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How to use your corporate skills to develop a hobby

If you are reading this, it means you are about to set off on a “new hobby” journey. It’s great you are here as this article may show you how your experience in a corporate world can only help in developing your passions. 

Why is past experience important in harnessing the procrastination beast?

You are excited by the concept of developing a new hobby and probably have an idea of the type of skills you will have to master to get there. But lack of a step-by-step plan scares you off. Your mind creates this beast of a task which you can’t handle, and so … you procrastinate.  

What you should do instead is to reach out to your past. Throughout your professional career you have learnt and practiced numerous skills, and it’s not different to a new hobby. Some are even transferable!

How to take advantage of what you’ve learnt in the corporate world?

You probably don’t realise your advantageous position. Learning at work is part of your job, sometimes a stressful one, one you may not even like. But one where, whether you realise it or not, you learn things. You most likely had to take a lead on a project, or had to undertake a task you knew nothing about. You may even participated in developing something that has not yet been done before. A manager and a team were around supporting you throughout the process, even if at the time you did not perceived it that way. There were probably team meetings, project calls, corporate deadlines, regular corporate reporting, which required you to … get on and do something about the task. And so you did. You challenged yourself and achieved it. 

Risk-free practicing

The environment around you played a very important role in the whole process, rather different than the one you think it played. Avoid misconception: the manager or team were there to create a safe environment for you to develop a skill, to practice, to make mistakes, to complete the task. They were not there to do the job for you, or to hold your hand throughout the process. Neither you wanted that, although if you did then grow up and set your expectations to avoid disappointment. Office is a safe space to practice, take advantage! 

Transferable skills

Now that you realise you did it at work, you know you can do it outside of the corporate environment too. Simply replicate the process by applying it to a different task like  … learning how to paint. You did it once you can do it again. And a lot of those office skills will again be in use. 


Remember I told you the environment is key? Substitute your manager and a team with your partner and friends. Their encouragement, and constructive feedback is important to your development. Now that you are out of the ‘safe’ office zone, mistakes are more painful. Share your plans with them, give them roles to play. You will feel committed to the task, and they will support you along the way. 

The one most important lesson from the corporate world?

Set yourself a target. Corporate tasks are subject to a reporting deadline, or a project delivery deadline, or a manager’s ‘by the end of the day’ request. A new hobby should be subjected to something similar, like an exhibition of your first collection. In both cases, the piece of work seems overwhelming and at times impossible to achieve (you may have only just enrolled on your first oil painting course!). But trust me, they are within your reach! 

What will take you there?

The aggregation of marginal gains! - like one of my executives used to say. Remember, even 15 minutes each day, and consistency in practicing your new skills is all you need.

So what next?

Make a good use of what the corporate world has given you! I did when developing my passion for painting. Subscribe here for my next article on how to prepare for your first exhibition where I will provide you with a useful show checklist. This video will give you a glimpse of what the atmosphere was like at my pop-up show!

And if you have only just started your career in The City, next time a new and unknown task comes up you may want to consider: “how can I, personally, benefit from doing it?” 


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