Listen to the full interview here ( 29:01 minutes)
There’s one thing about this idea of deciding to change your life. You never know who will become your champion. I’ve chronicled my reinvention in dozens of posts on the midlife tribe website, but today we’re going to hear from one of my favorite people who helped me to achieve it, and that person is Tom Schwab from interview valet. Hi, this is paid and this is the midlife mastery podcast, a show all about mastering the best time of your life, your midlife, of course,
if you’ve been looking around here for awhile, you might recall that Tom was my very first guest on the mid life mastery podcast. Fresh out of Pat Flynn’s. Power up podcasting course was kane, but terrified to get my feet wet with interviews. Luckily for me, Tom put his hand up. The reason I say lucky is because Tom is one of podcasting’s leading practitioners, a podcast to himself. He founded the company interview Valet, our concierge level podcast, guest marketing service that matches subject matter experts in all kinds of fields with relevant podcasts around the world. He knows everyone that’s anyone and he’s coaching and support services are respected by the kinds of people that I’ve sought to emulate myself. I first reached out to Tom in about August 2017 after saying Pat Flynn and do a walk around at a podcasting conference called podcast movement like my race and outrage to another hero of mine, Seth Goden are three caution to the wind, which is something of a lifelong skill of mine, and I asked him for help.
The first thing I did was to read his book called podcasts, guests profits. Seriously, one of the only books that I’ve ever read in a single sitting, I was already riveted by the possibilities that existed in podcasting and he’s booked. Really just amplified that to 11. So when I had this idea for midlife mentors, Tom was one of the first people that I thought of to share what he’s learned about the midlife journey. Thomas, one of those people who really has his shit together. He lives a purpose driven life that emphasizes fun and adventure over fame and fortune, and I’m sure he’s doing fine and both of those, but like many of us, his life changed after a sudden personal tragedy from that moment he said about living in intentional purpose driven life, one that he could embrace and be truly excited about every day. So let’s discover what happened and how Tom Managed to design a life that would bring a smile to any crusty, jaded, midlife, or who might be thinking that the best years are behind them. You’ll find the show notes and the corresponding blog post for this episode over@Midlifetribe.com slash tom or midlife [inaudible] dot com slash 48. I’m glad we finally caught up. There was a period that were actually thought it might be a door or something and I wasn’t sure how I should broach the topic with Karen.
I feel bad. It was, um, uh, it would pop up and I’d be like, Oh yeah, I’ve got to do that. I’ve got to do that. And not to say it was like a homework assignment. We’re not to write something out, I’d rather know if I’ve got a writing assignment. I’d rather go to the dentist before doing a writing assignment, so it was always on the list and then it popped down there and then I’d feel guilty about it. So I’m glad we actually got to talk and get it done here
even though I love Jackie and last time you and I chatted for ages and ages and I could have done it for another couple of hours even though I love it. My first instinct is to do it in writing. So anyway, he’s made trying to get through this quickly and crapping on anyway. Um, okay. Well these questions I actually put together. Um, first off I did a draft of them and then I spoke to, you know, Marie forleo has short hair. Um, one of the chief scribble is a, is a girl called Laura Belgray in New York and um, she’s an incredible writer. She’s a copywriter, has done a lot of stuff on a major TV shows over the last three decades or so. Um, this girl, she charges a thousand bucks an hour for a, for her consulting time over skype, but because she’s so bloody good, I thought I’m going to put these through to Laura first and, you know, spend some time on skype with her and just see exactly how I should refine these because, you know, I really wanted to get, um, seth Goden to engage with this and I don’t know if, you know, but seth was one of the first people I contacted when in fact he was going to be one of the last.
I was going to work my way up to Everest, you know, elevate. And then, um, after I spoke to Laura thought stuff and I’m just going to write to sit there anyway and just see what happens. And I spent two hours writing an email to him and he answered within 24 hours. And then when I gave him these questions, I know I was, I was totally shocked. And when I gave him the questions, I had the answers back in 24 hours after that. Wow. I couldn’t believe it. And I attribute that to the help that I got from Laura in polishing these questions and making sure the approach was what. So having said that, the very first question I’m following, Tim Ferriss laid in tribe of mentors was to start with something simple. And the first question is, do you consider yourself middle aged and how do you feel about that description that Monica?
