We operate in boxes of work and life and we usually tend to build very rigid ideas of work and what we do there, and life and what we do with it as an independent fragment of our reality. I have always believed that when you love what you do, work is as much a part of your life as is all else.
Experiences outside our comfort zones enrich us and widen our perspective and give us thought-tracks that we can explore over and above our immediate spectrum or reach. Our personalities define us and who we are and sometimes delving deeper into these and finding new avenues to put your energies into can be just the thing to do.
Your professional persona can be enhanced with what you choose to do with your time, the circles that you interact with and the people you network with.
Volunteer with a civil service organisation
Volunteering adds a lot of perspective to life and gives you satisfaction that is unparalleled. You get to interact with not-for-profits who have engaged themselves in social impact work that truly touches lives and makes a change to the status quo. This can teach you a lot and engaging with the beneficiaries of these organisations can give you insights to life and can turn out to be the best lessons in management.
A friend of mine chose to step out of his corporate career for a sabbatical and took on the role of the CEO at a CSO and he has today set up an incubator for start-ups that cater to the area of Disability.
Pick up a hobby
A hobby can again give you a time and space that you build for you own to engage and indulge in an interest which you have nurtured. It gives you joy as its something you love to do and as you traverse the path of learning and investing in the hobby, you realise that you have grown and learnt in the process.
Another friend picked up photography as an after-work hobby and today he is a leading, coveted photographer and spends his time doing what he loves to do as he makes his money.
Play a sport
Sports of any kind can be a phenomenal teacher and can teach you everything from group dynamics, team work, analytics, behaviour, patience to psychology. It also helps keep the mind and body fit and builds stamina.
Talking about stories, I have a friend who runs a successful corporate gifting business but is also an avid rugby player and coach and his passion for the sport is amazing to see.
Another friend of mine plays golf and she golfs almost everyday with such passion, that it rubs off and you want to do something with your life which is as exciting.
Sign up for a class, learn something new or enhance an old skill
Age is no bar to learning. You can always start the process of learning something new that you have wanted to or just add on to your existing skills. You can learn an instrument or music, you can learn technology, you can enhance your writing skills, the list is endless.
I have a friend who was on a break to recover her health and she spent her recovery time learning and managed to do so many courses that she had an interest in and she used all that information and knowledge that she picked up in that period to start and run a successful jewellery business.
Engage as a mentor or mentee, or as a coach or coachee
At some point in time we all need someone to help us move forward or gain fresh perspective on our lives and where we stand. It could be personal or professional, but it’s a great idea to sign up as a coach or mentor and get one for yourselves too. It helps chart the path of moving forward and attaining goals better. You can also use your own life experience and help coach or mentor someone.
One of my friends, a super successful HR professional, quit his corporate stint to start a company in the coaching space and he is enjoying it and is excited with the projects that are coming his way.
Engage in activities and events that help you learn
Our cities have a plethora of events and activities that cater to an array of interests, attending these can also be a great way to learn something and build your network.
A friend and I, go to the Bengaluru Poetry Festival every year and sign up for a class or workshop where we get an opportunity to meet people in the community, engage with amazing people doing fantastic work.
Read voraciously or listen to podcasts and write too
Reading is a great way to access knowledge and get a world view without stirring out of your space, the options are many, the genres too and there’s no time restriction. If you aren’t much of a reader, listen to podcasts and use your travel time to imbibe content that will enhance your being.
If you can write and share your views, that’s also a great way to build your skills and widen your mind. I have friends who have all become podcasters, writers and have moved out of their corporate jobs to do so.
If you invest in yourself and your learning after hours, it will surely impact your future…