Inspiring stories of success, joy and refusing retirement from renegades rocking life after 50.

The Renegade Boomer Podcast with John Brink

Featuring John Brink

Episode 006 Living The Dream

Can you triumph over trauma, failure, and ADHD to create massive success for yourself? This octogenarian author, body builder, and mega-successful business owner says YES! John Brink survived the trauma of World War II, immigrated to Canada with only $25.47 in his pocket, without a job or ability to speak English, and now? Well, I’ll let you lean into our fascinating conversation to find out, but let’s just say, John Brink still has plenty of muscle to flex at 82! 💪🏻 So, if you think growing older has to mean becoming LESS, you’ll soon have an entirely new view of what is possible! Not only has John written several best-selling books about how challenges like childhood trauma and ADHD can be powerful levers for success, he is 100% onboard as a Renegade Boomer who defies societal expectations about what aging has to look like, feel like, or BE like. If you’re looking for an infusion of hope and inspiration, you’ll love today’s podcast!

WATCH THE EPISODE BELOW:

SHOW NOTES:

Favorite Quotes

So, take a turn, go do something different. But do not say, I retire.” John Brink

Favorite Moments from the Interview

John’s story is the epitome of hope. I loved how he spoke so candidly on living with ADHD and his childhood during World War II. His enthusiasm for life is palpable.

Why the Renegade Boomer Community will love it

You’re going to feel all the feels!

This episode may induce everything from laughter, to goosebumps, to tears.

Because John’s story takes you from childhood deprivation and starvation, to becoming the oldest competitive bodybuilder in North America, as well as the CEO of a hugely successful business**.**

If you’ve ever thought you were “too old” to live YOUR dream, then listen closely. Because you just may discover your self-limiting beliefs need to be kicked to the curb. As in, immediately.

John is living proof that you’re never too old, it’s never too late, and you really can create the life you’ve always dreamed of.

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View Transcript

[00:00:00] Tina: Hey, this is Tina Lorenz with the Renegade Boomer™ Podcast. And so, I’m really looking forward to my guest today, John Brink, who is a really interesting Canadian citizen, and I wanna welcome John as well. For starters, he’s a renegade boomer all over the place and a rock star because at 82 years young, he’s a World War II survivor, a CEO, a serial entrepreneur, an author, a competitive bodybuilder, podcast host, motivational speaker, business mentor, real estate developer.

Let’s see, what else? Dressage rider, father, granddad, husband, friend, philanthropist, pilot, and ADHD advocate.

[00:00:37] John: And an author.

[00:00:39] Tina: An author. Right. I think I said it. Maybe I missed that one.

[00:00:41] John: You may have said it. I wrote a couple of books. And here are the ones.

[00:00:48] Tina: Oh, yes. And I mean, I think you’ve probably proven that that’s another thing that can be definitely overcome and work with because I just was reading, you have such a fascinating background and so just to share a little bit. I understand that you immigrated to Canada in 1965 and you had this lifelong dream of building a lumber mill.

And you left Amsterdam with $150, one suitcase, mostly books. And by the time you got to Prince George British Columbia, I read that you had exactly $25 and 47 cents in your pocket.

[00:01:19] John: Absolutely.

[00:01:20] Tina: Couldn’t speak the language, didn’t know anyone, didn’t have a job, and ended up building the largest secondary lumber manufacturing facility in Canada.

[00:01:30] John: Absolutely.

[00:01:30] Tina: And I think I read you had 400 employees.

[00:01:32] John: Yeah. Something like that.

[00:01:34] Tina: Something like that, more or less. Right. So, you know, my first question was, besides welcome is what do you do to keep busy?

[00:01:43] John: Well, I’m full of energy. I usually get up at 5:30 in the morning, and I always feel like I’m late. And the other thing that I always do is always make my bed. When I get up, I make my bed and I take one look back, and then I’m ready for the day. And the day usually is full of things. I get to work around 6 o’clock in that area and then by the time I go home, if I’m lucky, I get home again at around 7 o’clock or so.

[00:02:08] Tina: Right. And you freely share that you are an octogenarian, right? And you know, really, I think it doesn’t even matter except for the sense of hopefully inspiring others that think that, “Oh, I’m just all done because I’m 60.” You know, I don’t know, is there like a mandatory or a kind of a traditional retirement age in Canada? I’m just curious, the government “retirement age”.

