Why What You Do Outside Of Work Truly Defines You

By Gigi Engle

We’re all supposed to actively pursue our dreams, right? Well, as long as those dreams make money.

We’re told to do what we love, to follow our passions and never listen to “the man.” Of course, as long as what we love fits into a societal trope that has been laid out, molded and designed for the corporate machine.

When we enjoy doing something that is different, something that isn’t necessarily profitable, we’re told it’s just a “hobby.” It loses value.

It isn’t seen as important.

The thing is, what you do outside of work is actually crucial to your spirit. It is what gives life meaning and what will keep you living in the moment. It’s the stuff that happens in the golden evening hours that replenishes us for the coming day of monotony.

It’s easy to lose yourself in your career. We all tell ourselves we’ll dedicate time to the things we enjoy outside of work. We promise ourselves we won’t succumb to the corporate giant. We’ll keep playing tennis, rock climbing, knitting or writing. We won’t let that activity fade away from our lives.

Yet, so many of us fall behind the metallic sheen of corporate existence and forget ourselves. Soon, we don’t even remember what we loved to do.

Don’t ever let this happen to you. Don’t give up your independence and what makes you uniquely you. You are not a drone. You are so much more than a pantsuit at a desk.

What you do inside of the office might be what brings home the bacon, but it’s what you do outside of it that truly defines you.

The person you are outside of the office is your truest, most empowered self.

Is there any real point in living a life that is just a washed shade of grey? When you’re making a conscious effort to explore the things you actually want to explore, you’re being your true self and making the most out of the life you have.

You grow and learn from the things you do when you leave the boardroom. You’re outside of your little work bubble, exploring the stuff that really has the zest you long for.

There is nothing more empowering than really working on a project or activity that brings you genuine pleasure.

You are acting on your desires rather than fitting into the mold that society has laid out for you. You don’t have to apologize for anything. Work can be stifling and it can truly suck your soul. You have to be staunch in your commitment to branch out outside of work and live the life you want to live.

When you’re doing something you love, you aren’t restricted by anyone else's standards. You’re just free to be exactly who you are, loud and proud.

The things you do outside of work will lead you to your best friends.

Like-minded people flock to the same hobbies and delve into the same interests.

The people you’re shoved into an office with aren't the ones you choose. The friends you make when you leave work are the ones who last forever.

You won’t get wrapped up in the intense blizzard of your office climate as long as you devote energy to continuing to make time for the things you love to do with the people you love to do them with.

Those friendships are built on more than just a shared lunch break. When you love to do the same kinds of things as the people you spend time with, you will always have room to grow together.

Your hobbies give you the perspective you so greatly desire and need. You won’t lose track of who you are as long as you keep pursuing the things that make you happy and fulfilled.

Doing what you love is the simplest way to feel your best.

Taking time for yourself is one of the most important things you need to do for your mental health. Doing what you want and love to do is the ultimate catharsis.

It lets you step away from the overwhelming and tedious responsibilities of your day job and allows you to unwind and free yourself from stress.

Without “me time,” we would all go completely bonkers.

Participating in your hobby is when you feel most at peace. It’s when you’re the most positive. It takes you to your happy place.

Your job does not dictate who you are in life. It is not the thing that should make you feel special or validated. It’s doing the things you love; it’s actively pursuing what you like to do.

When you’re doing something you like, you’re helping yourself be the best you that you can possibly be.

Oxygen's new docu-series Pretty. Strong. follows the fierce women of the Chicago Bliss, as they balance personal and professional lives by day and their passions for tackle football by night in the all-female Legends Football league. Meet the athletes tackling life, love, and football on Tuesday, October 6th at 10/9c on Oxygen. #PrettyStrong