That's how I feel as I write this article from the plane, on my way from New York to Atlanta. Many people travel for work. Lots of folks travel for pleasure. I'm traveling for a baseball game.
Tonight, I'll be at Atlanta's new Suntrust Park to catch the Braves vs Chicago Cubs game. As a diehard NY Mets fan, I'm not a fan of the Braves, nor of the Cubs. But one of my favorite hobbies is going to baseball games at new parks. Tonight, I'll be at major league park #46. For you non baseball fans, that's all 30 current MLB stadiums, and 16 that are no longer around. I rate each park on a number of categories such as food, facade and in-game promotions. (In case you're wondering, Fenway Park in Boston is my top overall-ranked stadium of all time.)
Through the years, I've taken 3 "World Tours" with buddies, driving from stadium to stadium. Now that I'm old and married with kids, that's not as easy. But hopping on a flight for a game at a new park - well, that works just as well.
So what the heck does a Major League Baseball stadium bucket list have to do with entrepreneurship? There are some universal lessons here, I promise- stay with me. My extreme hobby absolutely makes me a better entrepreneur and leader. As you consider what hobby you might further embrace, here are three ways my extreme hobby makes me a better entrepreneur:
1. Passion About Passion
Passion is contagious. In fact, research has shown that we all have mirror neurons that actually mirror the mood of the person speaking to us. So when I'm excited, joyful or happy about my hobby, that runs off on my team, and helps my employees, clients and partners get into a better mood.
How can your enjoyment of your extreme hobby make you a more passionate leader?
2. Time Away Makes You Stronger Next Day
While there are clearly a lot entrepreneurs who believe in "the hustle," or nonstop 24/7 focus on making your business a success, I have an alternative thesis: Time away from your business and instead focusing on your hobby, allows you to avoid burnout, clear your mind and return to the business even stronger. When I'm walking into a baseball stadium, smell the grass and hear the crack of the bat, the challenges of business are totally outside of my mind.
How can your hobby or practice help your clear your mind and refocus when necessary?
3. Listen, Learn, Apply, Repeat!
Like many of you, I have both an entrepreneurial spirit and social mindet. So when I'm traveling to new cities and baseball stadiums, I'm always meeting interesting people, asking lots of questions and thinking about how to better solve problems.
I may not be thinking about my own businesses, but having conversations with new people and thinking about new problems helps sharpens the entrepreneurial tool belt - not to mention the networking opportunities.
So, what hobbies do you have today? Are you making enough time for them, and how can you better embrace an extreme hobby to become a better entrepreneur?
Until next time, I'm off to grab a hot dog and catch a game! Play ball!