​​Leave A Legacy With Your Second Act | #72

April 20, 2023

​​Leave A Legacy With Your Second Act | #72 Have you dreamed of being able to leave a legacy with your Second Act? How about creating a nonprofit, volunteering at philanthropies full time, or finding a way to truly give back to a your community?  On Episode #72 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast, Shannon sits […]

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​​Leave A Legacy With Your Second Act | #72

Have you dreamed of being able to leave a legacy with your Second Act? How about creating a nonprofit, volunteering at philanthropies full time, or finding a way to truly give back to a your community? 

On Episode #72 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast, Shannon sits down with a man who is building a legacy with his second act. Barry Braun was a Navy Engineer who began a successful sales career. His next act was as an entrepreneur launching several businesses and writing books. Barry then took a leap to launch a career as one of the very first business coaches in the early 1990s.  Barry began pondering the purpose of life and realized it wasn’t about the money, but rather it was about service to others. When he became a grandfather, his true second act began. Barry is the founder of the nonprofit organization Happy Community Builders, which helps bring communities together to make it a friendlier world for all of.  Listen in to hear Barry Braun discuss his life’s journey and how he came to build a true “service-based” initiative with Happy Community Builders.

Barry Braun

Barry Braun, Founder of Happy Community Builders




Connect with Barry Braun:
Web – https://happycommunitybuilders.com
Email – barry@happycommunitybuilders.com
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/barrybraun
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/happycommunityproject/



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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - ​​Leave A Legacy With Your Second Act | #72
Episode - #72
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Barry Braun
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Shannon: Are you at a crossroads in your career? Ready for a change, but you're not sure how to get there? Don't worry. We are about to produce your best life together. Welcome to the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell. I am a former television producer, turned boy Mom. I left my dream job to find family balance, and in doing so, I produced my dream.

Now I am a business owner, podcaster, and career coach. My mission is to help other women like you find what they are truly meant to be doing. If you are ready to start over in your career or pivot to a new purpose, then get ready to be inspired by stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice, an actionable tip.

To motivate you as you move along on your path. It is time to shine. So let's start producing your balanced life of abundance today. This is Second Act Success.

Until the age of 35, [00:01:00] Barry Braun was all about making money and he made lots of it. But he began pondering the purpose of life and realized it wasn't about the money, but rather it was about service to others. Barry went on to build several businesses, but his next act began when he became a grandfather.

That's when he had an epiphany that he wanted to leave this world in a better place for his grandchildren. Barry created Happy Community Builders, which helps bring communities together to make it a friendlier world for all of. Let's meet Barry Braun. Alright, I'm here with Barry Braun. Barry, hello. Welcome to the podcast.


[00:01:40] Barry Braun: Shannon. I'm glad

[00:01:41] Shannon: to be here. Well, let's start talking about your journey, Barry, because you've had several acts over the years. You started out being a Navy engineer.

[00:01:49] Barry Braun: That's correct. I went to, uh, university with the Navy and then worked with them for four years as a naval engineer. And then from there I started a sales career, which went very well and very [00:02:00] successful. From there, I became an entrepreneur and started a wholesale distribution business and, uh, a manufacturing business. And that worked semi-okay, and then not so okay at all. And from there I reflected a lot on what the real purpose of my life was and I ended. Being one of the very first, uh, business coaches, uh, way back in the day and I don't know, 25 years or so working as a business coach. Then I became a grandfather and everything changed. Everything changed.

[00:02:31] Shannon: And I'm sure it changed a little when you first became a parent, cuz that always happens. And now as a grandparent it really changes.

[00:02:38] Barry Braun: I'm. Well, absolutely. Yeah. I care a lot about the future of my grandkids and I have decided when I was becoming a grandfather that I would dedicate the rest of my efforts to seeing if I could make their world a little better.

[00:02:51] Shannon: Oh, I can't wait to get into all of it, but let's start back with the Navy as an engineer. So you were a Navy engineer for four years, you said, and then you decided to get into [00:03:00] sales. So how did that transition come?

