Something that you do just for the sake of doing, and not for any gain, or for anyone else, (eating, cooking, staying fit and being with your kids, all don’t count).

After 15 years of working non-stop, including during the birth of my first child, I finally took a break when my second came along almost 5 years later. The reality of being a woman AND a business owner, make that difficult sometimes.

Finding it hard to find a moment for myself, one day, in response to asking myself the above question several times (and being able to find nothing, not one thing I had done for myself all week) I decided to order a piano. I doubted it, because I wasn’t sure I’d use it. Wasn’t sure I’d practice. I used to play as a child and a teen, but (lax) willpower and friends took over. I hadn’t sat down to play in over 20 years.

What did I find?

It’s no exaggeration to say I found love. Pure joy, on so many levels. First I remembered how much I love the process of learning, playing, experimeting, being in the moment. Challenging myself, but lightly, about something that’s not huge, while having fun.

Doing something badly, but knowing you could get better at it, was incredibly liberating.

As adults, how often do we get that chance?

How often do we seek failure, and find the failure positive, eager not only for the end goal, but just to find the joy in the journey?

As a teen I hated practice, felt trapped by it.

As an adult I loved it, it made me feel free again. I could put the kids into bed, put my headphones on and play, I was in another world, a beautiful, limitless world.

With hobbies, there is no requirement of pace, no limit to the hours or the energy which you can put in, and the choice is HUGE – just find something you enjoy.

Life skills play perfectly into hobbies

Miraculously, I found that all the qualities that I’d developed in the meantime, as an adult, had almost perfectly prepared me for playing. My determination sent me through one book, and then another, playing for over an hour a day, finding an hour where honestly, I’d never found 5 minutes for myself before. My commitment, brought me to order different materials to ensure my skills weren’t limited to one book, or one style. Suddenly I found myself playing Greensleeves and Beauty and The Beast, almost by sight, the first time. My memory, and my process of learning was solid, way better than I was as a child.

And then there was the sound.

Music, the arts, sport, they are all important because they can bring us a joy that doesn’t exist elsewhere.

Happiness is doing something you love, just for you

You can have a great business, great colleagues, great family life, awesome friends and things can feel complete, but in all of that, if you haven’t found joy for yourself, found something that is simply for you, not tied to any other person, time or place, my feeling is that you haven’t found happiness yet.

Probably you will think there is something wrong with your job, or your life, when what’s actually missing, is that you’re not finding joy in any of the things you do.

I was a high operating professional for 15 years, and honestly, despite being really happy with everything, I always felt like there was something missing.

Being creative brings joy in itself

We are creative creatures, we should all be creating something – it’s not just me, it’s inside all of us. But we don’t spend any time at all doing it, just for the sake of it. And when we do, we expect results so quickly, that we lose hope.

My take away from this experience is so much greater than I can tell you in this blog, once I’m back at work more full time I am going to spend a lot more time with our team talking about the one aspect on people’s CVs that we often overlook, and that is hobbies. I want everyone in our team to have one, and i won’t be satisfied until they do!

So I ask you again,

What will you do today, that you love?

Rana is a Managing Director of Funds Talent, a Search and Selection Firm for the Funds Industry. Along with being a company director, she is a passionate people person, and an executive recruiter for the funds and asset management industry.

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