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Ep19 Transcript: Interview with Bernie Borges
Andrea Vahl: Bernie Borges is a midlife wellness advocate and multi-passionate entrepreneur. He hosts the podcast midlife fulfilled and has been talking to a lot of people about what brings happiness and fulfillment in midlife. Listen in to find out what he’s learned.
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Andrea Vahl: Starters, I’m your host Andrea Vahl, and I am super excited to have Bernie Borges on our podcast today. And Bernie is someone I connected with a while back and then he came back into my world here through his podcast, Midlife Fulfilled. And so I am super excited to be talking to Bernie, who’s had an amazing storied background of things that he’s done in his life.
Right now he’s currently vice president of global content marketing at iQor. He’s done content marketing strategy. He’s been a voiceover actor. He’s advisors to lots of different companies, including Vengreso and things like that. So welcome Bernie. I’m excited to have you here.
Bernie Borges: Andrea, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be with you.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. And we can see why you’re a voiceover actor. That’s like your (laughter)
And great for podcast listing, which I highly recommend his podcast. So great. So let’s just start at the beginning, with all of the things that you’ve done. One of the things I like to ask people is if they could sum up what they’ve done, who they are, what they’re about in a single sentence, what would you say for that?
Bernie Borges: Wow. In a single sentence, it might be a little bit long, Andrea, but I’m a husband, I’m a father, I’m a grandfather. I’m an entrepreneur turned employee, and I’m a podcaster, and I love every single one of those roles.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s great. Love that. I interviewed Jamie Turner and his sentence was about a paragraph long so that you….(laughter)… Your really much more succinct than him.
Bernie Borges: I know Jamie and it doesn’t surprise me. Yeah. .
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. So tell us about your latest endeavor here with the Midlife Fulfilled Podcast. What prompted you to start that? With everything you’ve been doing, where did that idea come from and how has that been going for you?
Bernie Borges: Yeah, I love telling the story, Andrea. So a little backstory. I’ve been podcasting almost 10 years now this is my fourth podcast. Coming up on almost 500 episodes published over the span of almost 10 years. And so the way that the Midlife Fulfilled Podcast essentially came about was I was in between personal podcasts.
I host the podcast for my employer at iQor. It’s called Digitally Resistible. It’s about customer service, and I host it, and I thoroughly enjoy it, but it isn’t my podcast. And I had my own podcast, which I retired at episode 300. It was the Modern Marketing Engine podcast. Again, retired at episode 300.
So I had this void, Andrea, where it’s like I didn’t have my own podcast, so I was itching to, launch a new podcast. So I’m thinking, and I’m thinking what am I going to podcast about? The concept of midlife popped into my head only because of lots of things that I’ve been exposed to around midlife.
I’m in that midlife season myself, and then I started doing some research. What about midlife? And I came across the Happiness U-Curve. Are you familiar with the Happiness U-Curve?
Andrea Vahl: Not really. I know there’s lots of different things and equations and all that, but share that with me.
Bernie Borges: So it, it’s a study that is a global study and basically the study says that we are happiest at age 18. This is a global study, so these findings span all the regions of the globe. After age 18, we begin to decline in happiness and we bottom out. We are least happy in our mid-forties, and then we begin to get happy again as we get older. So think of a U curve at the top of the left U curve is age 18. At the bottom of the U is our mid-forties. And then the other side of that U curve where as we age we’re getting happier and happier. And then I just started wondering, what about fulfillment? I can be happy but still unfulfilled.
And I started doing research on that. And long story short, Andrea what it led me to was that. I just, I didn’t see anybody talking about fulfillment. And I did my research as I know you did on midlife podcasts. And I found, a couple hundred midlife podcasts out there, probably out of two hundred, a hundred and eighty-seven of them.
I’m being a little facetious. Were hosted by Women for Women. Nothing wrong with that, I wasn’t going to host another podcast for women, Plus I’m not a woman. And then the other 13 or so, which again, I’m being facetious, were. Either couples or men for men in midlife, but nobody that I found was talking about fulfillment in midlife, which I think is so much of what we need. And I know that I’ve been seeking fulfillment in different corners of my life. I call it corners of my soul by the way. As we go through our seasons, I’ve been. You go through one season and Okay, now I’m not fulfilled in this area.
