To explore the profound impact of hobbies on personal growth, we reached out to thirteen diverse professionals, including founders and CEOs, and asked them to share their experiences. From golf as a lesson in patience and discipline to reading for broadening perspectives and developing a writing style, these leaders reveal how their hobbies have positively influenced their personal development. Dive in to discover the unique and inspiring hobbies that have shaped these successful individuals. Here are 13 nurturing hobbies for personal growth.

LEARN MORE: 132 Arizona companies make Inc. 5000 list for 2023

  • Golf: A Lesson in Patience and Discipline
  • Gardening: Cultivating Mindfulness and Holistic Well-being
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Building Networks and Relieving Stress
  • Nature Exploration: Finding Stillness and Appreciating Life
  • Competitive Sports: Understanding Hard Work and Success
  • Podcasting: Expanding Knowledge and Developing Skills
  • Jumping Rope: Enhancing Focus and Empowerment
  • Solo Traveling: Boosting Observation Skills and Confidence
  • Journaling: Channeling Energies and Organizing Thoughts
  • Painting: A Tool for Relaxation and Introspection
  • Documentaries: Expanding Knowledge Beyond Profession
  • Meditation: Managing Stress and Improving Focus
  • Reading: Broadening Perspectives and Developing Writing Style

Golf: A Lesson in Patience and Discipline

Golf taught me patience like nothing else. Picture this: I used to be the kind of person who wanted instant results in everything I did. But when I started playing golf, I realized that success on the course doesn’t come overnight. I had to put in hours of practice, learning to control my temper when I shanked a shot into the rough for the umpteenth time. 

That patience I developed on the golf course soon translated into other aspects of my life. I found myself better equipped to handle difficult situations at work and in personal relationships, all because I’d learned to stay calm under pressure on the fairway.

Another way golf has positively impacted my personal growth is by fostering a strong sense of discipline. You see, golf requires not only physical skill but also mental focus. To improve my game, I had to establish a routine of regular practice, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and set goals for myself. This discipline spilled over into my daily life.

Travis Lindemoen, Founder, Enjoy Mondays

Gardening: Cultivating Mindfulness and Holistic Well-being

Dedicated to holistic health practices such as Reiki, reflexology, and homeopathy, I find gardening a transformative hobby. More than just planting seeds, it is an active form of meditation that cultivates mindfulness. Whether turning soil or awaiting a bloom, each garden task reflects the purposeful attention I invest in my professional work. These focused activities have rooted me firmly in the present.

The garden has also been a classroom for understanding life’s interconnected intricacies. Observing how elements like soil, water, and even insects interact expands my appreciation for the complex systems that shape our health. 

These revelations have become integral to my practice, emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach to well-being. Consequently, my garden transcends being a mere hobby; it’s an ongoing source of inspiration and wisdom that enriches both my personal and professional life.

Marketa Kropacova, Holistic Therapist, Alpha Therapies

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Building Networks and Relieving Stress

Of all the hobbies that I have participated in, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has impacted my growth the most. 

BJJ is a martial art and combat sport focusing on grappling, chokeholds, and joint locks. Initially, I started BJJ to improve my fitness and learn self-defense, but throughout my journey, I discovered myriad benefits. 

First, you join a team and quickly build powerful social networks alongside your teammates. Given that most of them are also professionals, I have even made useful business contacts through BJJ. 

BJJ has also been deeply therapeutic, as naturally, it’s the ideal mechanism for productively channeling life’s stresses, always leaving me feeling serene. 

Last, it has given me goals outside of my professional life. Before, I felt that my personal life lacked direction or meaning; it was just time away from work. However, developing my skills and expanding my knowledge in BJJ has given me a new sense of purpose, helping to balance out my life.

Ben Schwencke, Business Psychologist, Test Partnership

Nature Exploration: Finding Stillness and Appreciating Life

Exploring nature is one of my favorite hobbies that has had a positive impact on my personal growth. Going out and being in the natural environment allows me to connect deeply with myself and find true stillness. 

Just taking a few moments to breathe in the fresh air, observe the plants, trees, and wildlife around me can provide an immediate sense of calm and peace. It helps me to appreciate the beauty of life and remember that I am part of something larger than myself. By exploring nature, I have developed an appreciation for the wonders of the world, and a sense of purpose in my own life.

Ryan Hetrick, CEO, Epiphany Wellness

Competitive Sports: Understanding Hard Work and Success

Doing competitive sports as a teenager really showed me the direct link between hard work and success. It taught me that the effort I put in today can lead to great results in the future. It’s all about showing up, day in and day out, and doing the work, just like planting a seed and taking care of it every day until it grows into something big. 

I bring that same spirit to my work now, enjoying the small daily tasks because I know they’ll lead to big achievements down the line.