[00:02:29] John: It makes you wonder, right? Not mandatory that I know of. I own all my companies, and I have an unwritten retirement age that I implemented although I’m the sole director and the chair, and so I say about 95.

[00:02:43] Tina: Yeah, that sounds good. Then you can go, if you want, you can come back to part-time.

[00:02:49] John: Exactly. Why not?

[00:02:51] Tina: Yes. You’re right. Well, cause I’ve mentioned this before in some of my other podcast conversations, when studying this in the United States, when they came up with the retirement age of 65, it’s cuz they didn’t expect anybody to live that long. The average life span at that point was 61. So it was kind of like, “Hmm, let’s make it 65. Hardly anybody’s gonna get there,” you know?

But that thinking actually became the norm that so many people just accepted. And so, you know, I’m leading the Renegade Boomer™ Anti-Retirement Movement because my whole concept is, no, you may transition to something else. You may add something else. You may choose to have something else you wanna do, but there’s no reason to just stop, right? So, I think I probably know with a lot of what your thoughts are now, but tell me what you said when I ask you and you told me, people ask all the time when you’re gonna retire.

[00:03:38] John: Yeah. I said when I get old, you know. And then the other people that’s saying the retirement age is 65, I say, “And then what? Lay on the couch?” If I would say to my wife I’m gonna retire, she’d say, “Please don’t,” you know, because I would drive her nuts, you know, and I would go nuts because what else do you do if you don’t have goals and objectives anymore?

So I’m writing another book, actually, the third one that’s coming out in July is Finding Your Passion, Living The Dream. And that’s all about the issues that we are talking about, I believe it is, you know, that I find a lot of people that have objectives and want to do things that they have not thought through very well.

And they’re frustrated with what they are doing. They don’t like their jobs. And so, that will affect their whole life, their social life, their jobs, obviously, if you don’t like it. I say if you made the wrong choice, make a change, you know, because there’s nothing more important than that you by and large, like what you’re doing most of the time. If you do that, that affects your whole life all around you. And I believe that is very, very important.

And so that’s what that particular book is all about. I’m very excited about that actually because a lot of people have difficulty making choices, especially when they are younger. I’m not saying that you then exactly should lay out what you want to do, but at least have a general idea.

And then as you get, all of a sudden when you’re young and you’re in your late teens, you enter in your twenties and you get into relationships and maybe a family, it’s so critically, critically important that you have a good idea of where you want to go with your career if you wish or whatever job that may be that you’re pursuing and that you enjoy that.

It doesn’t have to be entrepreneurial. You don’t have to become a multimillionaire or all that kind of stuff, nothing to do with that, it’s you have to be reasonably enjoying the things that you do on a daily basis. That makes your whole life better.

[00:05:47] Tina: Well, I’m sure that you have worked with many people in corporate structures in leadership roles. You’ve done many things in your industry in Canada especially, so have you found though, sometimes that people have been in a career for a very long time, they’ve been in it for 20, 30 years, working for someone else? I’m not talking about someone that has kind of that entrepreneurial spirit. Like you’ve built your own business eventually and I’m an entrepreneur all the way through, but sometimes when they’ve been in a structure like that and they are approaching possibly the mid part of their life, 50s and beyond, that they might want to do something else or they might not enjoy the job they’ve been doing and they’ve kind of lost their identity. They’ve kind of been absorbed into the corporate culture or what they were “supposed to be” in that role. Have you experienced that with some of the leaders that you’ve interacted with?

[00:06:30] John: No question about that. And then I say, “Great!” So take a turn. Go do something different, but do not say, “I retire.” It basically means, “I have no idea what I’m gonna do. I have no hobbies. I don’t have this, and I’m going to be laying on the couch and watching TV all day.” Not good.

[00:06:52] Tina: Right.

[00:06:52] John: Find something.

[00:06:54] Tina: And sometimes they need guidance in how to do that, kind of peeling back the layers because I believe we all have that core that we are united in a sense, you know, universally united in our humankind. And that, I refer to something that I call your Divine Assignment, that really is something that’s maybe a tiny little spark or maybe you need some help getting it connected to that spark again of something that you’re meant to do. And it may not have anything to do with earning more. Maybe you’ve already made millions of dollars and you’re fine financially.

[00:07:21] John: Or maybe not.

[00:07:22] Tina: Or maybe not. Or maybe you are gonna make millions of dollars.

[00:07:25] John: Who knows? Who cares?

