What’s your hobby? And how often do you get to really enjoy it? Perhaps you’re into the outdoors and like hiking or rock climbing. Or maybe you like acting, singing or perhaps even flying. Either way, the thing is, as busy professionals we really struggle sometimes to make the time for our hobbies.
Coming to the end of the Summer holidays here in the UK and the schools start back in the coming days. As I sit here writing the outline for this blog, I’m about to shoot out of the door to the first choir rehearsal of our new season. You see, one of my passions and hobbies is singing. It nurtures my soul.
Here are my top five strong reasons why you should take up or keep up with your hobby.
How much time do you invest in yourself? I don’t just mean how many hours do you spend reading books or attending networking meetings. No, I mean the time you set aside to do the things you care about.
I wager that if you have a demanding job or that you run your own business that you struggle to make time for yourself. And then of course there are family commitments. Perhaps you have children. So what time does that leave at the end of the day or week after all the school runs and extra-curricular activities?
But here’s the thing. You have to nurture your own soul and spirit before you can hope to be the best you can be in business. I strongly believe that.
Meet different people
I love the people I work with. Some more than others naturally. But the thing is, we’re all in our little bubble together when we’re at work. We know one another a bit outside of work. Again some friendships run deeper than others. The thing is, you can’t expect to be friends with everyone you work with and you can’t expect to always get along with them and share the same interests.
Variety is the spice of life. Getting out and meeting new people or people from different backgrounds, who share a common interest is rewarding. Perhaps they have connections you would benefit from making yourself. People they know whom you might do well to meet.
I also find it interesting and stimulating to meet people with different points of view on a topic I’m passionate about. Amongst other things, it challenges me. It forces me to consider another angle. There is no substitute for experience. When you meet people who have been doing this for a lot longer than you, you will undoubtedly learn something new.
Whether you’re into clay pigeon shooting, archery or badminton, fell running, m0untain-climbing or cross-stitch, the old adage that “practice makes perfect” holds true. I’m sure you’ll agree. I wrote on day 7 about the 10,000 hours concept. The more you practice something, the better you become. And if it’s something you are particularly interested in, all the better. You will likely get there faster.
Now I’m a pretty crappy sight reader of music. I can certainly tell how long a note is (though I don’t always get that right in rehearsal!) and I can usually tell you whether it’s going up the scale or down. But I’m awful when it comes to looking at a stave of music, and knowing where in the range to pitch a particular note.
But you see, with time and practice comes both experience and ultimately, mastery. I’m many years away from mastery. However, I can tell you that since I started singing again a few years back, I have made significant improvement. Although I still struggle, I do find this aspect of singing somewhat easier nowadays.
One of the highlights of my Summer this year, was making contact with my long-lost music teacher from my first Secondary school. Due to family reasons, I left that school very suddenly, never to return. Not only did I sever the relationships I was forming with my school friends, but I also lost some very important relationships with key members of staff.
One such person was my music teacher. It’s only in the past few years that I have come to realise just how significant a role she has played in my life. I attribute my love of classical music to her. My love of singing stems from both my adored late Grandfather and also my music teacher.
So over the Summer, I made a point of reaching out to find her and speak to her. We got to speak on the telephone for around half an hour. I thanked her from the bottom of my heart for instilling this love of music in me. She, in turn, was grateful to me for reaching out and thanking her as a former Teacher – I wish more of us did that because it made a significant mark on her day, and mine too!
Just think for a moment about how powerful your memories are of key events in your life. Think too of the joy and satisfaction you shared with others who themselves have the same interests as you do. Perhaps there is a particular trip overseas that springs to mind. An adrenalin junkie activity like throwing yourself out of a perfectly good aeroplane on a skydive. Or maybe it’s standing atop the peak of Mount Snowdon, the Matterhorn or Mount Everest. For me, it’s standing on the stage looking out at the audience of the Royal Albert Hall giving us a standing ovation after a concert.
There’s not escaping the fact our lives revolve around emotion and the experiences we live through and the memories we form along the way.
All of the earlier points lead me to this one. In my family, like so many others, there has been a fair degree of stress and strain caused by illness, depression and mental health issues. That puts an immense strain on a family and can be very damaging to relationships.
But here’s the thing. Against that backdrop you can make a decision. you can decide to invest in yourself and give yourself some time to pursue the things you care about deeply. You can get out of your bubble and go towards other people. You can decide to set aside time so you can master an art or skill. And you can acknowledge the powerful experiences all that can bring you. When you do this, you are in essence giving yourself the most wonderful gift in the world. Self-love.
Start by loving yourself. From there, everything becomes possible. Mark my words!
So, how about you stop and think about this for a few minutes. What could you do today and in the coming couple of days to change the balance a little in your favour. Where in the week can you carve out a little time for you to invest in yourself and your hobby.
Now go do it! And tell us about it.
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Thanks for stopping by and see you for more tomorrow friends!
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