Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chris Gates Interview May 2009

My first encounter with Chris Gates was during a volunteer training he was doing for one of Alliance Collection Service’s clients. I didn’t get to talk to him; however, I came away from the event with an initial opinion of him. I sized Chris up as passionate above all, and willing to work with anyone.

My second encounter with Chris was at the gym and then at lunch afterwards. I left lunch that day thinking, “This guy is no-nonsense and intense”. That is the best way I could describe him.

Chris took time out of his schedule and on his way to yet another class and spoke with me about MMA. I told Chris that I thought he really didn’t have a lot to say, meaning that he speaks with his actions instead of his words. To my surprise, he said “Hey man, I have a lot to say.”

I asked Chris a number of questions after that, and those are what I want to share with you today in an effort to give us all a better sense of what Chris’s motives are and what makes the man commit himself to this cause to the degree he does.

Q: Who was the most influential person in your life growing up?
A: My grandma Gates. She instilled in me the value of honesty, integrity, and stewardship. She was a great lady and molded me at every opportunity. She was a great influence and helped me see a much bigger picture in life.

Q: If you could choose one person to emulate or select as a mentor, who would it be and why?
A: Well, I would have to say John Wayne. The reason is that he was unapologetic about being an American. He lived it on screen and in his private life. Even his children have stated that John Wayne didn’t see us as African American, Irish American, Native Amercian, etc. He saw us all as Americans. I believe that is true today. I believe we are all Americans and should act accordingly.

Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am passionate about a lot of things, but you might think I am passionate about MMA alone. That isn’t true. I am passionate about MMA, Jiu Jitsu, and being healthy among other things. What am I most passionate about? That would be easy. I am most passionate about helping others to be the best they can be. It really is that simple. We live in a society of drive thru’s, television, and recliners. I want to help people to see that with a consistent effort, they can see real results in any endeavor and be their best.

Chris was in a hurry. As a matter of fact, as the conversation closed, he was walking across the parking lot to teach another class, so I hope to sit down with him over sushi and pick his brain a little further. When that happens, I will be sure to share it with you.

I left the conversation knowing this, Chris Gates is serious about helping people become the best they can be. He isn’t shy about his goals and isn’t afraid to do what it takes to help others reach their goals. He lives it and he teaches it. Thank you very much Chris for sharing some time with us. I look forward to our next visit.

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