Hobbies are a beautiful thing for leadership in that they allow you to relax even when you're facing a ton of challenges. They're also a fun way to develop other skills you can transfer to your job later on.

But if those are the only reasons you're writing, hiking, gardening or whatever else floats your boat, you're seriously missing out.

Hobbies, Confidence and Your Ultimate Passion

When you're passionate about something or have invested in a company so much that it occupies the bulk of your time and thoughts, you can think that your worth and success absolutely have to come from that thing or business, because essentially you put all your eggs in one basket.

But when you pursue hobbies and activities outside of your passion area, you discover that you are, in fact, good at other things. You become aware of and take advantage of additional sides of yourself that you otherwise wouldn't utilize. You have greater evidence that you can adapt and improve. And you understand that, even if your passion doesn't work out, you're still not necessarily someone others should rule out.

And then, suddenly, all the pressure is off. Because you know you've got other talents and interests to pursue if needed, you have significantly better perspective and confidence. You then can take that confidence and use it to pursue your passion more securely, making better decisions along the way even as you take appropriate risks.

When you're looking for new activities to build yourself up, keep in mind these areas:

Cost

Many hobbies are free, but others can have fairly expensive supplies. Look into free courses and programs through colleges, community centers and libraries. If what you want to do is a little pricier, indulge in the hobby as a reward so it can motivate you to be better in yet another area.

Location

Ideally, you'll want some hobbies you can pull out daily. But be open to travel, as the occasional dabble in something you truly love can be highly rewarding. You also can find classes or programs that provide the supplies and workspace for you, meaning that you can participate even if the square footage and storage space in your own home is limited.

Time

Don't discredit activities you perceive as lengthy. Novels, for example, still can be written one line at a time. Just make sure you can commit to that activity for a few minutes regularly.

And find someone who wants to pursue the hobby alongside you, too. You can encourage and celebrate each other, keep each other accountable and develop a deeper relationship that can serve you in other areas of your business or home life.

But by far the biggest thing to consider is that you don't know what you like or are good at until you give an activity a try. Actor and investor Will Smith, for example, was terrified to skydive before doing it, but once he actually jumped out of the plane, he described it as "the most blissful experience" of his life and asserted that being scared of what's upcoming is pointless. Don't let your preconceived notion of identity stop you from exploring--break your own self-biases and allow your sense of who you are to be fluid and grow over time.

Once you've honed in on something you want to try, it's equally important to release yourself from the expectation of perfection. You're trying something new, so it's natural to flounder and falter a bit. Not only that, but everything from the amount of sleep you had to your mood can influence the single experience you have with an activity. So go back to the hobby at least a few times before you decide whether it is or is not right for you.

Lastly, don't worry if you have to ditch a hobby you've tried. Quitting something that doesn't work isn't failure--it's a conscious choice to move forward on a different path to success. As long as you know what you're leaving behind and getting into next, there's zero shame in moving on.

Published on: Oct 23, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.