Why Every Leader Needs A Hobby

With so much of our day spent dealing with the problems that arise from leading others, it is easy to think you don’t have time for a hobby. It’s a fallacy many leaders fall into. Failing to have a hobby is also one of the reasons many leaders stumble and face burnout.

I was reminded of this as I listened to Adam Grant’s new book Power Moves. In it, one of the Davos attendees he talks to David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Person fishing in a lake with a silver and black fishing pole

Photo by Alan BishopDavid Solomon isn’t the straight-laced CEO you might think of when you think of Goldman Sachs. Outside of work, David spends his free time on his hobby: DJing at clubs and events. He goes by the name of DJ D-Sol and rocks clubs all around the world.

He found an outlet for the stress of his job. Using his hobby of DJing, he is able to relax and decompress to avoid burnout.

Or Carey Nieuwhof, former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, enjoys spending time cycling the roads of Canada. He’s learned through the process of burnout that he has to do something for himself or he will burnout again.

Burnout comes from prolonged periods of extreme stress. Your mental, physical, and emotional well-being are stretched to the max. Sounds like leadership, huh?

What if we could change this? What if you could relieve or break up the constant barrage of stress you’re feeling?

This is where having a hobby comes in handy.

The Benefits Of Having A Hobby

Our lives are already packed with stress. We feel the pressures of work and home. We feel like we can never get away.

This is one of the reasons many leaders fail to find a hobby. They believe they don’t have the time. They’re mistaken because finding a hobby can free up time and energy.

We often push hobbies to the side because we feel like we cannot afford the extra time. However, I believe the following benefits will help you realize how important it is for a leader to have a hobby.

1. Hobbies release stress:

The demands of the home and office can be brutal. Time demands and family commitments can make you lose your mind. But when you begin enjoying one of your hobbies, stress can begin to melt away.

Your mind shifts from the challenges of the day to the activity in front of you. You see a fun challenge and want to work to solve the issue ahead of you.

This could be breaking your 5k record by running the fastest you ever have. You might enjoy building a new shed to store your woodworking tools.

For me, I enjoy running. I enjoy physical activity. I also enjoy playing a quick video game. Candy Crush has been a fun hobby. I also enjoy playing a game or two on plays.org. They have great games ranging from Minesweeper to a Mega Man clone called Cyberman V to Minigolf games. They’re all fun and give you a break.

You might enjoy riding your bike, especially at night. I know I love running at night. Biking at night is just as enjoyable, especially when you use the VONT LED bike light. It allows you to see clearly even in the darkest condition. It also allows you to be seen by oncoming traffic and other pedestrians.

Hobbies help us forget the problems we’ve faced.

2. Hobbies unlock your creativity:

Have you ever found yourself stuck trying to solve a complicated problem? You have focused so much intense energy on the problem you cannot see the answer.

Then, you take a break. You go for a walk or you sit in front of the television to play a quick match on Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. When all of a sudden, BOOM! The solution hits you.

Our minds need a break from the stress of problem-solving. It needs time to recharge and refresh. This can be done through our hobbies.

They relax our minds and take away anxiety. They also help you unlock your creativity and solve the problems you stopped thinking about.

3. Hobbies change how you feel:

While you face a constant barrage of pressure at work, your hobbies can provide pressure too. Yet this pressure does something different.

The pressure you face from your hobbies is relaxing pressure. You’re having fun. You’re enjoying yourself. And the way you feel begins to change.

Your hobbies are a release. They help you melt away the stress and anxiety you feel from doing work that matters.

By partaking in a hobby, you’re able to relax, mellow out, chill man… Hobbies help you to release yourself from the emotional drain of leadership.

4. Hobbies make you less lonely:

Many hobbies force you to create new relationships. They require you to interact with someone outside of your normal social circle.

One of my hobbies is collecting comic books and comic book art. Through this hobby, I’ve met many amazing people who have made my life less lonely.

I’ve been able to spend time online with comic book artist John Beatty. Another connection has been with comic book fans and comic book store owners.

These relationships have made me less lonely. I feel like I have another community I can belong to.

As you find a hobby you enjoy, you will discover the same thing. There are communities in your hobby where you can belong.

5. Hobbies build your confidence:

That’s right, hobbies can help you to become a more confident leader. How can this be?

Your confidence builds as you find yourself becoming better and better at something you’re doing. The better you get at your hobby, the more confidence you can feel.

Whether you get better at kiteboarding or knitting, you feel good when you see improvement. Imagine you run as a hobby. You ran your first 5K race in 32 minutes, 35 seconds. The next 5K, you finish in 28 minutes, 24 seconds.

You will feel pretty good about yourself. You will see you can improve and become better. Talk about a confidence boost!

This confidence boost doesn’t stay in your hobby. The confidence you receive from your hobby can carry over to other aspects of your life.

Hobbies Leaders Can Enjoy

You may find yourself wondering what kind of hobbies a leader can enjoy. Or you might be struggling to think of a hobby to start.

Here’s a list of hobbies leaders can enjoy.

  • Reading fiction books
  • Running
  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • DJ
  • Playing guitar
  • Learning to sing
  • Doing stand-up comedy
  • Ice climbing
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Programming computers
  • Brewing your own beer
  • Fishing
  • Leatherworking/Leather Sewing
  • Camping
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Bird watching
  • Photography
  • Ice climbing
  • Knitting
  • Geocaching
  • Cooking
  • Playing video games

The list goes on and on. There’s a hobby for every leader and every leader needs a hobby.

Start seeking out a hobby you can enjoy outside of work. You’ll begin to see the benefits of your hobby soon after starting.

Question: Do you have a hobby? If so, what is it? If not, why aren’t you participating in a hobby? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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