(I first came in contact with Tony Gaskins via Twitter several months ago. Since then I have watched him do some great things across the country as he successfully juggles his roles as husband, father, author, life/relationship coach, motivational speaker and filmmaker. I had the opportunity to go one-on-one with him about his past trials, his happy marriage, his passion for helping people improve their relationships and more.)
Brother Jesse Muhammad (BJ): What trials in your life ultimately motivated you to start living your present purpose-driven life?
Tony Gaskins (TG): I was lost in the world and looking for myself. I had many signs from God to change my life but ignored them, but then one night I was robbed. I lost my car, and everything in it that meant something to me at that time. I also knew that if I had been in the car, I could have lost my life. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and it prompted me to change my life.
BJ: I read that you were involved in an abusive relationship. How so?
TG: I was an abusive boyfriend in college. Trying to change a human being to be the woman I wanted her to be only to find out that you can't change another human being and risking your freedom and your sanity isn't worth it. So I had to leave and become a real man and quit being a grown boy.
BJ: What inspired your book What Daddy Should Have Told?
TG: It's a relationship guide for women coming from the heart of a former organized pimp/womanizer who changed his life and is now trying to teach real love so that women won't have to go through what I put so many through in my younger days.
BJ: So many people long for the day to sit in the "Oprah Chair" and you've had the opportunity. What did you do prior to that appearance that positioned you to be called upon to be a guest on her show?
TG: I had lived a messy lifestyle and wrote a book about it. I turned my "mess" into my message and I wasn't afraid to be transparent about my mistakes as a young man. That made for good T.V. and that is what got me the opportunity to be a guest on Oprah.
BJ: When you're traveling across the country and the globe speaking to audiences and offering consultation, what are you setting out to accomplish? What is your motive?
TG: My motive is to enlighten and empower. I want to share the wisdom that God has allowed me to draw from my mistakes and the mistakes of others. Ultimately I want to create happy and healthy relationships between men and women, which will also make better families, which will ultimately make a better future for our world.
BJ: I noticed that as a Black man, you don't shy away from talking about marriage and launched For The Love of Me Experiment. How important is your personal marriage to your present success? Why are you pushing the development of long-lasting relationships?
TG: My near perfect marriage that my wife and I have created through the guidance of God is my reason for teaching real love. Because I'm living in a happy and healthy marriage I understand how good it feels and how beneficial it is to our lives and that's a part of my inspiration to teach about it. I want everyone to be as happy and healthy as my wife and I are, and not have to feel like you're chasing a fairy tale but know that two mature individuals can have a happy reality.
BJ: Through your "Birth Your Book" method, you're successfully helping people get published. Do you think everyone should tell their story?
TG: I believe that once you've lived, you should teach and understand that to teach is to learn twice. No matter what you've been through someone else is about to go through it and with your book in their hand it could save them a lot of time and trouble. That is why I believe that everyone’s story is worth being told and everyone should be bold enough to tell it.
BJ: You have over 56,000 followers on Twitter. When you're tweeting, what do you want to accomplish with those 140 characters?
TG: I want to enlighten and expand the minds of the people which will also help them elevate their lifestyle. I want to bring clarity, wisdom, knowledge and understanding to everyday living. That's the goal.
BJ: Over the next few years, what can people look forward to from you and your various ventures?
TG: I'll be doing any and everything that God will allow me to, so books, T.V., film, seminars, iphone apps, the whole 9. Stay tuned!
BJ: Thank you brother.
(For more information on Tony Gaskins visit his website @ www.tonygaskins.com and Follow him on Twitter @TonyGaskins)