Do you ever think back to what you enjoyed doing in your free time when you were growing up (besides watching Saturday morning cartoons)…
What were your hobbies? What did you excel at? What were the activities you chose to do over anything else? I’ve been contemplating these questions lately and the answers have surprised me.
I always thought I wasn’t a naturally creative person because I was horribly unartistic. I couldn’t draw worth a damn, I wasn’t the best at piecing outfits together, and let’s just say my home isn’t living up to any Pier 1 standards. So how did I end up creating a brand?
As I reflected on this, I created a shortlist of the things I liked to do between the ages of 10-17:
- Creating my own marketing brochures and other collateral for businesses I made up. Outside of keyboard typing and other Reading Rainbow-esque games, my go-to computer program was Microsoft Publisher. It was the Adobe Suite of my childhood, and I couldn’t get enough of clip art. I established several fake companies, included Le Foot (a foot massage parlor) and Fat2Fit, both of which had several advertising brochures and flyers hung throughout the house.
- Storytelling. I was very secretive about my writing, but I always had several notebooks in circulation, from short stories, to journals, to poetry and songwriting.
- Designing album covers for the CDs I burned for myself and friends.These were both digitally designed (shoutout to MS Publisher once again!) and handmade with construction paper and markers.
- Crafting early learning books. When my younger brother was born, I took his childhood development seriously. And by that I mean I created handmade books to help him learn numbers, ABCs, animals, colors, you name it. I would stay up until 2 or 3 AM making these things.
Photoshoots with friends. With the rise of Myspace came the need for COOL pictures. I found myself saving up money to buy a 8.1 megapixel Casio camera (which was super high quality compared to my flip phone selfies) and inviting friends to random locations around town for photoshoots.
- Customizing Myspace pages. Little did my teenage self know that learning little bits of HTML would be endlessly useful in the real world.
- Recording videos with friends. Ok these may have been more of a joke (think overdramatized hip hop videos), and nothing became of them, but they were still a fun creative outlet.
So what does it all mean?
When I look back at this collection of activities, which seemed to have zero connection at the time, I am amazed at how everything on this list brought me to where I am today.
We’re so quick to brush off the activities we deem non-career related, but when I look back, these are the most important things I could have spent my time on.
Can I draw? Still to this day, no. But am I creative? 100% yes. I didn’t always see it in myself, but now…how can I not?
What is important in the world of marketing and personal branding today? The very things I LOVED doing, that I chose over everything else, that I shut out for so long because they weren’t “career driven.”
All this to say – never discount your interests. In fact, go wild with those “hobbies” because they could end up being your lifelong passion and career pathway.
So let’s try this again…think back to what you enjoyed doing in your free time when you were growing up. You may just uncover your life’s hidden passion.