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February 20, 2017

Are You Up For A Challenge?

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Managing a multi-million dollar dairy business can make pursuing outside interests especially challenging. After all, who has the time?

A recent study of 260 CEOs and executives by Karen Firestone, president and CEO of Aureus Asset Management, and published in Harvard Business Review explored if these high level executives had taken on a new career pursuit and, if they did, how it impacted their well-being both personally and professionally. Here is a synopsis of the results:

  • Majority of respondents (60%) said they had begun a new challenge in the last two years. Top response was starting a new sport or physical activity. Others were a new work-related project, studying something new and teaching or writing. Also, 34% said they devoted 10 hours or more per week to the activity.
  • Each respondent categorized the new activity as “hard”, with an equal split between those that found the new activity mentally versus physically challenging.
  • 88% reported a positive beneficial impact. “More than half the respondents considered the impact on their work life to be positive,” Firestone says. “And 83% said that the new activity had improved their well-being.”
  • Only 11% admitted being slightly less productive at work while 52% reported being more productive.
  • 34% felt it benefited their relationships with colleagues.

“Other research has shown that learning something hard can help expand our creativity,” Firestone says. “The broader benefits of pushing ourselves may be positive for colleague relationships, productivity and task comprehension. Plus, acquiring new skills is enjoyable.”

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