[00:03:02] Barry Braun: Well, when I got out of the Navy as an engineer, the marketplace for engineers was kind of poor at the time.

And so I looked around for something else that I could do and, and my overarching journey through all of my life has been what makes people work, what makes people tick? What, why do people do what they do? So sales became a, an exercise in understanding that better and how to influence their behavior.

I had a very, very successful sales career, but at some point in time it got somewhat routine and boring and also, uh, a little bit unsatisfying. I thought I could do something better for the world and just sell m stuff, and so I started exploring

[00:03:46] Shannon: that.

[00:03:46] Barry Braun: I became an entrepreneur. It was a false blind alley for me. I wasn't really taking me down my purpose road, but I was a good businessman and, uh, built up a successful wholesale [00:04:00] distribution company across North America and over to Japan.

And then I got more ambitious and started a manufacturing company and that found out I wasn't a very good manufacturer and that that put me outta business. It was a good thing actually because it made me sit down and reflect on really where I really wanted to go with my life.

[00:04:18] Shannon: You know what, Barry, that's so interesting because I feel like a lot of the guests that we have on the podcast have something in their life that kind of happened to them that made them. Feel like it was okay to move on to that next chapter? Yeah, I just spoke with a woman who was Leto from her position, and it allowed her to write a book for me.

My show that I was producing got canceled and it forced me to decide to open my own business so that I could control my fate. So it seems like that kind of happened to you, that shutting down your manufacturing business allowed you to think about what the next step.

[00:04:50] Barry Braun: Yep, that's right. I took about six, eight months of, uh, just going into the bush and, uh, uh, hiding away from the world and just thinking my life through.

And I came [00:05:00] out the, out of the bush as, uh, not quite as a, a coach at that point in time. I had a bit of an interim career because I had to earn a living for while I transitioned, until I could get my coaching career established. So I became a financial advisor for a short while with the intention.

Moving into being a business coach and then build up, a successful, business coaching

[00:05:17] Shannon: practice. So you said you were one of the first, uh, business coaches in

[00:05:20] Barry Braun: North America? Yeah, it the early 1990s. When I started telling people I was a business coach, they had no idea what that meant.

It wasn't a word that was used at the time. I decided to focus my coaching practice in a very special way. My belief was at the time that people who are in business should be there for two reasons. One is to make money. Of course, that's every business person wants to make money, but at the same time, the business should be serving their sense of their true self or their sense of purpose.

And so, a lot of my coaching practice was aligning those two things. And in the process promising and, and I fulfilled my promises that they would make more money doing that. And, and the other focus to it was [00:06:00] cultural change in businesses, aligning the culture around the sense of purpose for the, uh, the entrepreneur.

And, uh, that also ended up in them making more money.

[00:06:10] Shannon: Nice. Well you must have just been so fulfilled, especially as someone who was so successful in the business world on, on several occasions in your, in your past, and now you're able to take those lessons and really help your.

[00:06:23] Barry Braun: Absolutely. It was very satisfying, but not nearly as satisfying as when I've moved into happy community builders and trying to build a world that my grandkids can find some happiness in down the road. Well, let's talk

[00:06:36] Shannon: about that then. Hey, it's Shannon. If you are enjoying this podcast, then you will love my weekly newsletter.

It's full of career advice, productivity tips, and of course inspiring stories of women who have launched a new career that they. Just go to second act success.co to sign up. Plus you'll get the My Success Vision Board to help you with your [00:07:00] 2023 planning as well. Now it's back to the episode. So how long were you a business coach and when did you decide to pivot another time?

[00:07:09] Barry Braun: 30 some years as a business coach, and it was about 10 years ago when I became a grandfather. I was sitting down, reflecting on my grandkid's future, and the picture that was showing up in my mind wasn't real inspiring picture. It was quite a dark. And so I, I decided that I would try and use all of my skills to try and change that.

