Press, providing business consulting and content strategy services to customer-obsessed companies nationwide. More information at 2820press.com. Joe: It's The Build. I'm Joe Taylor, Jr. joined today by Austin Haynes, founder of Free Will Dream. Welcome. Austin: It's great to be here, Joe. I've been looking forward to this for quite some time. Joe: Excellent. I understand that you began kind of taking a look at how we live our lives and really choose whether or not we're going to pursue our dreams all the way back to when you were a kid. Austin: Correct. Joe: Tell us a little bit about that experience and how it informed where you are today and how you put together your company. Austin: The truth, Joe, is that I didnâ€™t really have a dream, and I never believed it was possible for me, which I think most people will identify with. When you think about a dream, it's often talked about as being outside of the realm of what's possible, something far in the future, outside of our reach. As a result, most people think about a dream but very few really go after and pursue it. For me, coming from my background, which maybe we'll get into today, just I had a really tough upbringing and I never believed something bigger was possible for me. Austin: I was always thinking that other people had more than me. They were ahead of me. I was down here trying to figure it out because I had less at the time. Through that journey, my life, I finally realized, I came to the realization, which, hopefully, we'll get in today, and Free Will Dream was born to overcome that challenge for myself and the people that I have been impacting and the people that I will impact. Joe: What do you think are some of the limiting factors? When you say that we may not realize that we even have a dream, what's causing us to fail to imagine what the future could be for ourselves? Austin: Joe, thatâ€™s a great question. It's a great question. There's a lot of factors, but the one thing I can think that people relate to is the treadmill of life or the wheel. We've all heard of the wheel. We're all like hamsters on the wheel. We tend to get into this mode where one day repeats itself. There's research that says that 98% of your thoughts that you had yesterday will repeat themselves again today. There's research that also says that 80% of those thoughts are of a negative nature. Austin: What does that tell us? That tells us that people are repeating the same day over and over again, and if you watch ... We have to look at the news to see the ... If you look at the debate, you know it's mostly a negative campaign. The news is negative. We are bombarded with negative information constantly, from the time we grow up to the time we get older. Hence, 80% of our thoughts are negative. We're always thinking that we're not good enough, we can't get there, there's a limiting factor. The other key thing which I'm just going to hit on here is we think we have to know all the answers, because when we grow up we have to go to school, we got to get a good job, we got to know all the answers. Those factors prevent people from truly taking the risk to go after it, because they donâ€™t believe it and they think they have to have all the answers. Joe: Talking to entrepreneurs a lot in my job and the role on the show here as well, I end up talking to a lot of folks who are probably less risk-averse than average. What causes us to get into that place where we donâ€™t even want to try something new or we just allow ourselves to feel that? Does it feel comfortable for us to just repeat that mantra of negativity? Austin: Yes. There's a factor. When I go through my program, when I take people through it, I take them through the 6 human needs, and one of the human needs is certainty or security. Over time, as we get older, we develop this high need for certainty and security, and thatâ€™s okay. You can live a life where you seek certainty as your primary need, and thatâ€™s a life that leads to satisfaction, but it does not lead to fulfillment. Austin: When you speak about entrepreneurs, they are typically the opposite. They have a high need for variety and growth. Those needs that drive their life overcome the risk factor. It overcomes that "I have to know all the answers," and "What if I fail?" Entrepreneurs become immune to that. If not initially, the longer they're an entrepreneur, the longer they're going to build up that immunity to that "I got to know all the answers," and "I got to look good," and they go after it. Joe: Tell me a little bit more about the distinction between satisfaction and fulfillment. For some folks, they probably on the surface seem or sound a little bit the same, but I hear you making a big distinction there. Austin: Right. If you think about satisfaction, it's "I'm satisfied." I think if we went out and we talked to people, we said, "Are you satisfied?" a lot of people would say, "I'm satisfied. I have enough money. I have a good job. Things in my life are good," but then if you ask them if they're fulfilled, I think there's a quite distinction there. For some people it may be larger than others, but there's definitely a distinction there. Most people want to be fulfilled, and I believe other than relationship, the next way to be fulfilled is to know that you're living out your highest life's purpose, you're giving your gifts to the world. I think thatâ€™s the road that leads to fulfillment and, really, Free Will Dream's a sexy way of saying your life's purpose or your true highest aspiration. Joe: Let's say that someone listening to this show right now is feeling like they're on that hamster wheel, they're just going through the motions day to day. How do they even start to identify what that dream even is? Austin: Thatâ€™s a great question. Thatâ€™s why I created this program, number one. There are 6 stages of a dream, your life dream. I found myself in what's called passive discovery, which