For passionate leaders,
I am a leadership researcher, ex-CEO and passionate marathon runner.
With my colleagues at VU University, Amsterdam, we research the role of serious leisure in leaders' lives.
Serious leisure is a passionate non-work pursuit: from triathlons to the piano, from Taekwondo to amateur acting.
Something you always try to become better at. Something you are at least a little bit proud of.
I have interviewed numerous leaders with passionate interests, from startup entrepreneurs to CEOs of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies. This is what they said: serious leisure is not just another way to relax and recharge. It is fundamentally different and can bring your leadership to a whole new level.
I became a marathon runner seven years ago.
It helped me overcome self-doubt in my corporate leader role.
Almost every leader goes through self-doubt at some point. It’s almost required, for us to grow. But sometimes, instead of learning, we panic and irrevocably harm our leader identity.
This is where serious leisure can be of serious help. But a serious leisure identity is not something that you summon out of a magic lamp, to help you in times of need. It requires time, perseverance, and true passion. Start early, and if you have one, do not postpone it for later, when you’ll be “less busy”.
It is an investment in your leadership.