The holiday period is the perfect time to disconnect, recharge your batteries, and do whatever it is you enjoy doing: relaxing in the sun, playing sport, days out, meeting up with family and/or friends, travelling etc.
The unprecedented events of this year have undoubtedly led you to reflect more deeply on who you are and on your relationship with the world. To extend this period of reflection, why not take advantage of the summer to give some thought to your "side-project"?
What is a “side-project”?
A “side-project” is a concept that comes directly from Silicon Valley. It’s a creative project that you work on in parallel with your day job and something that you’ve been engaging with for a long time ... or maybe not! It’s an activity, usually unrelated your core business, based on a passionate interest, a need, a specific ambition, a cause that you feel strongly about or simply a quest for meaning ... It’s not necessarily a business venture.
See it as a project with several benefits:
Carving out some free space just for yourself
A “side-project” gives you the freedom to work without any constraints. There are no deadlines or pre-requisites imposed by anyone other than you. You decide your timetable, your pace of work, your priorities!
Enjoying yourself in a different way
A “side-project" is an opportunity to invest in what you love! Isn't it exhilarating to combine pleasure and work? Are you already imagining moments where time stands still and you are completely in the “flow” - that state of deep concentration where you are totally absorbed in the work you are doing while feeling a sense of happiness and accomplishment...
A side-project is more than just a hobby...
The difference is in the means, resources and energy you invest in it which will be much greater.
For example, if you like watercolour painting and you support animal causes, you might paint watercolours of animals, but your goal will be greater than that. You might become an ambassador on the subject by perhaps setting up a space to meet with other animal watercolour enthusiasts. Then, together, you might create individual and/or collective works to exhibit at specially organised events in a gallery or at a zoo to raise funds for and public awareness of animal causes.
In short, embarking on a “side-project” is a way of finding ways to develop, restoring confidence, and taking your life back in hand …
Developing personally and professionally
With a "side-project" you give yourself the chance to achieve the personal and/or professional goals that are close to your heart, those that are a good fit for you and take your capabilities into consideration ...
It’s a great means of training and personal development: a side-project allows you to explore new areas, to experiment and learn new things that you might not encounter in your job. It promotes the learning of new techniques and, through careful practice, improves existing skills. It also often encourages creativity.
The energy and skills developed by investing in a side-project will be useful in all areas of your life.
In the end, it’s safe to say that you will tap into unexpected development potential. This will strengthen your confidence capital and help you develop fully!
Boosting your career
A “side-project” enriches your career in a unique way and is a real differentiating factor on a CV compared to the more usual content ...
At a time when problems at work are increasingly related to the subject of well-being, telling a recruiter about a "side-project" is also a very positive signal for your career. Indeed, the "side-project" gives an insight into your personality and your potential. In fact, your chances of obtaining a job are increased if you can demonstrate that you have engaged in varied, interesting and meaningful personal projects.
Finally, wouldn’t you agree that one of the advantages of a "side-project" is that it can also become an important prelude to a new career that you build little by little, at your own pace?
You can see, or perhaps have even already felt, that the desire to invest in a "side-project" in addition to your day job corresponds to a growing need in us all ... and, as a general rule, it doesn’t happen by chance: it is more often the by-product of an existential crisis coupled with an emerging quest for meaning ...
What if you allowed yourself to simply listen to your inner voice and your deepest desires?
If you already have your own “side-project”, take advantage of this summer break to firm up the details and think about what action you can take to make it happen …
If you have no idea at this stage what your side-project might be, give it some thought and then let your heart (and not your head!) take control and guide you to what really inspires you...
Nothing would make me happier than if this summer 2020 careers newsletter planted the first seeds of your side-project! Be sure to keep me posted, won’t you? 😊
Elizabeth TOUCAS, Executive Strengths Coach at IÉSEG Network.