means I knew something wasnâ€™t right. I felt that internal guide, that compass that said something's not right. As a result, I tried these different things, and I thought it was money. I tried these different opportunities and I never could get the traction that I wanted. Austin: Then I realized that there was a deeper calling that I had been ignoring. It was covered up. Through that passive discovery, it just took me longer. You follow me? That passive discovery took me a longer timeframe to get to this point. What I do with people is I say, "Let's get into active discovery. Let's start to really sit down." If your boss came to you and said, "I need this report on my desk Monday or you're fired," you'd work all weekend, night and day, to get that report done. When it comes to our own things, we just put them in the closet. We stuff them aside in the pursuit of money or some other aspiration thatâ€™s not attuned to our highest aspiration. Joe: How do you start to help folks build that sense of self-accountability? How do you make sure that that same signal of "I'm going to work on myself. I'm going to work on the business instead of in the business," how does that become priority one when youâ€™ve got a boss, a client, a spouse? Everybody else is filling your inbox, filling your voice mail with things that you need to do. How do you help clients carve out that time and attention for this? Austin: Joe, thatâ€™s a great question as well, and it's another thing that people come out. Everybody has a busy life and they have a family, they're working. They need to make money. We all need to make money to survive. There's a quote by Jim Rohn that says, "Reasons come first and answers come second." Again, it points to the fact, what I said earlier, you donâ€™t have to know all the answers. You donâ€™t have to figure it all out right up front. If your reasons are strong enough, the road becomes more visible or clear. Austin: What I do with people is I help them develop those reasons. What are those internal reasons? Why do you want something like this? You may not know what it is in the front, but you may start with a feeling. There's a feeling that "I am meant to do more. There's something more for me to do." You donâ€™t have to know it, but you know there's a feeling there. Sometimes that feeling is a strong enough reason, but I take that and develop reasons around that. Basically, in my program I have people list out 21 reasons why, and it's amazing and we identify the top 6. Austin: I've had people say, "Well, why do I have to write down 21 reasons? I already know." I've been doing this for awhile and I had people that actually went through that process, and what I found is some of their top reasons were in the last 18, 19, 20, because, again, your brain ... Remember your brain, I said about the thoughts? If you're continually thinking those thoughts, you have to escape from that to go a little bit deeper. Thatâ€™s what I do to get people to get those reasons. Once those reasons are carved out, then we put a plan behind it. We carve out time. You know even talking to entrepreneurs a long time, a poor plan thatâ€™s consistently acted upon is better than a master plan that just sits on the shelf. Joe: I think that a lot of the things that I'm seeing ... I love sometimes that there's a collective subconscious that puts a lot of things out in the universe. I hear a lot lately about the idea of getting something on a streak, whatever it is that you're trying to do. If you're trying to make a big change, just donâ€™t worry about losing 50 pounds in 50 weeks. Just worry about getting to the gym once a day for 21 days. What are some of the behavioral changes? What are some of the things that you notice clients start to adopt as new routines to kick out some of the old behaviors? Austin: I think thatâ€™s different for everybody. What happens really when I work with people is the belief opens up. You can see people's ... almost their body changes. Change just happens because they start to believe again. When they start to believe again, and this is the key thing, the actions become clear. You may not know what it is right now, but what happens is ... I always say internal inspiration that leads to action will largely overcome external motivation that is forced from without, motivation that is forced from without. We grow up with motivation, external motivation, but that internal inspiration, you will know and you will know what the next logical step is. Austin: Thatâ€™s when I work with people and say, "What's the next logical step?" Just like you're saying, if you start simple, and simple is what's the next logical step. You take that step, what's the next logical step? It sounds very basic and rudimentary, but when you're dealing with complex brains who want to see the entire road in advance of taking the step, people forget the next logical step. I always say, "What's more important, the first step or the last step when you hit the finish line?" I get a range of answers, "Oh, it's the first." "No, it's when you hit the finish line." Austin: The truth is, I don't know. I know that they're both important. If you can get people taking that first step and then they can see further, the next step becomes clear. I'm not trying to minimize the value of having a business plan, because what I do with people, the last step is we create a plan, but the plan is just a track to run on because I know the plan changes day one. Richard Branson, one of the greatest business minds, he doesnâ€™t believe in these long extensive business model plans. He has a plan, but it's not in the traditional context of what people think it should be. The point is if you have the track, you get into action, more resources will become available as you go. Joe: Richard Branson, I think, is a great example, because thatâ€™s someone who pretty much changed industries a couple of times on the way until