Inky Johnson on His Paralyzing Football Injury & Turning Heartbreak into Purpose | The Pivot PodcastJul 09, 2022
I'm actually talking about Channing's happy dad shirt because we went to every store in atlanta, georgia and we can't fight happy dad. What's wrong with your hometown? even find it, do you think it's our promotions? Is he Cuban? Nobody ever asked. You are Cuban? it looks like it seems the tide is
turninguh obviously we have the og freddy flowers t freddy we have chan and today we have a special guest i mean
johnson. so what i've tried to do victor oladipo came i learned to say h is the government, uh, what i've learned is that it doesn't matter how many times i was going to read your name, that's like four names, yes, by the way, i wasn't going to get the first one right so i'll let you introduce yourself to the world for its rule only if you agree with it absolutely only if you agree with it yeah and quarius desmond chad
johnsonthat's why the world called me inked yeah it's like a mix of glorious and inked man my mama man she said she was reading a book about the iroquois indian tribesman and it came to her mind yeah and quarius but my grandpa because the first part you know people started calling me inc and he was like inked and everyone was like yeah man I like that about that inquarius but yeah man four names man I grew up in the hood I see they have all kinds of names no I love it but man welcome to the
pivot, we all thank you all for your support, cont continue subscribing. like if it's spotify or apple where you want to listen and our
podcastor if you want to watch us on youtube i finally don't have the mentality that we are a
podcastwe are a show not a tv show because we are a show where people just sits down cuts it and you get to meet some of the people you see all the time in a different way and i want to start here before you get going this is our oprah right your mom she read a lot right mm-hmm is there something she can give us or that? probably shared with you to help keep the devil away because we are facing major changes a lot has happened you know they say the devil attacked when success starts to build when things are going well no doubt what can you do? share with us before we get into the bag and the big stuff there is absolutely anything you can share that she would have given you yeah she always told me man like when life starts to happen like shut up so you can listen to God, you know what?
I'm saying that she would always say that like when things start what happens happens and the opposing opposition shuts up good because everyone always has an opinion, always has a perspective that they want to share with you and she always tells me, man, shut up so you can listen to God you know what I'm saying and so for me that's always been my choice when I start to go through it a lifestyle that goes in a way that I don't want it to go I try to find solitude you know what I'm saying to that i can hear god jam that means we're going to have to meditate as a group i don't want to hear any of that funny we have to tune in but let's shut up man you have to sit in a dark room i can't do that shut up because brother you talk a life right The one we talk about I think it's just loneliness, man I think everyone finds peace in different ways, like you might find peace through laughter, joking and Or, I could find peace just by sitting and watching cats laugh, you're going to find peace in a different way. way or c I'm going to find peace in a different way and for me the way I interpret it is just finding your peace, no matter how it comes to you, and everything comes to us in different ways.
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inky johnson on his paralyzing football injury turning heartbreak into purpose the pivot podcast...
I don't think you have to be in a quiet room. Turning off the lights. Relaxing. mat but if that works for you go for it you know what i'm saying but for me it's just finding your peace i think people obviously look to you for wisdom. i feel like you know that if we look at your social media or listen to your speeches or your presentations it's kind of a synopsis of where you've come from i think we don't always get to know where you come from and we're here in atlanta doing this interview and you said it before like you from the good neighborhood i think you grew up in a house of 13 you grew up in a place where it wasn't bright that things could be bleak how it did you keep your focus through it to propel yourself to be on a scholarship in tennessee man you know growing up from the way i grew up nurse two bedroom house 14 people southeast atlanta it's the best time of my life you know one of the best times of my life i'd say you know because you had everyone in the crib and you learned a lot i always tell him to the people that the lucky part for me was that I got to see both sides of the fence every day, right when I walked out my door, I got to see cats that made the right decisions and what e produced and I could see. cats that made the wrong decisions and what it produced and I think what helped lead me to a place like tennessee was that I listened well to cats that I felt had my best interest at heart, even if a cat was on the street you know and they gave me advice and insight and i knew they had a good heart i would listen to them well because just because a person makes certain decisions and choices doesn't mean they are a terrible person like my uncle my uncle is in prison one of the best people that i know ht platform and it could be a product of their circumstances and situations because of the way we grew up so for me i always felt like i was blessed with a gift and i didn't want to mess it up well so when i was coming to that house With a two bedroom with 14 people, the most thing I wanted to do was make my mom proud because my mom worked double shifts at Wendy's and she wanted to make me and my grandmother proud.
