Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.
Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Celebrity Trainer Christopher Sasha who is a Chicago native and client of my good friend Beatrice Davis. Sasha as they call him is currently working on a program to help reverse diabetes where it helps you learn how to reduce or eliminate medications through a healthier lifestyle. For more information please contact Christopher Sasha.
D is for Dream. What is your dream or what would you will like to achieve?
I’m focused on helping people believe in themselves. At the age of eight, I was bounced around from foster home to foster home after my mother had died. It seemed as though every time I started to make new friends at the myriad of elementary schools I attended during those foster home years, it was time for me to pack my clothes and move to a different foster home – and a different elementary school. I began isolating myself from the other kids at the schools, locking myself in my bedroom at the foster homes, and despising my life.
I developed a dangerously low level of self-worth, self-respect, and confidence because I felt as though I didn’t belong anywhere. And through my adolescent and young adulthood years I nurtured a negative tape recorder in my head that repeatedly whispered to me that I was not good enough for love, friendship, happiness, or anything that bonds the human race together. That negative tape recorder in my head soon became my best friend, which led me to acting out my detrimental beliefs about myself. I was in a self-destructive mode for most of my life. Some artists use music and lyrics to get their anger out, some comedians use jokes to release their anger. Me? I used the heavy bag and weights at the gym as a way to get rid of some of my anger in life. The gym was my refuge. I felt calmer and more at peace within after physically torturing my body with insane workout sessions that sometimes lasted four hours.
Through the years, my workouts in the gym embedded in me discipline, hard work, setting goals and achieving them, pushing myself beyond what I thought were my own capabilities, and believing in myself. The gym taught me how to believe in myself. Exercise and proper nutrition can alter your body both inside and out. Oftentimes, an amazing thing happens when a person looks better and feels better about him/herself. A feeling of self-worth and confidence are usually not far behind.
E is for Encourage. What Encourages you?
I’m a sucker for the underdog. When an underdog becomes a victor, I get an adrenaline rush that reinforces me to keep moving forward with my own challenging endeavors. Whenever I feel like I can’t accomplish a goal that I set for myself, I watch the movie Rocky IV. Compared to Drago (Russian fighter), Rocky is miniscule. It’s very symbolic for me because I associate myself as the underdog Rocky going against the mammoth boxer, Drago. Every time Rocky gets knocked down, he gets back up – and eventually triumphs the fight. And that exemplifies what makes one successful in life. There will always be obstacles to overcome in anything you try to accomplish. The difference between success and failure is the acceptance to keep getting up and moving forward.
My personal experiences and determination to be successful brings copious amounts of understanding with people who don’t believe in themselves. I’ve been in almost all walks of life from living in poverty-stricken governmental housing projects and jail to walking among financial giants. I’ve been emaciated and weak as well as borderline obese. I was basically illiterate at age 23 but turned that around when I put myself through prestigious DePaul University as an A-B student.
I was self-destructive most of my life because I had a negative belief that I was worthless and deserved misery. I changed that negative belief during the march I took to transform my physique. The transition from low self-esteem to self-confidence evolved through a sequence of baby steps. I can relate to peoples’ demons because I have lived with countless demons myself. I pushed myself and conquered my demons, and I can help others do the same.
R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?
Are any of us really ready for anything we do? Most of the time when I am standing before a significant crossroad and worried about what will happen to me if I make the wrong decision, I am forced into a particular direction. One way or another, good or bad, a choice is made for me.
At age 13, for instance, my father and I got into a fistfight and he kicked me out of his home. I dreamt of the day I would leave long before that day but didn’t have the strength. Immediately after I saw the back door to his house close behind me, I knew in my heart that I wasn’t supposed to be there. And that somewhere there was a better place for me at that particular time in my life. That day was the first time I realized that I was a fighter. I learned that I’m much stronger than I perceive myself to be, and the best way for me to do anything of significance is to dive into it and trust that I’m going to be okay.
Am I ready to be doing what I’m doing now? I don’t know. But I do know that I have the focus and determination to succeed to help others transform their beliefs about their self-worth by transforming their physiques.
I is for Individual. Name at least one person that you know that you feel others should learn about, and why?
Alfred Jones. He was a friend who died several years ago. He came to America in the 1960s not knowing a word of English (except the word “okay”), less than $100, and a determination to live the American dream. He eventually owned a small empire of rental properties with a net worth of over $10 million. He was successful, happily married, and a grandfather to five grandchildren. He would always tell me, “If I could do it, you can do it!”
C is for Continue. When you fall, things look bleak or are not optimistic. What makes you want to continue?
This is an interesting question because I used to quit everything. If I didn’t succeed at something with the first try, I would quit. As I got older, I learned that the only way to success is through failure. The difference for me now than a few years ago is that I reflect on my failures so that I can learn from them. You’ve heard of Einstein’s definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I’ve learned to take different routes when I’m trying to reach a goal and fail. Sometimes I fail miserably many times for many years before I achieve my goal – it took me seven years to earn my finance degree from DePaul University. But I’ve acquired some powerful qualities during my troubled years. Embedded traits like determination, focus, perseverance, and discipline are what I apply when taking on laborious goals. I’m constantly reminded of the saying, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.”
K is for Keys. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?
Besides applying the facets I have already mentioned (discipline, focus, perseverance, and determination), I believe that one has to know WHY he/she wants to succeed in whatever it is he/she is trying to achieve. Willpower is not enough to get through obstacles that seem unattainable. Willpower is a great initial motivator. But it will slowly dissipate with each grueling obstacle that needs to be overcome. Knowing WHY the goal is important and truly believing in that reason will give tremendous strength to continue.
Also, VISUALIZE what it will be like when the goal is achieved. The greatest athletes utilize visualization before each game. Michael Jordan (regarded as the best basketball player of all time) used to visualize making the game winning shot in his mind hundreds of times before actually making the shot. Ask yourself… How will you emotionally feel when you accomplish the goal? What will others be saying when the goal is accomplished? How will you physically look when the goal is accomplished?
These answers will be compelling reasons to keep moving forward to attain the goal. Above all, you must believe in yourself! If you don’t believe in yourself, how could you believe you can succeed in anything?
Is there anything that we did not touch on that you would like to inspire others with?
I don’t believe in the word “Impossible.” I believe in the words “I’m Possible.” This world can be a dark, vile place. Believe me. I talk from first-hand experience. It can knock you down to the ground. And when it does, you have the choice to either let it keep you down or get up and keep moving forward. The only way to be happy and successful is to choose the latter.