North Texas Daily

Olympian Johnny Quinn shares goal-setting strategies

Olympian Johnny Quinn shares goal-setting strategies

Olympian Johnny Quinn shares goal-setting strategies
February 10
12:41 2015

Paul Wedding / Senior Staff Writer

Former NFL player and U.S. Olympic bobsledder Johnny Quinn knows all about facing adversity, which is why he spoke to the UNT Sports Marketing Association on how to set goals and achieve success in any path of life.

At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Quinn achieved massive press when he tweeted a picture of the bathroom door he had to break down after he was locked inside. This tweet increased his follower count by 168 percent, and an estimated 10 million people saw the picture. By breaking down that door, he said he had metaphorically broken down the door of opportunity, as he had finally started getting endorsement deals with companies such as McDonalds.

Quinn went on to discuss how setting goals had helped him to reach the point where he is today. He said there are four things that will always come with setting goals: a decision, a price, a pain and a reward. There’s the decision to do something, the price one has to pay to make it happen, the pain that will come with the hard work, and the reward that one achieves when they finally reach their goal.

“The reward is so much greater than the struggle at the beginning,” he said.

Quinn, a UNT alumni and the all-time leading receiver for the Mean Green football team, gave an anecdote recounting his arrival to UNT, which had offered him a scholarship only two days prior to signing day. When he was placed on the football team, he was stuck training with two linebackers much stronger than him, and was confused as to why he wasn’t with his fellow receivers.

“I could either complain or trust in the leadership in my life,” Quinn said. “They might know something that I don’t know just yet.”

By the end of his senior year he had set the school records for bench press, incline press and power clean.

He talked about going into the NFL draft feeling confident, but to his surprise, going undrafted. He managed to get signed to the Buffalo Bills afterward, but was cut after a torn hamstring on the third day of practice.

“It was the first time someone told me I wasn’t good enough,” he said.

Quinn wasn’t discouraged, as he went on to sign with the Green Bay Packers, and even made the first catch on Monday Night Football during the pre-season.

Again, much to his surprise, he was cut from the team three days later.

He went on to the Canadian Football League and was given a starting spot for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but soon after making his first touchdown as a professional football player, he tore his ACL and his football career was effectively over.

“At 22, my childhood dream had come true,” he said. “At 26, I had been cut three times and blew out my knee.”

Quinn said that he went through a spiritual transition after being cut.

“My identity was in football,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do with myself anymore.”

He went on to tell of how his agent gave him a call and said that they were looking for a bobsledder for the U.S. winter Olympics team.

He flew in the night before team trials and in his very first attempt at bobsledding his team took third place.

“When plans didn’t go the way I anticipated, I was ready for an unexpected opportunity,” Quinn said.

Quinn said his law of success is as infallible as gravity. He compared success to planting seeds. One seed can produce many more. By throwing seeds everywhere, eventually there will be corn to harvest.

“If I will sow, I will reap,” he said. “When you know you’re going to win, it’s not hard to go into the fight.”

Lastly, he told the group to never be discouraged, and to actively surround themselves with people as driven as them.

Sports management sophomore Grant Mikita was very impressed with Quinn’s speech.

“It was an amazing experience,” Mikita said. “The goal setting inspired me because he’s been through it and done it himself.”

Marketing junior and president of SMA Eric Ratner said he felt Quinn was the biggest guest speaker it has had yet.

“I hope we can try to emulate success in the same way that he has done it,” Ratner said.

Featured Image: U.S. Olympian Johnny Quinn speaks to students about perusing their dreams yesterday in the Business Leadership Building. Quinn talked about his obstacles and gave advice about how to overcome any difficult journey to success. Photo by Hannah Ridings – Staff Photographer

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