he became known for hopping industries every couple of years basically. He starts in music. Actually, he starts in publishing, gets into music, gets into airplanes, gets into tourism, gets into money. Now, he's just got this portfolio of stuff, but the only consistent thing is him showing up and doing wild things to try and motivate his people. Joe: I think that brings me ... It's a good segue into another area for us to explore is when you're working with folks who are leaders or in leadership roles or who aspire to be leaders, what are some of the changes that you start to see in terms of how they operate their organizations or how they step into roles where they're actually trying to inspire others? Austin: Thatâ€™s another great question, Joe. I primarily work with people who are in their day job. As far as working with high-level entrepreneurs, mostly high-level entrepreneurs, they're already en route. They already have a lot of the fundamentals that I work with. I certainly can work with entrepreneurs to help them get clearer, but in the folks that I've worked with, there's just a quality that they have that I think ... Correlating my work to that, I think I just help them tap into that at a deeper level. They already have it going. They donâ€™t need an overhaul. They just need a tweak. Even the greatest minds basically, we all need a coach or a mentor or somebody to help us, and there's that third party that can look in. I think for those type of people, the ones that I've worked with, they typically just need a little tweak here and there because they already have the qualities. I'm not sure if that answers your question, but you know. Joe: Yeah. To go a little bit deeper on that, what I want to know is as you're developing this dream of yours into its own business, into a livelihood for yourself, how are you discovering the kinds of clients that are ideal for you to work with? Austin: Typically, people who are at a level of success in their life, and we talked about it earlier, but there's a feeling that there's more. There's something missing. They can't quite put their finger on it. My ideal client would be that person. Age relative, maybe they fall into an age bracket, but there's a level of success that theyâ€™ve achieved and they know that there's more and they donâ€™t believe it can happen. Maybe they have a family, like we talked about. Can they stop what they're doing and start a new thing or how do they do it? How do they create it? What is it? All these questions. That would be my ideal client, that person that aspires to more. I could work with that person and really help them uncover what it is for them, because a lot of people have been living out according to what they think they're supposed to do. Austin: It sounds cliche, but it's amazing when you talk to people and the jobs that they're in and the things that they're doing. I'm not sure if I mentioned this earlier, but according to reuters.com, only 14% of the people out there, within Philadelphia alone, only 14% are doing work or a job that they absolutely love. That means 86% of the people out there are not happy or they're just existing, and there's a percentage of them that are plotting their escape. They're looking to get into that next thing. There's a huge market out there. Really, I could work with anybody, but that person who's missing, feel like something's missing and they want more would be my ideal client. Joe: I think it comes back to some of the cultural norms we have, especially in America. The first is the idea of that there's a very distinct wall between work and leisure. I've also had conversations with folks over the years when I've been in leadership roles or when I've started companies about the idea of personally I donâ€™t know that there's such a thing as a work-life balance, because that implies that you have to figure out that there's a scale and you put some things in one and some things in the other. I'm more of a fan of the phrase "work-life-fit," all these things kind of pull together. I encounter a lot of folks that think, "Okay, from 9:00am until 5:00pm, I belong to someone else. I belong to the job, my boss, some other thing, and my time begins at 5:01. It strikes me that that could be a toxic way to try to live. Do you encounter that with- Austin: Yes. Joe: ... some of the folks that you take on? Austin: Let me just say this up front. The work-life balance, to me, is a myth. If you want to go to pursue a dream or you're an entrepreneur, balance is a myth. A lot of these people say, "Oh, we're going to look at the balance." Hear me out on this. When you go to start a business, there's no such thing as balance out of the gate. With my program, I look at 90 days where you ... Once we get through this, you're going to go 90 days all-out massive action. I liken it to a rocket ship. A rocket ship takes 80% of its energy and fuel to get off the pad into orbit. Then it only takes 20% to keep it in orbit. Austin: It's the same thing with a business. When you are starting something, there is a period where you have to go all-in, all-out. You're still working, but there's going to be a period where you're out of balance, and you can determine what that period is. I use 90 days. After the 90 days, you're going to recalibrate, retool. You're going to get some things back in balance. If you have a family, you're going to go celebrate with them whatever your progress was. Austin: You're going to get them along the journey so they're involved, they donâ€™t feel resentment because you're working so hard. There's a whole strategy to do this. That work-life balance thing, yeah, it is something that once you get the business going, but out of the gate, the balance, really, you can't expect to have balance. I think a lot of people get frustrated with that because they think, "Oh, I'm out of balance. I'm trying to get balance." Again, thatâ€™s that certainty that