[00:07:26] Tina: Yeah. But that following that inner guidance, kind of that compass point, I feel like you have that all over the place because with what I read about you, when you came from the Netherlands, you already knew you wanted to build some kind of lumber-related business, right? Is that correct?

[00:07:41] John: Correct. Yeah. Correct. A couple of things happened to me Tina is that I was born, as you already indicated, in 1940. And Holland was at war. The Germans had invaded Holland, and we had the second World War.

And my dad had been drafted in April of 1940, I was born November the 1st, 1940, into the Dutch Army. I had a sister, one year older, brother, two years older. And the last time that they saw him was before the bombing of Rotterdam. So for five years, my mom and my family didn’t know if he was dead or alive or would he ever come back.

So for five years in the war, she was alone with her three kids and trying to survive. I remember still from the time I was three and a half years old with hundreds of planes in the air. And for those that are not familiar with Holland structures, it’s relatively small, you know.

I was born in northeastern Holland in the extreme northeast, about 10 minutes from the German border. And so when the bombing took place from 1943 forward, daytime, nighttime bombing, we would go outside with my mom to watch the planes not because to look at the planes, but it was safer to be outside than inside and you would have as many as 350 planes in the air.

[00:09:06] Tina: Wow.

[00:09:07] John: The sound of it, even now, I will never forget it. It is never duplicated. And in a distance because Germany was only 10 minutes away from us, you could see, again, for those that look at maps, you had Hamburg and then Kiel and it borders on the Atlantic Sea and pointing towards Denmark and that area, that’s where the bombing would take place.

In the distance, we could see the sky was full of fire, planes that came back. Some of them were shot. And then, in particular, in 1944-45, it was what they called the “Hongerwinter”. And, you know, extremely cold, there was no food because the Germans had then blocked access to any food that came in from other places.

And the kids including myself at then four or five years old, we would go every morning with a gunny sack and go to the railroad yards, pick up anything edible and burnable.

[00:10:03] Tina: Wow.

[00:10:03] John: And the reason that the kids would go there because the Germans wouldn’t shoot them, you know? And then in the evening, I still remember that. I can still feel it. It was cold, cold, cold, and we had one little front face of the house heated, and we would sit close to the heater and freeze in the back and be extremely hot in the front. And very little to eat anything edible. It was not kind of food, anything that is edible. And then anxiety.

So those are the three even now, I can still feel. The hunger feeling and the cold and the anxiety, you know? But then the point that I want to make, we were liberated by the Canadians April the 12th, 1945. And it made such an impression on me that I knew from that point forward that I always wanted to go to Canada, the land of my heroes. And so from the time I was five, it was not if but when.

[00:10:51] Tina: Wow. Oh my gosh. There’s just so many lessons. I have chills all over just listening to it. I mean, I feel like I’m feeling some of that feeling right along with you, especially when you talk about being cold and the sound, I picture the sky just dark with the planes, right, as far as the density of them. What kind of impression, how that affected you viscerally, physically, psychologically, spiritually as a child, right? I think there’s such an important point here, so many really because we still have turmoil in the world now, right?

[00:11:19] John: Yeah. Look at the Ukraine.

[00:11:21] Tina: Yeah. We’re never going to escape that changeability of life, right? There’s always these challenges thrown in our path. It’s never gonna be like, you know, the path’s strewn with rose petals, it’s all so easy. And so, I see that you had to make a decision even as a young child whether that was going to stop you and defeat you mentally, emotionally ongoing even when the war ended, or was it gonna propel you forward. And obviously, you chose the path, you made a decision, at some level, even then that you were going forward. You knew, not how. You knew why. You knew why. You didn’t know when, but you knew why. How do you think that has carried you forward with all of your life, the lessons that that taught you?

[00:12:02] John: So what it did Tina is that, you know, my grandfather, I never knew him. He died when he was in his early 40s, but he was a grand carpenter or furniture maker, and he made amazing pieces and did in particular churches, an amazing master in his craft. And then my dad managed the small lumber company. So for me, it was kind of a given that I would go towards the lumber.

The other part that was kind of interesting in my life that I never quite fully understood until much later is that, I was not exactly a success academically. I failed grade three and I failed grade seven three times.

So I got to the point that they said, “Well, what are we gonna do with this guy?” So they considered maybe sending me to the mentally challenged school or to get me a job. So fortunately they got me a job at a furniture factory, training, and at evenings to go to college to become a furniture maker. So that’s what I did. Then from there on, I started working in a lumber manufacturing plant there.