And then another season, like I’m not fulfilled in this area. For example, my wife and I are empty nesters. Our kids are adults. They’re out of the house. In fact, they live outta state, right? And we’re still in the same house. So what used to be the kids’ bedrooms, They’re there. Still there, but it was a different season of our life. They’re empty bedrooms now. There’s no kids in the house. So the things that we need right now for fulfillment are so different than when our kids were young. . So anyway, it’s a long story to, That’s why I launched the Midlife Fulfilled Podcast. And essentially what I’m doing is I’m inviting people to come on and share what I call a BF to AF story.
And Andrea, what that is BF stands for before Fulfillment. What? What season of life were you lacking? Fulfillment. The BF before fulfillment. And then what was that journey to AF after fulfillment. And then tell that story. And people are just coming on and telling really personal, in some cases, intimate stories of experiences in their life, and it’s just fascinating. I’m having a blast with it. I really am.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah, I am definitely having a blast with this podcast as well. I think it’s so inspiring to get some of these stories and hear how people are changing their lives at this time of life.
Cuz I think I’ve heard some people say, Oh, I’m just going to coast, or Oh, it’s too late for that now. And it’s just amazing when you see people who are changing and transforming into something they might have always wanted to be or something that they didn’t realize they wanted to be or do.
So it’s great. So that is really wonderful. So let’s talk about your own story and if you could. Go and tell your younger self something after, seeing your lifespan. I don’t know if you had a similar dip at 45 or whatever, but if you could go back and give your younger self a piece of advice, what would that be?
Bernie Borges: It would be to recognize that we actually begin our midlife seasons at a young age, specifically in our thirties for most of us, and it’s not driven by age at all. That was one of the things that I learned early in my journey. So what I would say to my younger self is just, Recognize that you have begun this long phase of life, and you’re going to go through lots of, again, I used the word seasons, Andrea you’re going to go through lots of seasons, right? And each of those seasons are going to be unique. It’s going to have challenges, it’s going to have good times, bad times. And you just have to recognize that they are seasons. And if you prefer the word chapters, you know we’re saying the same thing, right? You go through these different chapters of life.
So I’d say to my younger self, just understand that you’re going to be going through these different chapters of life. Some are going to be more fulfilling or more enjoyable than others, and you just have to ride through each one of them, right? And learn from each one of them. Whether you fail, whether you succeed in that chapter, just learn from it and know that there’s going to be another chapter ahead.
Just like I’m in a, a season or a chapter now that I wasn’t in five or 10 or 20 years ago. So that’s what I would say to my younger self.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, that’s great. It’s hard to keep that in mind, especially if you’re going through an especially difficult chapter that can be really hard to remember that it’s not forever and you can make a change.
So that’s great. I like, I love that. Awesome. Awesome. So tell me about starting this podcast, were there any unexpected obstacles to starting this podcast? You have done podcasts, so probably you know the drill, but did anything come up that was a little bit unexpected or challenging when you decided to start this podcast?
Bernie Borges: I would probably embrace challenging more than unexpected, because to your point, Andrea, I’ve been podcasting, as I said, for almost 10 years now. So I don’t think that I would say that I’ve encountered any surprises. But definitely the most challenging thing is that I do have a full-time job and I enjoy my full-time job.
So doing the podcast on the side in air quotes, that’s challenging. Because in addition to recording the podcast, and yes, I’m doing the editing as well, and the show notes and the marketing, if you can call it marketing , because I have such limited time. That’s the challenge right there is just because I have a zillion ideas, there’s so much more I’d want to do.
Including monetizing it. I had one sponsor, they had to back out after three episodes just cuz they had budget cuts and said, I’m looking for another sponsor. That takes time and energy and effort and follow up and all that. So there’s just, there’s a lot that goes into it. And so the challenge is doing it on just with limited time.
