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  • Jack Fleming

10 Off Season Learnings So Far

I have been meaning to write another blog post, since this off season began - and been fortunate enough to have plenty of time to think, learn and reflect while it's quieter. However my lack of habitual writing has perplexed and almost paralysed me, in how I approach expressing my thoughts after so long. So the lowest hanging fruit for me is to simply share 10 things I have taken in this off season so far.


I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Europe, and the photo below is at Picasso's Museum in Barcelona. To see decades of genius and a lifetime of commitment to craft in one building, what an inspiration. So, please enjoy below!




1. Learn Something Old Instead of Something New

I promised myself this off season that I would spend time re reading great books that I have read before, rather than always hunting for the newest best thing. It is amazing how when there are years between reading a book, you find new things in it that you didn't the first time anyway.


The older the problem, the older the solution. Therefore that if you are trying to solve an old problem, look in the books that have stood the test of time.

2. The Value of Spending Time Thinking





"Everywhere, I scrutinised menus and analysed restaurant design. I scribbled in my journal, chronicling and decoding every component that defined the distinctive allure of a trattoria or ristorante.


Beyond describing dishes I had loved, the journal entries included notes and sketches for lighting fixtures, menus, architecture, flooring, and seating plans, and—tellingly—notes about how I felt treated wherever I slept or dined. I was developing my vision of my future restaurant by getting to know myself. Never before had I been alone for so long, and the experience was forcing and allowing me to think about and feel what truly mattered to me.” - Danny Meyer, Restaurateur


I have many journals across my house on life, the game and anything else. You never know when those thoughts will be important in shaping your philosophy.


3. As the Leader, You Are the Solution

“Because this is an inherently relational process, your capacity as a leader emerges from the personal and interpersonal qualities that make you uniquely you. Whatever actions you do or don’t take, there is one inescapable fact: You are the instrument through which you act. And everything you do is affected by that instrument. Everything.” - Amanda Blake, Your Body is Your Brain


You can say all you want, but your leadership shows up in your way of being and until you work on that - it will be a static time in your career where problems will keep repeating themselves.


Embrace and rediscover your weird.






4. My Reverence for Rationality is a Weakness

Sometimes fulfilling my identity complex of being intellectual and logical, can block my capacity to really feel and or be vulnerable. This is a weakness I will continue to be mindful of and grow towards improving as a person and a coach.


Your greatest strength can always be your greatest weakness.



5. The Root to Elegance is Paved with Cycles of Messiness

In December 1945, Picasso created a series of drawings to try and capture the essence of a bull. You will notice how the drawings start simple, then become more complex and then make their way back to beautiful simplicity. Many iterations, in any body of work, the mastery lies in the simplicity; but it doesn't mean it was simple to get there.


The iterations go from the top left, beginning downwards in a snake fashion ending with the essence of the bull drawing just above Picasso's signature. What a piece of magic. The link below goes into further depth on this topic.




6. Arriving at a Certain Place Doesn't Absolve You of Your Pain

If you think that 'when I get there' your problems will be solved, that is absurd. When I buy a house, when I get that job, when I win a title, when I get rich. Happiness is a direction not a destination.


Winning a championship doesn't take away your problems, or your flaws. If you don't confront your weaknesses and insecurities they will just keep manifesting in your life in different ways.




"The only Zen you'll find at the top of the mountain, is the Zen you bring up there with you." - Light Watkins


7. Four Virtues of Master Coaches

These four qualities are written in The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. The titles are extremely thought provoking and consider digging deeper on what they mean.





  1. The Matrix

A vast grid of task specific knowledge, and endless ways to connect that knowledge to a person to help with a desired outcome.


2. Perceptiveness

Emotional athleticism. “The way I look at it, everybody’s life is a bowl of whipped cream and shit, and my job is to even things out,” he said. “If a kid’s got a lot of shit in his life, I’m going to stir in some whipped cream.  If a kid’s life is pure whipped cream, then I’m going to stir in some shit.” - Tom Martinez


3. GPS Reflex

Short quick approach to shock the learners attention and retention, that is delivered in short quick bursts.


4. Theatrical Honesty

Capacity to uphold authenticity by bringing honest theatrics to connect with learners.


8. Jerry Seinfeld Duke Commencement Address

There are. somany lessons of brilliance in this address, you must watch it for yourself.


My favourite was "We're embarrassed about what we should be proud of and proud of what we should embarrassed about." This struck a cord with me, that we are often proud of what makes us fit in but embarrassed about. whatmakes us stand out. When in fact, the opposite should be true.



9. Don't Let Your Hobbies or Friendships Atrophy



My free time recently has allowed me to feel infinite joy in catching up with great people, and having meaningful present conversations. It has reminded me of some important tasks I get great energy from participating in - writing, lifting, cooking, reading and learning.


If you do not make time for these things, your days will get filled up with work or other tasks. It is inspiring to see people continue to chase new hobbies.


"If you have a void because you've let all your hobbies atrophy, you've let relationships atrophy, the void will fill itself with more work, because you do not have a compelling replacement." - Tim Ferriss


10. Joe Maddon - A Quote He Enjoyed



"In an age of speed, I began to think nothing can be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention." - Pico Iyer

This quote encapsulates some great philosophical stories in Joe Maddon's book, about his magical capability to connect and make great decisions by simply being present and joyful at the height of pressure.


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