Barry Eaton originally trained as an actor but expanded into broadcasting and television as a presenter. During his long career Barry has worked on ABC Radio and TV as well as several commercial stations in Sydney such as 2GB, 2KY and also Channel 10 as a news reader, interviewer, entertainment & sports presenter and also talk back radio host. He was also Co-ordinator of Journalism and lecturer in radio journalism and production at Macleay College in Sydney, which is affiliated with Southern Cross University.
His corporate profile includes running his own media consultancy and video production company, working with clients such as the NRMA, Barclays Bank, Tourism Canada and Lauda air.
Barry is also an experienced trainer in the areas of media and presentation skills, public speaking and business writing skills. In 1991 he expanded his horizons after a spiritual awakening and has since trained in various metaphysical subjects. Barry is also a producer and writer and recently published his first book, “Afterlife – Uncovering The Secrets of Life After Death”. He is currently working on the follow-up to this book. For more information go to www.barryeaton.com
Describe yourself in 3 words: Versatile, tenacious, spiritual-seeker.He also hosts RadioOutThere.com an internet radio show specializing in mind, body and spirit themes, which is now in its eighth year. Barry has his own radio studio and also works as a voice over artist
What is your life motto? I realised recently that I was given my life motto when I was at school. I went to North Sydney Boys High School and our motto was: Vincit qui se vincit, translated as “He conquers who conquers himself”. Subconsciously I’ve realised that I’ve been working to that motto probably all my life and it’s an ongoing process.
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? My career has been a process of unfolding events really, I left school and studied law for a year and realised that was not for me, there were family expectations there, so I realised what I had always wanted to do was get into radio and television. As a kid I used to wag [skip] school and watch radio shows being recorded. So I started at 18 years of age when I first got into the ABC at the lowest level possible – as a messenger boy and worked my way up from there. My career has unfolded ever since and it has been a process of pursuing one goal and then on to the next. It’s not that you can say now that I’m here, I have arrived and I’ll rest on my laurels. In broadcasting and television (I also studied acting) you have to keep on top the whole time, because you’re constantly going from one phase of your career to the next.
How much time and effort did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? You put as much effort in as you need to. It varies from day-to-day. Some days you sail through and others you might have to put in 18-20 hours. It’s an ongoing thing, especially in this business [radio and television]. It’s not like going to work in an office or working in a situation where you have a finite situation. Working in communications is very fluid.In the secondary part of my life, over 20 years ago, I opened up to a whole new area of spiritual awareness and metaphysical interest and that has been a new beginning as far as seeking, learning, pursuing and I’m still doing it. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve achieved another goal and that was to write a book (Afterlife). Your career is an ongoing process. I don’t think it’s something you can confine to a small period of time. How long does it take to become successful and what’s success? Is it success in terms of money or success in terms of your own recognition of your own goals, it’s such a subjective thing.
What are the challenges in your line of work? The biggest challenge is always with the Self, giving yourself enough confidence to say, Yes, I can do this and then also recognising if you are overreaching. There are many other challenges in what is a very competitive industry: radio, film, television and writing books now, and there is always plenty of competition for your job. So you always have to be at and do your best.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? I’ve made so many mistakes over the years that I couldn’t keep count. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you are irreplaceable. That’s one. Another is believing what you are being told, as far as being given a radio program or TV show or even having a book published, believing that something was going to happen before the contract was signed and before the cheque was in the bank. I’ve learnt now to only get excited when I know that all those boxes are ticked, otherwise you’re leading yourself into a false state of hope and excitement and it can only lead to huge disappointment.