I'm the kind of person who s I'm extremely loyal so I had a lot of people help me out man I didn't have to do well as a cat the game paid me to play ball like out of pocket he had to do that and so for me every Every time people did things for me, I was the type of person who couldn't see me doing something on the opposite end of disappointing them because I knew they didn't have to, no cat had to come. my house and be like oh this cat growing up two bedroom house 14 people let me help them we weren't their responsibility like the way my mother raised me was ink the world owes you no good if you're going to make someone up yourself and make it happen right and me watching her work a double shift and coming home driving an old beard real downtown beaten up broken car seat tops and not making an excuse shaped my mindset and my outlook and my spirit in the way i live my life so when i got to tennessee tennessee was a sauce to me right it was a sauce the trip there wasn't that much sauce but when i got there it was sauce ink what does that look like man? 'Cause it blows my mind when I don't go I didn't grow up without a silver spoon in my mouth but 14 in a two room yeah yeah what happens at 11 o'clock at night like where people go what do people do yeah yeah we own the paddles man we pull out the sheets we own the paddles that's the beauty of it you there with your cousins well it's a blessing and a curse well 'cause many nights you w I'll be on that pallet and you'll be talking to your cousins and sometimes you had questions like he always said sometimes he was on the flat and he wishes he was under the same roof as my father right? for some of the things that I would see and wish I could come home and say, hey dad, I saw this today, what's your thought process on that? stuff like that, but the beauty of it was that it made you feel grateful right when you wore one shirt on monday, your cousin wore it on tuesday, your other cousin wore it on wednesday and they would all go to the same school, right?
I knew they all wore the same clothes, it's all good, it's good, it made you feel grateful when you couldn't go in and order something to eat and say, no, I don't want you to have to eat whatever you wear. the table, yes, of course, and you had to finish it, you know what I'm saying? d so it created a certain spirit where I was thankful that I did my best and I wasn't stumbling like it wasn't like we were growing up and it was like every day we got up and we were like oh man we grew up like this not like if the neighbors lived that way too so it was just the environment we were in and we made the best of it but I loved it man I loved it there was a point because we had something similar.
Situations I remember so vividly man boiling the hot water yeah yeah pouring it in the bathtub sharing the full bench just learning to be utterly grateful and I think at least my kids I will show this episode they have to listen to for you there was ever a point The one where you said to your mom, look, I got you, you know, I'm whatever, whatever, no, I got you, I'm going to get us out of this situation where I'm going to pay. You came back for everything you've done for me, absolutely man, my mother and I would be in the park, eh, when she would arrive, her shift would end and she would come in and I would hug him, kiss her, I would say mom, if you don't mind, do you Can you turn on the car lights?
