Competitive individuals seeking to get ahead in a professional environment are often found pulling all-nighters and overtime in the office, demonstrating their value and commitment to the business. Counterintuitively, however, it’s often individuals with a balanced lifestyle that excel. Taking time away from the office can refresh your energy for new working days, giving you more insight into innovative solutions.
But a break from the office doesn’t have to mean you’re not focussing on your career – there are many hobbies that strengthen leadership qualities and can help you get ahead. Here are five great pastimes you can pick up to get ahead.
1) Creative Writing
One of the key features of a strong leader is the capacity to communicate clearly. Leaders need to have a vision which is effortlessly transmitted to their audience and by developing a writing practice you will reinforce these skills on a daily basis. Your creative writing practice doesn’t need to be shared and it can take many forms. Writing poems or short stories will foster a creative capacity that can give you an instinct for problem solving in innovative ways. Journalling, setting down your experiences and ideas, will strengthen your ability to express yourself.
Strengthening your capacity to communicate through a hobby is a great way to build your leadership skills by the day – and you never know, you may end up producing something publishable!
Yoga has many benefits for both mind and body, and since its import from the East in the ‘60s it has grown in popularity. Today, the spiritual aspect of yoga in Western practices is secondary to the physical and psychological benefits and a yoga practice can strengthen your leadership skills in a number of profound ways.
“Yoga practitioners report increased energy and a clear mind enabling focus and direction,” says Andre Allen, a business writer at Writinity and Research Papers UK. “Leaders need to have this clarity of thought and the strongest leaders have a single-minded focus that drives their business forward.” The meditative and psychological impact of a yoga practice will give you a headstart in the business world.
3) Learning A Musical Instrument
Learning an instrument is a creative hobby that can have multiple positive outcomes on your leadership skills. To improve at an instrument takes dedication and practice, and by putting time aside each day to develop your skills on whatever instrument you’ve chosen you’ll be displaying self-discipline which can seep into other aspects of your life.
If you develop to the extent that you can play with others then learning a musical instrument can also strengthen your capacity to collaborate. Whether you’ve picked up a guitar and you’re starting to write some songs or you’re happy playing clarinet in a choir, music is a great way to work with others, something that’s integral to functioning business.
4) Learning A Foreign Language
Strong leaders need to have a single-minded focus on their goals, but if they can’t bring people on board then they’re going nowhere. The art of persuasion has its origins in seeing things from other people’s viewpoint – only when you understand how others think can you begin to construct a persuasive argument that brings them on-board.
“Learning a foreign language develops the capacity to understand other perspectives,” say Barbara Williams, a journalist at Draft Beyond and Last Minute Writing. “As you develop your fluency in a foreign language you’ll discover surprising concepts being expressed in ways that your first language may struggle with.” A new language inevitably offers insight into other ways of thinking.
5) Pick Up A Team Sport
Being a leader can sometimes be a stressful task and finding ways to blow off some steam gives you an important outlet that can refresh your energy for the next day. Physical exercise, whilst exhausting in some ways, can be restorative after a tough day in the office.
Playing a team sport such as soccer will, besides numerous health benefits, strengthen your ability to collaborate in the office. Team sports demand compromise, communication and collaboration in a fast-paced environment and the parallels between success on the pitch and in the market are clear.
Strengthen your creativity for finding solutions, your communication skills and your ability to collaborate through these great hobbies. They’ll be a worthwhile time investment to help you get ahead.