I have my radio program which is now on the internet and the reason it is on the internet is because I tried to sell it to several mainstream radio stations in Sydney. One of them a major, major station said, “Oh fantastic, we love the idea. Yes, great.” We talked time spots, we talked money, we talked everything and they said give us a couple of weeks and we’ll settle all this down here and that’s fine. Two weeks later when I rang them up, they wouldn’t even take my call and these were program managers and people I’ve worked with. You can’t take anything for granted – that’s been my biggest lesson.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given isn’t so much about my career; was to be told that I am really a spiritual energy being working with a human body, not a body with a spirit, and as such, life is ongoing. So when you have minor disappointments and things don’t go your way, when things are too slow in coming to fruition, then you can learn to trust because you know its part of a giant plan and things do work out when it is best for all concerned.
In your mind, is formal training essential? In this day and age it is often mandatory. When I started out there were no formal training organisations apart from drama school, which is where I trained. For some areas of radio and TV, such as journalism, formal training is essential, in others you don’t need it.
Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? I’ve found that mentors come into your life when you are ready and open for it. I’ve had a couple of good mentors in my time. It doesn’t necessarily have to be some kind of expert standing there giving formal training. A mentor can just be someone who is very good support, someone who believes in you and who can be there for you. To have doors opened for you is fantastic, but you can still succeed without a mentor… although having one makes it a lot easier.
My current publisher has mentored me through the book writing process, her name is Maggie Hamilton. Maggie not only mentors me but also mentors many other writers in the Inspired Living division of Allen & Unwin that she publishes.
I had a mentor in broadcasting many years ago, Ken Taylor the station manager at Radio 2GB. Ken believed in me and organised for me to have special voice lessons and it was great. So having a mentor can be very, very beneficial but you’ve got to trust them.
What are some steps those starting out can take to start/further their career? Over the years I’ve had a few people come to me and say “you’ve worked in radio all these years, how do you start off”? My answer is, in this business and I can’t speak for any other, but in this business you start off in any way you can. I began as a messenger boy – you just have to get in there somehow.
It is important to start by knowing what you want, then set up your vision, set up your goals, know what you really want to do. The number of people that come to me for advice and say, “Oh I’m really unhappy in my career” and I tell them, yes I can see you’re ready for a career change and they say, “Oh, but what am I going to do?” I ask them; well what would you like to do. They reply, “That’s the trouble, I don’t know?” Well if you don’t know, how on earth can you actually improve yourself? If you don’t know where you are going, how will you actually know when you get there?
So set your goals, know what you want, visualise it and then take all the steps necessary and take advantage of all the opportunities that come to you. When you’re in there, when you’re focused and the state of intention is so powerful (a goal, career, job, relationship, no matter what it is), you’re setting that intention and staying focused with it. The power of intention is something I am writing about in my next book at the moment.
What kept you going when you weren’t at your best? I’ve learned to be easier on myself. Over the years I’ve always been very hard on myself so if I wasn’t at my best I’d get really upset with myself. We all make mistakes and that’s life. You learn from mistakes. You can’t be at your best 24/7, it’s impossible, nobody can. You can only do your best, and it doesn’t matter if you are a performer, a sportsman, a shop assistant or a politician, we all have good days and we have bad hair days and it’s accepting that things balance out.
The thing that kept me going was the belief in myself and to know that if I wasn’t doing my best, I could give myself a kick up the backside and say, stop buggering about, get in there; you know you can do better than that.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? Years ago I used to have a guest on my radio program, (I used to do a lot of talk back radio for 2GB), a man named Mark Gruner, who was a wonderful numerologist and also a lovely spiritual man and he used to always say to me, “there’s no such thing as luck.” I used to reply, oh, come on Mark we all know there’s luck, He replied “No, you make your own luck. You create your own direction.” As I’ve since learnt for myself, Mark was right. I believe we create certain circumstances through the power of our intention. Sure, doors open for us, opportunities are there and there are good times and bad times, but being in the right place at the right time, I don’t regard that as luck; I believe that is part of destiny. I’ve written about this in my new book, and I believe our life is a combination of destiny and free will. They both work together. But being in the right place at the right time has really opened doors for me and sometimes I’ve thought, boy if I hadn’t been there at that time I wonder how my life would have changed…It is all part of the great carousel of life.