Then I was drafted into the Dutch Air Force, which was mandatory then, not now, for two years. And then, worked for a large lumber importing firm in Holland. They had about 35 subsidiaries, and I got a very interesting job there somehow.

But then the problem always was that in Holland, the culture was that if you wanted to get a job, they say, “Where are your diplomas?” But I don’t have any diplomas. And then I always questioned myself. I felt I had failed in those areas and I had to prove to myself that I could do it. And still my dream was very much there to go to Canada. So I left and I managed to start with nothing.

So I left Amsterdam by plane with $150 in my pocket. I had one suitcase, three books, two sets of clothes. And I knew I wanted to go to British Columbia. That’s where the lumber is. And then, landed in Montreal. Then I took the train, four days, five nights, actually, couldn’t speak the language. Arrived in Vancouver.

Fortunately found a fellow that spoke German and I could speak some German. And I told him what I wanted to do. He said Prince George. That’s where they are building sawmills, and boomtown and that’s where the future is. So when I came off the bus here, I had exactly $25.47.

I’ll show you a plaque that my employees made for me. They have it always hanging in my boardroom. And so, it’s this one here.

[00:14:34] Tina: Oh, that’s great.

[00:14:36] John: $25.47. The other thing that it shows underneath-

[00:14:39] Tina: Beautiful woodworking too, by the way.

[00:14:41] John: Yeah. And then, what it shows underneath is attitude, passion, work ethic. What follows is success.

And so that’s what I did. I started out as a cleaner man, then a lumber piler, and then slightly over a year, year and a half, about that, I was a superintendent of one of the largest sawmills here in the area.

And that didn’t go fast enough for me. And then, I bought into a little mill. You know, that’s by managing it and then being promised one third ownership in of all places and your listeners will say, “Well, where is this?” Well, one thing that they will know for sure is they know where Alaska is.

Now, if you drive through Canada and you drive through BC, the Alaska Highway, they call it then. Then you have to go through the Yukon territory, and that’s where it was, in the Yukon Territory. And the Yukon Territory is somewhat unique, very cold. I always say it snows in July. You don’t know if it is late or early.

[00:15:42] Tina: Yeah.

[00:15:42] John: You know, that kind of place.

[00:15:44] Tina: Yeah.

[00:15:44] John: Yeah. Anyway, so I was there for five years and then came back to the Prince George region. Again, started from the bottom up. I was successful in Yukon, but I couldn’t build what I wanted to do there. And then made a business plan for a company called Brink Forrest Products.

I started up with three employees and the rest is pretty much history. Now nearly 50 years later, we are one of the largest secondary manufacturing plants and have a number of other companies.

[00:16:12] Tina: And you’ve still got quite a waste to your mandatory retirement age?

[00:16:16] John: Absolutely, and I still enjoy it. I still have lots of energy.

[00:16:20] Tina: It’s amazing. I mean, you know, which came first? Chicken- The energy or the success? And it’s like, do you ever feel that kind of urgency like, “Oh, I can’t run out of time cause I still have so much more to do,” you know? Do you ever feel that way? Because you said that wasn’t fast enough for me and I just kind of caught that when you were saying that.

[00:16:37] John: Yeah. Interesting. No, I always kind of feel the same. The other thing that I should mention to you, which was very, very telling to me when I was 57 years old here in Prince George, I wander into a store here. And I don’t usually read much, but I opened a book and the book’s title was “Driven to Distraction”. And I have no idea that’s why I looked at it. And it was about ADHD. And I said, “Oh, my God! That’s me.”

[00:17:09] Tina: Really.

[00:17:10] John: And I wrote. I was standing there going through the book, which I normally don’t do, even to the extent that the guy, the owner of the store is saying-

[00:17:16] Tina: Hey buddy.

[00:17:20] John: But anyway, I wrote in Dutch. “Now I finally know who I am.” Because I was ashamed of it, but it told me what had happened to me. I was ADHD. Attention was a problem. The normal schooling for me was something that didn’t work for me and hence, the failure that I thought had nothing to do with my abilities, but more with structured teaching. But at that point, ADHD still had a lot of stigma to it.

[00:17:50] Tina: Right.

[00:17:51] John: But to me, nearly five years before, although I saw it in the book, then I started Googling it, looking at it, learning more about it, it took me even five years before I would go to my family doctor, who was a friend of ours, had delivered my two daughters. I came into his office and he said, “Hey, John, how you doing? Why are you here?” And I said, “I think I got ADHD.”

