This is the 12th post in December’s Top Tens in 2010 Series. This guest post was written by Sydney Owen, skydiver, social mediaite and an all around awesomesauce chica. I meet Sydney in person at SXSW in 2009, but she’s one of those people you feel like you’ve always known. After spending a few days running to keep up hanging out with Sydney in Austin I told her she should have a one sentence resume “Sydney Owen… makes sh*t happen.” After you see the energy in her writing you’ll see what I mean.
Hi, I’m Sydney. This summer I realized that there is way more to life than being a workaholic. Before discovering my love for skydiving, I had some serious blinders on. I was always head-down in my work, lived at the office and didn’t really venture outside of my various social circles in Chicago.
Then skydiving happened.
I could get into all of the mushy gushy stuff about how it paved the way to one of the best relationships I’ve ever been in. I could also get into the “hurrah yay me” empowerment bit about how if you can jump out of plane you can do nearly anything.
There are about eleventy billion reasons you should have a hobby outside of work. I’m here to narrow it down for you.
- It keeps your mind fresh. If you’re always at work, it is probably pretty hard to think outside the box.
- It keeps your life fresh. Having a hobby introduces you to new people, new philosophies and a whole new world outside of what your career may offer. Run with that. It’s good for the soul.
- It makes everything brighter. Seriously. Having a hobby outside of work can lift the blinders that you may have – opening your eyes to new opportunities, and possibly, depending on the hobby, new career paths.
- It may lead to love. I said it. I believe the Holstee Manifesto says it best: if you’re looking for love, stop. It will find you when you start doing what you love. Done and done, Holstee Manifesto, done and done.
- It will definitely lead to new friends. Back to the first point – if you’re around new people outside of your career, you will pick up on their life lessons, things that have worked for them in their line of work, and you can, oftentimes, apply those to the way you operate. Fresh thinking = good thinking.
- You need to clear your mind. Having bounced from fast-paced, monster-PR-agency life to fast-paced, we’re-so-busy-and-can’t-hire-fast-enough startup life, the message is the same. You need something to help clear your head. People still look at me funny when I say that skydiving is the most relaxing thing ever. But it’s true. For the 12-15 minutes it takes to get up to altitude, I’m concentrating on the skydive. For the 60 seconds I’m in freefall, I’m concentrating on the skydive and deploying my parachute on time. For the 5-7 minutes I’m under canopy, I’m making sure that I land safely with two feet on the ground. No time to think about emails, meetings, deadlines, anything. That and the adrenaline is a total bonus. ;)
- You need to have an outlet. In my world, I’m go-go-go all the time. Work is crazy busy, my social life is crazy busy since I just relocated and I’m in the process of finding my “crew” down here, and I’m in a perpetual state of trying to find inspiration. If you’ve ever been over to my blog, you know that skydiving has taken over much of the content there. Which is a good thing. I’m discovering more about myself personally and professionally than I ever thought possible.
- You can feel accomplished outside of your career. I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for feedback – good or bad. I want to know how I’m doing, how I can improve, what I’m doing well, etc. When you have a hobby, you can have an extra outlet for feedback. If your hobby is blogging, your feedback may come in the form of comments. If your hobby is skydiving, your feedback comes in form of video from your jumps so you can see what you need to work on. In times in your career where you feel like you’re not getting feedback, a hobby can feed that need.
- It gives you something else to talk about. Granted, lately all I’m talking about is skydiving, but before, all I was talking about was work. Having a hobby, extreme or not, lets you bring something different to the table. It’s another selling point. Sure, you have a rockin’ resume, you do incredible work and you have recommendations coming from all over the place, but it’s pretty cool to differentiate yourself via your hobby. No matter what it is.
- It’s something to call your own. Not all of us are fortunate enough to be in a career that allows us to innovate, share big ideas and rock the world one day at a time. Having a hobby can allow you to have what your career may not. And, if you are fortunate enough to have a killer career and a wicked awesome hobby, then it’s like the icing on the cake.