Okay, I have to do some extra exercises. league is just a kid with a dream you know what i say she would sit there and it was never like nah i think i'm tired let's go and she had every right to and if she said it i would have stuck my ass in in the car and everything would have been fine. She wouldn't have felt me at all, but when she did that, she'd be like a man, I'll do. I will do well in these sacrifices. like she got you right and i don't think she cared at all like my mom wasn't the type she was bumping into like oh ink you gotta do it right you gotta do it and you gotta take my mom never told me that was something that I wanted to do personally because I felt like it was the vehicle that could help take care of my family and when I was young I would say but she never put that kind of pressure on me until where I was like ink you have to do this I appreciate it , you know, I watch, you know a lot of your stuff and then you study for this and you see where you come from and all that stuff I was like oh ink actually kind of a hood you know what I mean like it hasn't grown because you know it's only the eloquence in which you speak well I don't use he is articulate well well I think that's a I think that's an evasion as it is opposite to how well the eloquence with which you speak shows not only experience but education shows shows study but you talked about telling your mom to turn off the lights so i can go get some extra exercise and have that dream you know you get to tennessee your sophomore year you start playing and there's one night that dream ends absolutely you can take us through the night what what what led to the hit what's the feeling when you're on the ground and you're trying to or figure out what's going on with you and then the beginning that turns you into the inking we know now yeah man it was um it was september 9, 2006.
I remember it vividly I was playing the air force my junior year at the university of tennessee I was starting that corner my sophomore year starting it was a 4th quarter into the game with just over two minutes left and uh the air force had the ball and we were up, so we broke the group at that moment gerard mayo he was our captain and he called to play and when we broke the group we had quarter coverage and i had a fourth m With everything backwards the game begins to play out looking at the quarterback each touching the ball the cats running their routes the quarterback looks in my address looses it, the cat catches it, I'm going to do a routine tackle, like this I thought, and when I rolled up to hit him at the point of contact, as soon as I made contact, it seemed like everything in my body just left my body. i went completely limp i fell to the ground i passed out i had never experienced anything like this before i had been in much tougher collisions and when my eyes opened my teammates were all over me and it was like the girl got up let's go and i was like if i couldn't and it was a shock at that moment it was going from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet one of the scariest moments of my life and it was finally gone but it stayed on my right arm in the hand i thought it was just a stinger or a broken arm and they took out the spinal board they took me off the field and they took me to the hospital and they said we are going to take you back do a couple of tests you know they put you in a room to see what happens and so on I didn't think it was serious, did I.
I still couldn't feel my arm, but I thought I probably had a broken stinger. the room my mom walked into, she kissed me on the forehead, she made a joke, she came out and what? and she came out I turned my head to the left and I remember seeing the head doctor come in and he was saying guys guys come in here we have to get this kid back to emergency surgery he's about to die and I thought he was joking because i had been there and everything was so quiet and i was like die away from me like die okay and he said yeah i was like what happened its like we did the test we realized the subclavian artery ruptured in the chest is bleedingman how are you too now you ok i just think i'm ok it's like i'm getting over it bro i'm ok and then he was at the stadium his first game back you know what i say and it was special so for me and eb man i uh i got alot of l love for that cat you know what im saying hes like a brother to me you know what im saying little brother you mentioned you know talking about his schedule did you take anything back because of what you went through with your
injury? try to help eric get over what he was going through absolutely absolutely but you also know the eb man comes from a big family i'm saying great mom great dad his little brothers and that's how his foundation was laid you know what i'm saying he comes from a great great infrastructure , but I also feel like we all go through things in life not just for us I think it's certain experiences that we have and we come across so once we get to the other side and another cat shows up and runs into something to the extent of what we went through, we can share how we got through it correctly, I think that's the blessing, as it says in the bible, it overcomes us by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony, and that's why when we listen? r cats share something that we can relate to like brother like respect you know what I'm saying and so for me I felt like I had run into this and gotten over it so when another cat found a fight , you know in the game. or in the game i can go and not try to share with them how they should deal with it but like hey bro listen i'm here you know what i'm saying i think that's the difference between sympathy and empathy i think empathy is a powerful tool.
Sympathy is when someone goes through something. Fred, there's something going on. You're like the man Fred. i'm here if you need me i'll walk with you if you need me you know what i'm saying because i didn't go through something i did i took something from it that i feel i can apply to your situation and add a certain level of value you meet people here you talk all the time time and uh in that you know they tend to develop their own perception of you and your situation but we all know it's not a sauce no question no they see us here every week and they think these guys have it all in order and we don't do it right. no, right, what are some of your biggest challenges?
