Recently Silver Disobedience had the opportunity to sit down with Charles Porter. I originally met Charles after he gave a commencement address that moved me to tears for a variety of reasons. He is an athlete, actor, champion fighter against Hodgkins Lymphoma, personal trainer, behavioral change & nutrition specialist, poet, husband, Dad…and a fine person. I think you’ll enjoy reading what he has to say as much as I did.
Please tell us a bit about your background?
I was born in Oxford, England to a British mom, who is white and Jewish, and an American dad, who is black and Christian. I left England when I was four and still maintain dual citizenship. I grew up on the east coast, living in Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina and finally putting down roots in California.
What inspires you to create?
There are a number of things that inspire me to create. Music is a powerful source of inspiration but I also find creativity in a quiet moment in nature. As a cancer patient I am often around people who are suffering. I’ve had extremely difficult days and I’ve had days feeling invincible. Both suffering and resilience inspire me to create. Art work, books and pod casts have also sent me into a whirlwind of creation. My friends and family inspire me to live. In short, being present in life inspires me to create.
How has your career influenced your passions (or vice versa)?
Ever since I can remember I’ve always wanted to help others. As a teenager I would tutor kids younger than me from disadvantaged backgrounds. My love of education continued throughout college where I received a teacher’s certificate from Duke University. I played football on a full scholarship at Duke. Combining my love of sports with education led me to becoming a certified personal trainer and coach. My youngest client is five and my oldest is seventy two. Being able to develop athletes and seeing them reach physical goals fires me up: But, when I see positive reinforcement met with discipline and love as it grabs ahold of a client and changes their lives completely? That is what gets me out of bed at 5am in the morning ready to rock. My passion remains helping others and changing lives. Adding Behavioral Change Specialist and Nutrition Specialist to the Personal Training Certificate widens my scope of practice and gives me a greater reach. This directly affects my other career within the arts. As a writer, producer and actor I am most gratified when something that I create or help to create moves another human.
What is something that you must do every day (by choice)?
Something I must do everyday is say I love you to my wife and daughter.
What are some things that you would tell your younger self, if you had the opportunity to offer advice retrospectively?
If I could go back twenty plus years and look myself in the eye convincingly, I would tell myself to become a master at the things you love to do and the only way to do that is to learn from past masters, work hard and do not waste time. If you are reading this then you are aware of the importance of time and how fleeting it is. I would also tell myself that comfort is more appreciated at an older age so save your money.
If you could be answering these questions from another location, anywhere in the world, where would that be?
With each year passing my desire to go to New Zealand grows so I’d rather be answering these questions there, with my family, overlooking a body of water and surrounded by cliffs.
Who are some role models in your life?
When it comes to role models, I like to find a personal connection first. I don’t pick my role models strictly off of financial success. My friend Eric LaSalle, who I met while filming Johnny Was, is a friend and role model in the sense that he has mastered his craft and yet still pursues excellence as if it is day one. From student, to tv and film star to director and producer and writer. My dear friend Scottie Montgomery is a former NFL football player and current college coach. We played football together at Duke and remain very good friends. Similar to Eric, he has become master of his craft. The endless hours of study and teaching while juggling fatherhood and marriage is so impressive. My accountant, Marty Goldman, who I’ve adopted as a second father has taught me a great deal about money but more importantly about life. A father of four daughters, Marty, is one of the greatest fathers I’ve ever known. He is also one of the greatest husbands. Dedicated, to say the least, Marty is a master of both.
What are some common misconceptions about getting older that you’d like to change?
There are some truths to getting older. Most common are that we slow down, care less about what others think about us, we have more knowledge and experience and we understand that time flies. The misconceptions of these truths are that these are bad or scary things. When you slow down you can actually appreciate the world around you. The knowledge and wisdom accumulated help us to make better decisions therefore saving time. Time does go by fast so as I’ve gotten older I make it a point to try not to waste it. Less tv and gallivanting in senseless activity. Now I ask what will I learn or gain before taking the leap. You do not necessarily lose spontaneity but it is more of a calculated risk.
What is something you appreciate now that you hadn’t before?
Something that I appreciate now that I haven’t before is rest. Rest leads to clarity which in turn leads to peace. I love peace.
What’s a lesson you learned within the last year that you’d like to share?
A lesson that I’ve learned in the past year is that being a mother is the hardest job on the entire planet and the most important.
What kinds of relationships are important to your work?
The kinds of relationships that are important to my work are similar to the ones that I’ve established over the last twenty plus years. Surrounding myself with people who are in the pursuit of excellence and striving to be the best versions of themselves. Whether it’s writing, acting, coaching, teaching or being a father and husband, I want to be at my best. Those are the types of people that I like to train.
What would you like to be doing exactly five years from today? Ten years?
Five years from now I’d like to be healthy and happy. I feel that my family will have grown. I am a household name in the Health and Fitness community and my writing career is thriving. Ten years from now, my wife, children and I are truly enjoying the fruits of our labors. Traveling the world and expanding my children’s perspective on life would be optimal. Personal training and coaching have now spun into Life Coaching world leaders and professionals of all crafts. My voice continues to shape and grow enabling me to help more and more people for at that point I will be a twenty year cancer destroyer!
What one idea would you like to share with the Silver Disobedience community?
My mother moved to Los Angeles from Florida on the day that she received the news of my cancer diagnosis. She was 63 and a retired nurse. For a whole year she and my wife, Candice, were at my bed side helping to save my life. After my first remission, I encouraged her to become a private duty nurse. At 63 in the heart of Los Angeles, my mom was intimidated but she was also determined. She walked into a Beverly Hills agency and walked out an hour later with an assignment. She is currently regarded as one of the best in the business. She’s been the Head Nurse in the homes of former US Presidents, CEO Execs, A list Movie Stars and directors and yours truly. My mother is also a role model as she is living proof that it is never too late to reinvent yourself. My message to the Silver Disobedience community is to NEVER QUIT.
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