Let’s begin by defining what a hobby is; and it’s going to get tricky right off the bat. Some people consider exercise to be their hobby; but it’s not mine. I exercise because I know I have to in order to stay healthy and able to live the life I desire. It’s just part of my routine. My hobby – and it’s taken me about 30 years to realize this – is cars. I’m as passionate and interested in cars as some people are about exercise. It’s that passion and interest in an activity (that is not your life’s work) that defines it as a hobby.
Balancing your inner workaholic
For the last several years when someone asked about my hobby, I replied starting more businesses. Don’t get me wrong. I’m passionate and interested in starting businesses; but that is my life’s work. How can it be a diversion or distraction from that? The answer is that it can’t.
You should have as much passion and interest in your hobby as you do in your life’s work. If you don’t, it’s likely you won’t make the time in your schedule to pursue your hobby. The difference between your life’s work and your hobby is an understanding that the hobby should always be fun. Work, like it or not:
- sometimes has to be serious.
- is sometimes stressful.
- oftentimes sets your schedule for you.
Your hobby should never be any of those things. Instead, your hobby should be the place you go mentally and physically when you need a total and complete break from work. That’s why the level of passion and interest needs to match that of your life’s work. Otherwise, how can the hobby hold your interest and let your mind and body relax and step away from the serious, stressful, goal-oriented world of work?
Let your hobby find you
It wasn’t until just recently that I fully realized and embraced my hobby. The past few months of my work life have been rewarding; but honestly not all that fun. I’ve allowed myself to get stressed out and didn’t have an outlet for that stress. Believe or or not, that normally doesn’t turn out well for you and those closest to you. It was a wake-up call.
I spent the better part of four days thinking and analyzing what was driving all the stress that turned to anger and hostility. I knew I needed to make an adjustment but couldn’t figure out what it was. In the middle of those four days, I decided to jump in my car and go for a drive with two simple rules: 1) I had no destination in mind and 2) I wouldn’t drive on any freeways. The goal was simply to find enjoyment driving the curvy scenic back roads in a car made for that kind of driving.
It was awesome. Over the next couple of days, I began to think of how I’ve loved cars for years and years. I have three older brothers and when we were younger each of them had an MG or Triumph parked in our parents’ driveway. I love auto racing and talking cars with just about anyone who shares the interest.
So I joined a club of fellow Audi owners. I’ve already had the chance to have lunch with some of the club members. During that two hours I felt the same release from work stress, etc. that I felt while driving for hours a few weeks ago.
Your hobby is also right there in front of you. Just take a few hours or a few days to think about what makes you feel happy and relaxed enough to put work aside for awhile.
The balance payoff
When you’ve got a hobby that draws you to it, it’s easier and easier to set work aside when it’s overwhelming. Take a break to pursue your hobby for a few minutes, hours or even an entire weekend. Sometimes that’s just taking a 30-minute break to research the next drive our Audi club is planning. Other times, it’s taking three or four hours to wash and clean my car. (Yes, I find that relaxing. It’s crazy I know.) Finally, I’m planning full weekends attending races and just driving with other folks passionate about their cars like I am about mine.
And the payoff is that when you go back to work on Monday morning, you’ll be refreshed, energized and ready to kick some serious butt.
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