Pursue Your Legend Series: Tyler Quinn

by Tyler Quinn

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”                                                                                                                      – Paulo Coelho

As an English major, I wasn’t sure what the years after graduating college had in store for me.  Perhaps this was why nurturing an entrepreneurial spark in the back of my mind felt like a reasonable thing to do. Blessed with parents who believed in me and supported my ambition, I set out in search of a small business loan in the fall of 2008, just six months before I would leave school and need to start a real life. As you can recall, the economy was in shambles and bank loans were all but frozen. Luckily for me, an older business banker at a small credit union in Northfield, on the precipice of his retirement signed off on what I can only refer to as a sort of “character loan” to a 22-year-old with zero collateral and a fluffy business plan. What I did have, however, was endless energy, a great deal of ambition, and a passion for training people and helping them to get better, feel better, appreciate their bodies and health more, in an inclusive, welcoming, unintimidating environment. The numbers didn’t necessarily need to make sense to anybody else. I was so completely sure of my ability to create a training space that the right people would not only enjoy, but pay for too. I just needed time.

My first gym opened in the spring of 2009, no more than two weeks after I graduated from college. With no income, I was forced to spend my first year after graduation living in the gym – not figuratively, literally. A cot in the back corner and a small refrigerator was enough to get me by. No shower in the building? No problem. I would fill two old milk jugs with hot water from the bathroom, and head out to the train tracks behind the Grainbelt Brewery building where the gym was located. It was simple; dump one over your head, lather up, dump the other over your head.

That year was not without moments of fear, depression, and panic, but as my little community grew and grew, and as I started to feel the exhilarating sensation of momentum, I believed deep down in my heart that I would have success. And while many of my friends took more conventional career routes, and while I sat up at night tossing rocks across the train tracks, and as one, then two, then three, four, five people started showing up regularly for classes, my belief was affirmed. That was over six years and almost six locations ago. I’m writing this from my couch. My bathroom is right around the corner. Maybe when I’m done, I’ll take a hot shower, just because I can.

For me, pursuing one’s legend is not just about tolerating discomfort, it’s about anticipating and embracing discomfort. Knowing what you want, and precisely so, and knowing that you’ll do anything and overcome all obstacles to achieve it is not easy, but it is the only way to reach your own legend. So many things, so many people helped me make my legend a reality. Pursue it vigorously, and the universe will conspire to help you achieve yours too.

Tyler Quinn is a coach and founder of Alchemy and Union Fitness. In his spare time he enjoys reading, hockey, jiu jitsu, and gun slinging. 

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