Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World

A Reel Leadership Article

My latest book, Reel Leadership, is now available on Amazon. If you love movies and leadership, you will love this book.

Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World is the latest movie from Affirm Films. In this film, the story of George Foreman’s life is captured. From his youth to his rise in the boxing world to his fall all the way to his redemption and battle to regain the title of world heavyweight champion. 

The film is inspiring in the story it tells. George Foreman (played by Khris Davis, Austin David Jones, and Kei Rawlins). From his humble beginnings in a poor household, George has to learn how to channel his anger into something productive. More than that, George has to learn whose he is.

Actor playing George Foreman. Standing in a ring. The mat say Budweiser. He is holding the ropes.

Whether you’re a fan of boxing, film, or inspiring stories, Big George Foreman has it all. You won’t walk away feeling disappointed.

More than that, you won’t walk away without becoming a better leader. There are plenty of leadership lessons in Big George Foreman. We’re going to look at those lessons today.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World

1. Remember to give thanks:

George’s mom, Nancy Foreman (Sonja Sohn), did her best for her children. Still, it never seemed enough. 

In an early scene of the film, we see Nancy breaking apart a hamburger. As she’s breaking apart the hamburger, you can see the hunger pangs on George’s face. He wants to eat…

Nancy sets the quarter she had broken for George on his plate. He lunges for the food, shoveling the hamburger into his mouth. His mother stops him.

She reminds George to give thanks for the food.

Whether we have a lot or a little, we must remember to give thanks. We are blessed to be doing what we’re doing.

Do not take it for granted. Don’t forget who allowed you to be in these positions. 

Give thanks to God.

2. Wrongdoing will get you dirty:

George and his friend, Desmond (John Magaro), were waiting outside a local bar. They were checking out the patrons leaving. They were waiting for the perfect mark.

There… They saw one. He’s stumbling out of the bar, looking drunk out of his gourd. They pounce.

But there’s trouble. This isn’t a drunkard. It’s an undercover police officer. 

The police officer pounces. He calls in other officers. They pursue Desmond and George. 

George flees. He makes it to a house. There, he sees an opening and dives underneath. He breathes a sigh of relief that was early. The police officer is now releasing a K9 to track him.

This is when he notices sewage leaking from the house. He covers himself in feces to avoid the dog.

While we won’t cover ourselves in feces, we do something similar every time we do something we know we’re not supposed to. We cover ourselves in metaphorical feces with white lies, bald-faced lies, snide comments, and more that we do on a regular basis.

Let’s not get dirty like that. Let’s avoid the dangers that come from wrongdoing. 

Instead, keep your head above board. Do the right thing. Stay clean.

3. Nancy Foreman:

Look at me. You’ve got more inside you than you’re showing.

Mothers always see the best in their children. They know the potential they hold within themselves, even when they don’t know themselves. 

George wanted to sign up for the Job Corps. He saw this as a way to get out of the house, earn money, and become independent. Nancy saw this as a way for her boy to grow into a man, to realize his potential. 

I want to encourage you that you have more within you than you’re showing. You have an untapped amount of potential.

Tap into the potential. Dig it out. Find out what you can do.

Then go do it.

4. Doc Broadus (Forest Whitaker):

Where’s all that rage coming from?

Doc Broadus worked for the Job Corps. He then became George Foreman’s boxing mentor and trainer. He trained a champ.

George wasn’t always a champ. He had a searing rage burning within him. Doc Broadus saw this and wondered…

Where did George’s rage come from? Why was George always fighting? Could it be controlled?

It all came to a head when another Job Corpsman stole a pair of George’s Converse sneakers his mother had sent him.

Are you angry? Maybe it’s someone you lead? If not, I’m sure you’ve encountered an angry man or woman in your career.

Maybe you wrote them off. You thought their anger would destroy them.

Stop to consider how you could harness that anger. Could you help them grow and use that anger for something positive?  

You have an opportunity to help guide, mold, and mentor those in your charge, even the angry ones. Who knows, maybe you’ll raise up a great champion.

