A lesson in leadership – Marcelo Garcia

For those who don’t know who Marcelo Garcia is, he is the GOAT of Brazilian JiuJitsu (5x World Champion, 4x ADCC Champion)  … the best of all time, any weight class, in my opinion.  What I respect most about Marcelo is his passion and commitment to the sport. I trained BJJ and received my Black Belt from one of Marcelo’s rivals after many years of hard work. It was truly harder than anything else I have done in my life (Right up there with being a parent), and that is not overstating things.

After getting bullied on plenty of occasions from elementary into middle school I was grateful for the opportunity to find BJJ later in life even though I have never used it once outside of the gym. I met amazing people from all walks of life that I would probably have never come across otherwise. Young, old, rich, poor, … BJJ is a sport that brings people together and flat out makes you a better person. Ego’s are always checked at the door, doesn’t matter who you are or what your day job is.

I wanted to share this video We can all do better in which Marcelo discusses the tough decision he made in asking two of his top Black Belt students to take time away from his gym. I don’t have specifics on what led up to this, I just know that this had to be a very hard decision for Marcelo and a great learning opportunity for all involved. The BJJ community is a tight knit family especially amongst teammates.  People spend an incredible amount of time training to be good let alone be a top competitor in a sport. It takes a lot of teamwork and trust to make that happen, there are no lone wolves at the top of the food chain. There is a level of pride in sharing and teaching that Marcelo exhibits which is second to none. He is a living example of doing everything to better not only himself, but his team, the sport, and our broader community without any expectations in return. Those that know, train, or follow BJJ… it is something you do because you love it and definitely not about trying to be the next millionaire.

As leaders, we must be true to ourselves and our organizations and operate at a level for all to follow. I have seen leaders at times look the other way and accept sub-par behavior just because the salesperson or sales leader was really good at  making their number. Marcelo holds even the best accountable and made the difficult decision to send two of his own on their way because they strayed away from the core values of his gym i.e. his home.

Leadership is not something that is a selective action when convenient, people look up to you and watch your actions with a discerning eye – all the time! Marcelo recognizes this better than anyone. He knows he can’t do it alone and holds his whole organization accountable. The expectation is that his leaders carry out like him and also be an example and role model for others to follow. What is most amazing is his lack of ego and humility for someone that can literally dismantle the best in the fight business.

We live in a new world, what seems to sell these days is trash talking and making a lot of noise. The upcoming McGregor v Mayweather boxing match will definitely be an entertaining example backed by huge payouts. We can’t control and change the world easily but we can focus within our four walls. It’s on us as leaders to keep the right course and be an example in all our respective industries, the pendulum eventually swings back the other way.

My takeaways:

1. It is healthy for people to move on, people need to grow and take chances on their own … even if there are some mistakes along the way.

2. The boss gets to make the rules. Make sure you hold your whole organization accountable at all times.

3. Stay true to who you are and what you believe in regardless how tough the decision.

If you are ever interested in a great work out, here is the link to Marcelo’s gym Marcelo Garcia Jiu Jitsu or find a great local BJJ school in your area. It will change your life.

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Good Selling,




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