Learn from your hobbies (what reading has given me)
Find a strong interest and stick with it. There's an invaluable amount of knowledge, enjoyment, and usefulness that comes out of a hobby. It's a great way to unwind, connect with someone, or contribute something you've learned.
For me, it's my love of reading. It began when I was little and grew from Beverly Cleary to Agatha Christie to Stephen King. Mystery novels and thrillers, especially with a supernatural twist, have always been my favorite.
Need to relax? My go-to is a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Even though I've switched from coffee to tea, and infrequently enjoy a hot chocolate, a book is always constant. There's even an awkward graduation photo shoot from middle school of me reading my all-time favorite series The Hollows.
At the end of a stressful week, I pick up a book. At the most stressed times, I have turned to a lighthearted read or an "oldie but goodie" as a pick me up. Janet Evanovich, Jeanine Frost, and Kim Harrison have been there with me for some of the great changes in life: moving out of my childhood home and into a dorm, from Florida to Texas, and from gainfully employed to looking. When in doubt, turning to a book has always steered me clear (though I also add in lots of exercise and mini dance parties to this blend).
Connecting with someone
My book selection isn't always a great connector with people- they either love my favorite authors or they've never heard of them- but sometimes it's a great way to melt the ice. While waiting for an interview, I spoke with the executive assistant and was impressed with her favorite reads and even recommended a few she would like. Since she enjoyed "murder and mayhem," I knew she couldn't go wrong with Chelsea Cain.
A diverse set of interests can also help find a job. When a friend of mine was hired, the company interviewing specifically looked for college athletes because of their internal drive and motivation.
I love the quote from King, since I think reading helps to inspire my writing abilities. Without devouring as many books as I have, it would be more difficult for me to string sentences together. While I have no writing claim to fame, I certainly enjoy it more and can appreciate more diverse writing styles.
Science fiction and fantasy books also helped expand my creative thinking. I always find it inspiring when I set aside a book and think, "I can never guess how these are going to end," or "I never would have thought of that." King's books always feel me leaving refreshed creatively, even if I'm emotionally finished from the death of a beloved character.
While King does not necessarily help with my continuing education in marketing, I have expanded my reading list to include more marketing books. I have read over 20 books last year which helped me gain more knowledge about storytelling, innovation, and branding. My new read is The On-Demand Brand.
As marketers, it's important to remember that having experiences outside of our focus can help us contribute to new clients, new challenges, and new solutions. What does your hobby help you bring to the table?
NOTE: My newest favorite series is The Dark Tower books from Stephen King. I can't escape his great world building.