I don’t like the term middle aged because that means I’m on the downhill slide. Um, I, I don’t focus as much on age and to me it’s just a number. Even though the numbers getting bigger and bigger, um, I just look at what’s still ahead. Um, and the way I look at it is that I don’t have the decision on, on when I’m calling home, how long my life last isn’t necessarily up to me. I can influence things, but I had to. One of my dearest friends, uh, died when he was a 45. I didn’t know that when we were drinking those beers illegally, that he was middle aged. Um, and I thought we were still young. So I, I try not to put that term on it.
No, that’s fair enough. I think it was you and I when we had our discussion, uh, talked about this idea of middle age actually being not what we think it is in terms of the number because we were saying that you don’t really know anything for the first eight in 20 years of your life, you just kind of practicing and you know, you still get your training wheels on and so the clock really starts in terms of being here as an intentional adult from say 20 onwards. So I’m 50 now and so that means I’ve only been sort of doing this thing for 30 years, which means I’m not at the halfway mark yet because I’m going to live for at least another 30 of them.
You know, my dad’s 81 of these is literally fitter than I am. So if I’m 50 and I’ve been an adult for 30, well another thirties, 80 and my dad, I reckon he’ll live to lose over 100. So I don’t think I’ve crossed middle aged anyway. I’m is the same way. Yeah. All he does, he’s, he said he’s aiming for 103 and I reckon he’ll do it because he’s in credibly. I mean he’s very fit, healthy, very conscious about what he eats and he grows a lot of his own food and he spent a lot of time out doors, but he doesn’t stress about it, like he’s not one of those fitness junkies or anything like that, far from it. He’s just, he’s a kind of guy who could actually just completely zone out and be where he is and sometimes I have to look at him, make sure I’ve got his attention and then start talking to him because he just completely immerses himself in where he is and what, you know, what surrounds him. I think that’s a large part of it too, is being able to block out all the distractions just and just, uh, just be anyway. Um, okay. Second question was, is this something that you’d love to do when you were young? The chief since rediscovered and embraced in later years.
When I was young, I used to love to run. I was born without depth perception. So sports were tough for me, but I always could run a and I got away from that as life got busy, uh, and then I rediscovered it just about the time my metabolome metabolism was slowing down and I started to put on weight and to me, I love getting out there, clearing my head to being with my myself and my thoughts, a working up a good sweat and running something I hope to do until the day I die.
No, that sounds good. Do you believe that Middle Age, say 40 to 65 is different today than it was for your parents? And if so, how?
Very much so because I think, uh, the health changes so much, the life expectancy has changed. And also what’s your, like your access to different things change. Uh, and so with us, I believe the world is getting exponentially better and so with that it opens us up to more things. Um, so with that, I think that, uh, our best days are always still ahead of us, not behind us and don’t know that for our grandparents, our parents and grandparents. That was necessarily the case.
No, I agree. I’m at the end of each year. Uh, I used to put together a list of elaborate goals and also strategies and tactics. I’m far less inclined to do that these days. I’m a sort of more in tune with, um, Joshua fields, millburn from the minimalists approach to goals and instead just focusing on a direction and having habits and rituals so that I’m sort of feeling like I’m succeeding every day. Um, but one thing I still do at the end of each year is our list, the habits and the practices and sometimes believes that I’m going to say yes to and no to next year. Uh, so as a midlife mentor to others, what would be some of your yeses and nos?
To me, it starts with what Derek Sivers said, that there’s two answers, uh, know and heck yes. So it’s either a heck yes or no. So what I’m saying yes to is more fun things with interesting people. That’s one of the filters that I put on that um, I say yes to my family. I’m saying Yes to health. I’m saying yes to learning because that’s what’s trying to keep me young.
Hmm. No, that’s good. That’s a good approach. What’s the tactic that you’ve used to get more control over your life? For example, it could be a daily practice. It could be sort of a process that you follow for making decisions or it could be an approach to viewing people’s behavior. So what’s a tactic that you use to gain more control of your life?
To me, it’s putting everything through a filter. I believe I learned this from the big leap by Gay Hendricks, that there is different criteria that, uh, that things have to have in order for me to say yes to and it’s very structured so that I, I’m not, I’m not pulled into those things that should be, knows that I make yeses. So those are the first three. I said, you know, is it a fun thing with interesting people and kind. I make profits a writing, writing it off. So I look at those. Then the other thing is how is this building by life? Is it building my skills? Is it building my relationships and slash or is it building my worth?