I need sleep. I can’t stay up late and do this. Plus I get up early in the morning to work out, which is part of my sanity. I can only give it a couple hours a day. And then, another four to eight or maybe 10 hours on a weekend, depending on the weekend, which I have to monitor that as well because I have, I need a life as well.
So that’s the challenge, Andrea is doing it on the side but yet also at the same time having a vision for it that’s bigger than what I’m able to actually do right now.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, for sure. I am right there with you. I have I have my full-time business too, and I totally understand it.
The good thing is I think it’s important to see that in the beginning stages there is more time devoted to it, and then you get systems down and everything like that. But yeah it’s challenging to carve out that time. And I remember when I started my business, I was younger I didn’t need as much sleep, I think.
But I also think that with age comes wisdom and we know where and how to tap the things that will be the most efficient and the best use of our time. I think probably. So you’re,
Bernie Borges: and that’s just the wisdom, but also just the ability to get things done because, once you have experience in something, in this case we’re talking about podcasting.
I can do the recording, I can do the editing, I can do the show notes, in a reasonable amount of time. As opposed to someone who’s maybe not experienced at it and they’re just figuring those processes out.
Andrea Vahl: So I know you’ve been interviewing a lot of great people on your podcast with before fulfillment and after fulfillment, are you seeing some patterns here on what people are doing to find that fulfillment?
How are they coming about it? I also saw that you had Daniel Pink on your podcast recently. I haven’t had a chance to listen to that one yet, but I can’t wait cuz he is a favorite author of mine. But what are you seeing in some of the stories that are coming up?
Bernie Borges: Yeah a common theme that I’m seeing is that a lot of these stories are career related.
That because, we spend most of our waking hours working, right? We spend more time working than not working, and so it’s a big part of our life, not to mention that culturally, especially here in the US, we’re raised to, have a career and be successful. So a lot of the stories really are about the fulfillment that they were seeking in their careers. And the thing that I’m enjoying is that some of the stories are absolutely people that are in their mid-forties and fifties, so they’re sharing their career-related fulfillment stories. But I’m just now beginning. Because I’m fairly early in the journey.
Right at the time that we’re recording this, I don’t know when it’ll publish, but at the time that we’re recording this episode, 36 is what’s the most recent episode that has published at the time we’ve recorded this and most of the people have been, again, in that 45 to 59 age range.
But I’m about to, I’ve got I think three or four people on my calendar, one of which I’ve already recorded, that are in their late 30s. Mid to actually early thirties to late thirties and I didn’t say this earlier, Andrea, but I’m actually out to redefine midlife. I don’t believe that midlife is defined exclusively by age, and I said that in what I would say to my younger self.
For most of us, we really begin that midlife season in our thirties when we begin to experience circumstances where we have more responsibility. But anyway, back to the, your specific question on this, Most of the stories are really about, I went to school for this, I started a career in this path, and I woke up one day and I was miserable. Or I woke up one day and I was fired or I woke up one day and the business that was thriving tanked.
Those are real stories from the podcast. And then there’s a whole story behind that, on what they did on that next season. Like how they went through that. One episode that’s just really interesting is a woman who had a corporate career. She had all the things that you would think, we’re considered successful, as she said, Mercedes in the driveway and the nice husband and the two kids and all that. She was miserable. She hated it. And then she realized that what she wanted to do was she wanted to be just an independent person.
She wanted to finish the book that she had started writing years ago. And she did. She left her job, she finished the book, and now her full-time job is promoting the book, speaking on a coaching other women, and she’s living her dream. Stories like that are abound on the podcast. Not necessarily all that, that particular one.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. That is awesome. And I think that’s a huge point because I do think a lot of us get to that career point where either something catastrophic happens or you just wake up and realize that it’s not right, and it looks like a lot of the same coming up.
So the fact that you can pivot and change is such a great message to share with people. So that’s awesome. And I also joke that I’m 52 and I joke that I’m midlife, optimistically speaking, . So if we’ll see how long I live, I don’t know
Bernie Borges: Well, but let me comment on that, Andrea, because I’m 65 and I’m absolutely midlife, and here’s why.
