Before I proceed to discussing the above topic, let me first express my profound gratitude to you for the massive support through reading and feedbacks.
We would consider the topic; ‘Hobby: An Opportunity to Network’. Recall that few weeks ago, I shared some insights on Networking in a piece titled “Volunteering and Networking”
What’s a Hobby? What purpose does it serve? Can it be monetized or used as a Networking tool? These and more are the questions I’m proffering answers to on this edition.
As usual I have made reference to the dictionary for the definition of the term Hobby, it’s been defined as “An activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.” Taking a cue from this definition, it presupposes that the main occupation or profession is not a hobby, so regardless of the fact that you love your main occupation or profession, does not make it a hobby. In fact, the subsistence of a hobby presupposes the existence of a main occupation. Another point worthy of note in the above definition is that a Hobby could either be an activity or an interest, now the 2 (two) i.e. activity and interest are clearly different.
An activity is something that you do, it involves movement, action etc., such as Sports, Dancing, Writing, Acting, Singing etc., while interest on the other hand does not generally involve activities or movement, it’s that ‘thing’ which excites or captures ones attention, it could be Poetry, Movies, Photography, Arts etc. The above notwithstanding, an interest could become an activity, for example, a person who is interested in Poetry may decide to write a poem which makes it an activity, one who is interested in Photography may decide to actually take photographs of persons or inanimate object, another who is interested in Movies may develop a script, take part in movie production, publish a critique on a movie and so on and so forth. In essence, it does not matter whether it is an activity or an interest, as long as it is being pursued for pleasure or relaxation, it becomes a Hobby. Please don’t get me wrong, the fact that it is being pursued for pleasure or relaxation does not mean you can’t make some profit from it; this will form the basis for another article. Equally a person’s Hobby may be another’s main occupation or profession. Take for example, a Lawyer whose Hobby is Photography, the same Photography may be another’s main occupation and source of livelihood. I hope, I have clearly made my point.
It is important for everyone to have at least one hobby, the benefits are numerous, apart from the fact that it is clearly an opportunity to network which I will revert on shortly and which is the aim of this article, there are other associated benefits
- Hobby Creates a Balance in Work Life: When we have a hobby, we are compelled to take a break from our everyday work life to engage in our hobby. This alone creates a balance in work life and provides us with the necessary relaxation which leads to profitable and productive work hours.
- Hobby Promotes Unity with Others: If your hobby is Sport for example, you can not engage in a sporting activity with another individual or group of individuals (depending on the kind of Sport under consideration) and not interact with them. Good interactions lead to unity and forges alliance that may be useful in the future.
- Hobby Offers a New Challenge: I’m sure you will agree with me that there are times that our main job or occupation suddenly becomes monotonous and uninteresting, seasons when we feel dissatisfied with our main occupation, I have been there, I have felt the emotions. The way out is to develop and engage in a hobby. Hobby breaks the routine; it leads to new challenges. I hope you know that opportunities are always hidden as challenges.
- Hobby is an Opportunity to Network: Now, here is the heart of this article. While I had earlier said that hobby is an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and also that hobby is different from the main occupation or profession; it can be used to network for the main occupation or profession. Because this Column is essentially for lawyers, my example would be a lawyer, Mr. Ben is a lawyer whose practice areas are essentially Intellectual Property and Sports Law and whose Hobbies are Photography and Football. Mr. Ben can get clients from actively engaging in these Hobbies of Photography and Football such that his fellow Photographers who take photography as a main occupation can become client. Remember, one of his practice area is Intellectual Property, so he could ‘market’ his knowledge of Copyright, Trademarks, Patent and so on and so forth. In the same way, he could also elect to ‘market’ his knowledge of Sports Law to his friends on the pitch.
One of those friends may end up with a Football Club and in need of a Lawyer to vet his Agreement…who knows?
The point, I am trying to make is that we should consciously and deliberately engage our Hobbies as an opportunity to network, opportunity to add value, for at the end of it all, we will get compensation for every value shared. However, to successfully use your hobby as an opportunity to network, I encourage you to choose a hobby that accommodates networking or accommodates interactions with others. As such I encourage you to engage in hobbies that involves others, I am not particularly fascinated by hobbies that does not involve another party hence I do not see watching movies as a hobby except it involves you seeing the movies with others. What, I am saying in essence is that, we build and develop hobbies that involve some level of interactions with people. A solitary hobby is not the way to go.
Let me use myself as an example, my hobbies are reading and writing among others which I am not going to disclose yet. Now, writing (except you’re publishing it) is a solitary hobby that does not involve interaction with any one. Here is what I have done to make it as interactive as possible and to use it as an opportunity to network. I write on platforms such as this which lead to interactions one way or the other and those interactions can be tapped for networking benefits.
Finally, I encourage you to develop a Hobby and engage in it actively. Thank you.
‘Tosin is a lawyer, content creator and blogger, she is passionate about law and its numerous instruments. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Please note that the attempt at distinguishing activity from interest is not a clear cut one and the said difference is limited to the point being made herein.
 Profit here could mean, financial returns, fame or a platform.