Do you know in your current situation? One of my biggest challenges, even when I got hurt, was just asking for help. to grow up the way i grew up with this right man mentality you understand how you live you know you run your business you stand up you make it happen right like i'll never forget telling my cousin one day as a brother some of the things that we were taught are nothing against the people who taught us, but I was wrong, right? We can search for information. We can seek advice. we can go to people and seek wisdom right we can go to people and ask for help in certain areas that were not so strong and for me that was always a challenge for me, even when I was injured, to go up to someone and say can you help me with that? or, can you help me expand my thought process and perspective? with this because of the way I grew up I didn't experiment a lot and everything was fine and it served me well just at the level that I was at but when I started to grow and evolve and experience certain areas and aspects of life I needed a little knowledge and advice, and I had to drop my pride and be willing to ask for help, you know, and also one of the things that I struggle with as a man, um, I have the perspective that adults know what they're doing when they do certain things. things know the intention they know the intentions and they know why they do it so I'm the type of person that I'm not really going to ask you to explain why you did it I'm not going to go to you and be like hey bro why did you do that right you are you 15 might go to you and Di young man hey whip a snapper let me yell at you real quick cause you probably don't understand layers and what you just did right but with an adult I'm not always like hey let me talk to you let's talk of this for real. fast i just bounce right and we'll probably never communicate again and that's a struggle of mine because i felt like it was a layer i added in my childhood when my dad wasn't around and that's how i got over it. right even when i relate like our relationship is cool now that's my friend right great grandpa that's my man but it was a coping mechanism when i was young when he wasn't around he could cut people off and keep it. pushing and now as an adult there are certain times when maybe I need to have that dialogue maybe I need to talk to this person well and I don't always do that and my wife I'm thankful and I'm thankful that she sometimes challenges me on that with different people and I need to grow in that area as a man yeah is it hard to ask for help these days or do you have some sort of routine where the kids just enjoy helping dad with whatever he needs help with nah they help me man huh but sometimes?
You know what I'm saying just being real because when you go through something like this I tell people all the time like it's a blessing to live with adversity every day I come across something I can't do that I used to be able to do due to the nature of my right arm yesterday my daughter and i picked my daughter up from practice yesterday and i thought we had enough encounters and interactions knowing about my arm that she had asked questions she wanted to ask i thought we were in a place solid and yesterday i picked her up and i'm jay how did you practice girl jada practice was great dad she's like dad can i ask you something? how can you tell me why is that arm your right arm is smaller than the other arm she is like can you tell me why is that the way i see it but can you tell me why is that so i went to explain like jada like you have atrophy that happens but i have a big scar on my arm from surgery and i was like my arm doesn't work the way your arm works well like i have no padding in my arm i have paralysis i can't use it well and naturally because i can't use it i don't i can build muscle i can't do anything and so she's like fine and she was like when people grab it like someone grabs it it doesn't hurt i was like yeah that's why i wear the sleeve most of the time right i wear it is so yeah i'm in public if a person grabs this arm because i have nerve grafts like pain shoots through my arm and through my chest it's like unbelievable you know what i'm saying and i use it like that more because i'm conscious e that if I'm outside and a cat sees it and the cat says, oh, because if I'm at the airport most of the time, a cat thinks it's a correct prosthesis and it's not, but I'm sufficiently aware that it's not the right one. they will hit the cat will not come close and just grab her so for me yes he is a difficult man but like that dialogue yesterday with my daughter it was refreshing and i didn't expect it but it was good for both of us was the amputation ever about the table at some point I think they discussed it but when they got to that point of two years and it was like something was going to happen back you know it will probably be in a two year period we bet to see what comes back and even after two years, they came to me and said: hey ink, you want to go here and try this. option they got this but I've been like nah man because it took a lot you know what I say like it took a lot man when I went through those surgeries it took a lot and so now I have a wife and I have kids And I captured the peace, yeah it took me a long time to get there, I remember when it was the first time. it happened bro and i was going out and when you have something like this happen people stare you know what i'm saying and when i was first