A solid non-work interest can enhance your leadership abilities in many ways. It can help you deal with stress, allowing you to preserve your identity and values in the face of adversity. It can teach you to think outside the box and promote better engagement throughout your organization.

“My hobbies just sort of gradually became my vocation.” – Al Yankovic.

A hobby is much more than a way to kill time for most of us. Hobbies allow us to achieve mastery of something without the pressure and time-wise obligations of a job. Through our hobbies, we get to create an alternative version of ourselves, one that can help us unlock abilities that translate well to our jobs and day-to-day lives.

Your hobby can make you happy in ways nothing else can. 

Many S&P 500 CEOs pursue serious hobbies. They invest much time and effort into fine-tuning their martial arts or hydrofoil-surfing abilities. And they do it for a reason.

How Hobbies Can Help Leaders

The complexity of top leadership jobs has increased over the past decade, piling more pressure on leaders than ever before. To remain competitive and on the cutting edge, many leaders sacrifice every moment they spend awake on the altar of professional success. Excessive stress is poison not only to one’s wellbeing but leadership abilities as well.

Leadership coaching professionals understand this problem, which is why they promote work-life separation.

A Hobby Creates Detachment

Some people deal with stress by taking a break, relaxing, watching a TV show, and spending quality time with the family. These are all legitimate solutions. Past a certain point, however, they are insufficient.

Science-rooted evidence confirms that only some kind of active leisure pastime, like a hobby, can alleviate the excessive levels of stress a corporate leadership job entails.

When you achieve true mastery of something you like to do, your brain focuses exclusively on the object of your passion, eliminating all of the harmful background noise.

A Hobby Promotes Continuous Self-improvement

When you achieve mastery in a non-compulsory activity, you reach a mental state that is peaceful yet improvement-focused at the same time. You gain a natural motivation to get better at your hobby. And mastery is about reaching your highest potential.

In addition to showing you ways to achieve your potential, a hobby can also teach you discipline and offer you a long-term perspective. These lessons translate well to your professional life, creating a pool of positive experiences you can rely on when faced with a professional challenge, as I’ve pointed out in my leadership development books.

Hobbies Can Keep Your Feet on the Ground

High-profile leaders of successful organizations may become detached from reality if they focus solely on their jobs. A hobby can provide occasional reminders that despite their professional success, such leaders remain mere mortals, subjects to the caprices of everyday existence.

In the context of intelligent leadership and executive coaching, humility is a virtue and the key to continuous engagement throughout the organization.

Hobbies Strengthen Your Leadership

Authentic leaders derive their leadership competencies and personal values from their life stories. And hobbies are integral parts of these stories.

A Hobby Enhances Your Sense of Identity

Staking your self-worth exclusively on your professional career is a risky move. If you suffer setbacks at work, you may find yourself struggling with identity issues, getting stuck in a psychological rut that can further hurt your professional performance as part of a vicious circle.

Hobbies keep your sense of self-worth rooted in reality. When your professional standing becomes wobbly, they can reassure you that you have value to offer and have not lost your touch.

Never lose sight of the values that define you. 

Having a hobby may even grant you a second identity that can balance your professional identity, enhancing it and allowing you to see your leadership from a different perspective.

Leaders with serious hobbies may come to realizations while engaged in their pursuits. They can uncover practical solutions that help them achieve professional breakthroughs. Hobbies can teach you to think outside the box, seeing solutions that others may miss. Thus, they turn you into a better leader.

As a leader, you need a passionate non-work interest that forces you to find time for it. Otherwise, you may find it easy and tempting to get lost in the labyrinth of solutions and rewards your job entails.

Interested in business coaching and intelligent leadership? Pick up my books.


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