5. The impossible is possible:

George had never boxed before the Job Corps. Doc introduced George to boxing in an old airplane hanger.

George heard about the upcoming 1968 Olympics. He saw the competition. He wanted a piece of it.

Doc told George that winning against an Olympic athlete would be impossible. After all, George had just started to box. He had no real training.

That didn’t matter. George took the shot. He battled against Jonas Cepulis (Philip Craddock) in the Olympics held in Mexico that year. And he won. 

The impossible was possible.

When you think of what’s possible, think of what you think of as impossible. The things that seem intangible or unobtainable… They may not be so far out of reach.

Strive to work hard to achieve what you and others think is impossible. You’ll find yourself achieving more than you thought possible.

6. You don’t need complete knockouts to win:

While George Foreman had power behind his punches, he didn’t always knock out his opponents. There were many matches where George won by TKO (Technical Knock Out).

One of those featured in the film was when he boxed against Joe Frazier (Carlos Takam). The two traded blows again and again. Eventually, George knocked Frazier down once, then twice, and then a third time.

George won the boxing match by TKO. The win was still good. George Foreman becomes the World Heavyweight Champion!!!

We think we have to go for the kill in business. We have to have the best products, the best price, and the most customers all at once. We don’t.

What we need to do is take things bit by bit. Go for one goal to begin with. Tackle that goal. Then head on to the next.

Knock things out one by one. You won’t get a knockout, but you will get the win through a TKO.

7. We fight some of our hardest battles when we’re at our highest:

George Foreman just became the world heavyweight champion and married to the beautiful Paula Foreman (Shein Mompremier). At this moment, he was on top of the world. He was also about to fall hard.

At a party, he notices an attractive woman. The woman notices him. Nothing happens.

Then George gets back to his hotel room. The woman is there, waiting for him. The two start an affair. After that, there are many more affairs to come.

George had to fight battles in the ring and in his life. What seemed to be a high point became a low point when he chose to cheat on his wife. 

The battles we fight aren’t always the ones that we see coming. Sometimes, they creep up on us after we have just experienced a victory.

Beware of riding your high into a place of danger. When we’re experiencing success, it is easy to fall into the traps around us.

8. Our lives can change in a moment:

George went from heavyweight champ to heavyweight chump. He lost to Muhammad Ali (Sullivan Jones). Then, he lost to Jimmy Young (David Jite). 

During this fight, Young hit George just right. After the fight, George went to the locker room. He heard voices. Then passed out and died.

Thankfully, he was revived. 

But… During the time he was out, he had died. He had a vision. And he changed his life. 

He decided to give his life to Christ. He became a Christian, gave up boxing, and began to preach.

Our lives can diverge quicker than we think. All it takes is one inciting incident to change the course of our lives.

Be ready for the change. Don’t fight it. Go with it.

9. We have many transitions in life:

George had a lot of transitions in life. He was a boxer. Then he became a preacher. Only to return to boxing again. In between, George also hawked the George Foreman Grill and other products. He wasn’t a one-trick pony.

Instead, he transitioned to new roles throughout his life. He didn’t stay stagnant. 

Have you been resisting change? Have you known a transition is coming but you fight it?

Everyone transitions in life. There’s no standing still. 

Learn to transition, to move to new areas when you’re called.

10. Looks don’t matter:

The last time boxing fans had seen George Foreman box, he looked like Superman. He was lean, trim, and mean. Upon his return, he was something else.

Instead of looking like Superman, George looked like the Michelin Man. He was plump, slow, and old.

This didn’t stop Foreman from battling and boxing. He threw punches with power. And he won.

We get caught up in the trap of appearances. We think we need to drive fancy cars, live in exquisite homes, and wear the best clothes.

We don’t.

All of those things are external. They’re easily obtainable. 

What matters is what is on the inside. What you’re doing to improve, help others, and follow God.

Looks don’t matter as much as we think they do. It’s what’s inside that matters.

If you enjoyed this Reel Leadership article, you may enjoy our collection of Reel Leadership articles eBook. You can get this eBook for free by signing up for updates by clicking here.
Follow Me