This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Eliot Marshall. Eliot is a former Brazilian Jujitsu title holder and UFC fighter turned entrepreneur. After retiring from UFC in 2011, he co-founded the Easton Training Center, a globally renowned martial arts school specializing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai kickboxing.
Easton has expanded to 7 locations across Colorado. It currently employs over 150 employees and does over $6 million a year in revenue.
Additionally, Eliot is also the host of the Gospel of Fire Podcast, sought after public speaker, and best-selling author of The Gospel of Fire: Strategies for Facing Your Fears, Confronting Your Demons, and Finding Your Purpose. And it’s these things in addition to the lessons learned in building his business that I want to dig into with him today.
Eliot says that he was very lucky. It started with being born to 2 amazing parents in the USA. From there, it was a lot of failure. He first wanted to be a pro- basketball player and he failed. The he wanted to be the Brazilian Jujitsu world champion and failed. He then wanted to be an MMA champion and failed there. But, he has succeeded at staying in the game and using his failures to get himself to success.
Talk to us about why you think you are so lucky?
- He walked into a mall in 1998 and met a man starting a new Brazilian Jujitsu school and started training with him.
- He got hurt and quit after a month and this led to his meeting his first girlfriend.
- A year later he came back and wanted to train with no money to pay offering to clean and help around the gym and the guy just so happened to need his first help and hired him.
- He lost his last fight in MMA and because he had downtime as he wasn’t a winner and on to the next step, he has down time and found his first building for Easton training and got it. That kicked off the business.
- Other things have happened, but the story of Eliot is that every time something seemed to go wrong, it was the next step needed in his path to get where he has come.
You have a chapter in your book called “Why the F$%k vs. What the F$%K,” explain what that means…
- A lot of people wake up and ask,, “What am going to do today?”
- That is the wrong question. The right question is “Why am going to what I am going to do today?”
- Once you are clear on why you are doing things. Why your day will look a certain way. Why your life will be a certain way. Then you can really design the life you want to live.
- Your why will enable you to have meaning and purpose.
- Everything starts with why. Once you know your why, you get can get through just about any how.
How does someone find their power?
- It starts with passion. Your power exists in your passion.
- Putting all his energy into his passion for martial arts, Eliot not only created a massively successful business, but also found his power and that is teaching people that they can do anything if they put their mind to it. They can accomplish.
- But, he had to convince himself that he could accomplish first, and he did.
- Find your power and go share it with the world.
You went through some mental health challenges. What did you learn to overcome them and how did you do it?
- He grew up in a bi-racial family and there was a lot challenge. His mom was Jewish, and dad was black.
- His house was vandalized often and even had swastikas painted on it.
- It was a rough childhood around him. His family was great. All he had was karate because it was based on results.
- But he grew up with a feeling that he was not safe.
- As he grew up and started to win in martial arts he started to equate people liking them with being able to beat them up.
- He felt a lot of pressure to perform and always win.
- It was 100% self-imposed. He wrapped his whole identity up into fighting and not being safe.
When did you have your breakthrough and choose to change?
- Eliot had to break down first.
- He literally had a mental breakdown.
- It happened over a month having panicking attacks, not being able to sleep, having friends talk him off a ledge.
- At one point, he couldn’t sleep for 2 nights and his wife said to him, “Why don’t you do your day as if you had a good night’s sleep. Just pretend.”
- At the 22 min mark, Eliot tells the story of what happened next. It’s best to listen.
- He learned to focus on now and not worry about the past or the future.
- He learned to put little routines in place that made him better.
Talk to us about the habits you have developed that help you succeed.
- Eliot meditates every day. You can find guided meditation on YouTube for free.
- Eliot uses mala beads as a trigger to help calm himself in time of stress.
- Eliot also has a gratitude practice that he does after meditation.
- He then goes through his pillars of who he is every day. He is and always will be a husband and father. He is a teacher. He is also a student. He is a fighter. He is a survivor. He reminds himself of this every day. “There is only 1 thing all of us have never failed at. And that is making it through your very worst day.”
Talk to us about breaking through your mental limits….
- Having a teacher or coach to help you is critical to help with breakthroughs. At least to accelerate them to happen faster.
- Eliot relates a story of one of his teachers and climbing sand dunes at 10,000 feet and carrying another up it.
- He had another time with a coach climbing a mountain and carrying a partner up the side of the mountain.
- The challenges were to get the guys to accept their death because it is possible in the cage in MMA.
- It was in these times of great risk that he learned he could do more.
- He learned that the biggest competition is with himself and it is being better tomorrow than you are today.
Lessons learned from competing in MMA that have helped you in life and business?
- You have to walk into the arena of your life.
- You are going to get knocked down and going to lose. Fighters no this and accept it as part of the path forward.
- No matter what happens, you must get back up and walk into the arena of your life.
You built a very large multi-7 figure business that is based in a close contact sport. How did you make it through the pandemic and what principles have you use to build it?
- The business is better because of the pandemic.
- It made them figure out how to really make it happen and not only succeed but thrive.
- They had to close their schools.
- They brought together their team and started doing trying and failing until they got it right.
- Their systems and communication got better.
- Eliot and his partners took pay cuts to ensure everyone made the same or better and could stay in employed.
“You can be a victim or you can be a victor. Things either happen to you or happen for you.”
- They established clear core values that everyone knew.
- They had a clear hierarchy and communication structure for getting things done.
- They had a clear vision for what they would do and how they would execute.
Best Quote: You can be a victim or you can be a victor. Things either happen to you or happen for you.
Eliot's Misfit 3:
- Get a morning routine that starts your day with success.
- Create your pillars. Who are you? What is unbreakable and cannot be shifted.
- Only compete with you. Don’t care what the world things. Become the best.
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