Having interests outside of work can help you switch off whilst giving you other qualities that may just help you with your day job.
My key passion has always been drama from the age of 3 and to this day I am still performing. I have just completed a successful run of The Wedding Singer. Are you wondering how I ended up in compliance?
In actual fact, there are so many transferable skills between the disciplines that I’ve found my performing exploits to be entirely beneficial to me and my career. I started on stage at just 3 years old and never looked back. Other hobbies like Rainbows and Brownies or even competitive swimming and gymnastics fell by the wayside so that I could fit in another dance class or rehearsal.
What it brings to me…
Me time - A term I hate, but my hobby provides time that is spent doing something that benefits me as an individual as opposed to me as a friend or colleague. Investing my “spare time” in something that I’ve had a passion for since I was a toddler gives me something else to focus on and switch off from the pressures of work. Many people ask me if I really switch off? Do I not have to learn dances and lines and find costumes? The answer of course is yes, but sometimes a change is as good as a rest.
Keeping fit - There’s a lot to be said for physical fitness and the benefits this has on your mind. Two or three times a week I am up on my feet dancing around and being physical. Some people go to the gym, some people run or do yoga. I pretend I’m a tree. In all seriousness, keeping active keeps your mind sharp and having to learn and retain routines is of huge importance to me.
Social life - I am a naturally sociable creature. I love spending time with other people. That’s not to say I can’t enjoy my own company but being with others and interacting with a diverse bunch of people is fascinating. I’ve met some of my dearest friends through theatre and will continue to advocate the arts for a very long time to come.
How it benefits work life…
I hear so many people preaching about having a work-life balance. I also get many people asking why I do a hobby that requires further learning on a regular basis. My honest answer is that I genuinely believe that a change is a good as a rest. Having a structured rehearsal every Tuesday and Thursday and some Sundays may be daunting to some but for me it gets me out of the office on time and I’m doing something that genuinely makes me happy. I am active and social, and I come back to work the next day feeling as though I’ve done something different, so I’m not bogged down with work worries.
With this in mind I strongly believe that the break I give myself 2-3 nights a week means that I can start a fresh the next day and mentally I’m so much happier performing than when I’m not, making me a happier person around the office. Win-win for me and my colleagues.
Discipline – We are taught from a young age to obey our elders and to live by the rules. As we get older, we find ourselves being that elder and having to make the rules. As a result, the idea of being disciplined can slip. My hobby helps me to remain prompt, learn to listen and act accordingly and to be patient. I also learn to challenge decisions when appropriate and to discuss best course of action in order to benefit the current show and the Theatre Company as a whole.
Creativity – I have found that there are two types of creativity in this world. The typical view of creativity which is someone creating something out of nothing and having new and fresh ideas and creativity by interpretation.
I think I fall into the latter category. Unless I’m choreographing a dance, my creativity is limited to interpreting scripts or a stage direction. I like this form of creativity as it helps to think outside the box. Interpretation is also key to the art of regulation. Whilst many rules are black and white, with the introduction of the new handbook in April, interpretation of the rules and justification of the same will be paramount to ensuring compliance.
Perseverance – We all get things wrong. ”To err is human” so they say. But the thing that sets the successful apart is the perseverance to continue in the face of adversity. The shows I work towards have a 5-month rehearsal period. Mainly because we are only rehearsing a couple of times a week, but also so it gives us time to make mistakes, learn from them and continue forward towards better performances. We have notes at the end of each performance to enable us to do better the next day.
Criticism can be difficult to bear but how you deal with that criticism is important! I have learnt to take comments and use it to fuel better work where possible. Recently I had difficulty communicating with a client but instead of struggling or giving up, I asked for help and wanted to see it through to ensure a great service was provided. It’s not always right to go down this route, sometimes you do have to let situations go but knowing when to persevere or to stop is something I am reminded of during rehearsals.
Communication & Presentation – I suppose the most obviously positive to take from drama as a hobby is the amount of training days and presentations that are involved with my role at Riliance. I absolutely love being with our clients and opening up discussion. I love to feel connected with the clients and presenting topics in an engaging way.
I owe a lot of that confidence to studying Theatre in some way or other since I was 4 years old. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea but I’m glad it’s mine.
I am certainly not advocating drama for all. I know that not everyone is into the Arts in the same way I am. But I will advocate doing something outside of work that helps you to switch off while giving you other qualities that may just help you with your day job. Be that sport, reading, films, wine tasting or otherwise, do something you love and do it well!
Author: Eleanor Ross