kicks in. Joe: I think it also comes from another cultural norm in America, as in many developed countries, where you start to ask kids when they're 13, 14, 15, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Austin: Yes. Joe: You ask a 17-year-old undergraduate student to pick a major and say, "This is what you're going to do, if not be, for the rest of your life." Most of the folks I know undergo significant change from the period of 17 to 21, 21 to 25. Is it fair to expect that we're going to want the same things when we're 50 that we wanted when we're 17? Austin: No. No, it's a great point, Joe. This is a dynamic process. When you establish your dream, you act as if it's the only one, but we know it's not. Things are going to evolve. There's other dreams that fall in line. Which is the most important dream for me? Should it be this? Should it be this? I believe there's one thatâ€™s a driver, one thatâ€™s like a focal point. Then a lot of times when you go after that dream and you start to realize it at some level, all these other dreams kind of fall in line, all the butterflies start to fly in formation. It's a very dynamic process, and it changes. What you think today ... It's almost like you think of your 25-year-old mind, what you thought was important and you move it 20 years later, it's a lot different. Your priorities change, what you value changes. So will your dream and so will your aspirations. Joe: One of the things I observe when I see folks go through major transformations in their lives, they usually can only do that with support from a tight network, spouse, family, friends. I also see resistance. I'm a fan of the author Steven Pressfield, who writes about this quite a bit, and the idea that there are people in your life who are going to only view you one way, that may not understand your dream or your desire to transform. How do you equip your clients with the ability to either walk their close loved ones and their network of friends and family through this transformation or make some difficult decisions about re-evaluating those relationships? Austin: Right. As far as the family unit or your loved ones, this, by all means, is a team effort. I think if you look at any successful entrepreneur, he'll say, "Thank you to my wife, my family, who believed in me." Thatâ€™s a key thing. Whatever you're doing, thatâ€™s the first relationship. Your spouse, your significant other, they need to be on board with what you're doing. They need to be a part of what you're doing. Thatâ€™s first and foremost. Austin: As far as the toxic or people that are going to be resistant, I love those people, too, because they're the people that fire you up. If you're an entrepreneur, guess what? There's a phrase that says, "The key to success is massive rejection." I think every entrepreneur needs to get to a place where rejection excites them, and thatâ€™s a interesting thing to think about. I actually get excited about rejection. I've gotten to that point, especially growing up just thinking that everything was wrong, getting rejected and just feeling like, again, like I lacked something, from the time I was younger, coming from a divorced family and seeds were planted then, dealing with that rejection. I'm at the place now where it's all a value to me. I think that those people, you value those people, too, because those people can teach you a lot if you're open to what they have to say. Joe: Along those lines, there's, I think, a huge distinction between what I observe when I'm out on the West Coast versus what I see on the East Coast. We're in Philadelphia right now. We're taping this episode about a block away from Independence Hall where an entire country was founded on a set of dreams and ideals that were radical and revolutionary at the time. Yet, to some degree, the consistent belief on the East Coast is that we strive for structure, stability. We crave that thing that we donâ€™t see very often, which is "Let's go into the same job for 40 years and retire with a pension." Whereas Silicon Valley, you hear the mantra of "Fail fast, break things, try again." How do you start to bring some of that feeling of security and failure to folks on the East Coast that might be a little bit more entrenched in the idea of you do one thing and thatâ€™s it for the rest of your life? Austin: Thatâ€™s a great question. Before we go forward, it's no accident that we are in Philadelphia, where freedom first rang, on the celebration of Martin Luther King, which his famous "I have a dream" speech that resonated, so this is kind of an interesting scenario. To your point about the security versus the risk, it goes back to the reasons. People will avoid pain. There's a philosophy that people will do more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure. This might go a little deep for this conversation, but it's the truth is that when the pain of not pursuing your highest aspiration is greater than the pain of working at your job, thatâ€™s when things start to kick in, I believe. Thatâ€™s part of that motivation, but from that can be fueled the inspiration. Austin: I think that people need to look at the big picture. If you're in a corporate job, a big company, you always look at the hundred thousand-foot view, to see everything. We need to do that with our lives. We need to do that. We need to step out, get in the helicopter, climb the tree, look over the landscape, "Where am I going here? Am I going to be regretful if I donâ€™t take a chance now, or am I okay? Am I happy where I'm at?" That question is different for everybody, but I think the entrepreneurs, you're talking about West Coast versus East Coast, and it's interesting. I don't want to get too deep here, but if you think about going back in time, a lot of people went out West, the Gold Rush. There was always that element of risk to go out West and to pursue new land and to pursue new opportunity. Maybe it still