going out and someone was looking at my arm like it bothered me you know what i am saying i'm like werecat just looking at me well as a man what is that? you know what im saying without asking a question or the cat might look at you and shy away that that hurt more than anything in the early years when it first happened and i once captured peace and it was okay because even to this day i date my family the cat will still look and be like what's going on but I'm in a place of peace because I've had to deal with it for so long I'm okay I don't even want to find another option because I know how much it cost me and I don't I want my family to have to deal with it and leave. through that and now I'm in a place where it's like a man, I'm fine, I'm living with it and I consider it a blessing and it's something that I could use every day of my life, whether it's to provoke a dialogue, whether it's for a person ask me a question or to serve as a blessing to the world and then i want to ask the man with uh how did you say you like to touch people that's what i got there with the berry story eb story you like to touch if you want to be a part of the lives of the people you were training and now you're talking you think you can touch more guys training because you have a baby you walk in the room for an hour and you've gone absolutely training you could really sit down and have a relationship like the one you wouldn't even have, you touched more people training because you didn't want to quit but you retired.
You withdrew from training. Career change. I can train I love the game I love cats young man I feel like it's going to be great so I thought that's what I'd be doing and I often think about it even to this day like I'm with my son's team the last year, and then there were nine, but I loved it. You know what I mean I had a great experience but I walked away from it because I didn't want my son to see me as a father and coach every day You know what I mean so I walked away from it so my man can seeing me as his father, you know, and not as his coach, but I loved it, I thought I would, but you know, but you could put me on a different bench.
The unique thing about this show is that we bring in people who have been very successful in a line of work or in a certain way that people see them every day and I think we try to get to the root of what makes this person. success or what led them to a certain place. My last question would be when you're speaking, do you go into every speaking commitment? no and think to me, think to yourself, okay, I have to figure out who is in the room and what you need or is it all for you.
I'm going to take my experience and from my experience give them what I feel will help. like Channing said touching people, how do you approach that when you only have a select time to be in the room with those people? I want to be as effective as possible and therefore the way that I see to be as effective as possible. as much information as possible about the group that i am going to serve and as me and fred were talking like i am going to talk to the
footballteam at the university of florida from florida you know he is doing camp and before you go to that campus, I could have a lot of information, whether it's the coach, whether it's player development, whether it's a couple of players, like if I'm going to talk to chick-fil-a, I'll have a lot of information before I walk into that room .
Part of it is just respect for where I'm going, I want the people to know when I throw out certain words when I throw out certain terms to try to bridge the gap. stage we can know that he has done real research and not only is he here talking thinking he's going to relate but also from a preparation point of view I'm also led by spirit so I'm going to be honest man in the one I was a presentation once and just as i was about to start well i'm talking and then my spirit says go in a different direction and i'm struggling and i look and i'm on the periphery and i'm looking and i see a guy get up from a table and i can see him , but the microphone is here and my man starts walking, he just collapse, collapse, fall down, people start to panic, ladies start to scream, they put the ambulance in there, wake up my man, take him out of there and at that time my spirit was like me I told you now you pray well but I'm like a man I don't I'm a spirit cat but I'm like I'm not one of these cats that will come and try to force my beliefs on you or you're not. type of person man like you believe what you believe is fine i have grace for everyone and i prayed well and when i prayed i finished the cat he brought me he said man um i really think we brought you just for that he said me Don't think anyone else would have handled that situation the way you handled it.
Thank you, so part of me is preparation, but part of me also has to trust that my spirit is guiding me in the right direction from my preparation. spoke all over the world man you got colleges corporations you know just about anywhere but your childhood dream makes it to the nfl yeah is it any different when you get into the nfl stadium and there's a specific speech calling out to you attention what would you say? it touched you a little different than speaking on other teams i would say uh i talked to tampa man and i got this speech on youtube it was a while ago all the team men like the sports i do corporate corporate is probably my number one source business, right?
