Bernie Borges | Legacy Impact | Midlife Fulfilled

Ep 169 The Pursuit of Impact and Legacy One Person at a Time

Achieve fulfillment through a conscious mindset of effort to make an impact every single day, even if it's one person at a time.

In this takeaway episode, I am inspired by my conversation with Phil Gerbyshak on episode 168 about his transition from the business world to substitute teaching.

Here are three key discussion points from our conversation that led to my takeaway:

1️⃣ Embrace New Beginnings: Phil proves that it is never too late to pursue new passions and make a positive impact.
2️⃣ The Power of Connection: Phil views every day as an opportunity to make meaningful connections, even as a substitute teacher.
3️⃣ Leave a Legacy Every Day: Phil is intentional about having an impact on his son and the kids he reaches through substitute teaching.

My main takeaway is the power of having a conscious mindset of the effort to make an impact every single day.

I shared an experience where I was leading a group of 12 year-old boys in a Bible study. At the time, it felt like I was herding cats.  A few years later I learned that I had a positive impact on at least one of the boys.

My challenge to you is to be intentional about having an impact. Don’t give up. Even if you only impact one person, it’s worth it.


👏 Get my Five Pillars of Fulfillment Scorecard 👏 

My affiliate link to Castmagic, the AI tool I used to help produce these show notes.

Connect with Phil Gerbyshak
Newsletter and Podcast

Watch this episode on YouTube

Five Pillars of Fulfillment Scorecard | Midlife Fulfilled Podcast

Episode Transcript

Bernie Borges [00:00:00]:
Hello, my midlife friend. This is Bernie Borges, your host to the Midlife Fulfill podcast, and this is episode 169, a takeaway episode from episode 168, where I had my conversation with Phil Gerbershack. You know the drill. On takeaway episodes, I summarize the key discussion points from the previous episode, and then I hone in on one key takeaway that I want to emphasize to you. Then I issue you a challenge that I want you to consider on this topic. First, let me begin by reintroducing you to Phil Gerberschak. Phil is a friend of mine. He is a former work colleague.

Bernie Borges [00:00:42]:
Phil recently turned 50. Now, his career ranged from corporate banking to information technology to entrepreneurial and sales roles as well. Phil dreamed of being a teacher in his youth, but he didn’t complete his teaching degree, and he jumped into his career in business. Well, fast forward 25 years, and in December 2023, he mentioned to his wife that he’s thinking about pursuing his lifelong dream of teaching. And with her encouragement, he got his substitute teaching credentials, and he began a substitute teaching assignment the same day. Yes. The same day that he got his credentials. You see, Phil is an extrovert, and he’s passionate about life.

Bernie Borges [00:01:31]:
The fact that he began substitute teaching on the same day that he got his credentials tells you everything you can ever wanna know about him. Simply stated, everything Phil does, he’s all in. That’s just who he is. Now, in episode 166, Phil shares the challenges and the experiences that he’s encountered during his first few weeks as a substitute teacher in various grade levels. Now, on that episode, we also delve into Phil’s podcasting journey as well as his commitment to spending meaningful time with his 8 year old son. And before I proceed with my takeaway, let me summarize 3 key discussion points from our conversation on 168 that lead me to my takeaway. Number 1, embrace new beginnings. Phil started substitute teaching at age 50, and this has been an incredibly fulfilling experience for him so far.

Bernie Borges [00:02:27]:
It’s just testimony to the fact that it’s never too late to pursue new passions and make a positive impact. Number 2, the power of connection. Phil views every day as an opportunity to make meaningful connections even as a substitute teacher. Phil is dedicated to spreading happiness and making a difference one interaction at a time. And number 3, his focus on being the best dad that he can be for his 8 year old son and providing him with love and support is so inspiring. Phil wants to coach his sports teams and just be present in his life. That’s a top priority for him. Now, my takeaway from this conversation with Phil is grounded in one statement that he made on the podcast.