Midlife is not the midpoint of your. I repeat, Midlife is not the midpoint of your life. That is the biggest myth of midlife. The second point to back that up is we have three phases in life. We have youth, which generally goes to somewhere around age 30. We’ve come out of youth somewhere around age 30, could be even younger.
If you start getting a whole bunch of responsibilities getting married with kids or whatever in your twenties, then we begin those midlife seasons, which again, it’s not defined as your midpoint. Then the third phase is end of life. Now end of life is not the day you die. It’s the time in our life.
And I don’t mean to be morbid, it’s just reality where health begins to decline and eventually we die, which is just reality. The death rate I know, is a hundred percent . So unless we sadly encounter a serious illness in earlier years, For most people, end of life is going to be seventies, eighties, or nineties for most people, right?
So I’m 65 and fortunately I’m blessed with health and I totally consider myself in midlife because until I reach some kind of illness in my life that is debilitating. That’s when I’ll begin an end of life season, which nobody can predict a when that’ll happen and how long it will last. , both my parents in their nineties had about a three year end of life season before they passed away.
They just had a decline in health, but they were in their nineties. And while, I mean I missed them, but it was just, that’s life, isn’t it? Yeah. That’s just inevitable.
Andrea Vahl: Right. That’s a great long life. That’s a great way to reframe your thinking cuz I think, some people just think I’m going to retire and do nothing.
Bernie Borges: Which by the way, I heard a statistic, I need to go find this, I need to go find this. But I heard that people who retire and do nothing, die within three years.
Andrea Vahl: Oh wow. Ugh,
Bernie Borges: So don’t retire and do nothing. If you look forward to retire financially, great, but do stay very busy.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. I’m pretty busy right now, so I imagine I’m going to keep that trend going.
So and you’re busy as well with all of your things that you do. And starting at. Whatever time in your life, in your midlife, right? . Another question I like to ask my guests is there an assumption that you think people have about you that is wrong or incorrect? Do you think someone assumes something that isn’t right?
Bernie Borges: So I’m going to answer that in two ways, Andrea if we were to go back maybe 20 years that’s really easy to answer because I know that I used to have a nickname of Stuffed shirt, and that nickname was because in a work environment I was like, strictly business.
I didn’t really have fun. I was just work. My friends at work, you know, labeled me stuffed shirt because then they got to see me outside of work and realized, hey, he actually likes to have a good time, , And he’s he’s an okay guy, . But at work it was like strictly business.
So I’ve learned to loosen up, lose that intensity, and today, I don’t know if that’s still true or not. I hope not. I hope not because I do actually like to have fun while I’m working. I really do.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah.
Bernie Borges: What else would someone say, think about me that isn’t true?
Maybe that I’m more quote unquote successful than I really am, and that is that I really consider everything a journey. I never really consider anything a destination. Whether you look at my LinkedIn profile and go, Wow. Look at all the experience you have, you’re very successful.
No, I’m on a journey. I’m still on that journey. I’m still on that journey and that’s what I want to get across is that, success is only defined by, the people you love and the people you touch. You know that’s what defines success and not some bank account.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, that is so true. I love that. That’s great cuz success can mean different things to different people and different things at different stages of your life. I remember when I first started my business 13 years ago, I thought, I was thinking it was just going to be a part-time little gig, and I thought, Oh, if I could just make an extra 500 or a thousand dollars, I’ll be all excited.
And sometimes those markers, those artificial number markers, Move now, and so you’ve got to redefine that success for yourself and not pay attention to external forces, I think. So is there a time in your life where you felt, in your journey, where you felt overwhelmed and what did you do to stop that overwhelm?
Bernie Borges: Yeah, it actually was a long time ago. It was a great experience and it was an experience that lasted five years. And that is I put myself through college at night and I was working full time. Now again, this was five years ago. I told you I’m 65. This is in my twenties. Early twenties. Early twenties. I I got a sales position, this is in New York City.
