We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Bilger and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Andrew, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work place balance is a phrase that was unknown to me at a younger age. Work was the easiest place that I existed in my natural state. It was my wheel house. Family relationships with my wife and children and extended family always seemed forced, like I was a fish out of water struggling to wiggle my way back into the waves. As such I stayed busy 7 days a week with work. If my Main business didn’t need my attention then I would take on new projects to occupy my time like contracting homes or remodeling a rental. I was very out of balance but had no idea. It was just what life was right? By the age of 44 I was a wreck. Over weight, tired, always stressed, failing at my marriage and at being a dad. I made a move that was foreign to me and saw a therapist to try and right the ship so to speak. At the same time I started to meditate, concentrating on being in the moment, during all parts of my life. This took years to find a level spot in my thought processes. I’d always been a dreamer and goal setter in my personal and work life. Somewhere along the way dreaming became looking forward and many of the most important moments in my life were often overlooked as I could never be in the here and now. Work life balance is now something that I think about in nearly every situation. Even though I may still spend 7 days a week at work when launching projects or dreams I make myself take the time to stay engaged with the people I love and listen to what they are saying about our relationships. Exercise and time with loved ones and friends must be interjected within the week. You would think that it would become easier? It has not. Work life balance is an ongoing process that I must think about on a daily basis. Luckily, my wife Elena, is quick to remind me when I stray off course.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My career has been a long list of minority partnerships funded by sweat equity, great mentors and lots of mistakes. I have always believed in myself and my ability to work harder and longer than others around me. For a long time I believe this was my biggest advantage and perhaps it was for a time. I have always been a quick learner and loved to observe others both for their good qualities and in areas they could improve. I worked my way into many opportunities that may have passed by others that did not pay attention. I always tried to make myself invaluable to my partners through hard work while learning more about my business and coming up with new ideas and better ways of conducting our business. When situations go poorly and in times of crisis I have always had the ability to take a step back and observe from a quieter place. All of these items are pillars of my career but the most important one is this: No matter how horrible things are going, no matter what you have failed at or in situations where you believed you missed the mark always get up the next morning and get back after it. I have never let failures define me and some of my greatest successes were direct results of hitting the bottom. Inversely, I have never gloated about successes or thought of myself as indispensable.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in a small rural town these days so I will take you just south to San Antonio where I would live, if I had to live in a city. San Antonio is a microcosm of so many things I enjoy. Our first day, would be spent walking the river walk, eating food from around the world and sipping cold adult beverages along the way. Maybe we would take in a re-enactment of the Alamo or a tour of the modern art museum. The next days would begin with grand breakfasts of Mexican delicacies from huevos rancheros to Machacado. Our visits would include the historical Spanish Missions and a leisurely strolls through the Mercado downtown. We would definitely take in a Spurs basketball game then drink some good Tequila and beers downtown in one of the many bars followed by some street tacos to tied you over until the next morning when we start again! Great food and brews are prevalent within the Pearl and Blue Star district where we could easily waste away the remainder of our days. Finally, I love the the culture and mix of the San Antonio food, wine and music scene. I’ve seen Itssac Perlman, the Gypsy Kings and the San Antonio symphony play the music of Star Wars in the beautiful Majestic Theater built in the 1800’s. I’ve eaten Michelin Star meals, street food that would bring tears of joy to you eyes and TexMex food that would lengthen your belt loops all within a few doors on our downtown streets.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been blessed to be surrounded my whole childhood and adult life by mentors. These mentors were sometimes family, like my parents, bosses and owners I worked under and friends. I’ve always had people reach out to me with life advice. Some good some bad. I have really enjoyed the books and podcasts of Tim Ferris and Joe Rogan and have geeked out on their long form interviews. My wife Elena has helped me immensely and I would be nowhere without her support and insight. I’ve joked around that I have been lucky to always be surrounded by much smarter people. In fact, I think that is true.

Website: AdegaVinho.com
Instagram: Adega_vinho
Facebook: Adega Vinho
Yelp: Adega VInho, Stonewall, Texas

Image Credits
@robhensonsurfshots Becky Busker sunset glass

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