daren barone passion

Self-sacrifice seems to be a common theme among leaders. With so many things to accomplish during the day, it’s often hard for entrepreneurs to prioritize their personal time. Before you know it, family dinners, weekly game nights, and your favorite past-times all become distant memories.

Some entrepreneurs believe that this is worth the sacrifice; the more time you spend working, the faster you can achieve your career success. Yet, this isn’t true. Only nurturing your professional endeavors can lead to a life of both discontent and utter regret. It may seem counterintuitive to leaders who are used to overworking themselves, but the most successful executives are the ones who make time to pursue passions outside of the workplace.

Bill Gates makes time to play bridge with friends. Tom Hanks is an avid collector of typewriters. And Dick Costolo found a passion for beekeeping. When we hear about the success stories of some of the world’s most notable leaders, we rarely get a glimpse into their personal lives. But success isn’t one-sided. Gates, Hanks, and Costolo have all worked hard for their success, of course, but they also credit their personal passions for their accomplishments as well.

Finding and developing passions outside of work is the key to unlocking a rewarding career and a life worth living. Here’s why.

Don’t Subscribe to the Toxic ‘Hustle Culture’

The American Dream has always been linked to wealth — and so few people actually ‘make it’ to this level. As such, leaders believe the only way to achieve the unachievable is to throw themselves into their work. This is how ‘hustle culture’ was born. 

People spend their entire lives working themselves to the point of exhaustion just for a taste of money and power. Except this feeling is so fleeting. The second you achieve a milestone, there’s always another milestone to work towards to be even more successful. In other words: success is really a never-ending pursuit. That’s also why it can’t be everything you strive for.

People who sacrifice their personal lives for their career are known to be more miserable than those who maintain a healthy work-life balance. Study after study shows that workaholism makes people more anxious, depressed, and can even lead to issues like insomnia and an influx of health problems. While having a good work ethic is necessary to achieve your career goals, it’s just as important to nurture your passions as well.

What You Stand to Gain From Finding an Outside Passion

An “all work, no play” mentality can and will weaken your impact as a leader. People yearn to draw inspiration from those who lead the charge, so running on fumes or having obvious job satisfaction will prevent you from being a true role model.

Our hobbies are what bring us happiness. They are a time for us to relax and destress, while also serving as a way for us to find continued fulfillment in our lives. Making time for these moments are what will allow you to come to work energized, motivated, and inspired. 

Aside from using your pastime to unplug and restore your energy, you also put yourself in a position to broaden your horizons and discover new things about yourself. For instance, if you were to take up chess, you could develop more critical thinking skills. Delving into the art of dance, for example, will help you take your creativity to the next level. These benefits are essential when it comes to leading effectively, and as you become more involved in your personal hobbies, your confidence will grow immeasurably. And your employees and colleagues will notice.

Finding Time to Cultivate an Extracurricular Activity

There is no doubt that you have a lot on your plate, probably even too much if you were to be honest with yourself. But that is actually the beauty of finding something to latch on to outside of your job responsibilities.

Make sure to pencil this sacred time into your schedule, and take it just as seriously as you would a work meeting so that you don’t feel comfortable skipping out from time to time. If blocking out a chunk of your day is seemingly impossible, try waking up a little earlier, making good use of your lunch breaks, or choose a hobby that’s a little more time-flexible.

Serving others makes you fit to lead, but remembering to serve yourself will give you the fuel you need to excel at what you do. Commit to discovering those things that you are truly passionate about outside of work, and watch how quickly the rest of your life falls in order.