And so out of that, I've created the Happy Community Project and the Happy Community Builders. Is that community is foundational to our wellbeing and the question I was asking in the future, where are my grandkids gonna get the support they need? And the best place to get it is from the people who they live around.

And that isn't necessarily a cultural thing that's well these days. And so that's what I've been working on since then is to try and shift that culture and where it's. Moved into is I've built [00:08:00] this organization called Happy Community Builders. And Happy Community Builders is for people who are interested in making their communities better, happier places to live.

They can come and, uh, share their wisdom with each other, and, uh, co-create new ideas for how to make their communities a better place and that sort of thing.

[00:08:18] Shannon: So what are some examples that these community builders do in their home?

[00:08:23] Barry Braun: they tend to come from a very specific perspectives.

Uh, some of 'em want to just commit, connect their community together to make it a more socially connected place. Some of 'em are working on things like social isolation or intergenerational connections or youth in community or, drug addictions or reintegrating criminals into a community.

All of those sort of special. Perspective, but what they have in common, is knowing that communities that are wellbeing are places where people are socially connected. They know each other, where people have a sense of [00:09:00] belonging and out of that, a sense of caring for each other that people can know.

That somebody close by is there who actually cares about them. And that's not a common thing around these days anymore. They have family and they care about us. But in the United States, a sad statistic is that 75% of the population does not know their neighbor. Wow. It's a little bit better here in Canada where it's about 58% of the population doesn't know their neighbor.

[00:09:27] Shannon: I wonder what the statistic was in the sixties and seventies compared to now.

[00:09:31] Barry Braun: It was a lot better than that. When I grew up, my generation grew up, it was pretty common to be able to walk into your neighbor's house, which where the door was unlocked and say, hi, I'm here, I need this, or Do you need something?

And we just did that as a normal, common way of being with each other. And that's not a very common experience these days.

[00:09:52] Shannon: I love what you're doing with this organization. Where exactly are you located? Is it international?

[00:09:58] Barry Braun: There are community [00:10:00] builders from six countries right now, including the United States. And they, they're amazing people. These are, these are people who really care. And most of them have a lot of experience in their field and bring a lot of knowledge. And it's amazing what happens when you put the, the, their heads together and what they can co-create to come up with a new idea.

So if

[00:10:23] Shannon: I wanna join this, what is the

[00:10:25] Barry Braun: process? It's really simple. You go to, happy community builders.com and you land on a landing page there and you'll get a good sense of what it's about. And if you like what it's about and you. Accept and where you go. There's a, a lot of things that people can do, and one of them is form groups. So some of them have formed, uh, local community groups that are working on community specific issues. But others have formed groups that are just around a general topic interest and they also, uh, share their knowledge and workshops. So we now have a library of workshops that they [00:11:00] have created for all of us. They also post interesting articles and have conversations with each other, which is really cool.

[00:11:08] Shannon: People all over that can share ideas to bring back to their community.

[00:11:12] Barry Braun: Absolutely. So one of the things that I've discovered, I've worked all over the world and as a coach, I, I've been a lot of places and one of the things that I've learned I've learned this especially through Happy Community Builders and Happy Community Project, the elements of a community are the same no matter where you go in gonna world.

I've heard the sad stories that come out of Canada and the United States when I've talked to individual peoples and say, what's your community like? Well, I have this wonderful. And there's a shopping mall down the road and the doctors aren't too far away. I got everything I need until I have some trouble.

So they don't talk about their community being a community. It's just a place to live. But healthy communities are universally the same. There are places where we know each other, we have a sense of belonging and we care [00:12:00] about each other and those kind of communities where that actually is alive and well.

People live longer and healthier and they're happier. So there's research every year in the world about happiness, world happiness in different countries, and there's a very strong correlation between happiness and how socially connected and caring that we are for each. Yet here in North America especially, but, but in Western developed world, in, in general, uh, we've tended to think that self-reliance is all we need.

