When you meet new people in social situations, they are often more interested in learning about your hobbies than they are in your career. Just as much as what you do for a living, your personal passions define you. They also provide a unique sense of fulfillment that you can’t get from your career or even from your closest relationships. Depending on the hobbies you choose, there are psychological, physical, health, intellectual, and social benefits to be found. And perhaps unexpectedly, there are also career benefits to be gained by picking up a new hobby that aligns with the skills and assets you want to develop in your career.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of personal and professional growth through engaging in hobbies:
Self-esteem and self-confidence: The former refers to how you feel about yourself in general, on the spectrum of extremely positive to extremely negative. The latter refers to your belief in your different abilities. Your self-esteem is constant, no matter what you’re doing, and your self-confidence is associated with specific activities. Activities that build self-confidence also contribute to improved self-esteem, because when we master challenges, we grow in both areas. We feel like we’re generally more formidable and capable human beings. Many of us take heed of this concept as parents, but don’t realize the same idea applies to us as adults.
Athletic activities are among the best hobbies to pursue for developing self-esteem and self-confidence. Training for a half-marathon or learning the martial arts and working your way up the belt levels not only fosters these positive feelings, but develops the habit of working toward daily or weekly goals on your way to an ultimate objective. People who engage in these activities often claim the benefits are transcendent, and people who we know to be successful in their careers often have athletic hobbies. Talk to a triathlete if you want to see a prime example. If you’re not into sports, you can achieve similar benefits through mastery of a musical instrument or through competitive games like chess and poker.
Passion: We’re passionate about the opportunities we have to meet so many successful people in business, and one trait many of them share is a passion for what they do. But that passion, as it turns out, isn’t just for what they do in their careers. They tend to have outside passions as well. Some engage in social causes or are politically active. Others do volunteer work, such as building homes with Habitat for Humanity. Some mentor children or younger professionals in their industries, or they teach courses at local community colleges.
You may already be passionate about your favorite college football team, art, or photography. In 2019, take that passion a step further. Become your favorite team’s crazy fan mascot. Enter your latest masterpieces in an amateur art or photography exhibit.
Pursuing your passions outside of work is uplifting, with a sustainable feeling that transcends into your career and other aspects of your life. Think of colleagues who are passionate about work; it’s highly likely they have hobbies they love.
These skills are indispensable to your career success, but the best place to improve them may not be on the job. If your desk is disorganized or your corkboard is full of sloppy notes and old post-its, you can take your organizational skills up a notch by starting a collection in your spare time. Collect coins, beer steins, or baseball cards. It doesn’t matter what you collect as long as it’s something you love—and something that can be organized—neatly! (Don’t become a hoarder)
Employers want you to have a happy, vibrant life outside of work. They know what you gain from personal hobbies will make you even more effective on the job. How do we know? Hiring managers tell us so! Tell us about your hobby and how it benefits your career on Facebook!