No, that’s good. I think, uh, if anything, developing a personal filter system for deciding how you do things and deciding how you approach things is a far superior to a whole set of tactics that you have to try and remember. If you have just a few principles like you’re saying there, then it makes all of the other other decisions so much easier to make, doesn’t it? It does. All right. What’s the limit decision once? Yeah, that’s right. Uh, what’s a limiting belief that you’ve abandoned or reframed in the last 12 months or so
that people’s reaction is about me? I’m Jen groover a really taught me this and is that um, uh, hurt people, hurt people. Happy People don’t hurt people. So when somebody reacts, it says more about where they are than where you are. And that took me a while to get over.
Yeah, me too. Now. That’s a good one. I’ll tell you one thing, I had to struggle with it. I’ve only just in the last probably three years overcoming that is the idea that I need to know everything right now. I suffered this for years and years and years where I just felt like I don’t know enough yet. I don’t know enough yet. You know, how come he knows so much about that? Not knowing anything about it. I need to study that. I need to study that, and it was just insane. It was just, it was all just in case learning instead of just in time learning, which was fruitless. Okay. What is your dominant cause of anxiety or frustration and how do you deal with that? If you have,
I’ll sure all emotional pain is self inflicted. So for me, most of it comes from lack of patience. Patience is a virtue, but it’s one that I don’t have. I often pray to God, Lord, give me patience and give it to me now. So he doesn’t, he doesn’t, he doesn’t really respond to that. I don’t know. So I, I look at that and for me it starts with gratitude and looking back, not looking forward of here’s all the things that I still need to do, but looking back of the gratitude of here’s the things that we’ve accomplished so far. Um, and just being grateful for those.
Hmm. No, that’s wise. Um, had different. Would you say your feelings are about midlife today versus when you first considered yourself midlife? Let’s, let’s say assuming that you know, you decided I can’t. Middle aged at 40 or 45. Um, are you feelings about it today different to what they were when you first kind of woke up? Thought, I guess I’m Middle Age now.
Uh, when I realized that I was middle aged, I was scared to death and that was in my early thirties. Wow. My Dad died. My Dad died when he was 62 and I would forever do the math in my head of where I was compared to 62 and someone, someone pointed out to me that our words and our thoughts have meetings and we can actually think this into existence and that they challenged me. If you keep thinking this way, I guarantee you you’ll die, die at the same age as your dad. So they challenged me. Find the oldest living relative that you could ever remember. You know, my, uh, my maternal grandmother lived till she was 96 and they said, Ben, give on an extra five years. Um, you know, for medical advance, things like that. So stop thinking of that. You’re going to die at 60 to start thinking a, you’re going to make it to 101. And from that standpoint, that’s why I don’t consider myself middle aged because I don’t want to put that timeline on, at that say that says, oh Geez, you know, now that I’m 53, I’ve only got 48 more years. Uh, now I’m going to keep going like a, like I’m gonna live forever.
MMM hmm. That’s was I read a little while ago that I’m a scientist was saying a genetic scientist was saying that, uh, children being born today will likely have the capacity to live until they’re between 150 and 200 years old by the time they get to, you know, the kind of age that we’re dying off at now, which seems unbelievable, but I agree that there’s every chance that by the time we get to say my dad’s age, that we could well have another 20 years added on to our lives because of medical advances.
Who noticed it? I, I’ve enjoyed my grandchildren so much. They’re four and two right now. And the idea of getting to know them like when they’re in their fifties, it’s just amazing to me. So that’s what I’m trying to stay healthy enough, uh, so that I can, I can have a relationship with them, not just when they’re infants and toddlers, but when they’re quote unquote middle aged.
Yeah. How awesome would that be? I mean, just having that with your kids, uh, I think would be incredible. I mean, my dad and I have a fantastic relationship and we’re planning some, some more adventures and camping trips away with my son very soon. So that’ll be the, uh, the three boys. But, um, you know, I’ve got to say that my single driving force these days is, and I say this to my son who’s seven, I tell him that the reason I’m working as hard as I do now, unfortunately I work at home, so does my wife. So we see him a lot. It’s not like we go up to an office somewhere and we see, you know, when it’s bedtime, uh, the moment I, I walk to school, I pick them up from school and you know, we hang out and you know, play and stuff in the afternoon.
So I see plenty of him. But I tell him the reason I’m working my ass off is because by the time you get to 12 years of age, I want to be able to spend as much time with you is I feel like. And if it means sneaking off for a month at a time on an adventure in the desert or going away for a wake up into the high country, I want to be able to do that without even worrying about it. And it’s exactly what I planned to do. And I find that so motivating, you know, in the old days it was to get myself a fancy sports car, maybe even a private jet or whatever stupid, childish dreams, you know, now it’s being able to hang out with him and do now with him eventually what my dad does with me and that is hanging out with him when he’s 50, but hell it with your grandkids, that, that’s just a whole nother level. That would be awesome. Yes. That would be incredible. All right, now for a big one, um, did you suffer a midlife crisis of some kind? I guess you kind of alluded to it a bit already. Um, and uh, if maybe you could expand on what you’re talking about, how did it show up for you and what helped you to overcome it? Would it be this story about you worrying about this sort of stuff when you’re in your thirties and your dead dying when you were 62?
