I’m glad I met George Foreman at an industry conference instead of inside a boxing ring. His formidable size and strength are obvious despite being 72 years old. He’s not only a world class boxer, but also a preacher, and an internationally successful business owner and salesman. He might even be more famous for his grill than for his boxing career. He shared his life story and was “grilled” for business and sales tips by eager entrepreneurs hoping to learn from his massive success.

Principles Are The Foundation

Foreman started off by sharing that his childhood was rough. He grew up as one of seven children outside of Houston, TX and in his teens, he fell into a life of crime. After dropping out of school at 15, he became a thief and mugger. He recounted the moment when he changed his life path. He was hiding underneath an abandoned house trying to evade police and their dogs when he decided, “I’m not going to be a thief anymore.” This change of heart lead him to join the JobCorp where he found people that introduced him to boxing. Foreman shared with the audience, “Without your principles, you’re nothing.”

Adapt To Stay In The Game

Foreman had two separate boxing careers, separated by 28 years. Between 1969-1977, he won an Olympic gold medal in the heavyweight division, turned professional and won the world heavyweight title twice. He lost the title to Muhammad Ali in 1974 and retired shortly thereafter. In 1994 at the age of 45 he came out of retirement to win multiple heavyweight championship titles. He is the oldest boxer ever to win the world heavyweight boxing championship. Foreman’s final record includes 5 losses and 76 wins.
In between his two successful stints in boxing, Foreman was called to become a Christian minister after experiencing a religious epiphany. He founded a youth center and served his community and people with great passion. Through this experience, Foreman learned how to connect and engage with people. These skills served as the foundation for building a thriving business.

Transitioning To International Business Success

After retiring from his 2nd boxing career at 46, Foreman found himself needing to make money. He received some endorsement deals, but he was on the search for his next adventure in his journey. Instead of simply endorsing a product, Foreman knew that selling his own product would be much more lucrative. Foreman knew he found the right product when his wife tested out an indoor kitchen grill that produced amazing food.

The George Foreman grill was an instant success. It was a high-quality product, backed by Foreman’s sales ability and celebrity. Foreman shared with the audience, “People were buying the grill, but they were really buying me. I remember preaching on the street corner, desperately trying to get people’s attention to listen to my message. At first, they ignored me, but then I learned how to grab their attention and keeping it. That was the best sales training ever!”

I personally found George Foreman’s story inspiring and motivating. He overcame so many challenges and continually reinvented himself, finding success in every venture. As a business owner of a 2nd generation family-owned business, I understand the struggle to adapt and remain relevant. It seems just as you figure one thing out, technology, business, and the world changes. It’s a constant challenge facing every entrepreneur. George Foreman is on the search for his next product and business idea, proving that the most successful business owners never stop adapting and growing.