The Importance of Passions

What you do outside of work can often be more important than what you do at work.

Those passions that drive and inspire you manifest into creativity. Passions form viewpoints through experiences and train your brain to connect something physical with the release of dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin and serotonin — the body chemicals that make you feel happy.

Passions also help you disconnect, separate yourself from the day-to-day and take your mind to different places, even if for only a short amount of time. Your passion very well may be your work, but I don’t think anyone considers checking email to be a passion, so it’s safe to say disconnecting is always stepping away from your phone.

This is why companies like Pinterest are hiring people who don’t just know how to do their jobs really well, but also have passions outside of work.

“We look for people who have more interests than time,” Pinterest cofounder Evan Sharp told Business Insider.

Pinterest even created an event called “Knit Con” where employees could lead sessions on their talents. Sessions included bow-tying skills, cocktail creation, and I’m sure the ever-popular ukulele. I’m thinking of you, Warren Buffett, who also sends 80 percent of his day reading — and making a lot of money.

Passions can build leadership skills. They train your mind as to what’s possible and to think outside of the box, rather than the script most follow. They bring people together and inspire you to always do better. These skills don’t just shut off when you’re not doing what you’re passionate about. They’re often carried into the office.

I’ve always been an advocate for employees to do what they love outside of work, even if it’s building a side business. To me, that experience will make them better at their jobs because real-world education can enrich someone’s life professionally better than any training.

Travel, go fishing at the lake, take your kids to a live baseball game, volunteer. Do whatever you’re passionate about, and do it without the guilt of not checking your email for 30 minutes.

Those emails can wait. Those 30 minutes you’re doing something more important for you, and ultimately, your company will benefit, as well.

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