Most people in my life know I have a passion for running. However, most people in my life do not know that running is much more than just my cardio routine; it is a daily reminder that I am consistently setting and conquering new goals, which is especially important when other areas of my life feel dull.
My passion for running is not only apparent in my closet, stacked high with old running sneakers. It’s also reflected in my professional life.
Running is by no means for everyone. I never sat down one day and said, “I value my family, health, hard work, and accomplishing new goals, so I should become a runner.” Running started as a hobby, at best. Over time, the process of swiftly moving one leg in front of the other transformed into the most exciting part of my day.
I’m always seeking a challenge and setting and conquering new goals to develop professionally. New challenges aid in developing critical skills for both personal and professional development. Aside from strengthening my muscles through running and cross-training, I am also improving my discipline and focus.
While some may argue that having a passion does not require discipline, I argue it does. As much as I enjoy running, it will always be is always easier to sit on the couch and watch TV. However, both discipline and focus are not only key to success on the track. “Going the extra mile” and always following through on commitments are actions that do not go unnoticed by bosses, peers, or clients.
Choosing a passion that excites you is critical to professional development because it engages your mind in something outside of your professional realm. While this may seem counterintuitive, taking the time to focus on something outside of the office often provides a ‘new set of eyes’ when returning to a project at work, potentially offering new ideas and insights to an old or inefficient project or process.
Additionally, taking the time to do something for yourself promotes a sense of individuality and develops confidence. Even as a recent graduate in the nation’s capital, it’s easy to enter into a pattern of work, dinner, bed. Engaging in this familiar daily routine, however, allows us to become too comfortable in our habits and thought processes. Having a passion that excites you is motivation to break the pattern, which is necessary for both personal and professional development.
As the new year begins, you may be trying to build new habits at home or work to accomplish your 2017 resolutions. I hope you will take the time to consider devoting more time to your passion or exploring a new passion, as I am sure you will see results across your personal and professional life.