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The new year is coming, and as an entrepreneur, that means getting ready to tackle your next set of ambitious career goals. But those with a “grindset” attitude can neglect their own needs in favor of their work.
This is especially true for introverts. So much of starting and running a company relies on interacting with people, from motivating employees to networking with venture capitalists. For extroverts, this isn’t a huge deal — but for introverts, this doesn’t usually come naturally and can be extremely draining. Introverts need time alone to recover their energy.
However, this can cause another issue: loneliness. One of the most common sacrifices entrepreneurs make is their social life. When you’re an introvert, you have to sacrifice that any way to rest — but without maintaining existing or building new friendships, you’ll lack the support system you need to get through the immense challenges that founding a business comes with.
Thankfully, there are plenty of hobbies you can do that allow you to spend time with people without actually needing to actively socialize. So when you need to maintain your own well-being, here are some options to get that introvert time and keep your relationships alive!
Archery has many incredible benefits, especially for self-improvement. It builds upper body muscles and burns calories, getting you regular exercise. It provides the same mental health benefits that regular mindfulness does, improving energy, focus, and mood. And it connects you to an entire community of people who share your hobby and enjoy long stretches of silence with no talking!
First, get some archery gear. Start by practicing alone, either at home or at an archery range. When you’re ready to share this hobby, consider joining an archery club or bowhunting group in your area. To connect with your fellow archers, congratulate them on a good shot or complement their bow. Simple actions like this open the door to more conversations without the pressure to constantly talk. Introverts need not fear any unwanted social interaction with this hobby!
Photography is an art that is also useful to your business. Entrepreneurs with access to quality cameras can use photography as a website-building tool — and then, in their off time, take photos of whatever they want to and share it through social media. That means engaging with other people without even needing to leave your house!
However, if you do want to get out of the house, photography classes and clubs are available in most US cities. Aspiring photographers to connect on and offline, balancing time talking about the hobby with the hobby itself.
Solo hiking is a great way to get some quiet time. One or two friends in the mix can add a light social aspect to the hobby — there’s no breath to waste on an unwanted conversation when you’re working your way up a hill.
Look for trailheads in your area. Over time, try challenging yourself with more difficult hikes. Harder hikes tend to be in remote areas; when you’re ready for those, you will need to travel with a small group for safety.
No, it’s not just for kids! Airsoft is enjoyed by people of all ages. If you like the thrill of team-based combat, then airsoft is for you. You can even make it a team-building outing for your employees, which means you’re looking out for both your employees and yourself.
However, actually joining an airsoft community can be a bit intimidating for introverts, especially if you’re going alone. Thankfully, if there’s one way to easily start a conversation, it’s to ask about someone’s airsoft gear. They’ll gladly talk about specs, where they got it, and how fun their gear is to use. Then, enjoy long periods of game time with no conversation — just the pure enjoyment of tagging opponents. Between matches, you’ll be able to congratulate your fellow players on how they did, chat about the game, and get to know them better.
5. Board Gaming
This is a classic hobby for introverted folks. For long-time video gamers, board gaming is a great way to scratch that same itch in an offline setting. Most games have a 4-player limit and are over 90 minutes. Conversation tends to be focused on the game at hand, so there’s no added pressure (or time) to make small talk.
Most communities regularly need volunteers to help with cleanup or conservation efforts. These are ideal for introverts: focus on the task at hand with no obligatory social interaction. Your efforts will be appreciated, so social connections made with other volunteers will be that much richer. You’ll talk about what led you to volunteer, why you like doing what you do, and even about your business. Plus, helping your community will build you and your brand a good professional reputation.
Too much talking will spoil the hunt, so the social demands of this hobby are inherently limited. Instead, the bonding happens in the wilderness, simply enjoying being surrounded by nature together.
As an entrepreneur, however, you like to make your own path. Instead of getting a normal rifle, you may want to try exploring more niche hunting techniques. Try taking a hunting air rifle into the wild, or experience true stealth with a high-tech crossbow. You’ll probably find like-minded people who have a passion for going against the grain — and no issue not talking.
Develop yourself, and the rest will follow.
The most important part of improving your business is improving yourself. As an introvert, that means making time for yourself, even — no, especially — when you don’t want to. The best part about these hobbies is your focus on the activity itself, not on socializing. The bonding comes organically. If you develop a passion, like-minded folks will take notice. The connections you form will feel natural, and you’ll find new opportunities for personal and professional growth as a result.