Bernie Borges [00:03:17]:
In fact, this statement moved me so much that I used it as the opening excerpt on the podcast. Phil said, I try to leave a legacy every day. I try to impact the world every single day. That is so powerful and so inspiring, and I wanna unpack this in 2 contexts. One is how Phil is having an impact on the world every single day, and the other is an experience that I had where I was trying to have an impact. Additionally, I’m gonna challenge you to examine how you’re leaving an impact, how you’re focused on your legacy. So first, Phil. As I mentioned, Phil turned 50, and he decided that it was time to pursue his lifelong dream of teaching.

Bernie Borges [00:04:08]:
He wasted no time in chasing that dream, and he wasted no time in getting his substitute teaching credentials. And then he wasted no time in jumping in to his first substitute teaching assignment literally on the same day that he received his credentials. Phil is now spending his days in a classroom with the opportunity to impact children of different age groups, and he takes it very seriously. Now, I don’t suggest that other teachers don’t take seriously the impact that they can have on their students. That’s not what I’m saying. In Phil’s case, I get the strong impression that he’s making up for 25 years of not being in the classroom. Now, knowing Phil the way that I know him, I don’t think that he regrets the past 25 years of his career. In fact, I think he views his current chapter as the right time, the perfect time for him to be a substitute teacher.

Bernie Borges [00:05:07]:
So much so that he views every single day as an opportunity to make an impact. Now I call this an attitude of conscious competence. Phil is consciously approaching each day with the intent of having an impact. He approaches each connection with a student as an opportunity to have an impact. With such an intention, coupled with Phil’s dynamic personality that exudes enthusiasm and purpose and positivity, I have no doubt that he is having an impact in the classroom every single day. I also think that Phil is mature enough to know that it’s not realistic for him to impact every student that he encounters. In fact, he shared the story of 1 student who laid his head down on the on his desk after he completed an assignment. This is just one example that illustrates how it’s unlikely to be able to have an impact on every student.

Bernie Borges [00:06:06]:
However, Phil, if you’re listening, here’s what I want you to know about that particular example. Just because this student put his head down on his desk doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s not paying attention. You know, sometimes in life, we impact people when we least expect to impact them. This leads me to my example that I want to share of my attempt to have an impact. Reminds me of a time when I led a group of middle school boys at church in a bible study on Wednesday nights. Group of about 10 boys, about age 12. We met on Wednesday nights from 6:30 PM to 8 PM. Honestly, it was the longest hour and a half of the week for me.

Bernie Borges [00:06:53]:
I dreaded it. Now, you might be wondering, why did I do it? Well, I volunteered because there was a need. Middle school boys at church need to be entertained while also getting a legacy, a Bible lesson in this case. Now, first of all, I want you to know, I am no Bible scholar. And these kids and their parents were not expecting a bible scholar, which is partly why I agreed to do it. Anyway, each Wednesday night, we would cover a page or 2 from the bible with the intent of discussing the meaning and how it could be used in daily life. Let’s just say that these kids behaved more like it was recess than a bible study. Their energy, even in the early evening, was off the charts.

Bernie Borges [00:07:39]:
Sometimes, I wondered if they loaded up on sugar before we met because I struggled to contain their behavior often times, even to sit still, which for the most part, they didn’t do. So the best way for me to describe my Wednesday evening bible study with this group of 10 middle schoolers is that it was like herding cats. That’s right. Like herding cats. Each Wednesday night, I went home feeling like a failure. I felt like I was wasting their time, and frankly, like I was wasting my time. Now, I led this group for about a year and a half, and while I got to know them, I honestly felt like I was just functioning as a babysitter. Don’t get me wrong.

