Success is a process of continual growth and learning, while still remaining balanced and holding on to your sanity. In order to stay balanced, it’s important to find time to do things you enjoy.
One of the best ways to incorporate enjoyment into your busy schedule is choosing a fun hobby that also helps you advance your career — and if you ever feel guilty about taking time out for pleasure, just tell yourself it’s continuing education.
Here are ten entertaining hobbies that can help you on your way up the proverbial corporate ladder:
1. Golf. Golf is like an addiction. Rain or shine, golfers are more reliable that the mail man. No weather keeps them from their appointed rounds — of golf that is.
And who can blame them? The golf course is a perfectly manicured Zen-like setting, abounding with nature, some laid-back cardio and friendly conversation among playing companions. It’s a grown up playground where deals are negotiated and new alliances established. It’s also a great place to make critical connections that can help you into the right circles career-wise.
Of course, if all else fails, you can still use your new found skills to impress the boss next time your company takes part in a charity golf event.
2. Reading. If you prefer a more me-time type hobby, you might want to opt for reading. Reading can take you away from the everyday grind and allow you to escape into worlds of fantasy and adventure, or simply teach you new things.
Even if you prefer fiction to the more mundane educational tomes, reading is still a workout for your brain, increasing your vocabulary and keeping it young. On a social level, reading can enhance your empathy and help you connect to others.
3. Stamp collecting. Remember how as a kid, you wanted to be a philatelist when you grew up? Ok, maybe not, but now that you are grown-up, you might just want to delve into the fascinating world of philately — or stamp collecting, as it’s better known.
Collecting stamps is a great way to challenge yourself mentally and keep your brain sharp. Even if you do it just for pleasure, though, it works as an effective stress reducer.
Stamp collecting is a hobby that follows your specific interests. Whether you choose a theme, like flowers, or you decide to focus on a specific country, it will be exclusive to your preferences. Additionally, if you do your research, stamp collecting can also be a lucrative investment.
Or you can choose another item to collect. We recommend choosing something small, though. (Choosing something that can double as décor is always a bonus.)
4. Running. If you prefer something that gets you up and moving, consider running. Running is a versatile hobby you can do just about anywhere, and it can give you a sense of freedom. It builds your stamina, improves your cardio health and reduces stress.
Running can also teach you to be more disciplined and enhance your level of self-confidence, both valuable assets in the corporate world. Before you know it, you might even find yourself taking on a marathon or two.
5. Yoga. So you want something a bit more active than reading but don’t think you’re ready for a 5K? Yoga provides all the benefits of a more intense workout, with added bonuses like pain reduction, stress relief, enhanced immunity and improved memory.
Yoga can be done anywhere you have a few extra moments, and its emphasis on focus and self-control makes it the perfect hobby to bolster your progress toward that corner office.
6. Painting. Remember how much you loved to draw and paint when you were young? Then somewhere along the way you started to believe you weren’t creative or talented, and you stopped putting effort into developing that side of you.
Painting is valuable in many ways. For starters, it’s just plain fun, but it also quiets the mind and offers a way to escape the stresses of the day. It also enhances creativity, often requiring you to re-think a course of action as the big picture begins to unfold. That kind of thinking can be pretty useful for the corporate leader.
Start with a local wine and paint night to give your confidence a boost. That way, if the paint part falls short of your expectations, you can always blame it on the wine.
7. Cooking. A lot of people think they can’t cook, but you wouldn’t be where you are today if you didn’t know how to follow directions. That’s all cooking is — finding a good recipe and following directions. As you become more familiar with the flavors and properties of food, you’ll begin experimenting. Before you know it, you’ll be creating unique, delicious cuisine from scratch.
Mastering the art of cooking is a sure-fire way to boost your self-esteem. After all, who doesn’t love to eat? And those happy faces when you show up with a plate of goodies will give you a shot of confidence you can bank on at the office.
8. Acting. Remember that kindergarten play everyone raved about? You were the best little tree in the forest. Reawaken that ability you’ve kept locked away all these years by joining a local theatre group.
Acting exercises those memorization muscles and hones your improvisation skills. Being able to think on your feet will give you confidence under pressure and the ability to lead in a crisis. Playing multiple roles can also increase your sensitivity to other people’s feelings and give you the freedom to be whoever you want.
9. Meditating. Most of your life is a whirlwind — rushing to meetings, placating clients, putting out fires — and it eventually takes its toll. Meditating gives you time to slow down, breathe and look at things from a new perspective. When you meditate regularly, problems seem smaller, and your mind gains clarity. Your emotions also become more stable, and you become more balanced.
This self-awareness will spill over into all areas of your life and increase your emotional IQ — a big plus in the any corporate culture.
10. Volunteering. There’s no better feeling than to know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. Volunteering can give you a greater appreciation for life and a sense of worth you may not get from your current profession.
It can also be a way to hone or develop skills you may not have the chance to explore through your job. When choosing volunteer opportunities, look for ones that require abilities you need to work on. People tend to be much more patient with your shortcomings when you’re not being paid to perform — making it much easier to develop those workplace skills you may not be the best at.