And so we talked about it and then we both concluded, yeah, we did. Then from there on, probably 6, 7, 8 years ago, Tina, I felt I had an obligation to become more public about it.

[00:18:31] Tina: Mm-hmm.

[00:18:31] John: ADHD, and in particular, I think it was in 2018 or so, around that time, I got an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Northern British Columbia here, and I spoke during that presentation about a number of things that I had not been as public about as I would like to do. One was PTSD as it relates to my war years.

[00:18:57] Tina: Yeah.

[00:18:58] John: The other one was the inner child that I got counseling for and the inner child most of your people maybe know what it is, it’s the little boy that never left you. And the other one was ADHD. and then, it became more and more often that I became public about it.

And then what I felt I had to do, I had to write about it. So I did “ADHD Unlocked”, extremely popular. It’s on all the major media and I did it in audio as well as in a book form. And so, to me that was very important. And the book is interesting because I wrote it in such a way that it is easy to read, typical for ADHD individuals.

The frequency of occurrence of ADHD, much higher than we first anticipated both on male and female. And I have it virtually on a daily basis because I’m more public about it. I have my books out there.

There’s not a day that does not go by that said, you know, something, “I’m also ADHD,” or “My kids have been diagnosed,” and all of those kind of things. So I feel that at least in a small way, I have helped people to better understand who they are.

But if you wondered about the energy and all the other things, typical ADHD, I can do 20 things all at the same time and be very good in most of them.

[00:20:22] Tina: Yeah. So, that’s what I was gonna say. I feel like that’s the seed of your brilliance is also a part of your experience, it sounds like, with ADHD. It’s also the seed of your brilliance.

[00:20:34] John: It’s superpower.

[00:20:36] Tina: And when you say, “I found out who I am,” I’m thinking you found out part of how you experienced yourself and came to peaceful terms with it.

[00:20:46] John: Absolutely.

[00:20:46] Tina: So that it wasn’t something to be kept a secret. And so by sharing that and by talking openly about that and just being authentically who you are, you are helping so many people.

I almost see ADHD as the “entrepreneurs’ disease” or whatever you wanna call it, you know, that they might think of it that way, but it’s not something broken, right?

[00:21:04] John: No. No. I call it a superpower.

[00:21:07] Tina: Yes.

[00:21:07] John: And then once you discover it and understand it, then from there, you can then make it work for you effectively. But there is no question in my mind that it is a superpower.

But the other thing that it did for me is I feel I have an obligation to talk about it, and that’s what I do after the opportunity presents itself.

[00:21:30] Tina: And I’m glad you’re showing your book because when we conclude today, I wanted to make sure everyone knows how to find all of your books and the one that you’re writing right now.

So, do you have a different process for how, like, for those that say, “Well, hey, that sounds like me. I have ADHD,” if someone is identifying that that isn’t a path that they’re on, did you come to terms with, “Well, I can write a book.” You know, when you said earlier, “I hardly ever read a book because I didn’t quite know why, but that’s why,” you know, that you weren’t taking in the information the same way.

So what were some of the challenges you overcame for writing the books?

[00:22:00] John: So this is the first one that I wrote. “Against All Odds.” It kind of tells my story and it’s not Hoorah, hoorah, John, how successful he is. It was not about that. It’s that in spite of it all, falling down, standing up, never giving up, trying this, trying that, failing here, failing there, all of that is the path to success. It’s critical to understand it better if you accept the fact that you don’t give up.

You know, I do quite a bit of presentations, and I do presentations a couple of weeks ago with a group of entrepreneurs and one fellow took to the panel. I was one of three or four people there, and he said the banks are the problem. Because he made a presentation to a bank and they turned him down and he said, “That’s what the problem is.” I said, “Okay, so how many presentations did you make?” He said, “Well, I made one.” And so what did they say? That they were not gonna do it. And I say, “Okay. And then what you do?” He said it’s their fault. So, you know, that’s the problem.

I said, let me tell you a story here that I applied to every single bank. I had three banks that finally after me talking to them, changing my business plan, on and on again, I ended up with one bank and after going there for 12 times or 13 times, always slightly changing my business plan.

