It’s funny how when we actually take some time to stop and reflect, we gain a better understanding of ourselves – what we’re good at, what we like, and what makes us happy.
That’s exactly what some astute and thought-provoking questions that Tim asked me on this week’s podcast (My Story ‘Jacko’) forced me to do. A couple of times, I just simply couldn’t give an answer straight way, which is what I’m so used to doing. I had to ask the ‘quiz master’ for some extra time! Given that time, I had to actually stop and think about those questions of why I’d done the things I’ve done in the past.
Tim wanted to know why. Initially, I thought to myself, ‘Yeah I’ve done quite a few different things, maybe I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I kept chopping and changing.’ However, that didn’t sit right with me, and a after a few more ‘ums’ and ‘arhs,’ it hit me. It’s because I love learning.
It’s actually something I’d realised many years ago but in the last few years I’d forgotten, or not given myself the space and chance to reflect or remind myself of. Why is that even important? Well, I believe that when we are aware of what we like and what makes us happy, we can be more intentional and proactive about making it happen.
I used to wrestle a lot with identity and the idea of being ‘Jacko the rugby player’ when that was my job. I used to dread being asked what I did for a living, because the labels we give ourselves based on our jobs don’t tell our full story — far from it.
It’s an issue that was really highlighted when I was working as a performance mindset advisor with athletes, after I retired from professional rugby. Too often we fall into things because we are good at them. We work hard to maximise our abilities and it becomes our identity, but it only tells part of the story of who we are. Another problem when your identity is in what you do for a living: what happens when you retire? What if, like me, your career ends because of injury? Who are you then, when you’re no longer ‘Jacko the rugby player’?
Well something that has stood the test of time for me, and has been a constant when I’ve been happy in my life, is learning. I’ve had a love of learning since I can first remember, and it’s a label ‘Jacko the learner’ or ‘Jacko that loves learning’ that I’m happy sticking on my forehead!
It tells the story of my childhood, my rugby career, and everything else I’ve done. Whenever I’ve not had learning in my adult life is when I’ve found life becoming almost stagnant and not as exciting. There was a period during my professional rugby career where I didn’t want any distractions from my training and playing duties, but without some outside learning influences, I felt lost and played my worst rugby.
So what have I actually learned then? I’m going to look at a few key points that include both things I’ve learned about myself as well as things I’ve learned that I believe will help others. My hope is that both will help you, either directly because it’s something you struggle with, or to help you stop and consider things like how you learn best.
One of the great things about being part of the School of Calisthenics is having the privilege of helping others with their training journeys and ensuring that they don’t make the same mistakes we did. Tim and I are often the ‘guinea pigs’ and will experiment and test out thoughts and ideas of exercises and progressions that might help a certain movement goal, like handstand for example. Like any good scientific experiment, you have a hypothesis, a reason, and rationale to why it might work. Oftentimes the trial and error that takes place helps you find out what does work through a process of trying lots of things that don’t work. We essentially make the mistake so you don’t have to. Although that can be frustrating at times in our own training (I’m not going to lie to you – it is!), it’s actually something I love about what we do at the School of Calisthenics.
This idea seems to have spread to the whole community; all of you are so amazing at helping each other and giving your personal help and advice from your own experiences to help others who are working on the same goal as you. It’s something we feel is really special about the School of Calisthenics community, and we hope it lasts long after we are gone!
The reward to all of this comes when you see someone’s face or reaction when they redefine their impossible. Whether it’s in person at a workshop or online through people learning in the virtual classroom, it’s something that gives me goosebumps every time and I love seeing it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about me, my crazy and somewhat random past, linked together through learning, and that perhaps it’s encouraged you to stop, reflect, and think about what it is that you love doing.
I’d love to hear from you and any thoughts you have on this article, so please either contact us on social media or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking forward to hearing your reflections.
One more thing… have you heard about the FREE 7 day trial we have running on the Virtual Classroom at the moment? It’s your chance to get in through the school door and experience what 100’s of people are already using to help them progress their calisthenics training // CLICK HERE