Last week, I watched "Between the Folds," a documentary about the art of origami. It was a quick, fascinating look at the way origami is used and created by the people who are the best in the world at folding and shaping paper. If you have a spare hour, pull it up on Netflix.
But what struck me most about these world-class folders who are able to make mesmerizing objects with a single sheet of paper was this: they all had other jobs.
None of them were full time origami masters. While some had been able to transition into a world of semi-retirement, today's best origami artists are biologists, professors, writers, and chemists. Origami for them is a hobby, fueled by a very real passion. They consider themselves lucky that they get to spend 10 hours folding paper on a given weekend.
As entrepreneurs, we need something outside of our business to keep us fueled, something that is borne of our passions but is unrelated to our paycheck. When all we do is focus on our startup or new company, we become unbalanced, focused too intently on a single thing that can break us.
Whether you want to make art out of paper, fill a canvas with paint, walk a few miles, or climb a few mountains, the entrepreneurs who are best equipped to succeed in business are those who are skilled at something other than starting companies. In fact, honing a skill you're passionate about in your spare time could make you a much better CEO, boss, salesperson, or speaker.
Case in point: the second half of the documentary focuses on the applications of origami, how the way an air bag is packed into a steering wheel relies heavily on the same principles present when someone is bending paper to his or her will.
If we can't get outside of our own offices every now and then, we'll never be able to find a fresh approach with which to solve our old problems. If we can't examine something from a new angle, recharge our batteries by playing at something we love, or gain confidence by continuing to master a skill we enjoy, then we may be no good in the boardroom, business meeting, or investor pitch.
Every once in a while, please stop what you're doing and get lost in what you love.
What about you?
What is one thing - non-work related - that you love? How does doing that thing make you better at your job?