I got a sales position with a company selling technology training way back in the early days of technology. In fact, we sold to data processing managers like . That title’s been long gone, right? And I put myself through college at Pace University, which was a private university in the evening, and I went 12 months a year.
So the overwhelm was, working every day in sales, which you have to have energy. You have to bring energy. And then either going to class or saying no to my friends who were going out, to the bars after work. Cuz I had to go home and do homework. And same thing on the weekends. And I did this for five years nonstop.
There was no. The only in between semesters was a weekend, cuz I went to every single semester that they offered, spring, summer, spring, fall, Summer one, summer two, spring, fall, just nonstop for five years. And the workload it was overwhelming and, The way that I overcame it was I just did it.
But I did it because I was driven to do it, and I was partly driven to do it because my mom, and she didn’t even know this, but my mom said, when I told her I was going to go to school at night, she said, Oh, you’re never going to finish Bernie. It’s going to be so hard. And so I’m like, I’ve gotta prove her wrong.
I’ve gotta prove her wrong. . .
Andrea Vahl: That’s funny. The nice negative motivation. ,
Bernie Borges: right?
Little does she know. Little does she know. And so it was hard, Andrea. It was hard. What kept me motivated was I just kept seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Like you’ve got, if you can think back to your college years, right?
You think back to the whole curriculum you have to go through and you just keep chipping away and you’re looking at how closer you are to, the end, total number of credits that you need to get that degree. And the closer I got to the end of the tunnel, I just kept saying, I’m getting closer.
I’m getting closer. I just kept at it and it was such a great learning experience for me at a young age. , it just taught me that, you want something hard enough or bad enough, nobody’s going to hand it to you. You’ve gotta go work for it and you’ve gotta just stick with it, and and in my case it meant saying no a lot to again, my friends who were going out to the bars, you know.
After work at night and I would just, cuz I’m not kidding, they would say, Ah, come on, Bernie skip school. , come on, you’re young. You know what you know. And I just said, Nope I gotta go. I just had my priorities. .
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. And that’s great. That’s a great lesson to have learned then. But it also, just carries forward to whatever you might be doing now.
Cause I think we forget how hard something can be, starting something new. It is hard to remember. That takes a lot of effort and, but it can be done. And if you have a great mom who motivates you, .
Bernie Borges: The other part of that, the other part was not just finishing, but I I paid for it myself.
And Pace University is a private university. You probably don’t know them. Not a big name, but it’s a private university so you know its not a state school is a private university, so right self-funded, and I did it at night.
Andrea Vahl: That’s awesome, Bernie. Great job. I’m sure your mom was proud of you afterwards.
Bernie Borges: She was very proud. .
Andrea Vahl: To wrap things up, I would love to hear one of your favorite quotes. I’m a quote junkie. I love quotes for all things. And so I’d love to hear one of your favorite quote.
Bernie Borges: So the quick backstory on the quote is that I think there’s so many things in life that we just as human beings over complicate.
And the famous late Great Peter Drucker has a famous quote, which I think just boils down. A key principle and one of many quotes that he is credited with is “The purpose of a business, Andrea, is to get and keep customers.” So simple, but yet, That’s what it’s about, right? A business doesn’t exist if you don’t have customers and you want to keep customers.
So I just I love that quote.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. It’s always good to keep things simple.
Bernie Borges: Yep.
Andrea Vahl: Bernie, thank you so much and thank you for sharing your wisdom, your experiences on your podcast, and I encourage all of my listeners here to go and check out Bernie’s podcast at midlifefulfilled.com. Anything else you want to share? Any other things you want to promote?
Bernie Borges: I want to promote the fact that you are going to be on my podcast. Oh yeah. Someday soon. So we have it on the calendar. So for your listeners. Be sure to stay tuned for Andrea’s BF to AF story on the Midlife Fulfilled podcast.
Andrea Vahl: Awesome. Bernie, thank you so much for being here, and thanks to all the listeners.
Bernie Borges: Thanks for having me, Andrea.
Andrea Vahl: Hope that was helpful. And make sure you grab the free guide, Top Tools for Late Starters on the website at latestartersclub.com and let’s turn dreaming into doing.
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