Your hobbies provide a creative outlet that signals to your audience your inner values while also helping you stand out from the crowd. These are a valuable connector in allowing your audience to relate to you and to find common ground that you might not have otherwise found with them. And it helps you understand how to connect to your audience.
Some examples are people like Anton Van der Walt. He is a leadership expert. He has served as Human Resources Director of Ford Middle East and Africa since May 2014. In this position, Van Der Walt leads the regional Human Resources functions from organisation development and transition supporting the new business unit establishment, strategic workforce planning, and leadership management.
Leadership and HR Expert | CEO and Co-Founder ROIDEA | Speaker | Author | Mentor
He was previously the HR Manager for Ford in the Middle East, and now lives in Australia, but he’s South African. He wrote a book called Leadership Through My Lens.
Anton has a passion for photography – in particular, South African animals. He uses the metaphor of animals and their traits and behaviours, and how they relate to leadership. His book is spectacular and it highlights his passion and enthusiasm for his hobby. Even better it helps him connect to his audience.
Your Hobbies Creates Exceptionality
Renee Giarusso, who is an expert in leadership, loves to cook. She loves a variety of cooking. She’s very creative with her cooking and shares a lot of metaphors about cooking in her leadership programs. In her spare time, she loves also to entertain, travel, do yoga and continue her passion for learning and growing through and with others.
Leaders who want to be limitless and live their legacy trust in her to deliver interactive, informative, thought-provoking, and relatable programs that bring learnings to life that are transformational, not transactional.
Leadership Expert, Renee Giarusso
Al Yankovic once said, “My hobbies just sort of gradually become my vocation.” I think that’s the case with your hobbies, and building an exceptional brand.
Your Hobbies can be the Key to Your Personality
People want to connect with a human at a human level. They want to know that you understand them — their passions, their needs, their challenges and their business. And your interests help you to convey that.
I personally have a passion for bulldogs and we have an English bulldog. I’ve always really loved them. We are involved in British bulldog Facebook groups and meetups and things like that, and I sometimes bring in some metaphors for that.
A lot of clients that come to work with me also have dogs, and so they feel like they’re connecting with another dog owner. It not only creates a deeper sense of connection when I’m working with them, I am just genuinely interested. I make note of their dogs’ names, their birthdays, as well as the clients’ birthdays. We really see dogs as very special creatures and it connects our community at a different level. In fact, for me, it’s an excellent way to understand how to connect with my audience.
Having a hobby also makes you more interesting. It helps to relieve stress by keeping you engaged in something you enjoy. And hobbies help you become more patient.
In fact, when Mark Zuckerberg interviews candidates for roles at Facebook, he has been known to ask candidates what their hobbies and side projects are. He says it’s the best way to identify passion and leadership.
So hobbies are like a connector to the heart of your audience. They humanise you and your brand and make you really authentic and real.
When you’re looking to get insight into your own mindset ask yourself:
- What do you like doing outside of work?
- Did it elevate your branding and positioning, helping you to stand out and be unique?
- Did it help you to answer the question of how to become more connected to your audience?