Some of today’s most successful CEOs take the “work hard, play hard” adage to an entirely new level. You could learn a thing or two from the world’s leading executives about work life balance.
Take Goldman Sachs top executive David Solomon, for instance. During the week, Solomon’s a high-powered finance CEO. When the weekend hits, however, the Fortune 100 exec turns on the wheels of steel and gets into his favourite pastime – spinning electronic dance music.
CEOs earn an average of nearly $200,000 annually. However, that big paycheck comes with significant responsibilities. As a result, many top execs turn to their favourite hobby to give their minds a break.
On the Ones in the Twos
A recent Harvard Business Review article takes a closer look at the CEO and his predilection to spin wax on the weekends. During the week, employees at Goldman Sachs may call CEO David Solomon boss or one of any other terms meant to pay homage to a superior. On the weekend, however, Solomon is better known as DJ D-Sol.
What’s more remarkable, however, is that Solomon isn’t alone in picking up an intense hobby to get away from the stress that comes with serving as a captain of industry. There are dozens of CEOs among S&P 500 enterprises that have hobbies that demand considerable intensity.
Sometimes, the executives get into hobbies by volunteering with groups at a young age. If a volunteer opportunity piques their interest, it can develop into a full-fledged hobby that they can’t do without. Now and again, they’ll continue to participate in that hobby well into their adult lives.
However, the question remains, “Do intense hobbies make CEOs better leaders?” The subject has caught the attention of several scientists. Studies about the topic, however, have produced mixed results.
Some studies show that top execs who, for instance, run marathons are better performers and more innovative. Alternatively, other studies show that when executives spend too much time golfing, for instance, their weakened performance causes a company to devalue.
Nevertheless, CEOs are passionate about their hobbies. Whether in public or private, they’re fast to admit that their hobby helps them to cope with a career that grows more demanding by the day.
Living His Best Life
Rolling Stone Magazine recently highlighted Solomon’s DJ career. According to a piece in the rag, the CEO has been dropping electronic music for years.
At Goldman Sachs, Solomon rakes in $15 million annually. Perhaps the best fact of all about Solomon and his DJing hobby, however, is that he is a true artist at heart, and he proves it with his wallet. He donates 100% of his earnings towards helping to fight the opioid epidemic in the United States.
During the week, Solomon slips into traditional business attire that’s appropriate for an executive officer. When he gets on the ones and the twos, however, you’ll find him wearing a pair of headphones.
In December 2018, DJ D-Sol released a delightful treat titled Feel Alive, featuring the female vocalist Katt Rockwell. Although the song was his first original track, Solomon’s been in the music game for a while.
The Rolling Stone piece reveals that Solomon’s always believed in the benefits of work-life balance. In the article, the executive expresses his belief that work-life balance leads to a better career.
In the workplace, Solomon walks the walk and talks the talk. He encourages younger employees to find a balance between their careers and their personal lives. More importantly, however, he shows the value of having interests outside of work by donning the DJ D-Sol persona on the weekends.
A Change of Pace Makes for a Better CEO
Hobbies enable CEOs to clear their minds, empowering them to handle the many responsibilities of leadership on their own. From the outside looking in, you’d think that CEOs are always in charge. In reality, however, they must continually make compromises, whether it’s for the board of directors, the fiscal budget or the current legal environment.
Hobbies empower CEOs to experience their own successes and failures – free of external influences. For someone who makes millions of dollars every year, a hobby may seem like a waste of time. However, recreational activities give top executives the opportunity to reset, rewind and get into it week after week at some of the largest corporations in the world.
There’s a range of resources available to help you do your job better. However, you may also need to take an occasional break.
In America, workers are typically indoctrinated into work till you drop corporate culture. It’s not uncommon for executives and managers to work 16 hours a day, with little time to sleep. What’s more, like many Americans, they’ll spend weekends cramming their personal tasks and responsibilities into a mere two days.
Executives such as Solomon, however, may be onto something. Maybe what it takes to get ahead is not more work – but a break that would allow you to relax, recharge and bring you’re A-game to the office on Monday.
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.