woman in a white wedding dress carrying a bouquet of flowers

How Hobbies Enrich our Wellbeing and Professional Skills

In the fast-paced world of today, where work often consumes a significant portion of our lives, it’s essential to recognise the value of hobbies and their impact on our own wellbeing and professional development. Engaging in activities outside of our profession brings a multitude of benefits, ranging from stress relief to enhanced creativity and improved planning and leadership skills.

As a keen needle-person, gardener and sports person myself it has taken me many years to appreciate the value in the skill developed through my own hobbies, for which I often felt tremendous guilt spending time on.

A particularly good example how hobbies develop your skills is in the creation of the wedding dress pictured above which took me around 150 small steps to complete from start to finish. Systematically in such a creation you work backwards with the finished product in mind, its looks, its fabric, its overall design and map out the steps backwards to its inception before you start. Of course like anything in life, the more you do the easier you find it to do and many of the steps become routine steps which can also be applied in our professional working life. Dressmaking has skilled me in starting with the end in mind, being capable to map out the relevant steps to its creation from inception. Additionally, the patience and attention to detail required in dressmaking can translate into increased focus and precision in the workplace, essential qualities for leaders.

Similarly, gardening presents a unique set of benefits that contribute to personal and professional growth. Gardening allows individuals to connect with nature, promoting a sense of tranquility and mindfulness. Spending time in a garden nurtures patience, as plants require time to grow and flourish. This patience carries over into the professional realm, teaching individuals to be resilient and steadfast when faced with challenges or setbacks. Moreover, gardening cultivates problem-solving skills, as gardeners must analyze various factors, such as soil quality, sunlight, and water requirements, to ensure optimal plant growth. When a flower is not doing so well, we do not dig it up and throw it away, we look at its surrounding conditions and try to address different factors to improve its condition and that’s pretty much how we as humans function. Gardening has definitely developed my patience and problem solving skills which are highly transferable where effective decision-making and adaptability are vital.  It is of course always a great benefit to sit back in your garden too and contemplate your next move either in the garden or in your working life.

Sports, whether individual or team-based, offer a range of physical and mental benefits that significantly impact professional development. As a runner “getting to the start line” has always been my motto, there’s never a question of whether you would start only how much you would do. Sports fosters discipline, perseverance, and a competitive spirit. The commitment required to excel in sports translates into a strong work ethic, as we learn to understand the value of consistent practice and effort. Additionally, sports promote teamwork, communication, and strategic thinking, all of which are fundamental skills for effective leadership. Leading a sports team or participating in team activities cultivates leadership qualities such as delegation, motivation, and conflict resolution.

When it comes to professional development, hobbies provide a wealth of advantages. Firstly, hobbies expand our skill set beyond the boundaries of our professional expertise. By engaging in diverse activities, we acquire new knowledge, develop different perspectives, and hone transferable skills. This broader skill set enhances our versatility, making us better equipped to handle the complex and ever-evolving challenges that come with our work.

Hobbies also offer opportunities for networking and community involvement. Dressmaking enthusiasts can connect with like-minded individuals through sewing circles, attend fashion events, or even showcase their work at local exhibitions. Gardeners can join gardening clubs, participate in community gardens, or collaborate with landscape designers. Sports enthusiasts can engage in local leagues, compete in tournaments, or volunteer as coaches. These hobby-related interactions expand our professional network, creating opportunities for mentorship, collaboration, and exposure to diverse perspectives—all of which are invaluable. In conclusion, hobbies play a crucial role in our working life and progression, providing a multitude of benefits that contribute to personal and professional growth. Engaging in our hobbies can promote stress relief, increase creativity, problem-solving skills, discipline, teamwork, and strategic thinking. So, embrace your hobbies wholeheartedly and unlock their potential to propel you forward, enjoying the wellbeing, new skills and balance they bring to your life. 

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Karen, leveraging 25 years of international expertise, is your go-to HR consultant and speaker for organisational and people development for Future Work.

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May 23, 2023


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