You job is your priority, sure, but don’t disregard the power of free time and what you do with it. Having a hobby will not only help you relax, it will most likely make you better at your job as well.

Hobbies enhance the immune system. They improve flexibility, memory and brain function. They help you sleep better. Studies show that hobbies help us become balanced and well-rounded individuals. They help us understand who we are, and bring joy and fun into our lives.

Hobbies say a lot about us. Choosing a hobby allows us to explore our creative and exploratory sides. The fact is hobbies bring an immeasurable amount of benefits to our emotional and physical well-being. This is especially true for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Hobbies not only bring pleasure into our lives, they teach. Through their hobbies, entrepreneurs succeed, learning and applying valuable lessons about the business world, developing insight into solving business-related problems and discovering how to put their energy into business goals.

Here are five enjoyable and useful hobbies that many successful entrepreneurs engage in.

Running

The mental and physical benefits of running align well with entrepreneurial growth. The entrepreneur understands that discipline and hard work is critical. To experience success, one has to overcome frustration. One has to create and maintain motivation in themselves and others.

Running asks you to design challenges and preparations to overcome said challenges. Running requires self-confidence. It can be inspirational. The sport is essentially an individual sport that can require working with others.

Running boosts resiliency, confidence, self-esteem and determination, all critical traits of the successful entrepreneur. From pushing through adversity to blowing off steam after a stressful experience, running is a great way to build the spirit for business.

Golfing

A day on the green provides a mentally stimulating challenge. It can be competitive or casual. An average course can require walking between three and four miles, making it a leisurely exercise for heart health. Walking in natural, open environments is noted for reducing stress.

The smart entrepreneur isn’t merely aware of the physical and mental benefits of the sport. They know about the curious relationship between business and golf. The most important aspect of golf is that anyone of any age can play.

That makes it an excellent venue of corporate entertainment, where the mature CEO and college grad can meet and interact. Unlike tennis or basketball, golf is the one leisurely, healthy activity where there is as much time to talk as there is to play.

An entrepreneur that knows how to swing a club and can demonstrate it with strategic thinking is going to be rewarded through networking on the green.

Sailing

Like entrepreneurship, sailing is about knowing where to go and figuring out how to get there. Just like in business, one has to learn to navigate through unknown waters and to make decisions when faced with rough weather conditions – which can be applied in business as market conditions – to forecasting how long a trip may take.

Sailing, like business, isn’t always about doing things a specific – right – way, as being consistent, confident and making as few mistake as possible. This requires fortitude, and regular sailing trips can train a person to become a resilient and adaptable entrepreneur.

Learning to sail is also a sound step for glad-handing. Out on the water, sails billowing in the wind, a breeze blowing as the boat slices the water, relaxing under a clear sky, there is no greater opportunity to talk business. Sailing is a chance to enjoy the journey and focus on a destination. Much like building a business.

Poker

Poker teaches us math, strategy, emotional maturity and money management. Each of these traits are teaching tools that can be applied to business. Poker is a discipline that relies on wisdom. A player can have a fortune on the table and that player has to decide whether or not to keep spending. Poker forces you to make smart business decisions, often in the spur of the moment.

Like entrepreneurship, players must take a complete lack of information about a situation and establish calculated options that benefit their goal, which is to win. A game of poker is also an exceptional way to meet and greet, talk business and learn what’s going on in the industry through casual contact.

Chess

Chess is a mentally stimulating hobby for anyone who enjoys a challenge, a strong characteristic in any entrepreneur. Chess combines both preparation and spontaneity, prompting design and change in tactics, planning, audacity and risk-taking. It teaches us to always move forward and to be several steps ahead of our competition.

Chess is also an exemplary way to look at the competition’s perspectives, finding their strengths and weaknesses and using those to your advantage. The progress and outcome of chess is one of the easiest ways to see your mistakes, to learn from them, and to adapt and improve problem solving skills.

Key takeaways

Hobbies are a great opportunity for fun and learning. But for the entrepreneur, the right hobby can be an excellent path for discovering how to navigate the business world. It is simply a matter of choosing the hobby that promotes entrepreneurial traits and characteristics needed to grow and succeed.

Sean is a personal trainer turned freelance writer and traveler with an affinity for sailing and scuba diving, always on the lookout for new destinations to visit. An adventurous Californian, he prefers a nautical lifestyle, but when he's on dry land, you'll find him typing or planning his next big fishing trip, probably with a freshly brewed cup of coffee by his side.