Elaine’s Helpful Hobbies

Elaine was the kind of student who was so academically focused in college that when she landed a 9-to-5 job as a project manager, she looked forward to picking up some hobbies once again.

But she felt riddled with guilt about her activities outside of work. Striving for “work-life balance” made it seem like her life was in constant competition with her work.

All that changed at Bootcamp, where Elaine says “she felt validated” to pursue her many passions.

Don’t get it twisted: Elaine is one hell of a hard worker. She was recently tapped to take the lead on execution and contracting strategy of a BILLION-dollar-plus project at the multinational oil and gas company where she works.

But when Elaine gets her morning runs in, she’s “better able to show up at work, mentally,” she says. “When I’m pushing the boundaries of myself, I feel like I learn and grow.” And it turns out – she’s right.

Living in an environment of growth – whether it’s challenging yourself physically, learning a new hobby, or taking an online course for fun – increases the neurological connections that can improve your performance at work, too.

“Bootcamp absolutely validated that work, love, and wellness are connected, at a time when I was struggling to live that way,” Elaine says.

She just returned from a 8-day expedition to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and is now geeking out on Design Thinking, her latest obsession. She recently completed an online course, participated in the a Designathon, contributed to a few OpenIDEO challenges and connects with fellow enthusiasts through Design Thinking’s DC MeetUp group.

“I’m applying what I learned about taking an empathetic approach to problem-solving to my work,” Elaine told me.

“It’s all in that manifesto!” says Elaine, referring to our Bossed Up Manifesto. “I don’t need to justify myself anymore.”

I couldn’t be happier to see Elaine owning her hobbies #likeaboss, and challenge each of us to recognize how our “outside” projects can present opportunities for growth and learning.

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