Episode 08 of Soul Food is about Hobbies and you can watch it on the Soul Food YouTube channel.

Tell me, what did you love to do as a kid? What games, activities, or hobbies attracted your interest? What did you do in your free time?

Often our early interests are an indicator of what will continue to bring us joy later in life. 

As a kid, one of the things I loved to do when my parents visited with friends was to sit by a bookshelf and read through the encyclopedias! I could spend hours reading and learning about all sorts of different subjects. 

Fast forward and today I now know that one of my top strengths is ‘Learner’. I get energised by ideas. When I’m learning and growing, my INFLOW is exceeding my OUTFLOW and there is an energy and joy in my life. When my inflow has slowed or I haven’t had time for learning, then I start to become drained through giving out all the time. 

Sometimes the key to our future is in our past. Why not do some archaeology! Dig into your personal history. Reflect on what has brought you joy and on those times when you were in such a FLOW that time seemed to stand still. Then make an effort to include more of those activities in your life today.

A helpful exercise is to reflect back on this last week.

  1. What activities energised you?
  2. What activities drained you?

We can’t totally eliminate all draining activities but what would it look like for you to make changes so that more of your time is being engaged in energising activities? Try to let go of what drains you, which are often things we aren’t very good at anyway. The good news is that what drains you probably energises someone else, so let them do those things. Focus on yours strengths and the things that you are good at. You’ll be more effective and more joyful as well.

Follow your curiosity! Don’t be stuck in a rut or tied to things that have lost your interest. The best career advice is to find something you love to do and have someone pay you for it! 

Of course, not all of us have a job or vocation that perfectly matches our strengths and includes only activities that energise us. That’s why it’s helpful to think of our life as a series of parallel careers. You might have your main job or vocation but you can also have some volunteer interests, a ‘side hustle’ or entrepreneurial experiment on the side, and some hobbies at the same time. Create a portfolio of activities that suit you best. 

That includes hobbies, which are an important part of self care and living an enjoyable life. Personally, I love to read, to walk, to play the piano, to watch my favourite sports team, or to cook a meal for the family. What about you? Don’t be so busy with work that you don’t have time to play.

Let’s recap our main points:

  1. Your interests as a child are often an indicator of your source of joy today. 
  2. Reflect on the activities that drain you and the activities that energise you.
  3. Follow your curiosity!
  4. Make time for play not just work.

That’s all for today. This has been Episode 08 of Soul Food with Mark Conner. See you next week!

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