Yeah. For me it was my dad dying at 62. I in my early thirties and just thought I was a mid life. And so the biggest one is reframing what you think the endpoint is and not putting a number on it and just living every day. Um, as you can the best you can, uh, knowing that, uh, it’s God that decides when we get called home, not us know there’s things you do to influence that, but uh, but putting some kind of artificial timeline on it doesn’t help you.
Totally. Alright. After 41 event decision or perceived risk was pivotal for you, how did it manifest and how did you respond? So was there any kind of event in your middle years, uh, or a decision or some kind of a risk that you took that, that, uh, that change things?
Uh, yes. So my childhood friend, we’ve been best friends almost like brothers since we were in high school. Um, uh, wasn’t a day that went by, well, I shouldn’t say a date. Uh, there wasn’t a week that went by most days we talked. Um, and uh, he, uh, uh, he died suddenly he had liver cancer, the same thing that Walter Payton died of. He got sick, um, between Christmas and new years and was dead by St Patrick’s Day. And we had always joked about the, when we retired, we would drive our wives crazy if we ever totally retired. So we were going to do fun things with interesting people and write it off all as a business expense. So when he, when he passed away, um, it shook me that we didn’t have forever and make the most out of every day. And with that, uh, I decided at that time I was retired. So the only thing I was going to do was fun things with interesting people and write it off as a business expense. And now though that was my late forties, and with that, I’m, I’m, I’m living. What I want is my retirement and I want to live this for the rest of my life.
I really love that. That is such a good way to frame it. I’m retired now and now I’m just going to do interesting things with fun people. That is brilliant. What a great way to look at it. I love that. I’m going to adopt that. I’m stealing that. That’s mine. Now
it comes. It comes from a Brian Mitchell, MDA, b r, y a n a if you ever, uh, Google his obituary. He was an amazing man. He was a forensic pathologist. He was a music producer and a at the time of his death. Remember a band survivor, a tiger he was doing, he was doing to survivors. Um, uh, he was producing survivors album. Uh, so it was the weirdest funeral to go to a, you know, there was state prosecutors there, there was the medical profession, and then he had all kinds of music people. And so you could sort of tell by the number of tattoos and the length of their hair, how they do Brian.
Okay, I’ve just googled that now. Brian Mitchell and uh, I’ve got a bunch of bronze orthopedic surgeon, Mt. Spokane Valley, um, web md. A wonderful, uh, I’ll have to find him later. YeAh, I’ll email it to you. Alright. Right. Got to look it up. That sounds interesting. All right. we’re getting to the finish line here. So, um, what book would you recommend to a person over 40 who wants to reinvent their life and why?
uh, to me it’s the four agreements by don miguel ruiz. I’m, I just discovered that a few years ago and I think we are reinventing, redIscovering your life starts with you and the agreements that you make with the world. I’ve probably listened to that audio book two dozen times and I just wish I would have to it, um, two decades earlier.
Well, I’m going to be what I’m going to be reading that as a, uh, in the next week. Uh, there’s one thing I’ve learned is that if somebody lucky recommends something, I don’t nod and smile and then forget about it. I followed up and I read it when I had this conversation with seth. He recommended a book the same day I ordered the book and then my family and I went for a trip up to the gold coast, uh, up in queensland, took the book with me and read it in two days and it was a, it was transformational. Uh, okaY. Moving along. That’s good. I’m going to make sure I read that one. I’m a mini midlife is a rock to me, saId that they feel lost, unfulfilled and shackled by circumstance, usually much of their own making. So what kind of advice would you offer to those people who are feeling a bit lost and unfulfilled?
You control, you, control your destiny now more than ever with what you’re dealt with, where you are, um, that if you have handcuffs on, you put them there and you’re the only person that can take them off. You can either look back and say, the best days are behind me and, uh, and, and wallow your weight into the grave. Or you could say, my best days are in front of me. It’s All a perception thing and it’s all up to you and to you. Can you control your future now more than ever?