exists today at some level. Joe: Ties back through centuries, really. Austin: Through centuries. Joe: Right? Austin: Really. Joe: It's a great metaphor for what happens when folks actually travel out. Then in some ways cycle back to the East Coast and start new things or bring ideas back to them. I'm curious, though, when you're beginning to work with a client or you're identifying someone that may want to come in to one of your programs, what's the first big measurable piece of success that you look for? What's the first thing that shows them and you that this person's going to make it, they're on the right path? Austin: I do a questionnaire first. I do a intake questionnaire. I have a conversation with them, because I donâ€™t want to work with everybody. Again, I'm looking for the reason, is that reason there. Are they at a place where they're really going to follow through with this, because this is a comprehensive thing. I have a couple of different varieties of what I do. I do a live seminar. I do a 90-day one-on-one program. I want to know if that person really wants it. I want to know what their reasons are. It's impossible for me to know that about everybody, but if I have a conversation with you, we interview each other and I look at your questionnaire and there's enough there, we're going to go for it. We're going to take a shot. We're going to do it. Whatever the results are, we'll praise progress or we'll tweak and go on from there. Joe: At what point did you discover that you could actually turn this into your livelihood? Austin: My belief. I believe that I hit a tipping point. I told you about passive discovery. I was on a journey internal that I didnâ€™t know. If you read Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point, something clicked in my brain and I hit a tipping point in my beliefs that I can do that. It just took me a longer time to get there. I think a lot of people may be in that somewhere, where are they? Where are they between "I donâ€™t know what I want, I can't do this," to there's a tipping point, "I can do this. I can do this." Thatâ€™s what happened. I just hit that tipping point, and then it was almost like the name, everything was inspirational about it. The name Free Will Dream, get your mind free so you can pursue your dream. Then a friend of mine said, "Hey, did you look at your acronym, FWD, move forward?" It's about moving forward with your life, moving forward with your highest aspirations and your dream. Joe: Step 1 for you was to do what when you decided to hang out the shingle and start attracting clients? What was the first thing you did? Austin: For me, I literally went out ... I want this to grow organically. I want people to get results, which they are, and then go out and talk about it. Then also funnel in the traditional marketing means. I just went out and started to help people. It just grew out of me. I put myself through it to get to the point where I could launch it. I went through all the steps myself. You want to practice what you preach. Austin: Then I started so share it with other people. I didnâ€™t even take people through the entire program at first. I took them through different elements of the program and people just started to get results. It was amazing, just the belief level. Once that belief, once you blow the lid off what's possible, like I said, you donâ€™t have to force people. I talk about force versus flow. We can force ourselves to work, which we need to do occasionally, but if you get into flow from inspiration, now you're working out of a different space. Now it's like you get up in the morning and it's just this flow. You want to get into what you're doing. You donâ€™t have to force yourself to do it. Joe: Your dream for you and the business, what does it look like in 5 years? Austin: Five years, I want to ... I just had a number. I donâ€™t want to blow this number. This is a low number. I want to help 10,000 people fulfill their life dream. That was my number. I also want to be more live speaking. I want to do more live group events. I'm doing an event on February 6 with my partner. This is going to be more about the dream relationship. My partner and I, Joanna Kleinman, she's a psychotherapist and she has a center called Center for Extraordinary Relationships, and she does a program on dethroning your inner critic. We're going to join up on February 6 and we're going to talk about dream relationship, because the quality of your life is the quality of your relationships. Thatâ€™s a key point, and it's right around Valentine's Day, just a great time to do it. We're shifting gears a little bit and we're going to do that. Joe: Fantastic. What else should we mention that we haven't had a chance to cover yet? Austin: Here's what I say to everybody. If something I said resonated with you, you can certainly reach out to me, but do something. I donâ€™t care if it's me or somebody else, do something. Life is happening, it's moving. John Lennon said, "Life is happening when you're making other plans." Go out and do something. Start to seek, get into active discovery for yourself. Start to open up your mind, believe more is possible. Donâ€™t worry about figuring out. Feel it and move forward. Thatâ€™s what I say to people, just do something to move forward, FWD, move forward. Joe: Move forward. Austin Haynes, Free Will Dream, thanks for stopping by The Build. Austin: Joe, it was great to be here, and hopefully we'll get a chance to catch up again. Joe: Fantastic. The Build is a production of 2820 Radio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our producer is Lori Taylor. Our associate producer is Katie Cohen Zahniser. Our talent coordinators are Katrina Smith and Gizem Yali. Our post-production team is led by Evan Wilder at FlowlyAudio in Detroit. My name is Joe Taylor, Jr. Thanks for listening to The Build. Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Build.