Larissa Brown, Career Counsellor for Teenagers, Careers That Matter

Podcasting: Expanding Knowledge and Developing Skills

Podcasting has been a hobby of mine for the last couple of years, and it has definitely had a positive impact on my personal growth. My podcast, the “Founders & Friends Podcast,” has afforded me the opportunity to speak with startup founders, investors, and CEOs. 

As a result, it’s allowed me to explore interesting topics and conversations, expand my knowledge base, build relationships with other podcast enthusiasts, and develop new skills in communication and media production.

Scott Orn, Chief Operating Officer, Kruze Consulting

Jumping Rope: Enhancing Focus and Empowerment

Jumping rope has positively impacted my personal growth. Exercise strengthens my body and mind. I find that by getting my heart rate up, it induces a stress to my body, resulting in the release of endorphins which calm my mind and enable me to focus throughout the day. This focus and calmness enhance my creativity and boost my energy. Also, exercise helps me conquer those doubting voices. 

Mentally, during exercise, a voice always pops up asking, “What are you doing this for? Wouldn’t you rather be in bed?” Temptations to slack are all around. As I push through exercising anyway, despite these voices, I find that I can achieve more than I thought I could. As we take control of our health, we take ownership of our lives. I never knew jumping rope could be so empowering!

Elisha Peterson MD, MEd, FAAP, FASA, Anesthesiologist and Pain Medicine Physician, Elisha Peterson MD PLLC

Solo Traveling: Boosting Observation Skills and Confidence

As someone who likes traveling more than anything, I can attest that this hobby has had, by far, the most significant impact on my personal growth.

Solo traveling—a hobby that may sound awkward to some, but whose popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, and for a good reason. It helped me become a better observer and a better planner. It taught me how to actually enjoy the “me time,” and it has also considerably increased my confidence level. And, above everything else, traveling on your own gives you an indescribable feeling of unparalleled self-satisfaction.

Still, it’s worth pointing out that the old saying “it’s better to be safe than sorry” exists for a reason. So, prior to your solo voyage, perform extensive research on the place you’re planning to visit.

Anna Krizova, Travel Enthusiast – Therapist, Camino Adventures

Journaling: Channeling Energies and Organizing Thoughts

A hobby that has helped my personal growth is journaling. As a creative person, I often find myself with a mental block that affects everything I try to do. So, journaling about my thoughts and feelings, or about any of the million prompts you can find online, is a great way to channel my energies and organize my mind.

Manasvini Krishna, Founder, Boss as a Service

Painting: A Tool for Relaxation and Introspection

Everyone encourages meditation, but I’ve always struggled with it. When I sit down and am still, all the items I need to get done flood my mind, and it’s impossible to clear them unless I write a to-do list. Once I start doing that, I often wonder why I’m not getting the items on the to-do list done, particularly the short 5-10-minute tasks. 

Enter painting.

Personally, I love watercolors, but I can see acrylic being equally as meditative. I’m no good at it, and I know it, but that’s not the point. Sitting down with the paint and some music enables me to relax and even think. Having my hands busy frees up my head in a way that sitting still never has. Having that time to introspect about the decisions I’ve made that day is often key, particularly in the long run, to doing better the next day. Perhaps more importantly, I actually do it, unlike meditation, which I’ve never been able to stick with.

Beverly Gearreald, Owner, Live Fearless Mentoring

Documentaries: Expanding Knowledge Beyond Profession

I think documentaries are a great way to unwind while learning something new. Whether it’s a nature experience, a gripping true crime story, or an in-depth examination of a scientific concept, I appreciate the opportunity to expand my knowledge and perspective. 

I also enjoy books, especially non-fiction. These interests combine to give me a lot of knowledge about things that go beyond my profession.

Kristoffer Thun, It-Consultant, Kristoffer Thun

Meditation: Managing Stress and Improving Focus

One hobby that has profoundly impacted my personal growth is meditation. Meditation has been a transformative practice in my life, and I can’t emphasize enough how positively it has influenced my well-being. 

It has provided me with a sense of inner calm and mental clarity that is invaluable in the often-hectic world of entrepreneurship. It has taught me to manage stress, improve focus, and make better decisions under pressure. These skills have been instrumental in my professional life.

Johannes Larsson, Entrepreneur, Johannes Larsson

Reading: Broadening Perspectives and Developing Writing Style

I’m a huge fan of reading. It’s a hobby that’s helped me grow in two ways: by broadening my mind and by helping me develop my own writing style.

When I was younger, I didn’t read much outside of schoolwork. In high school, I was really into science fiction and fantasy books, but my parents didn’t let me read any other genres. As an adult, that changed. Nowadays, I’m always reading something—and if it’s not a book, it’s probably an article on the internet.

I think reading has made me more well-rounded as a person because it exposes you to so many different perspectives and ideas than what you get from your day-to-day life. And since each person has their own unique style of speaking or writing, you can learn about their personality just by how they write down their thoughts!

Arvin Khamseh, CEO, Sold Out NFTs