Mmm. Mmm. that’s very true. Just to, well, not just about eveRy single person that I’ve spoken to in this series has very similar answers on some of these, particularly this one because I think that for somebody to have succeeded a, to a significant level, they have to have adopted some of these beliefs and some of these, uh, core tenants to have moved ahead and overcome the obstacles that inevitably cross your path. And this is, this is one that all of you have in common, is that you really are the one who’s in charGe of how you feel about things, how you perceive what’s occurred, how people treat you, and how you look toward the future. You know, the, uh, the mindset that you approach the future with everybody is the same in that regard. Yeah. Okay. We’re up To the last one. Can you think of a way that you’ve surprised yourself at an age where many people are feeling set in their ways? Now?
I try to do something once a month. This scares me. That could be, um, I, I held a snake, I repelled off of a cliff and I’ve got a fear of heights, but doing something that scares me and, um, and, and gets my heart pumping there. My wife And I, when we do dates, it’s a, we try to do something that’s interesting. We did indoor rock climbing. Um, we took a sailing course for the first time I’d sailed earlier in my life, but I just always want to continue living and learning and embracing my fears.
No, that’s a good approach. That is a very good approach. You’ve, um, you’ve clearly got, as I say, you’ve got your shit together
that day behind you.
Sure. Uh, I alWays get the sense, um, I certainly got it the first time we talked that you really are living very deliberately. You’re, um, you take in a very intentional approach to life and you’re making sure that it is, as you described, something that’s fun and working with interesting people. I don’t class myself amongst those because we don’t really work together. I don’t think I’m as interesting as you are, but you really are living. I think you’re living the dream, which is fantastic.
Well, you know, everybody else looks at and says that person is living the dream. There’S the struggles that go along with it, but, um, you know, uh, every day’s a gift and not a given and there’s some days that, that are, that are more challenging, but, uh, a good lord willing, I’ll have more of them to, uh, to try and improve.
Hm. Yeah. Well, tell me you’ve been incredibly helpful to me. Uh, I was just telling my wife again tonight that when I read your book, it was the only book in living memory now, it may have happened in the past, but I don’t recall where I’ve sat down and read it in one sitting for me to end. And it was a brilliant book and even though it was very much a tactical, a business related book, it was such an engaging rate. And the, um, the messages in that book was so powerful that I really couldn’t put it down. You know, I was, I was amazed at the end of that. I thought I did not think this book would be this impressive because I thought it would be just a bunch of stuff, but it was, it was really impressive and I, uh, I owe a lot to, um, to what you’ve taught me in that book and in our subsequent conversation, so I really appreciate the time that you’ve, that you’ve put into that and the time that you’ve given me personally over these peter’s, we’ve had
peter, I, I apologize, I feel guilty for not responding to the homework earlier, but I’m glad it worked out the way it did so we get to talk again.
No, I appreciate it tom. Alright, well let’s say what time over here is a 10, 35, so I’m going to wrap it up and I’m going to snuggle in bed and get up at 5:30 tomorrow and do it all over again. Excellent. Right. Great talking with you too, tom, and thank you very much again. Okay. A couple of takeaways from this episode. Number one, the world is getting exponentially better at best days are still ahead of us. Something that tom advocates is to say yes to more fun things with interesting people, run old decisions through a simple filter so that you always know how to respond to life’s choices rather than relying on tactical ideas. If you have a couple of simple principles that you filter all decisions through, then making decisions is a lot easier and they tend to be more consistent to. Another takeaway from this is that people’s reactions usually say more about where they are rather than where we are.
Look back and be grateful instead of always looking forward and chasing. The next thing I know there was a sort of a principal, I guess in a personal development and business and entrepreneurship that we should always be looking ahead, always looking forward and that’s fine to an extent from I guess a mindset and a technical standpoint, but if it is at the expense of being grateful for everything that you’ve achieved to this point and actually enjoying the successes that you’ve had will then it’s a. It’s a never ending cycle of always looking for the next bigger, better thing. So I think there’s a lot of truth in this idea of looking back and being grateful of everything you’ve achieved instead of always looking forward and charge them. The next thing, if we want to live longer than we must expect to live longer, we become what we think about. Decide right now that you’re actually retired and then choose how you’ll live, work and play and design things around that. Anyway, that’s it for me. I’ll hope you enjoyed this episode with tom schwab from interview valet. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll find the show notes and the corresponding blog post. I wrote midlife tribe.com/tom or midlife [inaudible] dot com slash 48. Thanks again for listening on joy having around. Here’s to mastering your midlife. Talk to you next week. Bye.