If we earn enough money and are totally self-reliant, we don't need anybody else. that doesn't lead to happiness, that leads to dysfunctional communities and, and generally unhappiness.

[00:12:42] Shannon: And I think we're seeing that very much so just in the news when we turn it on of, of what's happening in the world.

Ideally, we wanna be like those areas of the blue zones, right? Where people are together and they're growing food for each other and they're there, and then those people are the ones who are living longer and happier lives. [00:13:00]

[00:13:00] Barry Braun: Yeah. So instinctively we all know in spite of what we do, what's happiness, but we've kind of lost our way of how to actually do this.

I've brought, through my work community members together and a group of 30 people or something like that, and I just put out a crazy idea like, you know, why don't you go knock on your neighbor's door and say, hi, I'm your neighbor and I'd like to help you someday. And one in four people would say, no, I can't do that.

And it turned out the reason they couldn't do it was because they're afraid to do it. They're afraid that they weren't qualified. Only professionals can knock on neighbor's doors. And uh, if I knock on their door and they actually want my help and something goes wrong, they'll probably sue me.

And that's, that's what they told me. Right. That's such a shame. It's so sad. So most of that is not true. Uh, but that's what people believe and so they mind their own business.

[00:13:50] Shannon: It's a shame for our kids because now they're gonna grow up and think. The norm that it's scary to talk to the neighbor that we might not know where. I mean, I personally live [00:14:00] in a neighborhood where everybody's out and everyone is friendly with each other, it might not be my whole town, but it's definitely my neighborhood. So. Awesome. Yeah, and so I feel like the kids know that if, God forbid there was an emergency, they know the homes that they can go to and knock on the door and say, Hey, I need you.

[00:14:14] Barry Braun: We've learned, generally speaking, to be afraid of each other. Mm-hmm. We start in kindergarten with Stranger Danger and it goes on from there and we've learned to be afraid of each other and really what we should be learning is how to be connected to each other.

My own personal thoughts are that if we got along without having to have those kind of communities over the last 30 years, Going into the future, we're really gonna need 'em.

Our kids are really gonna need them because it's gonna be a tough world going into the future by the looks of it. And between environment and crazy politics and, crazy people fighting over crazy things. That's my ambition is to make a, hopefully enough, a small change at.

In the culture that we [00:15:00] have that of reconnecting, relearning what community really means,

[00:15:04] Shannon: what a legacy to leave your grandchildren too, that you created this to give them a better life down the road. You should feel so proud of yourself for turning over, leaving all the success that you had and really focusing on this for them.

[00:15:16] Barry Braun: one of my hopes for them. Is that if I'm not as successful as I hope that I could be, it's a big challenge. I want them to at least know if somebody cared enough about them that they tried for them. So that's the legacy I wanna leave them, is that they know they can take comfort in the sense that their grandfather or somebody.

Cared enough about them to actually try and make, make a difference for them.

[00:15:41] Shannon: Oh, you're doing that, Barry? For sure. So as a mom of two young boys, what can I do? If I log in and I want to say help with issues of drugs on the streets, how can I bring what I learn in Happy Community Builders and bring it to my home?

[00:15:56] Barry Braun: Oh, what an awesome question, and I hope you do that[00:16:00]

So one of the things that you'll find is that whatever level of, community development you're at, having no experience or lots of experience, you'll find that there's a helping hand there to help you walk your way through the practical issues of doing whatever it is you want to.

for example, there's a woman who, was recently divorced, living in a new neighborhood and she didn't know anybody and she noticed that people tended to be in their houses and she, you know, she couldn't just seem to find them on the street very easily. she decided that what she wanted to do was create, something very simple, create a walking.

Where people could go out for a walk occasionally and she had no idea how to create a walking group. So she found the help on the happy community builders to actually get that started from doing that.

And so at the other end of the spectrum, isolation and loneliness are a big issue in North America these days.

