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The Benefits of a Professional Hobby

Do YOU have a hobby? You know…that thing that helps you escape from your day to day routine… that fulfills your creative side or provides you with that sense of personal satisfaction and happiness? I don’t know all the research on the benefits of having a hobby but I can see the value of some […]

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Do YOU have a hobby? You know…that thing that helps you escape from your day to day routine… that fulfills your creative side or provides you with that sense of personal satisfaction and happiness?

I don’t know all the research on the benefits of having a hobby but I can see the value of some physical and mental escape from all the pressure and stress that we are being bombarded with in the world today.

Since I am a self professed over-thinker and work-a-holic you will be shocked to know that defining and finding a hobby has been tough for me over the years. I’ve tried most every “typical” hobby you can think of and I haven’t found one that has stuck. I also have to confess that I truly struggle with work-life integration which results in me needing something that associates with my professional development yet gives me a break from work. For example, over the past 20 years, I can count on one hand the number of books (fiction) that I have read compared to the endless number of business related books I have consumed. Much to my friends and families disappointment I just find more pleasure from those than fiction.

Maybe I am alone in a crowd… but if you are like me I would like to suggest you find what I call a…

Professional Hobby

Now…what is a professional hobby? I’m glad you asked! I view it as a hobby or pass time that is related to your professional development, that you are passionate about, which benefits your work but isn’t work. Vague enough?

By way of example…let me tell you about MY Professional Hobby… LinkedIn and Blogging!

The two have gone hand in hand for me over the past 10 years as I have changed countries, roles and industries. I was an early adopter of the platform and immediately saw the benefits it could bring as my “rolodex” as well as primary networking tool. I spent the time in early days testing out the various features that it had to offer and how it could help me develop professional relationships with key contacts as well as improve my social selling skills. As a part of that journey, I also discovered it as a way to share articles I had written. I haven’t found a better forum that has been so widely adopted by so many in our industry.

I also consider myself to be a practical person and need to ensure that I have measurable or demonstrable outcomes from the investment of time. What has fed my passion for my professional hobby has been the wonderful stories of connection and personal development that I have experienced over the years. I enjoy sharing what I have learned and all that I have gotten out of my hobby no different than I can imagine you would from any other “normal” hobby like drawing, knitting, hiking, biking, photography, sports, etc… I don’t consider it an inconvenience or a chore when asked for help or guidance on LinkedIn…if anything I am afraid I will scare people away with my energy, endless story telling or consistent posting.

The Benefits of My Professional Hobby…

  • Learning more about a tool that helps my professional development has helped me in ways too numerous to quantify
  • Growing my network has enabled me to meet some incredible people that I could never have imagined would be a part of my journey
  • Sharing my learnings and blog posts has not only improved my writing (& presentation skills) over the years but has also helped me bring mental clarity to chaos
  • Happiness and a feeling of accomplishment when I spend time on something that I truly enjoy and can help others in their journey too

Lastly, as I reflected on my professional hobby I gave thought to what other things could fall into this category. A few that jumped to mind were:

  • Podcasts
  • Vlogging
  • Blogging
  • Developing On-Line Courses
  • Photography (visual content for your professional posts)
  • Volunteering
  • Coaching & Mentoring

What would YOU add to the list?

In Closing…

I have taken a lot of joy recently in sharing my professional hobby through virtual workshops with teams both inside and outside my company. I am a geek for this stuff and delighted that others would listen to my tips and tricks. I am always clear that I am self-taught and learning every day so I want it to be more of a discussion with old friends talking about what we have observed and experienced.

I also realize that LinkedIn and Blogging isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it is my mission to help others see real benefits in their own way like I found mine. In fact, from several of the workshops I have been a part of I have seen some amazing results in vlogging and podcasts as others have found THEIR professional hobby too.

What will YOU make YOUR Professional Hobby?

Leadership Questions of the Week for YOU:

  • Do YOU have a hobby? If so, what are the things you enjoy most about it that you could share with others?
  • What do YOU think of the term “professional hobby”? Do YOU have a professional hobby that is listed above or a new one that comes to mind?
  • Do you see a place or the benefit from having a professional hobby?
  • Do YOU have a story, tip or trick that YOU could share from using LinkedIn over the years that I could learn from?

Thanks for reading and remember….YOU make a difference!

Please continue the conversation by liking…commenting or sharing this article. You can also follow me on twitter @marciedwhite

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