The problem was that I had good ideas. I had no money. And, I wanted $25,000 to start my company. And, and I always remember this one day again, I went down there and once with the fellow that was handling my account and he had to go three cubicles over to go to the manager and I was kind of sitting there and waiting and all of a sudden I heard. “Give him the money, give him.”

The point is a very simple one. Make a business plan. Look like you know what you’re doing, but do not give up. That’s the message.

[00:23:51] Tina: There just has to be that inner core, right? That kind of iron core that says, “I’m gonna keep going forward.” And I think you developed yours as a child, even though you have shared that you had to deal with that later because you kind of lost certain aspects of your childhood, it sounds like, because you were literally out gathering food and fuel for the family and the fear. The fear. And again, that’s something that could stop someone or you choose to go forward.

So then as an adult, you chose to deal with the remnants, the debris that might have been left, that you were still dealing with from your childhood.

And how was that for you then as just really kind of integrating all these aspects of your true nature into the man you are now?

[00:24:31] John: Yeah. So probably, it started with that and it’s in my book in a way. It was a very open book. It had my challenges in it. All the good, the bad, and the ugly. You know, there was a period that I was drinking more than what’s good for me.

There was a period in which I got counseling together with my partner and my wife and obviously dealing with some issues because contrary to what people believe that entrepreneurship is not simply bringing money to the bank and planning holidays. There’s a lot more to it than that. And it can be very taxing on relationships and on families. No question about that.

And then when we were in counseling about that, the counselor said to the both of us that, “I wanna talk to John about the inner child.” I’d never even heard of it, you know.

[00:25:18] Tina: Are you looking over your shoulder? “What child are we talking about? Who are we talking about here?”

[00:25:23] John: So we did that and then obviously afterwards I found more about it. It’s the little boy that never left. So, it’s very emotional.

[00:25:30] Tina: Yeah. And I appreciate you being so open to share that because especially for men, I think that they feel, “Well, I can’t show any vulnerability.” A lot of men grew up that way. A lot of men in our generation, mine, yours.

[00:25:43] John: It simply was not done, right?

[00:25:45] Tina: Yeah. And so I love that you’re sharing that and willing to have that vulnerability because that’s everything, you know. That’s really this heart and soul of being human.

[00:25:54] John: Absolutely.

[00:25:55] Tina: That we’re spiritual beings having an experience in our physical bodies here on earth right now. All of that.

[00:26:00] John: Yeah. And then, you know, be honest, be respectful of others, and be thankful for where we are, right?

[00:26:06] Tina: Absolutely. This isn’t a question of better or lesser. We’re all in this together. We are all united as humans in this human experience. And really, if we could just get down to the core of that, we’re kind of all the same. When we talk about that spiritual source, that spiritual core, we all have the ability for wellness on all aspects of our life, right?

[00:26:27] John: Absolutely. I agree.

[00:26:29] Tina: And so, I’d like to move into a little bit about your bodybuilding because I just find that really super interesting. So how did you get involved with that?

[00:26:37] John: Well, there’s always this shocker that gets you there, right? So I think it was in 2008 or so, I nearly died. What happened is that I had a case of diverticulitis, and I have a fairly high threshold for pain that’s not good. And I struggled with it, and there’s immense pain in my left side of my body. The other side is appendix, but the other side, I didn’t know what it was and I’m usually knock on wood, fairly healthy. And I stayed in bed on Sunday and we have a place in Victoria, so I was there.

Victoria is on the island. I usually take the plane down every week. On Fridays, I go there. And on Mondays, I go back or Sundays. Anyway, so then, I thought that something is not right here. So I went back in immense pain, and by the time I got to my doc here in Prince George, I still don’t know how I made it through the airport, and he sent me straight to the hospital. And so that already indicated that I had had a break in my colon. You know, you have about, I don’t know technically, but taking 48 hours before it starts really affecting the other organs.

[00:27:48] Tina: Gangrene and infection, all that, you know.

[00:27:50] John: Yeah. And so I got an operation. They removed about 20 centimeters or so, 8 inches, but I came that close, you know.

And so before that, I used to go to the gym as everybody does and, you know, you make this commitment and say, “Okay, my New Year’s commitment is I’m going blah, blah, blah.” And I’d done that like everybody else. But then I knew I had to do a little bit more than that.

And so I hired a trainer and I started going to the gym with a trainer and worked out about 6, 7, 8 hours a week. And then after about 5 or 6 years, somebody said to me, “Have you ever thought about competing?”