And there's a group of professional community builders who've come together and, [00:17:00] uh, put their heads together to find a, a simple but really effective way of enabling those people to safely come out of their homes and into the c. And so they've developed this new process and, and are now sharing it with, uh, people like yourself.

If you wanted to do that as a way of, uh, enabling the, the loneliest in your neighborhood to be able to find comfort because they, it's really easy to overlook those people.

Here's my really, really, really big ambition for happy community builders, that there's enough people like yourself and other community builders who join on the.

So that we can start actually addressing the underlying problems. So there's a reason why we have all these social problems in our world, and it's not by accident. Why did they just show up in relatively recent times and weren't there in old times? Well, it's because we have been doing things in a particular kind of way that that makes that a reasonable thing for people to do.

And it's. A good thing for people to do. So if there's enough [00:18:00] of us on this platform, I'm hoping that we can have a strong enough voice that we can stand up equal to the people who are creating the environment where things like social isolation and afraid of our neighbors and all those sorts of things can be challenged and that we can pro start implementing new ways and new priorities for our society. So that's my really, really big. That's great. So come on in and lend your voice

[00:18:25] Shannon: Are there ways for children to help out?

[00:18:28] Barry Braun: Wow, that's a really great question and I haven't thought of that one yet.


[00:18:32] Shannon: there you go. Well, I'm always looking for volunteer opportunities for my kids to go and whether it's to send things to the troops locally or prepare things for Thanksgiving. So just thinking that that could be a way for families to get involved together.

[00:18:44] Barry Braun: Well, I think that's a really great idea. Uh, and thank you for it. Yes. And I'm gonna put more thought into that, how we welcome younger people onto the platform. I know that there are young people in their early twenties, maybe late teens on the platform, but, but uh, I [00:19:00] haven't seen anybody who's 10 years old yet on the

[00:19:01] Shannon: You don't have a lot on your plate right now, Barry, so now you've got something else to think about. Everything else that

[00:19:06] Barry Braun: you're doing well, well, thank you actually, thank you for that.

Because the platform isn't my platform. The platform belongs to the community builders and it goes where they want it to go, and I, I know there's a way of making that true. So let's do that.

[00:19:20] Shannon: Well, I'm excited. Become a part of it and share it with my friends and family and our listeners. I love asking people about, like the thread in their life and what kind of connects them through all these different steps in their journey. Is there something that maybe back in your Navy times up until now that kind of weaves through all these different adventures that you've.

[00:19:39] Barry Braun: I have been a student right from uh, my university days, although I took an engineering degree. why do people do what they do and how do you change that? And so that's the thread. And now I'm, you know, taking it at to this level of trying to change what people do in terms of the communities that they live in.

So that's the [00:20:00] common. Why do people do what they do and how do we cause them to do or enable them to do something different that's better for them,

[00:20:06] Shannon: Where can our audience connect with you?

[00:20:08] Barry Braun: https://happycommunitybuilders.com or if they wanted to send me a personal email, they can send it to barry@happycommunityproject.com.

[00:20:22] Shannon: Well, Barry, I wanna thank you for sharing your story, all your different acts, and this amazing project and community that you established. And I just think our listeners are going to eat it up. It's so amazing and I'm, I'm so honored to have chatted with.

[00:20:36] Barry Braun: Well, thank you Shannon for having me here and it's an honor for me to be here too and, and the good work you're doing for people.

Thank you very

[00:20:43] Shannon: much. Barry has led such an extensive life of building businesses and serving others personally. I am so touched with all he has created with Happy Community Builders. If you are interested in getting involved with his movement in your community, I will [00:21:00] link to everything in the show notes of this episode.

Or you can go to happy.community.Project.com. Thank you for listening. I will meet you back here for another episode of the Second Act Success Podcast soon. Make it a great day, my friend. Thank you for joining us. I hope you've found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success.

To view show notes from this episode, visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listening. I'm Shannon Russell and this is Second Act Success.


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