16 Surprisingly Educational Hobbies

September 10th, 2015   |    By: Young Entrepreneur Council    |    Tags: Emotional Support

Question: What unrelated hobby has taught you the most about business?

Marathon Running

“Running involves discipline and a lot of hard work. You can’t fake it when it comes to finishing 26.2 miles. You definitely get out of it what you put in. Not only does it involve physical toughness, but a considerable amount of mental strength and focus as well. Comparisons can be drawn to business when it comes to knowing your capabilities, working hard, using your wits and not giving up.”

— Michael Quinn
Yellow Bridge Interactive


“Poker is a game of incomplete information. You know what cards you have but are making educated guesses and playing odds based on your opponent’s cards. Business is similar. You can collect data all day, but ultimately you have to act before you have all the information. Learn to play the odds rather than to wait for certainty.”

— John Rood
Next Step Test Preparation


“Chess has taught me to look four, five, or six moves down the road. Always know the long-term strategy, but be flexible enough to adapt when an unexpected opportunity or challenge arises.”

— Corey Blake
Round Table Companies


“I ride my horse as often as I can. This hobby hasn’t added to my practical knowledge about running a business, but it has taught me a lot about balance, both literally and figuratively, which serves me well in my professional life. Being an entrepreneur is a daily balance exercise. My horse helps me better manage this.”

— David Ehrenberg
Early Growth Financial Services


“Since a young age, I was involved in a lot of theater productions. The act of putting together a musical or play has a lot of similarities to putting together a business. Many people and diverse talents must come together to collaborate, and there are a lot of stakeholders in a production—just like in business—that you need to balance.”

— Doreen Bloch
Poshly Inc.


“Slow down! I always achieve more when I chill out. I have always had trouble with the saying, “slow and steady wins the race.” Yoga slows me down and centers me, forcing and encouraging me to work more efficiently. Racing through a proposal will result in typos, making me look incompetent. Speeding through a client call will make me look like I don’t care.”

— Maren Hogan
Red Branch Media


“I love playing soccer. I think the game is all about strategy to win as well as skill and will to win. Those three factors—strategy, will and skill—will lead you to victory. The same three factors will lead you to build a successful business.”

— Pablo Palatnik

Jiu Jitsu

“I recently wrote a four-week blog series on how much Jiu Jitsu has taught me about business and life. Here are some lessons learned: Be humble, as you never know what your opponent has in terms of skill and leverage over you. Also, many times in business something pushes and we push back when we should pull. Remember to position yourself before you attack.”

— Matt Shoup

Wood Working

“Wood working teaches you that attention to detail is what matters. Try making a piece of furniture that you’re proud of if you’ve not focused on measuring and re-measuring every cut. There’s only so much sand paper can do to cover up your blemishes. The same goes for business. Measure, then re-measure, and cut with confidence; the pain and cost of doing it over again is detrimental.”

— Tracey Wiedmeyer
InContext Solutions


“Coaches push you to do something you never thought you could do, and other athletes encourage you to get in one more rep. Those same situations occur every day while growing my company. Every day I’m faced with new challenges to overcome, and I need that perseverance. And every day, my staff needs those extra words of encouragement to work a little harder.”

— Mark Krassner
Knee Walker Central


“Songwriting has taught me to think more creatively and look for the best solution. Just like the first rhyme you think of may not be the strongest, the initial idea for solving a problem might not be the best. The patience, creativity and dedication to the craft necessary to write a song all mirror the skills it takes to run a business.”

— Brittany Hodak

Digital Artistry

“I’ve been a digital artist for 15 years. I strongly believe that my experience in understanding and creating digital art has influenced my career as a software engineer and entrepreneur. I’ve always said that creating software is an art first and a science second. You’re trying to convey a message to an audience and paint a picture that can be understood. It involves trial and error and testing.”

— Gideon Kimbrell
InList Inc

SCUBA Diving

“Training to be a Dive Master taught me the value of communicating information clearly to a team prior to kicking off any project. A good Dive Master needs to assess the situation before the dive, knowing who may need close attention and who does not. Engaging with each diver allows you to get fair idea of their level of comfort, competence and set expectations for the dive.”

— Ryan Stoner


“Similar to business, winning a competitive fleet race is often not about doing things right, but rather about making as few mistakes as possible. The best sailors minimize errors and are consistent on the race course. If you strive to be consistent and learn from your mistakes, you’re better off than most other entrepreneurs in the world.”

— Arian Radmand

Coaching Field Hockey

“I coached high school girls field hockey for three years, which taught me management skills I still use today. Leading a sports team draws on the same ability needed in a startup to draw out each individual’s strengths. I learned to place players in the positions where they would be most successful, to motivate them to perform their best and to be an occasional arbiter.”

— Abby Ross


“When you fly, each person has to follow a checklist to ensure flight safety and avoid catastrophic mistakes. I apply a similar principle to our business to keep employees on task and prevent potential disasters.”

— Alfredo Atanacio

About Our Partner

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

About the Author

Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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