I thought, “Me?” You know. And all of a sudden I started focusing on that. And then, after about 8 years, I started competing, I think it was 2017, 2018 in the northern region here for bodybuilding and physique and came in second in body building, third in physique, which qualified me for the provincials. Came there third and second again. That qualified me for the nationals and the Arnold’s.

[00:28:55] Tina: As in Schwarzenegger?

[00:28:56] John: Yeah.

[00:28:56] Tina: Okay.

[00:28:57] John: Yeah. And so then obviously, COVID happened. And now, I’m back again training so that in 2023, I hope again to go qualify for the nationals and the Arnold’s. I think it technically makes me the oldest competitive bodybuilder in North America.

[00:29:15] Tina: That’s true. That’s so awesome. I love that this, so many lessons. Everything you say, John, is just like rich with lessons because you know, this isn’t something that you imagined. This is how I’m interpreting. You didn’t really ever think about this is something you could do. And an illness was like the two by four to the head kind of a thing of you came this close, right? And so then you started getting more focused on, okay, my health and building my body back up to health and one thing led to another. So it wasn’t overnight. Like you said 5, 6, 7, 8 years. I heard you saying.

[00:29:45] John: 8, 9 years. Yeah.

[00:29:46] Tina: Yeah. And then somebody else says, “Hey, by the way, have you ever thought about?” And it’s like, “No.” And instead of saying, “Oh, that’s crazy, I can’t do that. I’m too…” You know the word, right?

[00:29:56] John: Right.

[00:29:57] Tina: “I’m too old to do that!” You just went for it.

[00:30:00] John: Everything is possible.

[00:30:00] Tina: Yeah. Yeah. And right now you’re planning for this year that you’re gonna go ahead and compete again. I kinda think that’s gonna work out for you.

[00:30:08] John: Not only am I gonna compete, I’m gonna win.

[00:30:11] Tina: You’re gonna win. That’s right. You’re not just there hanging around the edges. No, no, no. Do you get a trophy or a medal or what? What do you get when you win?

[00:30:19] John: Yeah. Something like that. Yeah.

[00:30:20] Tina: Yeah. So you’re gonna get another one. You can hang it next to your plaque that’s in your boardroom.

[00:30:24] John: Yeah. The whole idea, Tina, is that at the end of the day, as you know, and as I know, there is nothing more important than physical and mental health.

If you don’t have that, then that’s where the problems come in. And that’s where the focus should be always. That’s why I wrote a book about Finding Your Passion, Living the Dream.

And although I don’t use it very often, but if somebody asks me, really, “What are you doing and how are you doing?” I say, “I’m living the dream.” And I’ve done that most of my life and it’s a mindset and it makes me lucky or fortunate, but I have to share it with others so that they can feel the same.

[00:31:06] Tina: I love that because, you know, one of my mantras is it’s never too late. I’m a late bloomer. I also had no degrees in what I started doing when I was already past 50.

So I just resonate with this so much, and I’m sure that there’s many people watching this today, they’re going to feel the same way, and that really just, it’s never too late to continue to co-create that life that is the dream. And so you are living the dream.

I can’t wait to see your new book when it comes out. Do you know when it’s going to be available?

[00:31:32] John: July.

[00:31:32] Tina: Okay. That’s right.

[00:31:33] John: We’ll make sure that I’ll get Scott to send you a copy of it.

[00:31:37] Tina: Oh, that’d be wonderful. I’d love that. And so, how can people find you that want to learn more and follow your path and see you in your competition this year? How can people find you, John?

[00:31:46] John: Yeah, so, one of our websites is johnabrink.com. The other one is On The Brink. That is my podcasting channel. We’ve done about 90 or so in that area, and we’re doing two or three a week. So those are some of them. But John A. Brink is easy to find. The books, all of them are audio as well. And I do the reading of it, you know. And then I’m starting another book as well while we are at it. My number four book is “Living Young, Dying Old”.

[00:32:21] Tina: Okay. And that’s all the way up to that day, right? You know, you might be getting older, but you’re not getting old, that’s for sure.

[00:32:28] John: Exactly.

[00:32:29] Tina: So thanks so much for being here, John. I just loved our conversation. That certainly inspires me, and I’m sure it’s gonna inspire others that are watching this today. So thanks again so much for being here today.

[00:32:38] John: Thanks, Tina. It was my pleasure. Take care.

[00:32:40] Tina: You too.

Copyright 2023 Tina Lorenz

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