Probably two but sports is where I'm most in my element and I feel like I'm with the guys you know what I say and they relate but it's a speech I gaveto the tampa bay bucks get ready for glory and i feel like it was the rawest and most in my element i've been with the squad in a long time and it's on youtube and it's from a couple of years ago and it was special, man, as always i think of it in terms of like everyone true i didn't make it to the league but i made it yeah because of the opportunities i get to go in and talk to the squads the access i have so i'm thankful for all of that. just breaking it down real quick as i asked my partners man like brother do they realize how bl Dear and i like how gifted everyone is even athletes to this day.
I ask them all the time. I think about how many cats that started sleep or didn't start sleep didn't want to. he didn't care at all and they just played ball and it happened like it really happened like the cast that started from seven eight nine and it happened it's me you know what I'm saying like it happened you know what I'm saying the dream in reality manifested itself as the great blessing that is right, so I always try to get cats to be grateful for the opportunity they have, but also not to take the opportunity for granted, even if it doesn't.
Don't go the way you want it to go The game is amazing It's an amazing tool that I think can prepare you for various phases of life and so for me when my
injuryhappened at the time I didn't feel good but now. I see it as an extreme level of preparation, right? It just set me up. for the right
pivotthat's all it did prepared me for the right pivot the transition when i had to be right bro i can't do it the game prepared me for the ultimate pivot in my life for my right
purposeno doubt and On the other hand, what Have you ever said to go to hell with you?
They're not listening here like they're walking. Start talking. I had to tell a cat last week. He tried to bring me over to talk to some little kids and he was like give him like 45 and I looked in the room I was like nah eight minutes tops man I'm like man you see them trying to listen you know what they say about 45 minutes you just know yeah right and since everyone likes it I tell cats all the time it's hard for cats to understand that everyone doesn't need it you know what I'm saying like everyone may not need it or want it well some cats don't want it but some cats like entrepreneurs, right?
They will listen to it as if all of you are professionals, right? They will get to the point where everyone is pr. The right academy has to come in and tell you how to operate, that's the challenge for me, even being labeled as a motivational speaker, that's hard for me. that's not authentic and genuine it landed with us i think the excitement was to see uh a different ink and we got it for a while yeah and then from time to time we asked the question and you came back to it but i think that I know for us it's about giving of ourselves because I truly believe that when we have men like you or women like you on the show, we take things away from it and I've taken a lot away from this, but we also do it more for the people than they are seeing from their experience if you are short on time to give our viewers our subscribers just a message about persevering in life what would that be man always always be willing to be stronger than your strongest excuse. being stronger than your strongest excuse and also always willing to extend a level of grace to others and yourself, I think one of the hardest things for us as people in terms of the realm of forgiveness is sometimes forgiving ourselves ourselves for our flaws and the mistakes we may have made along the journey, but every day the man gets up and, as cliché as it sounds when you say to a person, hey man, don't take life for granted, TRUE? the other but bro one of the most underrated blessings is leaving your house and coming home every day you know what i say its an underrated blessing we just assume it will happen and every day the cats leave the crib and don't come back with their kids they don't go back to their spouses, but we leave our house every day, we just assume, hey, I'm getting better, I'll see you later, right?
And it's like the man who promised you. that and so the mindset I've acquired as a result of my injury is that man every day everything that comes with it good the ups and downs the successes the failures the hard times the good times everything that comes with wholeness we appreciate it all good because we need it all in terms of our development and the people we strive to become and I say strive because we are constantly evolving and that is why I would say to a man to always be willing to be stronger than his strongest excuse and always be willing to extend a grace level to yourself and others because if you haven't needed it yet, I guarantee there will come a time when you need someone else to extend a grace level to you. you this is the pivot yes sir thank you man i really appreciate it no questions though bless this disrespect lift me up
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