Tony A. Gaskins Jr., the son of a former pastor, was raised in a loving home along with a younger sister in a small central Florida town where most people believed that there were only a few avenues one could take in life. The common belief was that one could either end up overworked and underpaid, sell drugs or become a professional athlete. Tony escaped the cycle that entrapped so many of his peers and was awarded a full collegiate football scholarship.
It was in college where Tony would run into trouble. All on his own for the first time and 1,000 miles from home, Tony found himself in a mess. Women became his biggest vice, closely followed by the lure of fast money. Tony began selling drugs from his dorm room and stealing on weekends while juggling women somewhere in between. After three years of barely staying afloat in his responsibilities as a student athlete, his coach decided to release him from the team. One might think that this circumstance would have been a clear wakeup call, but Tony was unreceptive. Instead, he moved back to Florida and continued to sell drugs and juggle women. He was living like the Prodigal Son, ignoring his natural gifts that were waiting to be unleashed.
It wasn’t long after relocating to Tampa, Florida that Tony would cross paths with a young lady who would influence positive change in his life. She later became his wife. Tony was trying to balance his lifestyle of selling drugs and living a lie while keeping his wife. That balancing act wouldn’t sustain for too long. At 23 years old, Tony was married and had a newborn son who arrived 10 weeks early and weighed only two pounds at birth. Tony decided to give drug dealing one last shot after a long hiatus. He was desperate to find a way to provide for his new family. This time would be the last. No less than a few weeks in his risky lifestyle, Tony’s wife decided she’d had enough and she left him. To add insult to injury, Tony was robbed two days later by a group of local enemies. Tony found himself grappling with $30,000 in debt, poor credit and nothing to call his own, a marriage that was hanging on by a thread and a son in the intensive care unit. It was at this point that Tony finally realized the error of his ways. He fell on his face and cried out to God. He rededicated his life to Christ and vowed to forever live a life of service from that day forward. Although there would be trying times and stumbling blocks in the road, Tony kept his word to God.
Tony pulled out his book, “What Daddy Never Told His Little Girl,” which he had written and published earlier that year. He set a goal to be featured as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show within two years to admit his shortcomings, and from there, to move forward with a clear conscience on a mission to change the world. Over those next two years, Tony engrossed himself in the teachings of the greatest humans to ever walk the Earth. He absorbed thousands of hours of teaching from world leaders; Jesus Christ was his most influential source. This new information about every subject imperative to life changed Tony in the most profound ways. He literally became a new man and almost unrecognizable to his former associates. Christ’s teachings and love restored Tony’s life, his heart, his mind, his marriage and his son. While simultaneously transforming into a new man, he was also juggling the tasks of standing in as his own agent, manager and publicist. He secured several speaking engagements, newspaper articles, magazine articles and local television appearances.
Almost two years to the date, Tony was invited to The Oprah Winfrey Show to share his dark story of once being a toxic and abusive boyfriend while in college with his ex-girlfriend. Tony admitted to things the average man would carry to his grave. His reasoning was to turn his mess into his message and to use his story for God’s glory. He knew that in order to help others change their lives, he had to be willing to admit his own faults as a man. It was his pain which birthed his purpose. He humbled himself and revealed his mistakes as a young man. The day after appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the producers of The Tyra Banks Show called Tony. Tony was featured on Tyra Banks’ show as a guest expert with his self-published book in hand. This was a book that Tony wrote at the mere age of 22 years old when he was fresh out of the dating game. He played the game worse than most men and survived to tell about it in his books. After the talk show appearances, Tony was featured on TBN’s 700 Club. He had visited three globally-televised shows all within a few months while acting as his own agent, manager and publicist.
Tony put a lot of miles on his life at a young age and was blessed with a level of wisdom from his mistakes that would not only change his life but also millions of others. He continued to study daily and gain years of growth. It was that dedication to growth which eventually set Tony free.
Today, Tony has traveled all over the country speaking to groups of all ages. He is one of the most sought-after speakers in the USA. He speaks on topics of love, business, success and self-development. He has addressed audiences for countless colleges and universities, major sports organizations and churches. In addition, he is finally conquering his fear of flying so that he can accept the hundreds of invites from around the globe. Tony is an author of several books and a professional life coach by day, coaching people from all walks of life all around the globe. He is also a TV & film producer on the rise, ghostwriter and an author/business/social media consultant. Because of his vast life experiences, Tony has become a jack-of-all-trades but a master of service. It is his belief that as we live, we should teach. This philosophy urged him to create online schools for people who desire to learn about love and relationships, entrepreneurship or becoming a life coach. He also organizes and hosts retreats for those who need to get away, have a great time, and change their lives in the process.
Tony’s story is a testament that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’ve been through; if you want better for your life, then you can have it. The choice is yours!