Bernie Borges [00:08:26]:
I always led a lesson. I didn’t go there and and do nothing. I didn’t go there and just play wiffle fulfilled whatever. No. We we covered a legacy, so I was not negligent in my duty as their bible study leader. In other words, I tried. Now, I’m gonna fast forward about 3 years. One weekend, I ran into a group of 3 of these middle school kids who were still friends with each other, and now they were in high school.

Bernie Borges [00:08:52]:
So at the time of middle school, they were again about age 12. So now they’re about 15 or 16 in high school. So I ran into them at an event with their parents, and I’ll never forget what happened. The boys approached me in the crowd when they saw me. They said hello and started a friendly conversation. To my surprise, they were happy to see me. They even said so, and then they thanked me for the time that I had spent with them on those Wednesday nights. They said they enjoyed those lessons.

Bernie Borges [00:09:24]:
I thought they meant they enjoyed themselves because they were horsing around all the time. Then, one set of parents from this group of kids came over to join the conversation, and I’ll never forget what happened next. The parents thanked me with sincere and heartfelt gratitude for the time that I had spent with their son. They said that their son would come home and talk about the lesson and what it meant to him. These parents were very grateful to me for pouring into their son, one of the 10 middle school kids in that bible study that I led on Wednesday evenings. Yeah. Those bible study lessons that I thought were a waste of time because I felt like I was herding cats. The truth is, I had no idea that any of these kids were getting something from those lessons.

Bernie Borges [00:10:19]:
The truth is, I had no idea that I had an impact on any of these kids. And, even though the encounter with this set of parents was for just one of the 10 kids, that’s okay. I have no idea if the other 9 kids were impacted positively in any way. But, knowing that at least one kid was impacted positively is enough. In fact, it’s more than enough. It made the entire experience worthwhile. So now, I turn to you. What are you doing to have an impact on something or someone? Maybe you’re discouraged because you don’t know if you’re making a difference.

Bernie Borges [00:11:02]:
If that’s you, don’t stop. Keep going. I have no doubt that you’re having an impact. You wouldn’t be in this situation if you weren’t meant to have an impact. God will reveal it to you as he revealed it to me. And if you’re not an unapologetic believer in God like I am, then trust that your universe will reveal it to you because that’s just the way it works. So this is my challenge to you, my friend. Be intentional about having an impact on something or someone.

Bernie Borges [00:11:35]:
Stay committed to it. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see the impact. Trust that you are having an impact even if your impact is not as wide as you would like it to be. Sometimes sometimes, the impact is just on one person, and that’s enough. I want to thank Phil Gerbershack for joining me on episode 168. And I want to remind you that you can watch my video recording with Phil Gerbershack on episode 168 on the Midlife Fulfilled YouTube channel. That’s linked up in the show notes page, of course. Hey.

Bernie Borges [00:12:14]:
My next guest episode features Danielle Devaning Limon. Danielle is someone that I’ve known for many years professionally. For about the last several months, I’ve been coaching her in the role of a life coach. And we have an open, honest, vulnerable conversation about what that experience has been like. So don’t miss this episode. If you’re a new listener, first of all, welcome. So glad you’re here. But, I wanna encourage you to hit the subscribe button on your podcast player, so that you don’t miss this episode, as well as future episodes.

Bernie Borges [00:12:53]:
You know what time it is my midlife friend? It’s that time when I remind you that if you’re 80% fulfilled, you’re doing great. And if you wanna know how I know this, well, go get that scorecard. It’s available in the show notes. I’ll see you on episode 170. I’ll see you then.

The Midlife Career Reboot Workbook

Midlife Fulfilled Podcast Page on LinkedIn

Subscribe & Listen On

Connect with Bernie Borges

Rate & Review

Is it time?

Whether you're in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or beyond, this is a time to SCORE your fulfillment.


The Midlife Career Reboot Workbook

Subscribe & Listen on

Get the Midlife Fulfilled Podcast
Delivered to Your Inbox

Each episode is curated with love.

Your information is 100% secure and will never be shared with anyone. You can unsubscribe at any time.