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In my own words: My motivation to succeed is simple, it all lies with me

In my own words: My motivation to succeed is simple, it all lies with me

When I was 15 years old I was a chubby, un-athletic, not-particularly-driven kid. I knew that needed to change and I dug deep to do so.

By Isaac Quaynor

Setting goals to help kick goals:

For any athlete, having goals in place is so important. The idea of ‘long term goals’ is something we’ve actually worked on at Collingwood. On a personal level, it’s definitely something I put a lot of thought into. Firstly, my main goal is I want to pave the way for other Africans to come over and play the game of Aussie Rules Football. When I do look back in the future, it’s something I want to proudly say that I was a part of.

Secondly, I honestly just want to make my friends and family proud as well as fulfil the potential I believe I have. Then, of course, there’s the Premierships which is the number one reason why a lot of us play footy – and then the individual accolades hopefully come off the back of that. Personally, there’s a few different layers to my goals, but when I think deeply about it it’s genuinely about paving the way for others.

Big goals are great, but small goals are arguably just as important. I often give myself little reminders or kicks of inspiration which I write down in my notes. It literally might just be a few words like ‘have confidence’ or ‘have swagger’ but these are the things I have in my notes which I glance at before each game.

A couple of my good friends are heavily invested in my footy too – and I’m invested in what they’re doing too. Together we pledged to keep each other accountable for these smaller-scaled goals. It’s always great to have someone external to the football club who is there to give you feedback when you need it. I advise others to do the same.

Innately, though, something that has always driven me is the fear of failure or not living up to the expectations I set for myself. In some ways, it can put additional pressure on me, but I also think it plays a big role in taking me to where I am today. Those lofty internal expectations are always something that drives me to get the most out of myself.


Fail to prepare, prepare to fail:

Goals aside, preparation is key. If we’re playing an evening game, I’ll usually have a bit of a sleep-in. Once I wake up I’ll go out for brekkie to a local cafe – can’t go wrong with scrambled eggs. And look, I won’t lie, I’m a big coffee drinker so I’ve got myself a nice coffee machine so I’ll indulge in that first thing in the morning. When it comes to food, I seem to have a poke bowl most of the time before kick-off. I always, always try and sneak in a cheeky YoPro pouch too – I love the little squeezy ones to kickstart my day. Even if I’m doing some uni work, watching a movie or relaxing throughout the day I’ll tuck into one of those as they’re super nutritious and high in protein – they really give you all the goodness you need to prepare for a game.


I’m a sudoku guy too. I usually try and punch out a few of those throughout the day. Sometimes I just can’t get them done because they’re a bit tricky and it does my head in. In my mind, not finishing them sometimes does more harm than good, funnily enough. But that never stops me from sinking my teeth into them, I love it.

When it comes to superstitions, I don’t really have any really weird ones. My own superstition, if you want to call it this, is that I love being really early. I absolutely hate being in a rush. The idea of even being remotely late freaks me out, so I’m always one of the first to get to the stadium we’re playing at. It’s just so that I can get my treatment done, do my prep and not be pressured by anyone or anything. Being early helps with my mindset massively.


Those who inspire me:

As far as sporting inspiration growing up, it’s always been LeBron James. I’ve been on that bandwagon since I can remember. I love the way he plays the game of basketball and how he goes about life away from the court too. In my opinion he’s the GOAT. When it comes to sport he’s always been someone that I’ve looked up to, but when it comes to my personal life my mum is my hero without a doubt. She’s a really strong, independent woman. My mother and father split up when I was about 11 so she, for the most part, was the primary parent. When I was younger she drove me all across the state to basketball and footy and always supported me – and for that I’m forever grateful. When I look back, my mum is a big reason as to why I’m so motivated and keen to do well. 

​There’s a quote which has stuck with me throughout my life which, without fail, gives me motivation. I have a horrible memory, so the fact that it’s stuck with me says something, right? Kevin Durant said it and it’s ‘hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard’. For me, this resonates so much. I’m not necessarily the tallest or most skillful but I make up for it in other ways. When I was 15 years old I was a chubby, unathletic, not-particularly-driven kid and I told myself that I needed to change that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m blessed that I have Ghanaian genetics which is basically a cheat code, but that means nothing if you don’t put in the hard work. So that quote, in particular, has always struck a chord with me.

Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Topics: Australia, Aussie Rules Football, Australia Afl